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Athletic Bilbao vs. FC Barcelona - 8/16/19 LaLiga Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
FC Barcelona at Athletic Bilbao
Date & Time Friday August 16, 2019, 3:00 PM (EDT)
Location
San Mames
Bilbao, Spain
The Line
1 And Over: 2.5 (+750) / 1 And Under: 2.5 (+1100) / 2 And Over: 2.5 (+130) / 2 And Under: 2.5 (+333) / X And Over: 2.5 (+1200) / X And Under: 2.5 (+400)
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Athletic Bilbao is welcoming Barcelona in the opening match of Spanish LaLiga 2019/20. season.

Athletic Bilbao is a solid team who ended up on 7th place last season, one spot under Europa League spot. In this preseason, Bilbao has done great and has lost only 1 match out of 8 matches they played. In their last game against Mirandes, Bilbao has won 2-1 with goals from Lopez and Bilbao legend, Aduriz. The most important thing that happened to Athletic Bilbao is this offseason was resigning their superstar and best player Inaki Williams who was wanted by some of the best clubs in the world. Athletic Bilbao didn’t have any notable departures or arrivals so their squad is the same as last season which is a huge plus for coach Garitano because players know each other and chemistry in the team great. There are no injuries or suspensions in Athletic's team and they will be coming into this match at full strength. Even though Bilbao has a solid team I don't expect them to be higher than 6th place mostly because of their policy not to bring players outside of their home region of Spain, Basque Country.  

Barcelona is entering this season as the main favorite to win LaLiga once again. In the preseason, Barcelona has played 5 matches and has lost only one game against Chelsea 1-2. In their last match against Napoli, Barcelona was a much better team with 60% ball possession, 9 shots on goal and 4 scored goals and have won this game 4-0. Barcelona was pretty active on the market this summer with 15 departures from which the most notables are Malcom, Cillessen, Denis Suarez and Vermaelen. So far, Barcelona has bought one of the best strikers in the world in Antoine Griezman and one of the best young players in the world in Frenkie de Jong for the combines sum of 195 million euros. Barcelona does not plan on stopping there and their ultimate goal is bringing back Neymar from PSG. Barcelona is now filled with some amazing offensive players like Messi, Suarez, Griezman, Dembele, and Coutinho but if Barcelona wants to be competitive in Champions League, they will need to bring one or two more defenders. Barcelona's squad has remained almost same as last season with the additions of Griezman and de Jong so coach Valverde has at his disposal players that know each other and know what type of game style Barcelona wants to play. There are some reports that Messi is injured so it's still unknown if he will be in the lineup. Barcelona has enough firepower to beat anyone even without Messi and for that reason, I expect a game with lots of possession and goal opportunities.

Matches between Bilbao and Barcelona are always tough and exciting. Last two matches between these two teams ended in a draw but because this is an opening match of the new season, I expect both teams to play more open and for that reason I expect goals.

Pick:
2 And Over: 2.5 (+130)

Being from Croatia I was raised with soccer all around me and I loved to watch and play soccer ever since i was little kid, especially after Croatia won third place in 1998 World Cup in France. I watch and follow soccer on a daily basis and to get the oppurtunity to write about it is amazing. 

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