To say that the card for UFC 245 is loaded would be an understatement. A trio of world title belts will be on the line on Dec. 14 at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. Kamaru Usman will defend his welterweight title, in the headliner bout while Max Holloway puts his featherweight belt on the line in the co-main event. Women's bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes also is defending her world title.
Soccer Odds: Real Madrid vs Barcelona Expert Picks
The 13 Previous Encounters Ended All-Square
Real Madrid were the favorites to win the La Liga title before the start of the season, at least with several bookmakers, yet now they find themselves 11 points behind leaders Barcelona. If reports in the Spanish press are accurate, Zinedine Zidane could be out of a job if his Madrid team do not take all three points when they host Barcelona on December 23.
Madrid are languishing in fourth place going into the match against the league leaders and could drop to fifth if they lose to Barcelona and Sevilla beat Real Betis. Zidane would almost certainly be sacked if this happened. The reigning Champions League champions have won nine, drawn four and lost two of their 15 games in La Liga, scoring 30 goals and conceding 11.
One of the main issues with Madrid is their strike force has been misfiring. Karim Benzema only has two goals in 11 appearances while Cristiano Ronaldo has four goals in 11 games. Marco Asensio and Isco have four goals each, a world away from Lionel Messi who already has 14 league goals.
Bovada price Madrid as narrow +115 favorites to win this game, with Barcelona +210 and the draw at +285. If you are thinking of backing the draw, be aware only one of the previous 13 encounters between these Goliaths has ended all-square. Barcelona are unbeaten in the league this season and have not lost a La Liga game for 23 games in total. Thirteen wins and three draws from their 16 fixtures have given Barcelona a six point cushion over Atletico Madrid in second place and an 11 point barrier between themselves and this weekend’s opponents.
3 Goals per Game in the Last 8 Meetings
As you would expect, both Ronaldo and Messi are the favorites to open the scoring; Ronaldo is available at +300 and Messi at +350. A sweet looking bet on Bovada is Ronaldo or Messi to score first at +110 and also both Ronaldo and Messi to score at any time at +185.
It is worth keeping an eye on betting odds regarding Gareth Bale. The Spanish press has been reporting that Bale could be on his way out of Madrid, claiming he cares more about playing for Wales than he does Madrid. Bale has only played five league games this season due to injury and has scored two goals. Expect a big performance from him if he features against Barcelona.
I would avoid the +550 on Bale scoring first because he may not be in the starting 11, but the +130 on his scoring a goal before the game ends looks good value, especially if he comes on a late substitute against a tiring Barcelona defense.
3.3 Goals per Game in the Last 8 Meetings
Another bet, although a slight long shot, is the +1200 on Madrid’s Sergio Ramos to score and receive a card of any color. Ramos only has one goals this season, compared to 11 last season, so is due scoring. Ramos already has five yellow cards and two reds from 24 games; last season he was booked 15 times and sent off once in 50 games.
I don’t see there being much between the two sides when they step into the pitch of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, although there is the potential for a lot of goals. The previous eight meetings in La Liga have produced 27 goals for an average of 3.375 goals per game and six of those games have triggered the over 2.5 goals market. This market is priced around -240 if you are interested.
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