Mikey Garcia v Adrien Broner Betting Pick

27 Jul

Broner

Held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK, current WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia moves up in weight to face former four-weight world champion Adrien Broner at light-welterweight.

Boasting a 36-0 record with 30 of those wins coming inside the distance, American-born Mikey Garica has an impressive resume, which includes becoming a three-weight world champion.

Indeed, I guess, Garica could even become a four-weight title holder with the lightly-regarded, and hard to justify or even explain, WBC Diamond 140lbs title recently being added to the bout.

Adrian ‘The Problem’ Broner, of course, has already held titles at light-welterweight, and just winning the bout is more important for his turbulent career than the WBC bauble at stake this weekend.

Having had more than his fair share of brushes with the law in his personal life, including recently, the talented Broner – who failed to make weight in each of his last two bouts – has a big incentive to ensure that he doesn’t flout the law inside the ring, too, as weighing in over the agreed limit would cost him $500,00 in fines.

So, a fighter who once ranked near the top of the pound-for-pound rankings and was compared to Floyd Mayweather Jr. by some, for perhaps the first time in a long time, has the motivation to get in shape and take his bout against the hard-hitting Garcia seriously.

Now, whilst Garica is rightly the betting favourite, we don’t know if he’ll carry his power up in weight with him, nor do we know how much a few extra pounds will affect his speed, but we do know that both of Broner’s losses came at higher weights than he was, arguably, suited to and that both were on points.

Given the above, I think that – despite his fearsome KO/TKO record – if Garcia is to win, it’ll be on points. Factor in that only two of Broner’s last seven victories have been by KO/TKO and you can make an argument for bout to go the distance at an 8/11 best price.

If you want an odds-against bet like me, however, all in all, my mindset is that whilst the two boxers are similar in height, Broner is the physically bigger man, the better boxer, more experienced at the weight and worth a punt at the correct at the time of writing 5/2 price.

Worth a punt: Broner to beat Garcia (5/2)

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Hopkins v Smith Jr – Betting Preview

13 Dec

hopkins

Held at The Forum in Inglewood, California, USA, and live on Box Nation from 03:00 in the early hours of Sunday morning, Bernard Hopkins fights his final professional boxing bout when he takes on Joe Smith Jr.

The evergreen B-Hop, now 51-years-of-age, is a sure-fire future entrant to the Boxing Hall of Fame after a 27-year career that saw him make a record number of middleweight world title defences and break George Foreman’s record of being the oldest man to win a world title, before going on to win further world light-heavyweight titles aged 48 and 49.

Father time eventually caught up to Hopkins (55-7-2), of course, and his crafty style of trying to goad opponents into making mistakes and looking to counter-punch, hold and fight at a slow pace were of no use against the much younger and harder-hitting elite level boxer that is Sergey Kovalev.

Realising that he could no longer upset the odds against top-level boxers, the former self-titled executioner turned self-titled alien, a two-weight multiple-time world champion, decided to hang up his gloves after a farewell fight against Smith Jr.

New Yorker Joe Smith Jr. (22-1) is 27-years-of-age and best known in the boxing world for sensationally knocking out Andrzej Fonfara in the first round of their June 2016 clash.

Otherwise, and certainly to UK fight fans, Smith is largely an unknown with a high KO percentage of 78, which equals 18 stoppage wins from 22 victories. In his solitary career defeat back in 2010, Smith was stopped by someone called Eddie Caminero – a man who was subsequently beaten six times in a row.

In conclusion, it’s hard to really know what we’re getting with Smith Jr – was his win over Fonfara a one off, just like his own defeat turned out to be or will he give a man only three years shy of being double his age a real beating and march on towards a world title shot?

My guess is that, besides Kovalev, and you can understand Hopkins wanting to test himself against the very best after what he’s achieved post-40, Bernard doesn’t pick fights that he doesn’t think he can win and is clever at selecting opponents.

All in all, I expect Philadelphia-born Hopkins to use his defensive skills, ring savvy and counter-punching abilities to defeat a little-known opponent coming off a big win over a contender on points.

After all, B-Hop hasn’t won a bout by KO or TKO since 2004 and if his fight with Smith was to go the distance, given his standing and promotional connections within the industry, it seems unlikely that Smith would be given the verdict.

Recommendation: Hopkins on points (8/11)

Alaves v Real Betis – Betting Preview

12 Dec

castro5

Alaves v Real Betis: 19:45 – Friday – Live on Sky Sports 5

Basque side Alaves drew 0-0 away to Eibar in their last La Liga fixture and are now unbeaten in three league games – four if you include their 3-0 away win at Gimnastic in the Copa del Rey.

Betis, meanwhile, defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 in Seville via a Ruben Castro goal last Sunday and can claim to be three games unbeaten, including a 1-0 home defeat of Deporitvo La Coruna in the cup.

All in all, Betis are now playing well and with passion, so there’s a temptation to back the Andalusian team on a + 0.25 Asian handicap basis, but then they were beaten 3-1 away to Eibar in their last away game, and Alaves have just drawn the same fixture.

So, both teams are in decent form and since only two of the last six Alaves league games have seen both teams score, along with 2/6 for Betis, you can’t trust each team to score a goal. Nor can you trust over 2.5 goals with 1/6 Alaves game passing that mark and 2/6 Betis.

How about under 2.5 goals or BTTS No, then? Well, under 2.5 goals is priced at a too short 4/7 and BTTS No is priced around 7/10 to 8/11. If I had to choose, I’d recommend that you back BTTS NO since it’s the more acceptably priced of the two, but it’s a little too short for my liking (5/6 would be ok) and I’ve decided no bet.

Good luck if you take the plunge, though, and check back for Saturday’s La Liga previews.

Villarreal v Atletico Madrid – Betting Preview

11 Dec

Simeone2

Villarreal v Atletico Madrid: 19:45 – Live on Sky Sports 2

In a sleep-inducing contest, Villarreal drew 0-0 away to Leganes in their last La Liga game, while days later they defeated a poor Steua Bucharest side 2-1 at home in the Europa League. This victory was their first in five competitive games.

