Image for Greg Lea Greg Lea - October 21, 2022

Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao: Back a Narrow Home Win at Camp Nou

  • Barcelona lost the Clasico last weekend but got back on track in their last La Liga game
  • Athletic Bilbao are targeting European qualification under a former Barcelona manager
  • Barcelona can register another home win this weekend - but it could be a close match

Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao Odds

The odds for Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao come from the DraftKings sportsbook, where new customers will receive a deposit bonus up to $1000.

Winning MarginOdds
Barcelona +1 goal+225
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Barcelona +2 goals+320
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Athletic Bilbao +1 goal+600
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Athletic Bilbao +2 goals+1700
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Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao Pick

This could be a tight game with Athletic pushing Barcelona all the way, but we fancy the home team to come out on top.

Back Barcelona to beat Athletic Bilbao by a one-goal margin. (+225)

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Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao Prediction

Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao Predictions

Barcelona Return to Winning Ways With Victory Over Villarreal

It is fair to say that Barcelona’s preparation for their game against Villarreal on Thursday was less than ideal. A week earlier, they were in effect knocked out of the Champions League before the end of the group stage by drawing 3-3 with Inter. Xavi Hernandez’s men have not been mathematically eliminated just yet, but they are on the brink and their fate is no longer in their own hands.

A few days after that, Barcelona went down 3-1 to Real Madrid in the first edition of El Clasico of the 2022/23 campaign. Xavi’s side thrashed their arch-rivals 4-0 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in March yet were unable to prevent Madrid from winning the La Liga title, so their defeat last weekend is not fatal.

Nevertheless, it was another blow for a team that took an almighty gamble in the summer by essentially selling off future revenue streams in order to fund a revamp of the squad, an approach that necessitates short-term success. The best online sportsbooks already had Madrid down as favorites to win the title, and that status was only reinforced by the outcome of the Clasico.

It was therefore pivotal that Barcelona bounced back in the midweek round of fixtures in La Liga, and they did so in a convincing fashion. A 3-0 victory over Villarreal was wrapped up before half-time, with a Robert Lewandowski brace and a goal from Ansu Fati giving Xavi’s men an unassailable lead inside the first 38 minutes.

This was a much-improved display from Barcelona, who will now be looking to keep up the momentum by beating Athletic Bilbao. With the 2022 World Cup less than a month away, the Blaugrana should be targeting maximum points from their matches before La Liga breaks off in the middle of next month.

Athletic Bilbao Hard to Beat and Tough to Play Against This Term

Athletic Bilbao head into the weekend on a three-game winless streak, but that does not mean Barcelona will be in store for a straightforward 90 minutes. For starters, the Basques have only lost one of those three matches, a 1-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid from which they were slightly unfortunate to leave empty-handed.

Either side of that narrow reverse, Athletic held Sevilla to a 1-1 draw away from home and took a point off Getafe in a 2-2 tie last time out.

Ernesto Valverde’s side have only lost two matches this term, and they go into the game occupying La Liga’s sole Europa Conference League qualification place (which will become a Europa League spot if one of the division’s highest finishers wins the Copa del Rey).

European soccer is the objective for Athletic this season. Valverde, an icon at the San Mames who is now in his third spell in charge of the club, has made a solid start towards that end following his return to Bilbao in the summer.

A former Barcelona boss who some feel was harshly treated by the Catalan outfit, Valverde will not be short of motivation on his first return to Camp Nou since his dismissal in January 2020. Barcelona must ensure they do not underestimate one of the trickiest teams to play against in the top flight of the Spanish soccer pyramid.

Barcelona Need to Stick as Close to Real Madrid as Possible

The current gap at the top of the La Liga table stands at just three points. At the same stage of last season, Barcelona were a whole nine points adrift of first place. So while the defeat by Real Madrid a week ago was disappointing, Xavi’s side are still very much in the title race.

Indeed, there is an argument that the Blaugrana are likely to only grow stronger as the campaign wears on. Their squad was overhauled in the summer and Xavi, understandably, is still fitting all the pieces together.

The short-term goal for Barcelona should be to stay as close to Madrid as possible before 2023. There are only five games left before the turn of the year, and if the champions slip up unexpectedly against any of Sevilla, Girona, Rayo Vallecano, Cadiz, or Real Valladolid, Barcelona must be ready to pounce.

Conversely, if the gap at the top grows bigger before the new year, Madrid will be in a highly favorable position to win the league.

Athletic will be a tough nut to crack on Sunday, though. Both of their two defeats this season were by a single-goal margin, while only three sides in the division have conceded fewer goals. Barcelona may need to remain patient here, and a win by just one goal is perhaps the likeliest outcome.

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How to Watch Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao

TeamsBarcelona vs Athletic Bilbao
LocationCamp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
TimeSunday, 23 October 2022, 15.00 PM EDT
How to watchESPN+

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AUTHOR

Greg Lea

571 Articles

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]

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