EL CLÁSICO

Barcelona are clear favourites in the run up to El Clásico

The bookies will pay out just over 1/2 (1.55) if Barcelona win in the upcoming game. A victory for Real Madrid will see a 17/4 (5.25) return from 888Sport. [Nice video/commentary Spanish]

With the healthiest lead of all of Europe's big league table-toppers, (let's remove PSG from the discussion after they strolled to the title earlier in March) Barcelona's players could be forgiven for taking their foot of the gas somewhat as we head into El Clásico weekend, with a Champions League encounter against Atlético just three days after. But the bookmakers don't see it this way and are not going to be giving you much for your buck if you back the home side to follow up their 0-4 reverse at the Bernabeu with another win.

The odds given by 888Sport for a home win are 1.55 euros for each euro staked and a rather tempting 5.25 euros if you think they've got it wrong and Madrid will take away the three points.

This opinion is shared across most bookies and is quite a change from those being quoted four months ago, prior to that comprehensive victory for the Blaugranas. You'd have seen a 2.50-2.75 euro return per euro bet if you'd gone for Luis Enrique's men to triumph. It was Madrid who were favourites, if only slightly, to take the win.

So, should we be overly surprised by the investment options being offered to us this weekend? Probably yes.

888Sport have Barcelona clear favourites for El Clásico.

We're talking about Real Madrid, a team that has made its own significant investments to be the top team in Spain and Europe. They also have a goalkeeper in very good form as well as their big guns, including the BBC frontline, all fit and raring to go. Add to this the fact that they, on paper at least, were handed a much easier Champions League tie (with all due respect to Wolfsburg, they are not Atlético) and have a day's extra rest before they have to play it. You could even make a strong case to say that the international break could have taken more of a toll on Barça's players than on Madrid's.

Even with all this taken into account, though, those experts that choose the odds have you looking at a return of over five times your stake if you back Los Blancos to return to the capital with three points. That means that it's very likely to happen. It would be like Real Sociedad winning at Sevilla or Depo getting a result at Celta this weekend. Fancy a flutter now?

After his own international break, AS Oracle will be back this week with his usual predictions so let's see what he goes for.