Atletico, meanwhile, couldn’t do any better than taking a share of the spoils after a 0-0 draw at home to an Espanyol side in good form last Sunday. Midweek, it got worse for Simeone’s Los Colchoneros as they lost 1-0 away to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.

All in all, neither team is in good enough form to trust and while they could play from memory and grind out a 0-0 or 1-0 win like they’ve done in the past in this fixture, recent results like Villarreal 0 Alaves 2 make it hard to put my faith in backing the Yellow Submarines on a + 0.5 Asian handicap basis, especially with Griezmann in town.

Given that the last six head-to-head meetings between Villarreal and Atletico have seen less than three goals in each, and in the expectancy of a tight, hard fought game, under 2.5 goals was what I had in mind, but at 4/7 it’s not worth the risk, so no bet.

From experience, when the under goals are too short priced to back, a half-time draw sometimes pays dividends in this sort of game in La Liga, but then it really would be guessing for the sake of it and I don’t want to do that.

Apologies that I can’t give you a solid betting pick in this game, but good luck if you have a bet, thanks for reading and check back for a preview of Friday’s game between Alaves and Real Betis.

Sunday’s La Liga Betting Previews

9 Dec

eibar

Eibar v Alaves: 12:00 – live on Sky Sports Interactive

Just like last season, Eibar were beaten 3-1 away to Basque rivals Athletic in their most recent La Liga fixture, while Alaves drew 1-1 at home to Las Palmas.

Statistically, with only one loss and defeats of teams like Valencia, Villarreal and Real Sociedad, Eibar are currently the sixth best home team in La Liga. Alaves, meanwhile, have managed to defeat Barcelona and Villarreal on their travels, along with drawing against Atletico, and are the fifth best away side in Spain’s top flight.

So, while I feel like I should me making the obvious pick of an Eibar win this weekend, the away side – who’ve won their last three road games in all competitions – have pulled off enough upsets to put me off and make me feel like I have to have the draw onside.

If you can’t choose the match winner it’s always worth looking at goals, and four of Eibar’s last six goals have resulted in both teams scoring, with 4/6 passing the over 2.5 goals mark.

Decent stats, then, but sadly only two of Alaves’ last six games have seen both teams score, with the same mark for over goals. Just not enough to chance an overs or BTTS bet unless you buy into the theory that playing Eibar = goals.

So, all in all, I can’t make a firm recommendation in this game, but you’re now armed with information and I wish you good luck if you opt to have a bet.

apas

Celta Vigo v Sevilla: 15:15 – live on Sky Sports 3

With the red-hot Iago Aspas bagging a brace, Celta drew 3-3 away to Betis in their last game, while Sevilla continued their awful away form in La Liga by losing 2-1 away to Granada to give their hosts a first league win of the season.

Of course, Sevilla played in the UEFA Champions League midweek, drawing 0-0 away to Lyon, and although they rested a few players, enough of their regulars played to mix tired legs into the equation.

Notably, Celta have won their last five home league matches, but conceded in them all. Now, both teams have scored in Sevilla’s last six away La Liga games, plus four of the last six head-to-head contests between the two, so you’d expect this weekend’s tie to follow suit.

Sadly, however, BTTS Yes is priced around 4/7 and too short for a single bet. You could instead back over 2.5 goals and BTTS as one bet at even money (2.0) and I certainly wouldn’t talk you out of that, but the safest and simplest play seems to be backing Celta on a draw no bet basis at home to a team who’ve played an extra game midweek and won something like (at a guess) three of their last twenty-seven away league games.

Recommendation: Celta draw no bet (10/11)

copy-logo5.png

Espanyol v Sporting Gijon: 17:30 – live on Sky Sports 3

Defence-minded Espanyol ground out a 0-0 draw away to Atletico Madrid last weekend, meaning that they’re now undefeated in eight league games and nine if we add the cup.

Last weekend was a landmark for Sporting too as they won their first league game since September when defeating hapless Osasuna 3-1 in Gijon.

All in all, I feel I should be making the simple pick of Espanyol to defeat Sporting, but the visitors have a good record away to their hosts, losing only one of their last five visits and 8/11 is not a great price for the Barcelona-based team.

Instead, and since Espanyol tend to reserve 0-0’s for when they play bigger teams, coupled with the fact that Sporting’s last five competitive games have seen three goals or more, the home team to score two or more is my pick.

Recommendation: Over 1.5 Espanyol team goals (evens)

castro5

Real Betis v Athletic Bilbao: 19:45 – live on Sky Sports 1

In a thrilling game, Betis drew 3-3 at home to Celta last Sunday to make it one win, one loss and a draw in three league games since their new coach took over.

Athletic, on the other hand, defeated fellow Basque’s Eibar 3-1 at the new San Mames, which they followed up with a 1-1 draw away to Rapid Vienna in the Europa League a few days later.

All in all, I’d have recommended Athletic + 0.5 in previous seasons, but this time they’ve played an extra game midweek and are far looser at the back then they used to be.

Betis, as mentioned, haven’t shown any consistency recently, so I’m just not confident enough to make a pick in the match winner or handicap markets.

It could well be a BTTS game and if anything, that or over 2.5 goals is what I’d chance as both teams have scored in five of Athletic’s last six competitive games with four seeing three or more goals, but it’s only a 2/6 for Betis in both markets, so I’m not confident enough to bet on either market.

Anyway, thanks for reading and hopefully my thoughts prove to be useful.

Malaga v Granada – Betting Preview & Pick

7 Dec

duda

Malaga v Granada

Last time out, Malaga scored a late leveller to draw 2-2 away to Valencia, while Granada recorded their first La Liga win of the season after defeating terrible travellers Sevilla 2-1.

