Soccer Picks: Barcelona vs. Elche La Liga

Nila Amerova

Friday, January 3, 2014 7:31 PM GMT

The soccer odds are with Barcelona wholeheartedly in their New Year opener against Elche. Join us as we breakdown this matchup and deliver our soccer betting verdict.

Barcelona feeling the pressure

Barcelona are tipped as the massive -1400 favourites to win outright over Elche. As well, they have the title race cornered on -175 soccer odds at Bet365. But the Blaugrana are feeling the pressure from Atletico Madrid, joint La Liga leaders to start the second half of the season and sportsbooks’ third favourites to win the title, albeit at whopping +500 soccer odds.

Both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid boast an identical 15-1-1 mark on the season and 46 points but the former is at the top of the table on a two-goal differential. Hence, Barcelona will be putting a high premium on the win as well as the score if they hope to maintain their edge over Atleti at the start of the second season.

Fortunately for Barcelona they are slated to take on a dubious middleweight side in Elche, sat 14th in the table on the back of a disappointing overall 4-5-8 record (2-3-3 on the road) and just 17 points. Most revealing, they trudged along three straight defeats into the Christmas break – 2-0 to Atletico Madrid, 2-1 to Levante and 1-0 to Malaga.

Barcelona meanwhile raced towards the festive season with five straight wins across all competitions, netting 20 goals along the way and conceding just five. They won the tie over Cartagena 7-1 in Copa Del Rey, destroyed Celtic 6-1 in Champions League and beat Villarreal 2-1 and Getafe 5-2 in La Liga.

An important turnaround after back-to-back defeats to Ajax in Champions League and Athletic Club in La Liga that highlighted their undeniable quality and depth even without Lionel Messi (who was sidelined with injury) and, in turn, helped maintain both their top table credentials and overarching soccer odds across competitions substantially.

Speaking of the greatest player in the game today, he’s back. The Argentinean starlet, who’s been out of commission for two months, just returned to Barcelona to begin preparations for the second half of the season. Heck, he’s even played a match already, scoring a hat trick to boot.

While the club claims he’s fit to play on Sunday, it’s expected that he’ll give the Elche tilt a skip (only should he be needed or in order to give him a bit of warm up towards the end of the match will he play a part). A return to fulltime action is expected against Getafe in Copa Del Rey on Wednesday (source: Mail Online).  

With or without Messi, Barcelona will be tough to beat. Why else would they be so strongly favoured. Similarly, why else would Elche be significantly underrated at +2500 soccer odds at Bet365? Some sportsbooks are offering even higher odds on Elche. The verdict unanimous: Elche is a no hope soccer pick.

Barcelona vs. Elche Betting Tips and Picks:

Undoubtedly this is a home banker for Barcelona but at a fancied price of -1400 soccer bettors will need to look to other markets for value soccer picks. Here’s a choice few that we think bear consideration.

Barcelona have scored no less than two goals at home in their last five matches – and that’s while playing without their star striker and four-time Balon D’Or winner. The probability therefore that they would score two or more here is extremely high and as such we like the Over 2.5 at -333 as an added soccer pick. As well, Barcelona to win both halves at Camp Nou at favourable -300 soccer odds at Bet365 because it’s hard to imagine Elche a) winning any or b) holding Barcelona to a draw in either half.

Soccer Free Picks: Barcelona to win outright -1400; Over 2.5 at -33

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