European Banker of The Week: Barcelona vs. Espanyol

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Barcelona's Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong #21. Josep Lago/ AFP

The Derbi Barcelona where we are heading to our Banker of the Weekend this week. Barcelona club legend, Xavi is the newly appointed manager following the departure of Ronald Koeman, and what better way for him to get things off to a good start than beating Barcelona’s biggest local rival Espanyol.

The Catalan giants are as low as -278 at the top-rated sportsbooks to win the game, the draw can be bet at +425, and Espanyol to claim all three points is as high as +650. Which team is the right soccer pick against La Liga odds? Keep reading.

RCD Espanyol Barcelona vs. FC Barcelona

Saturday, November 20, 2021 – 03:00 PM EST at Camp Nou

Can Xavi Turn Things Around

It’s a long way to the top for this Barcelona team, they look a shell of their former selves, without Messi and most of the core team from days gone by them find themselves lingering eleven points behind the league leaders and they are currently in 9th position in the league, not even in a European qualification place right now.

Koeman has been sacked and club legend Xavi has taken over, although he has not had much time to work with the team as they were on international duty. Barcelona is currently on their second-lowest 12 game points tally since the year 2000 and heading into this game they have no less than six players out injured.

Teams used to be scared of Barcelona, now they are there for the taking, prior to the international break Barcelona scuttled a 3-0 lead to Celta Vigo and ended up drawing the game 3-3. It seems that Barcelona is trying to bring back the old style of play that Pep Guardiola implemented with the likes of Xavi and a handful of current team players, although most of them are into their 30s.

Can Xavi turn it around? Possibly, but he will need time and a much better squad of players, his current team is not built for tika taka football. Barcelona have currently gone 22 games undefeated to Espanyol, the longest in the club’s history.

Espanyol Have Been Impressive

When this team were relegated in 2019/20, we didn’t think we would see them straight back up and playing some strong football, the year they went down to the second division they were very poor.

This season thus far Espanyol have picked up 17 points (the same as Barcelona) and have been a joy to watch, they always seem to know when to go for it and when to sit back.

Although Espanyol have only won four league games this season, they did manage to pick up one of those wins against Real Madrid, other than that they have drawn five games and lost four. Barcelona have the exact same win, draw, lost record as their Catalan rivals.

Espanyol players know this is probably their best chance to end that 22 game undefeated streak as Barcelona are about as weak as they possibly can be and talking in midweek the Espanyol players are up for this game.

A win for them would see them go ahead of Barcelona in the league table, which wouldn’t go down well with any Barcelona connections. Maybe it’s a stretch too far to think they can win at the Nou Camp in these circumstances, none the less we think this will be an exciting game.

The Pick

Derby games usually mean cards, of course, they do. This isn’t just a regular game against any old team, it’s the team you most want to beat and for both teams to see over 1.5 cards here we are loving the value at -130, get on this number as soon as possible as this could go off as low as -150. What makes us love this play, even more, is the fact that these teams are level on points.

If Barcelona were 5+ points ahead of Espanyol then maybe we wouldn’t be so confident but given the fact Espanyol know a win here sees them go ahead of their rivals or even a draw being a great result we believe we will see cards.

This bet has not cashed in the last three league meetings but that Barcelona team back then rarely, if ever picked up yellow cards, these days they are much more prone to see cards. The referee is favorable in Carlos Del Cerro, who averages 6 cards per game.

Soccer Pick: Both Teams Over 1.5 Cards (-130) with The Best Online Sportsbooks

Both Teams Over 1.5 Cards (-130)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.