Granada also won their previous game, in the Copa del Rey, so they’re actually on a two-game winning streak and should have increased confidence as a result. This matched with Malaga’s too short price, which rangers from 4/6 to 4/7, suggests that you shouldn’t be betting on a straight home win.

Giving the away team a + 1 Asian Handicap start has appeal under these circumstances, especially as Granada only lost 1-0 away to Barca a few weeks ago, but then they did lose 3-1 away to Celta and only one bookie offers an 8/11 price with others 4/6 or less, so too short priced to be the pick.

Instead, with four out of Malaga’s last six La Liga games seeing both teams score, along with 4/6 Granada league fixtures and 4/6 head-to-head, BTTS Yes is my recommendation if you want to bet on this Friday night fixture.

If you’re looking for a chancier approach, BTTS and Malaga to win is priced around 11/4.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (19/20)

Wednesday’s Round 27 La Liga Betting Previews

2 Mar

Aduriz

Athletic v Deportivo, 19:00

Missing key players like Williams (out tonight) and Raul Garcia (returns tonight), Athletic survived a couple of penalty scares to eventually score three goals in six minutes and beat Valencia 3-0 at the Mestalla. Depor, meanwhile, lost 1-0 at home to Granada and have still not won a game in 2016.

Now, Depor went from several score draws in a row to two 1-0 losses, so we can’t trust them to score or win, plus they’re missing their goalkeeper, Lux, to suspension, meaning everything points to a home win for Athletic.

However, whilst Athletic – 1 AH is clearly the bet to take, the head-to-head record between the two is of great concern. Indeed, Athletic haven’t beaten Depor at San Mames – old or new – since 2010 with zero wins in the last six H2H at any venue.

Depor have been relegated a couple of times in the last few years, so some of the results have two season’s between them, but Athletic’s Basque only squad never changes that much and players remember these sort of things. You know, oh not them, we never beat them.

Over 2.5 goals could be a decent bet, but on current form it would likely mean that Athletic would have to score three times, and we might as well then take the safer –on paper – Athletic -1 AH.

In conclusion, my column is as much about advice and pointers as tips, I’m spooked by the head-to-head records and have decided no bet, but you’re now armed with the facts and can decide for yourselves. Good luck.

unaiemery

Sevilla v Eibar, 19:00

A more straightforward choice here – Sevilla are very good at home (14 wins in a row) and capable of scoring a few goals, while Eibar are very bad away (3 straight defeats and 4/5) and tend to ship a few goals.

Indeed, Eibar – through Borja Baston (13/5 priced anytime scorer) – tend to score themselves too, netting away to Celta, Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao in recent road fixtures, so there’s good scope for a BTTS here.

But, all in all, whilst Sevilla and BTTS is probably a winner, Eibar’s last four La Liga away games contained a total of twenty goals – an average of five per game – so let’s sit back and bet on a home win and over the goals.

Recommendation: Sevilla to win & over 2.5 goals @ 10/11

bruno

Celta v Villarreal, 19:00

An eye-catching fixture for sure and not an easy call. On one hand, we’ve got a revitalised Celta with Nolito back and scoring, while on the other we have a Villarreal side that sits just above fifth-placed Celta in the standings and rarely concedes a goal.

Head-to-head this games has produced mixed results over the years, but the last three have seen both teams score and three or more goals.

Now, Celta’s defence is shaky and they’ve routinely conceded at home – even shipping three to Levante – so I would fancy Villarreal to net one or more in Vigo tonight, but can a defence that kept clean sheets in ten of its last twelve La Liga games keep another against Celta?

Maybe, and given the Yellow Submarines’ strong defence and the fact that they haven’t lost a La Liga game since November 2015, it seems prudent to back Villarreal + 0.5 or .25 in this spot.

Indeed, with a nine point gap between themselves and Celta, Villarreal will be happy with – and might play for – the draw that maintains that gap in the race for a Champions League berth.

Recommendation: Villarreal + 0.25 Asian handicap @ 39/40

GnevValencia

Malaga v Valencia, 19:00

The Anchovies are a strong home team with a good defence that recently held Real Madrid to a draw and was seriously unlucky to lose to Barcelona.

Valencia, as you’ll likely know, were in terrible form under Gary Neville, but finally got their first win under the Englishman and kicked-on from there by continuing their winning form.

However, whilst Los Che had two penalty appeals turned down and should have been leading at this point had Negredo not missed an open goal, Valencia conceded three goals in six minutes to lose 3-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao last time out.

So, the Che momentum is gone and, quite frankly, this game with Malaga will be a big test of their character. Who wins, what’s the pick? Well, I would expect Malaga to win, but i’d also want draw cover and that’s not possible pricewise.

For my money, it’s a no bet as I want to see if Valencia lose for a clearer read of their form after last week’s setback, but I wouldn’t talk you out of backing Malaga – 0.25 AH.

ronaldo1

Levante v Real Madrid, 20:00

There are two ways of looking at this game. Firstly, Levante have conceded fifteen goals in their last six fixtures and tend to ship a few to Real Madrid.

So, with Los Blancos hurt after their derby defeat to Atleti and Ronaldo – surely – now having to produce a five-star performance after criticising his teammates, Real Madrid could run riot.

However, there’s also the argument that Madrid are not a happy camp – with several players expected to leave during the summer – and their away form has not been up to scratch with three draws and a defeat in six games.

Plus, tonight Madrid will miss Bale, Benzema, Ramos and Carvajal, with Pepe and Arbeloa listed as doubtful. A depleted team indeed.

So, either Ronaldo will produce a lead by example performance or Los Blancos will collectively shrink and Levante can take a point or more in an upset.

What seems to fit the bill best is a 1.25 Asian handicap start for Levante, with a small bet on Ronny notching a hat-trick.

Both bets won’t win – hence the big difference in stake sizes – and you should only take the Ronny hat-trick if you get 11/1 (that’s what tempted me in with others 6/1), but I expect to get something back out of this game.

