Barcelona vs Athletic Club La Liga: Away Team Undervalued

Will Chace
By , Updated on: Dec 19, 2023 07:00 PM
Barcelona vs Athletic Club La Liga: Away Team Undervalued
  • FC Barcelona vs Athletic Club, La Liga
  • October 22, 2023
  • 3 PM EST
  • Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
  • ESPN+

In one-third of La Liga’s common clasicos, Barcelona takes on Athletic in their home city this Sunday. The match pits two of the top-5 forces in La Liga against each other, as Barca and Athletic are 3rd and 5th in the table, respectively. FC Barcelona will have their unbeaten domestic record on the line against an inconsistent, but dangerous, Basque squad.

Who will prevail in this highly-anticipated matchup? Continue reading to access betting odds, latest news, injury updates, and more on this Athletic Club La Liga match.

Barcelona vs Athletic Club La Liga Betting Odds 

FC Barcelona is a major favorite, as the better team playing on their home turf. The Catalonians are priced to win this match at (-149), for an implied probability to win the match at 59.8%. Conversely, Athletic Club currently holds a line of (+430) at highly-rated online sportsbook BetOnline. A draw, which was the outcome of Barca’s last match, is currently paying out a market-best price of (+320).

La LigaBetOnlineBetUSBovadaXbetBetNow
FC Barcelona-155-149-155-154-149
Athletic Club+430+375+400+410+375

To better understand the 3-way moneyline (1X2) market, see our soccer online betting tips.

Why FC Barcelona is “More Than a Club”

FC Barcelona’s popular slogan “More Than a Club” is centered around its cultural representation of the Catalonia region in Spain. The phrase is etched into seats at Camp Nou and was first attributed to former club president Narcis de Carreras in his 1968 nomination speech. Many citizens of Barcelona hold strong sentiments regarding a desire for independence of Catalonia from the rest of Spain. 

FC Barcelona has become a sort of proxy for these political feelings, and recent demonstrations by former managers like Pep Guardiola have only fueled the semi-revolution. While the owner of the club has spoken out against using FC Barcelona as a “political instrument,” it may be out of his hands to prevent supporters from doing so.

Currently, FC Barcelona is playing its matches at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys as Camp Nou is undergoing renovations for the next two seasons. Its capacity is much smaller than Camp Nou’s, and smaller attendances may have the potential to influence Barcelona’s motivation and confidence.

FC Barcelona To Defeat Athletic Club

The Cultural Impact of Athletic Bilbao

Similar to FC Barcelona, Bilbao’s Athletic Club is similarly synonymous with the culture of the region. Bilbao is a city in Spain and considered the de facto capital of Basque Country. The club is mainly known for its cantera policy, which focuses on nurturing young Basque talents and recruiting players from other Basque clubs. 

Athletic's official stance is to sign players who are native to or have been trained in football within the greater Basque Country, encompassing Biscay, Gipuzkoa, Álava, and Navarre in Spain, as well as Labourd, Soule, and Lower Navarre in France. Since 1912, Athletic has exclusively fielded players meeting these Basque criteria, making it a distinctive case in European football. Its promotion of homegrown players and club loyalty is widely admired, but lack of opportunities for foreign players is often criticized.

FC Barcelona and Athletic Club La Liga Recent News

FC Barcelona’s current president John Laporta has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons recently. Laporta has been personally charged with suspected bribery. Over $7 million of payments made to companies connected to the former vice president of the refereeing committee, José María Enríquez Negreira, have been identified.

In other financially-related FC Barcelona news, it appears gaining new transfers will be difficult for the club this winter season. The club is in a sticky spot after going in excess of their LaLiga-imposed spending limit for the 2023-24 campaign. This will make it especially difficult for a team in dire need of fresh legs.

Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Jules Koundé and Lamine Yamal are all currently unfit. It appears the well-timed international break still will not be enough to free these players from the infirmary. 

Athletic Club are much more healthy, but consistency has been a major concern. The Basques are coming off a 3-0 win over Almeria. However, that victory is right off the heels of a 3-0 loss to Real Sociedad. Athletic will need to be on top of their game to get any points from Barcelona on the road, a team they should compete with on paper.

Barcelona vs Athletic Club Prediction and Free Betting Pick

FC Barcelona has been playing well recently, but after all the bribery allegations and injury concerns over the international break, there is no telling where this team’s confidence lies. Athletic have been difficult to pinpoint exactly how talented they are, so this will be a good measuring stick for them forward.

Lines have moved considerably in Athletic Club’s direction, indicating sharp money is on them. I think professional sports bettors see the value in this clasico being on the side of the Basques, who have less question marks hanging over them. I would lean towards a moneyline play on Athletic, but would keep the wager small.

Check out more of our La Liga betting predictions here.

Athletic Bilbao To Defeat FC Barcelona

Odds are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.

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Meet the author

Will Chace

From Boston, Will's passion for sports is more of a hereditary characteristic than a learned hobby. Besides rooting for his hometown teams, he follows MMA heavily and will consume just about any sports-related content. In college, Will combined his passion for sports an...

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