This is perhaps the standout fixture this weekend in the Spanish top flight. It sees a Betis side that have picked up some very encouraging recent results take on the runaway leaders. Barcelona can’t afford to think the title is in the bag though and their lead could be cut to 6 points by the time this one kicks off with Atleti strong favourites to win on Saturday.
For the second weekend running Barcelona have a potentially tricky away game. They fought back well to win at Real Sociedad last weekend and the way Betis have been playing of late, this is perhaps one of the bigger hurdles left as they aim to reclaim the Spanish title. The Catalan giants did suffer a setback in midweek though as they lost to city rivals Espanyol in the Copa del Rey but Ernesto Valverde will still be confident that his side is capable of winning both this game and securing cup progress next week.
Betis have long since been eliminated from the Copa del Rey but seem to be benefiting from the rest with two wins out of two so far in La Liga in 2018. They are one of the few sides in the division that can compete with Barcelona in the possession stakes so this will be an interesting game to watch from a tactical point of view.
The Seville side actually have the highest average home possession figures in La Liga, enjoying 60% of the ball on average but they may find converting that into chances difficult, against what is an underrated Barcelona defence. Gerard Pique signed a new contract this week and he remains a key figure at the back and a big reason why Barca have conceded just 0.47 goals per game this term in La Liga and boast a 60% clean sheet ratio away from home.
They do have the likes of Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba to recall after the trio were rested in the Copa del Rey in midweek and that should help ensure they can match Betis in the energy stakes. They have an exceptional away record this season, winning 80% of their matches on the road in La Liga. The Catalans are also now unbeaten in 26 league games overall and are yet to taste defeat under Ernesto Valverde in the Spanish top flight and all those figures suggest this is still likely to produce an away win, despite Betis’ bright start to the year.
Quique Setien’s side have lost 3 of their last 4 home games in all competitions, so suggestions we could see Barca slip up again here are unlikely to come to fruition. Backing Barcelona to Win & Under 3.5 Goals looks good when you consider that 90% of their away league games have seen under 3.5 goals scored in total this term.
Looking for Accumulator tips? See what our experts are tipping today and follow the smart money.