Recommendation: Levante + 1.25 AH @ 1.85

Worth a small punt: Ronaldo hat-trick @ 11/1

Tuesday’s La Liga Previews – round 27

29 Feb

Simeone2

Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad, 20:00

Of course, whilst a draw wouldn’t have been a surprise, Atleti pulled off a shock 1-0 win at neighbours Real Madrid last Saturday, with ex-Real Sociedad man Griezmann scoring the winner.

Interestingly, the Frenchman has scored in each of his last three games against his former employers, so an anytime scorer bet on that stat becoming four looks like a good call.

That said, the Griezmann to score/Atleti to win bet is only best priced at 3/2, so anyone interested may as well take less of a risk by just backing him to score anytime at 6/5.

All in all, as is the case with most Atleti matches, this game should end with less than three goals, but under 2.5 goals is a mere 4/6 at best and – whilst arguably value – a little too short for a single betting tip.

Atleti to win and under 2.5 goals makes sense at a 9/5 price, but then Real Sociedad are in great form and their striker Jonathas – who missed their last game – has been prolific recently.

Ideally, I’d like Real Sociedad + 1.5 AH as Atleti rarely score more than once and, like I said, La Real are in good form, but even + 1.25 is best priced at 1.77 and we’d only get a half payout if – as expected – Atleti win by a one-goal margin.

In conclusion, as risky as a scorer bet is, I’m taking a reduced stake bet on Griezmann to score at anytime. Of course, you can take Atleti to win and under 2.5 goals if you prefer (which is good value).

Worth a punt: Griezmann anytime scorer at 6/5

Valeron

Las Palmas v Getafe, 21:00

Last weekend I noted that Getafe hadn’t scored in 376 minutes of football, and it’s now 466 after the Azulones lost 1-0 at home to Celta Vigo. Using the simple logic that a team who hadn’t scored in a long time seemed very unlikely to win, my tip that day was Celta draw no bet at 8/11.

However, this time having stalemate cover on our side at an acceptable price isn’t possible as Las Palmas draw no bet is best priced at a mere 4/9 – too short for a single.

Instead, the 8/11 best priced under 2.5 goals and 10/11 best priced BTTS No are the value bets to choose from.
But which one? Well, while Las Palmas winning 3-0 seems a reach, it’s smartest – in principle -to back BTTS No given Geta’s scoring woes.

Recommendation: BTTS No at 10/11

Round 22 La Liga – 2015/16

28 Jan

messi

Barcelona v Atletico Madrid, 15:00

Both teams played in the cup midweek, with Atleti suffering a shock 3-2 home defeat to Celta and Barca beating Athletic Bilbao from a goal down.

Stats wise, Barca have won 5 straight games against Simeone’s mattress makers and you’d expect that to become 6. Head-to-head, BTTS Yes has won in 4/6 games between these two, with 3/6 seeing three goals or more. With 5 wins from 6 of those games, Barca only once won by more than a one goal margin.

All in all, you could chance the double result of draw/Barca or risk a -1 AH, but the only thing I’m comfortable with recommending is a home win. That’s an 8/15 shot and arguably too short for a single, but if you want my advice….

duda

Eibar v Malaga, 17:15

Eibar were unlucky to get hammered 5-2 away to Athletic Bilbao last weekend and are a decent side. Malaga, meanwhile, were very unlucky not take a point or more from their home match with Barca and –despite being without a win since the start of the year – are in improved form.

All in all, I’m not sure who’ll win this game, but Eibar’s last 6 games have seen at least 3 goals on each so over 2.5 goals might be worth a shot. Then again, 4 of Malaga’s last 6 games went under 2.5 goals, with at least 2 goals in 4/6, so those looking for a bet might be best suited risking no more than over 2 goal line, or BTTS – which has been a winner in Eibar’s last 5 games and Malaga’s last 3.

Worth a punt: BTTS at EVS

adurizymunian
Getafe v Athletic Bilbao, 17:15

Athletic have won 5 straight H2H games vs Getafe, but then the Basque’s played a tiring cup game at Camp Nou midweek and their Madrid-based hosts didn’t. That therefore clouds the betting decision, but 4 of Athletic’s last 6 games have gone over 2.5 goals, with Getafe having the same 4/6 mark, so three goals or more is my guess.

Worth a punt: over 2.5 goals at 23/20

bruno

Villarreal v Granada, 19:30

Villarreal had to rely on a late equaliser to draw 2-2 away to Espanyol last weekend, but they’re a good side and should defeat Granada. However, Granada’s last 7 games have each seen 3 goals or more and I’m inclined to follow that pattern, even if only 3 of Villarreal’s last 6 games have gone over 2.5 goals.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at EVS

rubencastro4

Real Sociedad v Betis, 21:05

He lost his first game – in the cup away to Sevilla – but in La Liga the new Betis boss has drawn away to Villarreal and held Real Madrid to a draw in Seville. As such, he was a bit of momentum and his players are growing in confidence.

Real Sociedad, on the other hand, have only won 1 of their last 6 games and were trounced 5-1 at Sporting last Friday, so it’s a straightforward pick, win or lose.

Recommendation: Betis + 0.5 AH at 5/4

unaiemery

Sevilla v Levante, 11:00

Of course, Sevilla played in the cup midweek and Levante didn’t. Visitors Levante also have a decent H2H record vs their hosts, only losing one of the last six. Both teams have also scored in the last 4 of those games, along with in Levante’s last three games.
Levante’s last three games have also contained three goals or more, and all in all – whilst BTTS looks like the pick – I think there can be three or more goals in this early kick-off.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 3/4

lfp

Valencia v Sporting, 15:00

Neville’s Los Che played in the cup on Thursday night, while Sporting didn’t and are therefore better rested. Stats wise, and including cup matches, both teams have scored in 5/10 fixtures that G Nev has been in charge for – and 3 out of his last 4 -with 5/10 also seeing 3 goals or more.

