Round 18 of La Liga will be rounded up by the game between second-seed Real Madrid (12-2-2) and eight-seed Athletic Club(7-5-5). Check our analysis on the La Liga odds series, which features our prediction and pick on the Athletic-Real Madrid game.
Athletic Club Bilbao looks to start a series of wins, following a 1-0 victory against Espanyol in the Copa del Rey. The Red and Whites are also eager to maintain a momentum at home, as their last six games played at home saw wins against Real Valladolid, Villareal, and Espanyol, a draw against Osasuna, and two more victories in friendly games versus CD Guadalajara and Real Valladolid.
Real Madrid looks poised to maintain its unstoppable run, though, losing only to Villareal and Rayo Vallecano. Their 38 points across 16 games places them three points behind bitter rivals FC Barcelona.
Here are the Athletic-Real Madrid soccer odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
La Liga Odds: Athletic-Real Madrid Odds
Real Madrid: +150
Over 2.5 Goals: -110
Under 2.5 Goals: -110
How to Watch Athletic vs. Real Madrid
TV: DAZN, ESPN Deportes
Stream: Peacock Premium
Time: 3 PM ET / 12 PM PT
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Why Athletic Can Beat Real Madrid
Ernesto Valverde’s side has been mediocre in its performance in this season of La Liga. Although they enjoy a safe mid-table placement at eighth at the moment, they will need to see more wins if they want to catch up on Spain’s top clubs for a chance at the La Liga trophy and a spot for the Champions League. Revenge is definitely an agenda for the Basques, as Real Madrid secured the league double against them last season. If they want to snatch a victory here, they might employ the tactics they used in their February 2022 matchup in the Copa del Rey, where they won 1-0.
Athletic Club Bilbao’s offense might need some tweaking in this matchup. Although they retain the ball possession in 51.2% of the time, they might need to work on increasing their total shot numbers (14.9) and corners per game (5.8). Gorka Guruzeta and Inaki Williams are expected to spearhead the attack. They are complemented by budding midfielders such as Oihan Sancet, Nico Williams, Alex Berenguer, and Miguel Vesga.
On the defensive scheme, Unai Simon is tasked as the goalkeeper and hopefully his eight clean sheets in the season will see that number added. Their game averages of 14.5 tackles, 8.9 interceptions, 14.1 clearances, and 2.1 saves need serious improvement, especially that they concede one goal per game on average. Daniel Vivian, Oscar de Marcos, Inigo Lekue, and Yuri Berchiche will need to be extra motivated in working Athletic’s back line defense.
Why Real Madrid Can Beat Athletic
Real Madrid currently sits second in the La Liga table, and a win for Carlo Ancelotti’s side might just make their chase for the La Liga title with Barcelona much more exciting. In 2023, the Whites got two losses from Villarreal in the Spanish League and Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup finals. Getting the three points here is super crucial, and if they look to make a series of wins, they better get it going in this game.
Real Madrid might be missing the contributions of David Alaba, Aurelien Tchouameni, Lucas Vasquez, and Daniel Carvajal. Regardless, Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema, and Marco Asensio are all primed to give some suffering to the Athletic Club’s backline. Add Federico Valverde, Eduardo Camavinga, and Dani Ceballos to the mix as creative midfielders and Real Madrid might be getting their groove on.
On the defensive side of things, Real Madrid has been providing serious headaches to Carlo Ancelotti. The Meringues managed to only keep three clean sheets this season and conceded 16 goals. They also lose 104.5 possessions per game and commit 9.6 fouls. For a top club, these numbers are saddening, so better expect that Nacho Fernandez, Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, and Ferland Mendy to make a much better defensive performance.
Final Athletic-Real Madrid Prediction & Pick
Both teams have found improvements in their form and play-styles at the moment. As both teams enter this matchup with much needed wins in their respective quarterfinal matches of the Copa del Rey, they are in the mood to net some goals. However, Real Madrid will navigate their way to win this match, despite Athletic presenting some threats. Back the former champs here in what will likely appear as a 2-1 win for the visitors.
Final Athletic-Real Madrid Prediction & Pick: Real Madrid (+150), Over 2.5 Goals (-110)