Las Palmas vs Barcelona Prediction: The draw at 16/5 stands-out

 | January 03 | 

6 mins read

Barcelona make the trip to the Canary Islands on Thursday evening to take on mid-table Las Palmas in La Liga action.

Our Spanish football expert Mark Sochon has cast his eye over the match and check out his preview and his two best betting selections from the match below...

Las Palmas vs Barcelona Betting Tips:

  • Back the Draw @ 16/5
  • Back Under 2.5 Goals @ Evens

Barcelona kick off 2024 with a trip to the Canary Islands to take on Las Palmas. With serious ground to make up at the top of La Liga, there’s little time to enjoy the warm weather in sunny Gran Canaria for Xavi and his team who were far from convincing at the end of last year.

The Catalans laboured to a 3-2 win against rock bottom Almeria last time out. At home against the only winless team in Europe’s big five leagues, they twice allowed their lowly opponents to equalise with only a brace from the unlikely source of Sergi Roberto sealing victory.

It wasn’t exactly the kind of performance to silence the critics who are increasingly starting to question Xavi with Barcelona’s title defence not going to plan.

They’ve already conceded more league goals this season after 18 games than was the case in all of last season. Barcelona are also the lowest scorers in the top four and there’s unlikely to be significant funds available to strengthen in January, although 18-year-old Brazilian forward Vitor Roque has now arrived and will provide competition for an out of sorts Robert Lewandowski.

This will be a different kind of test for Barcelona against a Las Palmas side that is managed by Garcia Pimienta who is very much a product of the Barca system and approach to football. Pimienta spent 15 years at Camp Nou in various coaching roles with the Barca youth and B teams before taking the Las Palmas job in 2022.

His passing style of football has transformed the fortunes of the Canarian side who he guided to promotion last year and as we near the midway point in Las Palmas’ first season back in the top flight, Garcia Pimienta’s stock continues to rise.

Widely tipped to struggle before a ball was kicked, Las Palmas are sitting comfortably in mid-table on 25 points and they’re much closer to the European places than the relegation scrap.

They’ve stayed true to the style of football that won them promotion and only Barcelona have enjoyed a higher share of possession in La Liga 2023/24, with the newly promoted team averaging 59%.

That tells you a great deal about what kind of game this is likely to be. While it’s not particularly exciting to watch and Las Palmas matches have been very low scoring, they will continue to build slowly from the back with former Barca youth team product Mika Marmol a very capable ball-playing central defender.

Las Palmas have only lost one home game this season and they beat Atletico Madrid on this ground in November, although they ended 2023 with a setback as a 94th minute goal broke their resistance in an otherwise goalless game in Bilbao.

Team News:

Barcelona have been hit by a fresh injury blow with Pedri sidelined once more and he joins fellow young midfielder Gavi on the sidelines. That may see Sergi Roberto get another start in his preferred midfield role here with the 30 year old hoping to add to his tally of three league goals in what would only be his fifth start of the season in all competitions.

New signing Vitor Roque could feature off the bench if Barca are able to register the player with La Liga in time. It’s also possible that Joao Felix could be dropped, with Ferran Torres hoping for a chance on the left flank.

Barcelona are still missing keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen with youngster Iñaki Peña in line for another start between the sticks. He was at fault for one of the Almeria goals last time out and will be hoping for a more assured performance here.

As for Las Palmas, a fortnight off has enabled them to get a few players back to fitness with young winger Alberto Moleiro potentially returning here. Alvaro Lemos is still a doubt but is only really a back-up player.

One man who will be missing is right back Julian Araujo who is on loan from Barcelona and ineligible to play against his parent club.

Las Palmas vs Barcelona Odds:

Barcelona are the 8/15 favorites to win the game while the Draw is priced at 16/5 with Las Palmas available at 5/1 to claim victory.

You can also back Las Palmas or Draw Double Chance at 11/8 if you see Barcelona’s recent wobbles continuing with more dropped points on Thursday in Gran Canaria.

Both Teams to Score can be backed at 4/5 while Robert Lewandowski is favourite to open the scoring at 3/1 while the Polish international is 9/10 to score anytime.

Following his two goals against Almeria, Sergi Roberto is priced at 4/1 to score anytime here while former Barca forward Munir is seen as the most likely scorer for the home team at 3/1 to score anytime against his old club.

Bet 1 - Draw @ 16/5

Barcelona have drawn five of their eight away games this season in La Liga. While they remain undefeated on their travels, they are consistently falling just short in precisely these kinds of fixtures on the road.

Their last two away games both ended in 1-1 draws against Valencia and Rayo Vallecano, the sides immediately above and below Las Palmas in the table.

Garcia Pimienta’s side have shown they can compete at this level, but they aren’t really a team that throws a lot of caution to the wind, with ensuring they stay clear of any relegation danger still the primary objective.

The hosts would gladly take a point from this game and given some of the flaws in this Barcelona side, backing the Draw at 16/5 looks good to me here.

Bet 2 - Under 2.5 Goals @ Evens

Only one side has scored fewer goals than Las Palmas in La Liga this season, but only one side has conceded less, with their matches averaging just 1.67 goals per game in total, by far the lowest figure in the league.

That strongly hints at this match being considerably less open than recent Barcelona matches and there’s a danger these sides may cancel each other out during periods of this game with both looking to keep the ball and build from the back.

With Lewandowski having scored just once in seven outings for Barcelona, there is no guarantee that the visitors will finish the chances that they do manage to create and I’m backing Under 2.5 Goals at Evens.

You can check out Mark's La Liga Betting Tips along with those from the rest of the Betfred Insights Spanish Football writers on our La Liga home page...

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