As for Sporting, well, they scored in the Bernabeu and played as well as can be expected in their 5-1 loss, before thrashing Real Sociedad 5-1 at El Molinon in their next game. Stats wise, both teams have scored in 5/9 Sporting games, including 2 straight and 3/4, with 4 of their last 6 games seeing 3 goals or more and 5/9.

All in all, this is probably a BTTS yes game, but that’s 5/6 and best and I prefer the 10/11 priced overs.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 10/11

lfp

Las Palmas v Celta Vigo, 17:15

The big question here is which Celta turns up – the one that was hammered 3-0 at Rayo or the one that won 3-2 at Atletico Madrid in the cup a few days later?

For that reason, no bet or pick.

ronaldo1

Real Madrid v Espanyol 19:30

6 straight wins for Real Madrid in this fixture and that should become 7, even without Bale. However, betting wise, Madrid HT/FT is too short priced to back, over 2.5 team goals is the same and – 2 AH completes the treble of thoughts that don’t have good prices.

In search of something near evens, you could risk Los Blancos to win to nil at 17/20, or over 1.5 first half goals at 4/5, but no bet here – I’ll punt in-play.

Wednesday’s La Liga previews – 23/09/15

23 Sep

apas

Celta Vigo v Barcelona, 19:00

In a shock result, Celta beat Barca 1-0 at Camp Nou last season, but lost the reverse fixture 1-0 in Vigo. Obviously, each game was low scoring, mainly because both teams play short passing, possession football. Sure, Barca play a little more direct at times these days, but it’s not enough of a difference to make the 4/7 priced over 2.5 goals worth chancing in my eyes.

Of course, all four of Celta’s La Liga games in 2015/16 have seen three or more goals, but only two of Barca’s league contests have passed the over 2.5 goals mark (at home to Levante – always a walkover – and a 2-1 win away to Atleti) and the Catalans’ 1-0 wins v Athletic and Malaga were not inspiring.

Barca’s front three are just not firing on all cylinders right now and with Celta still undefeated in 2015/16, and having just beaten Sevilla 2-1 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, the bet for my money is to give Celta a handicap start that covers a potential one goal loss.

Recommendation: Celta + 1.25 AH at 1.8 (Take + 1 if less than 1.75)

eibar

Levante v Eibar, 19:00

Levante haven’t won a game yet, drawing two and losing two, while Eibar have toppled Granada and Athletic, losing to Atletico Madrid and drawing with Malaga.

As such, the simple answer is Eibar + 0.25 at 9/10, especially since they haven’t lost on the road yet this season. However, whilst that’s the sensible bet, I’ve got my heart set on something goals related too.

Now, only one of Eibar’s four games have contained three goals or more, with 2/4 the case for Levante, but each H2H meeting contained three goals or more last season and, well, I like chancing big priced overs/BTTS.

Half stake on each: Eibar + 0.25 at 9/10 & over 2.5 goals at 7/4

leo

Rayo Vallecano v Sporting Gijon, 19:00

Rayo have won one, drawn one and lost two games in 2015/16, while Sporting have won one, drawn two and lost one. H2H, the last five games between these two have seen both teams score and over 2.5 goals, but they haven’t played each other in three years so we can’t consider this relevant. Could still happen, of course, but 19/20 isn’t an appealing price for a 2/4 overs vs a 1/4 overs game in 2015/16.

All in all, Rayo tend to fail to beat teams around their own level at home, yet win away – like 1-0 away to Sporting last time out, which came after 3-1 loss at home to Depor – so the pick here is for Sporting to avoid defeat.

However, Sporting play their second away game in just three days, so stakes should be reduced.

Worth a punt: Sporting + 0.25 at 21/20


adurizymunian

Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid, 20:00

Well, a big game indeed. Athletic won the Spanish Super Cup and at San Mames – old and new – they’ve beaten and drawn with Real Madrid a few times in recent years.

Form wise, Athletic lost away to Villarreal in their last game, but then that came a few days after a Europa League game and at home the Basque’s are a lot stronger.

Real Madrid – after Ronaldo inspired thrashings of Espanyol and Shakhtar Donetsk – were almost lucky to beat Granada at the Bernabeu last Saturday – seeing a legit goal ruled out for their opponents before they were granted an offside goal to lamely win 1-0.

Indeed, if Ronny’s hitting row z with his shots – like against Granada and prior to the games I mentioned above – Madrid are a 1-0 team. If he’s on form, they’ll score as many as he gets + 1. How do we know which one we’re getting? We don’t and that makes it hard.

In conclusion, with star striker Aduriz fit and Raul Garcia to play, Athletic have the firepower to compete, and we know that they can beat the big boys at San Mames – evidenced by a 4-0 defeat of Barca in the Super Cup and a 1-0 defeat of Real Madrid last season here – so the Basque’s with a handicap start looks best.

Recommendation: Athletic +1 AH at 1.75

unaiemery

Las Palmas v Sevilla, 21:00

Neither team has won a game so far, with both losing at home last weekend, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this game ends in a draw. Probably a BTTS since Sevilla away games tend to produce that outcome, whilst considering that most of their regular defenders are injured, but a 1.73 shot at best and not appealing enough since Las Palmas play five at the back. 0-0 would be fine for them.

In a game that looks like a draw, backing Las Palmas + 0.5 looks best, but another 1.73 bet. Sure, I’ve taken a 1.75 price in Athletic v Real Madrid, but I fancy that bet more.

All in all, no bet in this game, but I shall certainly watch and probably bet in-play.

bruno

Malaga v Villarreal, 21:00

The Anchovies have drawn two games 0-0 and lost two 1-0, while Villarreal have won three and drawn one, with all of their games seeing both teams score and 3/4 over 2.5 goals.

H2H, 5/6 games between these two have seen both teams score – and that was my instinct when looking at this fixture- but then Malaga haven’t scored a goal in 2015/16 so BTTS can’t be justified.

