There is no doubting where the biggest game of the weekend is taking place; simply head to the Bernebeu Stadium in Madrid on Saturday evening at 17:00 UK time to witness arguably the biggest game in club football, Real Madrid v Barcelona.
The game is known simply as El Clasico – The Classic – and it has a long and sometimes disturbing history that stretches well beyond the realms of football and into some of Spanish histories most dark and turbulent past.
Such is the divide between the teams and their presence at the head of the table of world football, that the two league games between the sides each season, plus any clashes in the Champions League, are often some of the most watched televised events across the globe every year, with billions tuning in.
Of course, such a huge sporting event means that it is also a massive betting event too and if you are a Bet365 customer then you can have the best of both worlds, with a fantastic array of ante post betting available, as well as a huge number of In Play betting options available once the game starts.
Let’s take a closer look at how each side will likely line up and their form heading into this massive and crucial La Liga fixture.
If you want to skip right ahead to our betting picks for this event, go to to end of the article. Our tips are for Bet365, where new signups are entitled to collect a generous Bet365 Sports welcome bonus.
After a slow start to the season, which saw them lose two of their opening three league games, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid have bounced back to form winning all of their last seven games, scoring 32 goals in the process and conceding just five.
Those results, in both the Champions League and La Liga have meant that Real have moved into third place in La Liga, still four points behind leaders Barcelona. Therefore, a seven-point lead for the Catalans, with the return league match to come in the Nou Camp, is not a position any Real fan or player wants to be in following Saturday’s game.
Real come into the game with injury concerns over the world’s most expensive player. Gareth Bale it seems could be ruled out of the game with a hip injury. The Welshman didn’t even travel for Real Madrid’s midweek Champions League game with Liverpool and he is unlikely to be fit for the game at the weekend.
Key defender Sergio Ramos, also ruled out of the trip in midweek, could make a return at the weekend however.
A 3-2 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League aside, Barcelona have been almost perfect this season. Only a 0-0 draw away at Malaga has blotted their La Liga start and they have won seven and drawn one of their eight league games so far.
The big news for Barcelona however is not their fine start, but the fact for the first time the Catalans could opt to select their big money summer signing Luis Suarez for this crucial trip to their most fierce rivals.
The Uruguayan arrived for £75m in the summer, but has been suspended since then due to biting Italy centre-half Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. However, by the weekend Suarez will have served his suspension and will be available for selection for the first time.
Manager Luis Enrique however may opt to use the Uruguyan ace, who is sure to be well short of match fitness, from the bench. One thing is for certain, Suarez will likely play some part in the game at one point or another.
One final notable fact, in all of their 8 league games this season, Barcelona are yet to concede a single goal. Only Paris Saint-Germain have managed to find the net against them (but did so three times in a 3-2 win in Paris).
Top El Clasico bets for the weekend
Barcelona have scored in the last 16 El Clasico matches, Real Madrid the last 15, so there’s short odds on the Both Teams to Score market. However, if you think Real can snatch the win, you can get 11/4 on Real Madrid to win and both teams to score, which looks a very enticing bet.
Over the years, this game has produced plenty of goals and last season, the corresponding game at the Bernebeu ended in a stunning 3-4 victory for Barcelona. Indeed, Barcelona did the double over Real last season and the last time one or fewer goals were scored in this game was back in November 2009, when Barcelona won 1-0.
The last 0-0 draw in the league came way back in November 2002, so goals do look on the cards.
So my final tip is for a correct score prediction of 3-2 to Real Madrid, which you can get at odds of 20/1 with Bet365 at present. This is a great bet as with so much attacking talent on show, you can guarantee plenty of goalmouth action in a game both sides dare not lose.
Image courtesy of Ver En Vivo Di Directo via Flickr.com