Barcelona vs Real Madrid Picks and Predictions: Fear and Loathing in La Liga

A second leg of their Copa del Rey semi looms but first, Spanish titans Barcelona and Real Madrid meet for the latest El Clasico in La Liga play. The country's defining fixture rarely disappoints, get set for kickoff with our betting picks.

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2023 11:04 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Gavi FC Barcelona La Liga
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

It feels like now or never for Real Madrid in the La Liga title race, as they try to close the gap on leaders Barcelona in Sunday’s Clasico.

Los Blancos, who booked their place in the Champions League quarterfinals midweek, trail Barcelona by nine points but kept the pressure on with an impressive 3-1 victory over Espanyol last weekend.

It hasn’t been pretty lately for Barcelona, but Xavi’s men have done just enough to string together three straight 1-0 wins, including a smash-and-grab at the Bernabeu earlier this month in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.

Our free betting picks for Barcelona vs. Real Madrid break down everything you need to know ahead of El Clasico on Sunday, March 19.

Barcelona vs Real Madrid best odds

Barcelona vs Real Madrid picks and predictions

Few matchups can compete with El Clasico for its ability to pull in a global soccer audience, and the pressure is all on Real Madrid in this latest installment. With 13 games to go in La Liga, it’s hard to see Los Blancos reeling in Barcelona if the visitors don’t walk away with the three points on Sunday. 

But there’s little evidence to suggest that the hosts are going to falter. Barcelona have become very adept at grinding out results without playing their best soccer, and I like the value in the draw here — a result that would surely suit Barca just fine.

These two teams know each other so well at this point, so I don’t see any big surprises with team selection or tactics. Xavi’s game plan did the job at the Bernabeu in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg, with Barcelona managing to stifle Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. while denying Real Madrid a single shot on target.

The other big question is whether Los Blancos are going to be fresh enough to find top gear. Even with the Champions League tie against Liverpool on solid ground after a 5-2 first-leg win, Carlo Ancelotti opted to play a full-strength team in Wednesday’s second leg. It’s reasonable to question how much they’ll have left in the tank against a fresher Barcelona side — and Benzema may be less than 100% after limping off in midweek.

While I expect the visitors to view this as a must-win game, Barca will equally understand that avoiding defeat here represents a huge step towards a first La Liga title since 2019. That feels like a path to the teams sharing the points on Sunday.

My best bet: Draw (+250 at bet365)

Best La Liga bonuses

Looking to do some La Liga betting? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:

A) Raphina and Vinicius Junior each to get a shot on target BOOSTED to +275 (was +240) at Betway! Bet Now

B) New users at DraftKings can bet $5 and get $200 in bonus bets! Sign Up Now

*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of best soccer betting sites for 2023.
21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Barcelona vs Real Madrid side analysis

Barcelona have won four of the last five meetings, and they’re narrow favorites this weekend too. But I don’t see the hosts taking unnecessary chances here given the La Liga table, with the onus on Real Madrid to force the issue. 

While Los Blancos are capable of doing just that, I’m leaning towards a draw, as I’ve outlined above.

This Clasico comes with even more tension than normal, stemming from the off-field scrutiny and allegations swirling around Barca. Remarkably, it doesn’t seem to have taken a toll on the hosts’ on-field efforts. Sure, they’re not in free-scoring form, but Xavi’s men are showing plenty of fight and togetherness.

So often, Real Madrid have turned to Benzema and Vinicius Jr. to make the decisive breakthrough, yet Barcelona have had their number lately. Ronald Araujo has had success in subduing Vinicius Jr. on the left of the visitors’ attack while Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde are a strong tag team against Benzema.

Barcelona vs Real Madrid Over/Under analysis

With all the attacking talent on show when these two rivals square off, El Clasico has trended toward high-scoring contests in recent years. Though their Copa del Rey showdown ended 1-0 in early March, their last two league meetings served up four goals, as did their Supercopa matchup in January.

That said, considering what we’ve seen from these teams over the past month, I’m leaning more towards the Under on 2.5 total goals. Barcelona have only conceded eight goals this season in La Liga, and they haven’t scored more than once at the other end in any of their last five games in all competitions.

Robert Lewandowski, who missed the Copa del Rey first leg in Madrid, is back, though the hosts are expected to again be without Pedri’s midfield spark as the 20-year-old deals with a hamstring injury. 

As for Los Blancos, they looked sharper in the final third against Espanyol but were shut out in back-to-back outings to begin March. The question remains: if Benzema and Vinicius Jr. don’t provide the moments of magic, who else in a white shirt will?

Barcelona vs Real Madrid game info

Location: Spotify Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Date: Sunday, March 19, 2023
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET

Barcelona vs Real Madrid key injuries

Barcelona: Pedri CM (Out), Ousmane Dembele FWL (Out).
Real Madrid: Karim Benzema ST (Probable), David Alaba CB (Out).

Barcelona vs Real Madrid weather

The Sunday forecast calls for clear, dry conditions in Barcelona, with temperatures in the mid-50s and no wind for the players to navigate.

Pages related to this topic

Popular Content

Legal Canadian sports betting

Best Canadian betting sites Ontario sports betting
Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo