El Clasico, the Spanish name given to any football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, is the beautiful game’s biggest game bar none. There is Boca Juniors against River Plate in Argentina and Celtic against Rangers in Scotland but nothing comes close to matching Barca versus Real.
Barcelona’s motto is more than a club. El Clasico is more than a game. Like the Superclasico in Buenos Aires and the Old Firm in Glasgow, the rivalry between Barca and Real Madrid is about more than just football. They represent Catalonia and Castile. They are the pride of two proud cities. And they are tied in directly with the historical, cultural and political differences that are the underlying fabric of Spanish society. El Clasicos are major events.
Barcelona and Real clashed for the first time on 13 May 1902 in Madrid. Barca triumphed 3-1 but, in the opinion of many football historians, it was a friendly match. Debates rages about the El Clasico scoreboard. What is not in dispute is that Barcelona and Real Madrid have met 164 times in the Spanish La Liga, with Barca on 65 victories, Real on 69 victories and the spoils having been shared in 30 draws.
On the night of Sunday 7 October 2012, Barcelona and Real Madrid will play the 165th El Clasico in the Spanish La Liga. Barca will enjoy home advantage for the 83rd time, with its Camp Nou record standing at 48 wins, 15 draws and 19 losses after Real scored an upset 2-1 victory last term.
Barcelona, though, has dominated El Clasico in recent seasons, winning five Spanish La Liga derbies in a row between December 2008 and November 2010, including a great 5-0 home victory and an incredible 6-2 away success.
This season’s first El Clasico has the potential to be one of the all-time great games because of how the Spanish La Liga ladder looks after six rounds. Barcelona occupies top spot with a perfect six wins, while Real Madrid is down on the sixth rung, eight points behind its fiercest rival.
Real superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has pulled no punches in the lead-up to El Clasico. As far as the former Manchester United man is concerned, Real Madrid cannot afford to drop another Spanish La Liga point if it wants to retain the title that it won with a three-figure haul last term.
There may be a touch of hyperbole in Ronaldo’s comments but surely one can expect Real to attack Barca whenever chances present themselves, which is something that most Camp Nou visiting teams are too frightened to do even though the numbers suggest that Barcelona are not good defensively.
Unfortunately, bookmakers have done their homework on the most popular goals-related betting markets. Each of the last eight El Clasico matches, irrespective of competition, has featured at least three goals but the best price about over 2.5 goals is 4-7. And 4-7 is the best price available about both sides scoring at least one goal, something that has happened in each of the last nine El Clasico games.
Fortunately, there is a value bet in the match market, one that is completely rational based on this season’s results. Incredibly, Barca and Real Madrid have had four identical Spanish La Liga fixtures already this term and the form lines point very strongly towards a Barcelona victory.
At home, Barca has beaten Granada 2-0 and Valencia 1-0, while away from Camp Nou it has defeated Getafe 4-1 and Sevilla 3-2. At home, Real has beaten Granada 3-0 and drawn 1-1 with Valencia, while away from the Santiago Bernabeu it has lost 1-2 to Getafe and 0-1 to Sevilla. If Sunday’s El Clasico was a horse race, one would be backing Barcelona as if anything other than victory was out of the question.
Barca is around 10-11 to beat Real Madrid at Camp Nou and go a very long way to winning this season’s Spanish La Liga title. The home team has the added advantage of having played its midweek UEFA Champions League game not only closer to Spain but also 24 hours earlier than the away side. Everything is very much in favour of Barcelona.
Many bookmakers have football betting offers that apply to any match. For example, Bet365 refunds all losing correct score, half-time/full-time double result and scorecast bets placed before a game kicks off if it ends goalless. A 0-0 draw in a El Clasico match is very unlikely to happen.
The El Clasico betting offers of Betfred and Paddy Power are more interesting. If the player that you back scores the first goal and then goes on to bag a brace, Betfred will double your first goal scorer price. If that player nets a hat-trick, Betfred will treble your first goal scorer price.
Paddy Power has zeroed in on Barca magician Lionel Messi. If he scores the last goal, Paddy Power will refund all losing first goal scorer, last goal scorer, correct score and scorecast singles placed before the kick off, up to a maximum of 100 British pounds or 100 euro per client.
Check out the rankings for the top football betting sites before making a decision on where to bet.
Expect lots of goals
Each of the last eight El Clasico games has gone over the 2.5 goals total. Goalless draws are a rare as hen’s teeth.
Expect lots of cards
One or more players has been sent off in four of the last 10 El Clasico matches so track down markets on red cards and get on if you can find odds longer than 6-4 about one.
Expect lots of Messi
The world’s best footballer has scored for Barcelona in five of his last 10 El Clasico appearances so odds of around 7-2 about him netting the first goal are worth a second look.