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Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao – Spain Super Cup Final

Josh Ricker

by Josh Ricker in Soccer

Jan 15, 2022 · 5:20 PM PST

Federico Valverde celebrates after a goal
Real Madrid's Federico Valverde celebrates after a goal during the Spanish Super Cup semi final soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at King Fahd stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
  •  Real Madrid takes on Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup Final on Sunday, January 16th at 1:30pm ET
  • The match is being played at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Get the odds, analysis, and betting prediction below

Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup Final between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao is set to be a cracking rematch from one of last year’s semifinals. Of course, thanks to a brace from Raul Garcia, that match ended 2-1 in favor of Los Cachorros.

Athletic Bilbao went on to beat Barcelona in the final after a heroic comeback in the late stages of the match. The victory represented Bilbao’s third Spanish Super Cup victory and their first since 2015.

Coincidentally, Athletic Bilbao’s semifinal this year against Atletico Madrid played out in a similar fashion. A Joao Felix goal in the 62nd minute all but sealed the victory for Atleti, given their frustrating style of play.

However, Athletic Bilbao do not quit that easily. In fact, two goals from Yeray Alavarez and Nico Williams in a span of just four minutes sealed victory for them over Diego Simeone’s men.

Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao Odds

Matchup Spread Moneyline Total
Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao RMA -1 (+125) | BIL +1 (-150) RMA -143 | BIL +370 | DRAW +295 Ov 2.5 (-137) | Un 2.5 (+112)

Odds as of Jan 14th at Barstool Sportsbook

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Now, Athletic Bilbao face the gargantuan task of beating Real Madrid in the final. Last year, that task seemed doable given Real’s stumbling form. However, they are back at their best this year under Carlo Ancelloti, which makes them hard to not favor.

Furthermore, in Real Madrid’s semifinal they played Barcelona in a distant version of El Clasico. Real Madrid captured the lead on three different occasions throughout the night, but the Catalonians were able to respond twice.

Nonetheless, Federico Valverde’s goal in extra time for Los Blancos was enough to seal their berth in the Spanish Super Cup.

David Alaba’s Absence Could Prove to be Damaging

Next, we cannot discuss this epic final without first going touching on Real Madrid’s defense. This season, they have been an absolute fortress at the back.

Despite being expected to concede 1.11 times per game, they have managed to limit that mark to 0.86 goals per game. In reality, nobody thought this would be the case after losing both Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos in the summer.

Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao La Liga Statistics

Real Madrid
VS
Athletic Bilbao
2.14 Goals per game 0.95
1.74 Expected goals per game 1.34
0.86 Goals allowed per game 0.81
1.11 Expected goals allowed per game 0.94
60.6% Possession % 48.9%
89.1% Passing Accuracy % 77.8%
16.8 Shots per game 12.9

A major credit in this goes to David Alaba and his work at center-back. He has paired magnificently with Eder Militao in the middle, in what has come one of Europe’s best partnerships. His defensive work is pristine, but his offensive ability adds another level of depth into an already dazzling Real Madrid side.

But, Alaba missed the Barcelona game with a knock and looks unlikely to return for Sunday’s final. Against Barcelona, Nacho started as the second center back. While serviceable, he is nowhere near the levels of the Austrian defender. Additionally, Dani Carvahal will also miss the match as he tested positive for COVID-19.

Can Athletic Bilbao Do The Impossible?

Undoubtedly, Real Madrid is being heavily favored in this match. But, Athletic Bilbao have been the underdogs in the past three Spanish Super Cup matches they have been a part of. This is a competition they are very familiar with, so you just cannot count them out.

Again, the grittiness they displayed against Atleti was exemplary. Bilbao are just a tough side to play against, and their defense is one of the more consistent in all of Spain. They will frustrate Real Madrid and this will be the furthest thing possible away from a blowout.

Still, since that defeat last year, Real Madrid have beaten Athletic Bilbao three times in a row; each victory was by a margin of just one goal. In their last ten across all competitions, Real Madrid are 6-3-1 against their Sunday opposition.

Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao Best Bet

Overall, the best bet in this match is Real Madrid to win by one with odds of +270. This bet has great value and has hit in their last four H2H outings.

Pick: Real Madrid to win by one (+270)

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