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Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona 8/21/21 LaLiga Soccer Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona
August 21, 2021 4:00 pm EDT
The Line: Over 2.5 -125, Under 2.5 +100
(Get latest betting odds)

Athletic Bilbao is welcoming Barcelona to San Mames in round 2 of the Spanish LaLiga. Bilbao is a solid defensive team, but they are struggling in the attacking end, and that is their biggest weakness. Barcelona has started their post-Messi era, and they have won 6 of their last 7 games, including their season opener against Sociedad.

We know everything there is to know about Bilbao, and they have been decent in the preseason with only 2 losses in their 6 games, but they are now on a 2-game draw streak during which they scored only 1 goal. In their game against Elche on the road last week, Bilbao was solid with 50% of ball possession, 3 shots on goal, 8 corner kicks, 1 big chance created, and 79% of the correct passes. There was barely any offense in this game, on either side, and this game has ended in a 0-0 draw. Now, Bilbao has some fantastic players, they can be dangerous, but they will need to be more effective when it comes to scoring goals if they want to have a shot at getting to the Europa League. Berchiche, Noloskoain, and Kodro are all injured, while Capa and Cordoba are still questionable.

I have gotta say, I was impressed by Barcelona in their season opener against Sociedad, and I think they looked really well on both ends. Barcelona was dominant with 62% of ball possession, 8 shots on goal, 5 corner kicks, 6 big chances created, and 88% of the correct passes. With 2 scored goals in the first half, and 2 more scored goals in the second half, Barcelona has won this game 4-2, but they did lose focus on the defensive end which resulted in conceding those 2 goals. Braithwaite has scored 2 goals and added 1 assist in this game, while Roberto and Pique added 1 goal each. De Jong and Depay each also added an assist. The injury list is still quite long for Barcelona, and Wague, Aguero, Ter Stegen, Dembele, Fati, and Mingueza are all on the list. Despite playing without Messi, I think Barcelona is a great team, I think some players will have more freedom now, and I think they will perform well because of it. I believe Barcelona is the biggest favorite to win the title in LaLiga, but they will need to reduce their defensive woes to a minimum.

Barcelona is in better form, and Bilbao hasn’t had much success in this matchup, but they are playing at home, and anything is possible. We are getting Barcelona at a great price, and I will take it because they look great on both ends.

Goran Kucar's Free Pick: Barcelona -118

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Goran Kucar

I was born and raised in Croatia, and with that, I was raised with soccer all around me. I love playing soccer, watching soccer, and now I love writing and handicapping soccer at PickDawgz and SportsChatPlace.

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