Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao 12/22/19 Spanish LaLiga Soccer Pick, Odds, and Prediction
12/22/19 3 pm
Over 2.5 (-163), Under 2.5 (+130)
Real Madrid is hosting Athletic Bilbao at Santiago Bernabeu in round 18 of Spanish LaLiga.
Real Madrid hasn’t lost any of their last 12 games and is playing in good form on both ends. With 36 points Real Madrid is in second place in LaLiga standings which is the same number of points as Barcelona at the top. Real was playing in El Clasico against Barcelona earlier this week. Real Madrid had 48% of ball possession, 4 shots on goal, 6 corner kicks, and 88% of accurate passes. It was a tough game for both teams, and while Real Madrid had better chances, Barcelona was more dominant in possession. This El Clasico ended in a 0-0 draw, in which I personally was disappointed. Offensively, real Madrid is still finding their way and proper form, but on the defensive end Real is brilliant this season and they conceded only 12 goals in 17 games. Benzema has scored 12 goals for Real Madrid and has been their best player so far this season. Asensio, Vazquez, Hazard, and Marcelo are injured while Casemiro is suspended due to several yellow cards. Rodriquez has been injured for a while since he got back to Real Madrid but now, he is finally ready to play. In the Champions League, Real Madrid is playing against Manchester City in the first round of knockouts which is a guarantee of the very good and fun two games. This is the last game for Real Madrid this year and I’m sure they will want to get back on the winning track after 2 draws in a row.
Athletic Bilbao is doing good this season and they are in 7th place of LaLiga standings with 27 points. Bilbao has lost only 1 of their last 8 games and has scored at least one goal in 6 of those 8 games. In their last match in LaLiga versus Eibar at home, Athletic Bilbao had 55% of ball possession, 3 shots on goal, 6 corner kicks, and 73% of the correct passes. This wasn’t a good game for Athletic Bilbao in the attacking end and they weren’t able to score a goal and the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Athletic has scored only 19 goals this season, but they are not this high in the standings because of their attack. Bilbao’s defense has been outstanding this season and they conceded only 12 goals, the only better defensive team in LaLiga is Atletico Madrid. Raul Garcia, who is the defensive midfielder for Athletic is their top goalscorer with 5 goals, while Muniain and Williams have both added 4 goals. Aduriz, Muniain, Ganea, De Marcos, and Capa are all injured and will not be playing. Some of these injured players are important for this team and coach Garitano will certainly miss them. Athletic Bilbao is not playing in any European competitions which gives them a certain advantage because they can focus only on LaLiga. Athletic Bilbao is a very specific team whose players are from the Spanish Basque Country and they rarely allow or sign players that are not from this part of Spain. This is madone of the main reasons why Athletic Bilbao can’t get closer to the top of LaLiga because there are just not enough high-quality players from there. Don’t get me wrong, Athletic is a good team, but only good enough for 5th or 6th place.
Real Madrid is obviously the better team here, but I think they will be a bit tired after the El Clasico in the midweek. I think that Real Madrid will win this game because Athletic has some important injuries, but I believe that Athletic Bilbao can score at least one goal here.