You can argue that everyone scores against the Yellow Submarines, but the clearest angle is deducing that Malaga haven’t won yet and Villarreal haven’t lost.

We can’t get + 0.5 at a doable price to make the perfect pick, sadly, but Villarreal draw no bet is 17/20 and a decent bet.

Recommendation: Villarreal draw no bet at 17/20

All prices are accurate and the best – bar sites that most people haven’t heard of out don’t use – available at the time of going to press.

Finally, only ever bet what you can afford to lose, thanks for reading and good luck.

Espanyol v Granada – Betting Preview & Pick

7 Feb

sergiogarcia

Espanyol (10th) v Granada (13th)

Of course, Betis had the greater need to win, but Espanyol (1.92) showed little interest in beating the 20th placed Andalusian’s in their clash at the Benito Villamarin last weekend, eventually losing 2-0.

Granada (4.75) also lost their round 22 fixture, going down 2-1 to Celta Vigo at home. Lucas Alcaraz, the Granada, coach, has, however, stated that while he’s disappointed with defeat, it’s sometimes good to go into a match with bad taste in the mouth.

The fact that Granada defeated Espanyol in Barcelona last season won’t have escaped Mr Alcaraz’s attention either, I’m sure.

In conclusion, neither is proficient in front of goal and under 2.5 goals could, therefore, be the best call to make at 1.73, but I’ve opted to instead chance my money on a home win for two reasons.

Firstly, Espanyol, like many clubs in La Liga, are notorious for ‘phoning it in’ with little regard for results once they deem themselves to be safe from relegation – their seasonal goal – but it would be foolishly naive if the Catalans were to believe that to be the case as things stand.

Indeed, given that he and his charges are only six points off the 18th placed team, Valladolid, Javier Aguirre will surely target Friday’s clash with a Granada side that is only two points behind them as a very winnable fixture in which they must take all three points to aid their survival quest and hamper their opponents.

Secondly, I advised Espanyol + 0.5 against Betis last weekend and, as crazy as it might sound, believe that I’ll get repaid on the majority losing picks if I simply lost what was the right bet on paper.

If Espanyol, who have no players listed as injured or suspended, don’t win this game and are demoted to the Segunda division come the end of the season, then failing to win home games like this will be why.

Recommendation: Espanyol (1.92)

Athletic Bilbao v Valladolid betting thoughts – 20/01/14

20 Jan

adurizymunian

AAthletic Bilbao v Valladolid

Athletic played in the cup last week and will play in it again this week (away to Atletico).

Valladolid, on the other hand, were eliminated from the cup in the last round.

Valladolid are conceding a lot of goals in away games, but have scored in two of their last four league.

Valladolid have lost their last three away games and have only won one La Liga road game in 2013/14.

Key attacker Ebert may return for Valladolid.

At their old San Mames stadium, Athletic often defeated Valladolid 2-0 in the last few seasons.

Athletic simply don’t have a really good striker, or someone who can score 20 + goals a season, and are dependent on goals throughout the team.

At their new home, where they are undefeated, the Basque’s generally get two or three goals.

However, their top scorer, midfielder Mikel Riko (5), is suspended, while the second top scorer, defender San Jose (4) is also suspended.

Iker Muniain is Athletic’s best attacker and, guess what, he won’t play against Valladolid either.

Athletic have struggled for goals recently and given their absentees against Valladolid, someone like Aduriz will have to’ step up.

We have to beware of tiredness and Athletic possibly having one eye on their cup game with Atletico in Madrid midweek, but whilst I don’t expect the Basque’s to lose, I don’t see this being easy for them and am not fully convinced which bet to take.

I’ll either bet once I have team news, In-Play or not bet at all, but if you are going to punt on this game, here are a few suggestions to consider:

Athletic HT/FT (1.95)

I should think that they’ll want to put this game to bed quickly with the Copa in mind, so a business like 1 or 2-0 win, with a goal in the first half, would fit the bill.

Both teams to score (2.0)

Well, iffy you might say, and agreed, but Ebert is a very good player and Guerra has scored in Camp Nou, so why not at the new San Mames against a depleted Athletic side that has played more football recently?

Valladolid + 1.5 (1.85)

Call it a hunch and nothing more, but I can envisage Valladolid scoring and Athletic being forced to try and win 2-1. Given their scoring woes, tiredness and impending cup game, a 1-0 win would suffice for Athletic.

Whatever you choose, good luck.

Friday & Saturday’s La Liga Betting Previews – 17-18/01/14

17 Jan

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Malaga v Valencia

Last week I thought that Valencia draw no bet and under 2.5 goals were good bets in Vigo, but Celta overturned a 1-0 Che lead to win 2-1.

What seems sensible this week is to back Malaga draw no bet (1.95)) and under 2.5 goals, because Valencia have lost their last three away games and Malaga, unlike Valencia, didn’t have to play in the Copa del Rey midweek.

However, as has been the case with some of my picks recently, good logic doesn’t always pay. Now, as I’m tempted to back Valencia draw no bet and go against sense, I’ve opted for under 2.5 goals instead.

Both sides seriously struggle to score goals, with Valencia only netting once in their last four road games and the last five Malaga games containing less than three goals.

Recommendation: Under 2.5 goals (1.8)

Betis v Real Madrid

Well, constantly keeping clean sheets but not scoring as many as you’d expect, Real Madrid are not fun to watch right now. However, bottom club Betis – who always score in this fixture – will be fired up for this clash, and if there’s a game in which Los Blancos are going to score a few goals coming up soon, given how badly Betis defend, it should be this one.

Recommendation: Over 3.5 goals (1.95)

Elche v Rayo

Elche have only twice won at home in La Liga this season, often losing 1-0. Interestingly, second bottom Rayo won their last away game 1-0, and also defeated Elche 3-0 on the opening weekend of 2013/14.

