Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao Prediction: League leaders to win again

 | March 30 | 

6 mins read

real madrid santiago bernabeu scaled

Real Madrid and Athletic Club meet in La Liga for the first time since the opening day of the season on Sunday (20:00) with the Basque side playing their last match before next weekend’s Copa del Rey final.

Here are our Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao predictions, including team news and match odds.

Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao Betting Tips

  • Jude Bellingham to score anytime @ 6/5
  • Real Madrid & Under 4.5 Goals @ 5/6 

Back in August, Jude Bellingham announced his arrival with a goal on his La Liga debut as Los Blancos ran out comfortable 2-0 winners in Bilbao. It was a sign of things to come for Carlo Ancelotti’s side who have put together a very strong league campaign, losing only once in 29 matches. 

However fortunately for Athletic, that opening game was not any kind of indicator of what was to follow. Ernesto Valverde’s side haven’t lost a home match since in any competition and as we reach the final day of March, they are in the top four of La Liga and also have a wonderful opportunity to win a major trophy. 

They take on Mallorca in Seville next Saturday in a cup final where they’ll be favourites to win one of Spain’s big two competitions for the first time in 40 years. Even as they do battle with Atletico Madrid for fourth place and Champions League qualification, their trip to the Santiago Bernabeu is very much of secondary importance in comparison to that one. 

That’s not to say that Ernesto Valverde will be sending the kids out in Madrid. More than a fortnight has passed since they beat Alaves 2-0 at home in La Liga prior to the international break. While some of his players have since taken part in friendlies with the Spanish and Basque national teams, Valverde won’t want to send his players into the cup final having gone three weeks without any competitive minutes. 

He’ll be desperate to avoid injuries though and next weekend’s shot at history may be at the back of some of his players’ minds at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

That in theory should benefit Real Madrid, but they’ll still be expecting a tough game against an Athletic side that has gone nearly 400 minutes of football in all competitions without conceding a goal, shutting out both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the process. 

Real Madrid come into the game after a 4-2 win at Osasuna in their last match. A brace from in-form Vinicius Junior ensured they left El Sadar with all three points and one step closer to the title, although the Brazilian was booked again ensuring he’ll play no part on Sunday. 

Ancelotti’s side also scored four in their last home game, seeing off Celta Vigo to nil and it feels like they’ve come through the other side of a slight dip in performance levels with no real damage done to their league or Champions League aspirations. 

Like their opponents, Real Madrid’s next game after this is a huge one. Los Blancos won’t play again until the visit of Manchester City on Tuesday April 9th and they’ll want to lay down a marker before that game with a strong showing and solid win against Spain’s fourth best team. 

Team News: 

From a home perspective, the suspension of Vinicius is balanced out by the return of Jude Bellingham who has missed Real Madrid’s last two matches due to a ban of his own. 

The most likely response from Carlo Ancelotti will be to bring Joselu in to partner Rodrygo in attack with Bellingham returning to his usual advanced midfield role. Brahim Diaz was on target at Osasuna though and is an alternative option. There are no fresh injuries for Ancelotti to worry about with Real Madrid’s squad coming through the international break unscathed. 

Athletic Club meanwhile are expected to have a fully fit squad for the trip to the Bernabeu. Cup goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala could potentially get the nod between the sticks ahead of Unai Simon, in order to give the youngster some minutes ahead of the trip to Seville. 

Valverde is expected to go strong otherwise, although it’s possible he may consider resting star player Nico Williams who played 89 minutes on this ground on Tuesday night as Spain drew 3-3 with Brazil in a rare international friendly thriller. 

Match Odds: 

Real Madrid are the firm favourites at 8/15 to record what would be a 13th win in 15 home league games this season. You can back the Draw at 16/5 while Athletic are priced at 5/1 to record a first win at the Bernabeu since 2005. 

If you fancy the Basques to put up a good fight despite the distraction of next weekend’s Copa del Rey Final, you can back Athletic +1 Handicap at 7/5 while the Basque side are on offer at 5/1 to keep a clean sheet for the fifth match in a row. 

You can back Real Madrid to keep a clean sheet at 6/5 while Los Blancos are priced at 8/5 to win the game to nil. You can also get odds of 11/4 for Real Madrid and Under 2.5 Goals, a winning bet on four occasions at the Bernabeu in La Liga this season. 

Punters may also be interested to know that 69% of Real Madrid’s home league goals this season have come after the interval. You can back Real Madrid at 9/10 in the Second Half Result market here while the Second Half is on offer at 11/10 to be the Highest Scoring Half. 

Jude Bellingham to Score Anytime @ 6/5

As a result of the somewhat harsh two game suspension that followed Bellingham’s protests after he thought he’d scored a late winner at Valencia, the Englishman has gone four weeks without playing in the league for Real Madrid. 

The stage is really set for him to return with a bang here, particularly with Vinicius missing which will put more pressure on him to be the driving force in the home attack. Despite his absence, Bellingham is still the top scorer in La Liga on 16 goals and after a slight lull in the early part of 2024, he looks to have rediscovered his shooting boots again. 

The 20 year old scored twice on his last league outing at the Bernabeu against Girona. His knack for a late goal also extended to international duty in midweek with a 95th minute leveller for England against Belgium and I’m backing Bellingham to continue his good form and score anytime at 6/5 here. 

Jude Bellingham to score anytime at 6/5

Real Madrid & Under 4.5 Goals @ 5/6 

Even without the distraction of a huge cup final, this is not a game that Athletic would have taken much belief into.  

They’ve gone 17 matches without beating Real Madrid in La Liga and despite their strong overall record this term, it’s just one point from five away games against current top eight opponents. Athletic only scored twice across those fixtures which all produced four or fewer goals in total.  

Aside from their long-term ACL injury absentees, Vinicius is the only player Real Madrid are likely to be missing here so it’ll be a strong home eleven and I’m using the #PickYourPunt tool to back Real Madrid and Under 4.5 Goals at 5/6. 

Real Madrid and under 4.5 goals at 5/6

You can read all our latest Football Betting Tips at our dedicated Betfred Insights content hub.

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