Soccer Picks Levante vs. Barcelona

Steven Suarez

Friday, January 17, 2014 7:09 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 7:09 PM GMT

Though Levante has been on a nice little run, they're likely to get a taste of reality when they match up with the machine that is Barcelona. Join us as we find the value soccer picks for this match.

Odds Overview

Current soccer betting lines show the Catalans favored at anywhere from -550 to as high as -650. Levante is a humungous +2000 underdog in their own stadium and a draw (+750) also appears to be very unlikely in the eyes of online sportsbooks.

Levante

The Frogs are on a three-match unbeaten run ahead of Sunday. They overcame Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey and also got the best of Malaga at home in a 1-0 victory.

Glancing over the La Liga table, we find Levante in the middle of the pack in tenth place. They're on 23 points, putting them on pair with a big group that includes Valencia, Granada and Getafe. The Frogs' overall goal differential stands at minus nine.

Levante's defensive discipline, however, has been outstanding over the last 10 days or so. They haven't allowed a single goal in three straight matches.

It's too bad that streak won't continue this weekend. It would be the achievement of the season for the Frogs to hold Barcelona scoreless. Don't bank on it.

When playing at home in the league, Levante has mustered up three wins, three draws and three losses. The victories came over Espanyol, Elche and Malaga, with the defeats coming at the hands of Real Madrid, Granada and Villarreal.

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Barcelona

Barcelona finished the job in the Copa del Rey, beating Getafe 2-0 away from home to win 6-0 on aggregate. Messi scored both goals to the surprise of absolutely no one.

The bad news? Neymar picked up a bad ankle injury and is set to miss up to four weeks. Thing is, if there's one team that can fill in the missing pieces with little to no drop in quality, it's Barcelona.

The last time we saw the Catalans in action in La Liga play, they were involved in a 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid. The result kept things the same atop the table, with those two sides still tied. Barcelona remains in the top spot thanks to a superior goal differential.

Messi has already scored four goals in three games since returning from a lengthy injury layoff, picking up right where he left off. Let's not overlook the fact he came on as a substitute in two of those matches too.

With the Argentinean back at full strength and Alexis Sanchez, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas (who've scored a combined 29 league goals this term) all playing fine soccer right now, Barcelona will be just fine without Neymar

La Liga Pick

On the first La Liga playday of the season, Barcelona smashed Levante 7-0 at the Nou Camp. Messi and Pedro had braces and Alexis Sanchez, Dani Alves and Xavi also got in on the goals in the romp.

Obviously a similar score-line is unlikely back on Levante's home turf, but it would still be surprising if the Catalans don't win comfortably once again.

Neymar is out, but Messi is back and raring to go and that's all you really need to know. When making your soccer picks, get the best value by backing a Barcelona win by two or more goals in this weekend's trip to Valencia.

Pick: Levante 0 Barcelona 3
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