Athletic to Frank Recent Form Lines Versus Barcelona

It is not often that there is a strong form line on which to base one’s bets in the opening round of a competition but that is the case in the Spanish Primera Division on Sunday.

Athletic will host Barcelona at San Mames in the first round of the Spanish Primera Division and the teams have gone head to head twice in the last week with both matches producing somewhat surprising results. Athletic beat Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of the Spanish Supercopa de Espana in Bilbao and the exclusively Basque side secured the first trophy of the domestic season by drawing 1-1 with Barca at the Camp Nou. Form lines do not get much fresher than those two.

Bookmakers believe that Barcelona will be able to flick the switch and blow away Athletic because there will be Spanish Primera Division points on the line but one thinks that does not make a great deal of sense. And even if one did fancy Barcelona to kick off its Spanish Primera Division title push with an away victory one could not like its odds.

Athletic is available at the insulting odds of +650 with a group of bookmakers, including BetVictor and Totesport, to get the better of Barcelona in Bilbao for the second time in 10 days. One does not want to back Athletic to win – for starters, it will be backing up from a UEFA Europa League game versus Zilina in Slovakia, whereas its opponent has had a clear week to prepare – but surely the home team is good value at odds of +180 with Bet365 in receipt of a one-goal start and -161 with Ladbrokes in receipt of two goals. The latter is one’s top pick.

Getting a handle on the Spanish Primera Division curtain raisers is difficult but, if you are looking a home banker, Atletico Madrid appears to fit the bill at odds of -400 to defeat Las Palmas at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid’s pre-season campaign has gone really well, with its results including victories over fellow Spanish Primera Division sides Betis and Sociedad. Atletico beat Betis 3-0 in a friendly and last term the Seville-based team won the Spanish Segunda Division title, finishing six points ahead of Las Palmas. In theory, Las Palmas is the weakest side in this season’s Spanish Primera Division and its first assignment is a road trip to an Atletico team that does not beat itself and may throw down a championship challenge.

Las Palmas has prepared for its Spanish Primera Division return with a series of friendlies, the latest of which ended in a 0-1 loss to Atletico Madrid’s neighbour, Rayo Vallecano. Las Palmas won just two of its last 13 Spanish Segunda Division away matches so it will need to up its game considerably to get anything from its top-flight trips.

Finally, Sevilla drops several grades from its couple of games to tackle Malaga in a Spanish Primera Division derby on Friday that will kick off the 38-round tournament.

Sevilla has scored four goals in losing 4-5 to Barcelona in extra time and 4-6 to Roma in normal time. Yes, one thinks that Sevilla has to do something about its defence but it beat Malaga home and away in last term’s Spanish Primera Division and it is odds against to defeat its local rival again – Coral is quoting the favourite at odds of +135 .

Tips Summary

Athletic -2 to beat Barcelona
23th August 17:30 GMT
Odds:  -161

Atletico to beat Las Palmas
22th August 19:30 GMT
Odds:  -400

Sevilla to beat Malaga
21st August 19:30 GMT
Odds:  +135

Las Palmas
Spanish Primera Division
Spanish Supercopa de Espana
Vicente Calderon

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