Reeling from the humbling defeat to El Clasico rivals Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana final, Barcelona have a friendly Round of 16 draw against third-tier side Unionistas de Salamanca in the Copa del Rey.
In truth, with such a lopsided matchup at hand, Xavi and company have very little to gain and everything to lose here, and it will be curious to see how many first-choice players take the field for Barcelona knowing a slip here against such an opponent could send the season into a true tailspin.
The flip side is true for Unionistas, who host a true giant of global football at their 5,000-seat venue in the western region of Spain near the Portuguese border. The club was created in the shadow of UD Salamanca, which dissolved in 2013 and boasts the likes of famed manager Vicente del Bosque and actor Dani Rovira as members.
In front of their home fans, they will look to put up a fight against a top-class opponent and gain notoriety from such an occasion. An upset seems, however, like it might be a bit too much to ask.
Barcelona vs. Unionistas prediction, odds
- Moneyline lean: Barcelona (-800)
- Score prediction: Unionistas 0-4 Barcelona
As fun as it would be to have an upset of this caliber on our hands, it’s just not on the cards. Barcelona may be struggling against other world-class opponents and reeling from their recent blow, but they are rock solid against inferior opposition.
In a similar situation last season, Barcelona traveled to meet another third-tier side in the Round of 16, blasting Ceuta 5-0 in the African subcontinent. Back in 2020, they hammered Leganes, who were eventually relegated from La Liga, by the same score. There won’t be any uncharacteristic slips here, unless Xavi sends the entire youth team out, which he wouldn’t dare.
to score Y/N
|+160 / -200
|Over / Under
|+115 / -155
Barcelona vs. Unionistas match facts
- Date: Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024
- Kickoff Time: 7:30 p.m. local (1:30 p.m. ET / 10:30 a.m. PT)
- Location: Reina Sofia Municipal Stadium (Salamanca, Spain)
- Referee: Francisco Jose Hernandez Maes
- Last meeting: None (First meeting)
Barcelona vs. Unionistas: best bet
In true lopsided affairs such as this, value is extremely hard to come by. This match is considered such an anomaly that many oddsmakers aren’t even offering goal scorer selections.
The best play here is to back Barcelona winning by a comfortable margin, as they should against the 18th-placed club in the Spanish third tier. You could take Barca on the -2.5 goal handicap at +110, but this play offers both a tad bit more value and some safety as well, as it would be boosted by Unionistas potentially snatching a goal themselves against the run of play.
Barcelona vs. Unionistas live stream, TV channel
ESPN has the United States broadcast rights for Spanish domestic football, both La Liga and Copa del Rey, with all matches streaming live on ESPN+. While some matches are selected for television broadcast, this particular game will be streamed exclusively on the platform.