It may seem like stating the obvious but when Barcelona entertain Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou this Tuesday, all eyes will be on soccer superstar Lionel Messi and sensible punters would be wise to follow suit.
Like a prize horse with one too many wins under his belt, the diminutive forward is an odds on chance to find the net at anytime, with Ladbrokes pricing the South American at 4/11 to find the net at anytime.
The Catalans are 8/15 to win in the Camp Nou, despite being held in each of their previous three encounters with Diego Simeone’s side – a goalless stalemate in Madrid in the league earlier this term and two further draws in the Spanish Supercup.
However it’s Messi’s recent upturn in form that suggests Barca are the ones to back, with the 26-year-old scoring in each of the Catalans last five, amassing nine goals over the course of those fixtures.
The Argentinean forward notched up two hat-tricks in La Liga against Osasuna and Real Madrid during this run and the 6/1 on another treble here looks enticing given his previous record against Atleti at the Nou Camp.
Messi has scored in each of Barcelona’s last six home victories over the Rojiblancos – including a hat-trick in a 2011 league win – and provided he is in the mood, the 8/13 on him scoring and the Catalans claiming the win looks a banker.
And having opened the scoring in four of Barca’s six wins in the Champions League this term, including victories home and away against Manchester City in the last-16, the 9/4 on the former World Player of the Year scoring the opener is also too good to ignore.
Those looking for a good outside bet for a goal, meanwhile, should look to Dani Alves. The Brazilian is 18/1 to score the last goal of the game – something he managed in both legs of the last round against the Sky Blues – and is 6/1 to score at anytime.
Atleti are 5/1 to win at the Nou Camp – something they haven’t managed since in nine years – but if they are to pull off a shock result it could come down to Diego Costa.
The naturalised Spaniard is 7/1 to open the scoring and 9/4 to find the net at anytime, having scored six in Rojiblancos’s last five competitive games and, if Messi is kept quiet, it could be a slightly more controversial South America that takes centre stage.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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