However, Elche have shown that they’re better than the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ type performance they gave on matchday one, and Rayo have played an extra game midweek – a 1-0 defeat away to Levante in the cup.

Elche will want revenge for their loss and, on paper, a Rayo side that will travel to play its third away game in a row should give it to them.

Under 2.5 goals – a winner in three of the last four Rayo away games and six of the last seven Elche home – has great appeal at 1.78.

Worth a punt: Elche – 0.25 Asian handicap (2.04)), under 2.5 goals (1.78)

Granada v Osasuna

Osasuna kept best striker Riera on the bench for the vast majority of their soulless cup surrender to Real Madrid midweek, and they did defeat Betis in Seville last weekend, but Granada looked good in putting four past Valladolid last weekend and I’m going for a home win.

For what it’s worth, Granada have defeated Osasuna three times in a row, plus they haven’t had to play a road cup game midweek, unlike Osasuna. Home advantage and fresh legs should prevail.

Recommendation: Granada (2.05)

Espanyol v Celta Vigo

On one hand we have an Espanyol side that toiled away against Real Madrid last Sunday and, a few day’s later, Alcorcon in the cup, while on the other we have a Celta Vigo outfit that actually managed to convert a couple of chances to win a game – albeit at home – and didn’t play in the cup midweek.

I don’t trust Espanyol, but three out of their last four home games have contained three goals or more, while 7/9 Celta league away games have passed the same mark. Hopefully Celta and their magnificently named Brazilian forward, Charles, can take advantage of some tired Espanyol legs and bag a couple in a 2-1 win.

Worth a small punt: Over 2.5 goals (2.15), Celta or draw double chance (1.91)

Midweek Copa del Rey betting previews: 14 -16 Jan

14 Jan

COPADELREY

Atletico Madrid v Valencia

Suggested bet: Valencia + 1.5 Asian handicap (1.75 best price)

We know how good Atletico Madrid are in general, and in particular at home, but Valencia deserved the draw they got in the first leg of this tie, showing good intensity in the process.

Albeit under a different coach, Valencia also held and matched Atletico for an hour or so when the teams last met at the Vicente Calderon in the league. Though I must point out that Atletico eventually won 3-0.

Valencia’s new coach, despite suffering his first defeat as Che coach in Vigo last weekend, champions playing with intensity, like his counterpart Simeone, and the team have looked better since.

Given that they fought for 90 minutes in a, surely, physically draining game against Barcelona, you have to think that Atletico’s regular starters will be more tired than Valencia’s.

Given the above, Los Colchoneros will either field a very tired 11 or, more likely, a mixture of tired starters and backup players.

With surely a few tired players on show, Atletico might be happy to just win 1-0.

Valencia could, of course, even take advantage of slightly fresher legs and sneak a draw but, more likely, a few tired Atletico legs might just take that 1-0 win.

Suggested bet: Under 2.5 goals (2.16)

As mentioned in the handicap bet reasoning, there could be some tired legs on show for the home side, but Atletico have kept clean sheets and won 1-0 in similar circumstances before.

The Valencia coach, Pizzi, is not known to be adventurous in away games and his side struggle to score goals.

The current aggregate score is 1-1, which is enough to take a side that has the best defence in Spain through to the next round.

a 1-0 or 2-0 Atletico Madrid win seems more likely than a high scoring win given potential tiredness.

Athletic Bilbao v Real Betis

Suggested bet: Over 2.5 goals (1.73)

There should have been 4 or 5 goals in the first leg, with Athletic missing some great chances, but Betis winning 1-0.

Athletic, despite drawing a blank away to Real Sociedad, and in Seville, can score a few at the new (when can I stop calling it ‘New?’) San Mames, as evidenced in their 6-1 defeat of Almeria on Saturday.

I should think that Athletic will field a near or full strength team, as the Copa is a winnable target for them.

After their first leg frustration, Athletic should go for it from the off, so things like over 1,1.5 first half goal line, goal before 30:00 and over 1 first half goal line should be strongly considered by bettors.

Despite the new ground to factor in, Betis have won and scored a few in Bilbao before, and our boy Ruben Castro (and Molina) might just able to notch again.

In conclusion, Athletic may win 3 or 4-1, but I think it’s a great shot for over 2.5 goals.

Osasuna v Real Madrid

Suggested bet: Osasuna + 1.5 Asian line (1.91)

Ronaldo will likely not play after his award victory

Real Madrid have, by their standards, been unimpressive recently, particularly in away games.

Los Blancos often struggle in Pamplona, having to come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with a ten man Osasuna side a couple of months back. Last season, in the league, Real drew 0-0 here.

Osasuna hate Madrid and their partisan crowd, which is close to the pitch, seems to spur them on in these clashes.

Barcelona also often struggle against Osasuna in Pamplona, drawing 0-0 a few weeks ago.

Real Madrid are 2-0 up on aggregate, so they don’t even need to win this tie.

If Osasuna have to attack because they are 2-0 down, this could open the counter for Real Madrid, so this is the main risk in this bet.

But Real Madrid may field a weakened side, and if the full strength 11 struggles here and the backups don’t even need to win, this bet is the correct tactical play – win or lose.

Of course, it’s wise to wait for the Real Madrid 11, but you risk losing the price on this bet.

Getafe v Barcelona

Suggested bet: Getafe + 1.75 Asian Handicap (1.91)

The first leg ended 4-0, so unless Barca are giving Messi a run out at the Alfonso Perez, they should field a weakened team, certainly when you also factor in that the Catalans best 11 must be cream-crackered after playing Atletico in Madrid.

Getafe have beaten Barca here before, so a win on the night against a presumed weakened Barca side is not out of the question.

At 4-0, Barca don’t even need to win on the night, while a one goal margin win is enough for the club to be happy.

