On Monday 29th November the two biggest sides in Spain go head-to-head in a match up lovingly called ‘El Clasico’. Barcelona and Real Madrid are fierce rivals but the bookies have made the home team favourites. SBR brings you the betting picks, predictions and live in article odds. Buena Suerte!

The amount of hyperbole that surrounds some football matches often borders on the ludicrous but every now and again along comes a game that lives up to its billing. ‘El Clasico’, the match played out between Spanish rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid is one of those games where a global football audience will clamour for a position in front of the television.

The hype is for good reason too; so much history, both politically and football wise, is involved when these teams meet with Barcelona representing the Catalonia region of Spain and Real the Castile region, with Barcelona representing ‘mes que un club’ and the freedom of the region and Real Madrid representing, at least in the eyes of Catalans everywhere, the oppressive centralism of Franco’s regime.

This soccer betting season, the fixture means more than ever with both teams separated by just one single point in La Liga with Madrid sitting on top with 32 points. Real Madrid have been revitalised under the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’, Jose Mourinho, and are finally looking like the real deal. Barcelona, under the guidance of Pep Guardiola still look a real force too and have the team to build on last year’s victory in the league.

Madrid have not lost a game so far which is mightily impressive while Barcelona have only lost once; a shock 0-2 defeat at home to newly-promoted Hercules. That wobble apart though, Barcelona have easily looked the match of Madrid and on Monday we will hopefully be able to witness something special as the unstoppable force comes up against the unmovable power.

The two obvious key match-ups to look out for are Pep Guardiola going up against the ego of Mourinho in a battle of two tactically astute minds and, of course, the battle of the world’s two best players – Lionel Messi and  Cristiano Ronaldo.

While the first battle will be fascinating to keep an eye on, the battle to focus on will be the two players as they showcase their skills to the world. Ronaldo has 14 goals to date, with 4 of those being from the penalty spot and leads the league scoring charts, while Messi has 13, although with no penalties to aid him, and sits in 2nd place. Both these players also top the table of assists with 5 a piece.

To suggest that the game revolves around these two is a little unfair though as there is a wealth of world-class players on show; Iniesta, Xavi, Ozil, Alonso, Higuain and Villa to name but a few.

The stakes are massive. A Barcelona win puts them back on top of the league and will give them the bragging rights until the reverse fixture next year, while a Madrid win would see them go 4 points clear and massive confidence for the rest of the season.

The sportsbooks are cautious too. They make Barcelona favourites, most likely due to the home advantage but they are nowhere near as short a price as they usually would be at home with the 11/10 offered at William Hill the best price.

Lionel MessiReal Madrid are priced up well and there is a little value around the 13/5 at Victor Chandler. The draw, however, seems to be the result the bookies fear as the odds are only at 12/5 with Bodog where a draw in any other game would be a much higher price.

Mourinho has been known to run a well-drilled unit and keep things tight and with the stakes so high, you can expect a cagey opening encounter so the draw at half time and Barcelona win at full time appeals greatly. This is priced up at 5/1 with William Hill.

Although a short price at 8/15 with Paddy Power, the ‘both teams to score’ bet could be just like buying money considering the attacking players on show and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a lot of goals over the course of 90 minutes, despite a potential cagey start so the 13/8 at Ladbrokes for there to be over 3.5 goals could be a great bet too.

Messi will be keen to get back on top of the scoring charts and what better stage is there to do it on than against the guy you are trying to beat. At Evens to score at anytime with Victor Chandler, I think this is a great bet.

All I know is that I am so excited to see this game and hopefully it lives up to its El Clasico billing.

Predictions:

Barcelona win at 11/10 with William Hill

Both teams to score at 8/15 with Paddy Power 

Messi to score at anytime at Evens with Victor Chandler