They say that the best way to combat a hang over is to drink more the next morning. As per my usual tradition on Saturdays, I didn't see much harm in it. But while a beer at 7:30 AM did in fact quell my hang over, it also took away my consciousness as I was able to immediately fall back asleep. So now I must rush today's edition of the football picks as to not neglect the game of the day going on in La Liga. So without further hubbub, let's virtually jet off to Spain as the tussle for La Liga supremacy hangs in the balance at the Camp Nou.
SPANISH LA LIGA
Atletico Madrid vs FC Barcelona (10:00 AM ET/beIN Sports)
It has been an up and down week for the Rojiblancos. They had a hard fought draw last Sunday against Sevilla. They followed that up by getting knocked out of the Copa Del Rey by Celta Vigo 3-2 in the midweek. But ahead of their clash with defending champion Barcelona today they got some good news. Their transfer ban has been temporarily suspended meaning that Atleti can buy in the summer. Diego Simeone's men won't be looking that far ahead as their toughest test of the season is directly in front of them. Barcelona's MSN will be fully intact as they host the league's best defense. Neymar was originally a doubt to play in the contest, but said doubt has been squashed by Luis Enrique including all three of his world class attackers in today's starting XI. It will definitely be the cliched irresistible force against the immovable object. If you've seen anything from Atletico Madrid this season, you know that the midweek Celta Vigo game was an anomaly. There will not be five goals in this game. You'll be lucky to see two. I think there will be just that exact amount, with one coming from each side. I know, I know. Picking a draw in this game is a total cop-out. But I truly think that Atletico gets a fluke goal early, possibly a PK or Griezmann wonder strike, and tries to batten down the hatches. They won't be able to as one of Barca's trio of terror finds a way to beat Jan Oblak.
PREDICTION: Barcelona 1 Atletico Madrid 1
VFB Stuttgart vs Hamburger SV (12:30 PM ET/Fox)
We go from the top of the Spanish table to the middle of the German one for Fox's showcase game of the day between Stuttgart and Hamburg. While I don't see many goals coming from our first game of the day, we should see plenty in this one because both defenses are pretty foul. Stuttgart's is the more penetrable of the two, having let in a Bundesliga worst 38 goals in 18 matches. Hamburg have been better of late, but they are very prone to lengthy lapses at the back. The reverse fixture in August ended 3-2 in Hamburg's favor at home. That is a rarity for them this season though as they have picked up twice as many points on the road as they have at home. Stuttgart need this game badly though to avoid dropping into the relegation zone after spending a good month before the winter break getting out of it. This should be a back and forth game with goals abound, but I can't bring myself to allow Stuttgart to level the season series with HSV. Pierre-Michel Lassoga, who scored a great goal against Bayern Munich last time out, will be the difference as his confidence builds in the new year.
PREDICTION: Hamburg 3 Stuttgart 1
PORTUGUESE PRIMEIRA LIGA
FC Porto vs GD Estoril Praia (1:30 PM ET/Univision Deportes)
It has been a rough year for Porto by their lofty standards. Yes, they are third in the Primeira Liga. Yes, they are still in the Europa League. But for Porto third place in the league might as well be last and being knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages is just as unacceptable. Sprinkle in the fact that they were skunked in their Taca da Liga (Portuguese League Cup) group and the management and fanbase at the Dragao are still restless. So travelling to mid-table Estoril this afternoon should help ease some of those worries right? Not so fast. Estoril are notorious in Portugal for giving the big dogs of the league tough games and nicking a point, especially at the Estádio António Coimbra da Mota. Porto needed a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time last year to salvage a draw and needed a goal from current Atletico Madrid man Jackson Martinez to do the same the year before that. So why buck history. I'm going with my second draw of the day and one that should make a certain Desmond Two-Two very happy.
PREDICTION: Estoril 2 Porto 2
Enjoy these games as well as a full slate of FA Cup action over in England. I'm going to go listen to Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and hopefully not have my Bud Light slumber return. Follow me on Twitter @TREVORutley and the site @B3WHYC3 as I try to tweet out about all the day's action.