Barcelona v Real Madrid: Draw provides value in El Clasico
Only goal difference separates Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga and Dan Fitch thinks that the draw is a big price for these well matched sides.
Barcelona 1.77 v Real Madrid 4.70; The Draw 4.40 Wednesday December 18, 19:00 Live on Premier Sports 1
Barca slip up, yet remain unpunished
Barcelona stayed top of La Liga over the weekend, despite dropping points away at Real Sociedad.
Their run of seven straight victories came to an end on Saturday. Falling behind to an early penalty, Barcelona fought back and went 2-1 ahead through goals by Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez, before Sociedad's Alexander Isak made it 2-2.
It was a game that Barca will be disappointed to have failed to win, with Sociedad's penalty proving controversial and Ernesto Valverde's side having an appeal for a spot kick turned down themselves. Lionel Messi has an unusually quiet game and he will hope to have a much greater impact against Madrid.
Valverde has an almost fully fit squad to choose from. Only Arthur and Ousmane Dembele are out.
Madrid miss chance to make Barcelona pay
With Barcelona dropping points on Saturday, Real Madrid went into their game at Valencia on Sunday knowing that a victory would see them move two points clear at the top of La Liga.
It will have been frustrating that they could only manage to draw, even though Valencia are a team in good form. A Carlos Soler goal for the hosts with just 12 minutes to go, left Real Madrid scrambling for an equaliser. An injury time corner saw the Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois come up and have a header saved by Jaume Domenech, before Karim Benzema scored from the rebound.
Benzema is emerging as the central figure in Real Madrid's title challenge. It was easy to see the French striker as a declining force during the final couple of seasons of Cristiano Ronaldo's time at the club, but since the Portuguese has left, Benzema has stepped up and taken responsibility, scoring 12 goals in 15 games this season.
One potential match winner who won't be playing is Eden Hazard, who is out with an injury. He will join Marcelo, Lucas Vasquez and James Rodriguez on the sidelines.
Draw stands out as value bet
Barcelona are the 1.77favourites, with the draw at 4.40 and Real Madrid at 4.70.
The price reflects Barcelona's dominance in the fixture over the past three seasons in La Liga. Since losing 2-1 at home to Real Madrid in the 2015-16 season, Barcelona are unbeaten in six league games (W4 D2).
Yet Barcelona have only won one of the last three matches at the Camp Nou, drawing the other two. The price of 4.40 for the draw makes it the most attractive option, in what promises to be a tight game between the two rivals.
Benzema the pick of the goalscorers
Both teams to score is priced at 1.50, as is over 2.5 goals. It seems likely that they'll land, but there's not much value in those prices. Over 3.5 goals is 2.26 and has been a winning bet in three out of the last five league games.
Better value can by found by picking a goalscorer. Messi is 1.70 and after a poor game by his own standards against Real Sociedad, will surely put in an improved performance.
Luis Suarez is the second favourite to score at 2.40, with Antoine Griezmann is 3.20. For Real Madrid, Benzema is 3.10, having found the net in each of his team's last two league games.