Tuesday’s Copa del Rey bets

8 Jan

COPADELREY

Stake sizes are 1.5 units for ‘worth a punt’ bets and 0.5 for ‘worth a small punt.’ If you opt to follow these bets and the staking scheme, choose how much a unit means to you, and only ever bet what you can afford to lose.

Good luck!

Alcorcon v Espanyol

-In their last 9 home games, Alcorcon have only won 1.
-Alcorcon have not won a home game since September 2013.
-Alcorcon have lost 2 of their last 3 at home.
-The Espanyol coach, displeased with the loss at Osasuna, says he’ll field an unchanged side.

Worth a punt: Espanyol draw no bet (1.7)

Worth a small punt Copa del Rey treble:

Over 1.5/2 goal line in Alcocron v Espanyol
-Over 2 goaline in Betis v Athletic Bilbao
-Over 2.5 Barcelona team goals v Getafe

3.05 price

Saturday’s La Liga Betting Previews – 04/01/14

24 Dec

First of all, Happy New Year to you all! Secondly, please take note of my new points scheme, which is detailed in my (restarted) La Liga record.

Malaga v Atletico Madrid

I’m a little spooked by this one! Of course, given that Los Colchoneros are now realistic title contenders, we expect them to win virtually every game, just like Real Madrid and Barcelona. However, Atletico will miss key midfielder Gabi, with back-up Raul Garica also suspended and fellow midfielder Suarez likely to miss out through injury.

Atletico do still have Koke – who is more of a creative player than those listed above – but their midfield lacks the ‘steel’ it usually has and I’m concerned. Perhaps I’m being overcautious, but when Atletico have dropped points in 2013/14, it’s been after a break from La Liga action.

Now, I’m not saying that Malaga are going to win or even draw this game, but the Anchovies have been in good recent form – undefeated in 5 combined league and cup games – and, put off an Atletico win at 1.53, a -1 handicap or even a HT/FT (maybe they start slow after the festive break, and sometimes Draw/Atletico is a winner in their road games), I’ve opted for a goals related bet.

It should be noted that the last two head to head matches played between Malaga and Atletico at La Rosaleda both ended in 0-0 draws, but the Anchovies have conceded 12 goals in their last five home games (this includes a cup tie) and, missing midfielders or not, the ultra-confident 2013/14 Atletico Madrid should be able to get two goals.

Recommendation: Over 1.5 Atletico team goals (1.73)

Valladolid v Real Betis

Well, first of all, let me point out that I won’t bet on this game as a Betis fan – I expect them to get relegated but pray that they don’t and won’t bet against this hope.

Statistically, my beloved Betis haven’t won a league game in over 3 months, which suggests your best bet is Valladolid draw no bet at 1.73. I’m not going to count this pick in my betting records because I’m not overly confident, but – on paper – it looks like the best and most sensible offering I can give you.

However, over 2.5 goals should also be seriously considered as 4 out of the last 5 Valladolid home games have contained 3 goals or more, with the last 5 Betis away games the same.

Indeed, as I write these very words, over 2.5 sits best with me after looking at the stats, but I’ll leave you to choose on this one. Good luck, whatever you go with.

Valencia v Levante

I find Valencia quite hard to judge right now, mainly because their league results have been poor, but also because Los Che recently sacked their manager, Djukic, after the chairman stated – on Sky TV – that the Serbian’s services were certain to be retained until the end of the season, whatever the clubs results. There is also talk of a January takeover of the club. So, in short, the club is a mess right now.

Of course, Valencia played very well in defeat to Real Madrid last time out, but I fear using this as a barometer of their form since parting ways with Djukic, simply because pretty much every La Liga team raises their game when Los Blancos come to town.

All in all, if we consider that the last three matches between Valencia and Levante have resulted in two draws and a win for Levante, factor in the general uncertainty and lack of stability at Valencia and add Los Che’s shaky league form to my opinion that Valencia have weakened in terms of playing personnel more than Levante have since the two sides last met, giving the away side a handicap start in this derby game looks like the bet to take this time.

Indeed, if we dismiss their opening day 7-0 ‘given up before a ball has been kicked’ drubbing away to Barca, Levante – who have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 4 of their 2013/14 La Liga away games – have otherwise not been beaten by more than a goal on the road this season.

Worth a punt: Levante + 1.25 Asian handicap (1.9)

Almeria v Granada

Short preview here, and while this isn’t a given and low stakes are advised, Almeria have only won 1 La Liga home game this season, while Granada have recorded victory in 3 of their last 4 (league) road games, with a defeat to Barca the blemish in those 4.

Almeria’s top scorer, Rodri, is also likely to miss this game through injury.

Worth a small punt: Granada + 0.25 Asian handicap (1.85)

Saturday’s La Liga Betting Previews – 21/12/13

20 Dec

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Villarreal (1.91) v Sevilla (4.4)

In terms of team news, Villarreal will again miss key midfielder Cani, but their other key player, Bruno, is back from suspension to bring his all round game to the Yellow Submarines midfield.

Sevilla should be without left-back Moreno, who’s been in good form recently, through injury. M’Bia also misses out through suspension.

Sevilla should be extra motivated to go for the win after their shocking midweek home loss to Racing Santander but, most notably, both teams have scored in 7/9 Villarreal home games and all 6 of Sevilla’s last 6 away.

Emery’s boys, after going most of the calender year without a league away win, have won their last 2 away games.

If we consider that Villarreal have only lost once at home and combine it with Sevilla’s improved form and the stats above, it sounds a score a draw to me.

BTTS also has a strong history in this fixture, though, so I’ll stick with that.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (1.8)

Betis (1.8) v Almeria (5)

Well, the new manager effect didn’t help Betis in their 5-1 defeat away to Real Sociedad last weekend and, as such, you’d be brave to back them at an odds-on price today, particularly when we consider that they’re without a league win in nearly 3 months!

On the other hand, Almeria struggle to score goals and are hard to back.

Both teams to score has won in 2 of the last 3 Betis home games and 2 out of the last three Almeria away, so that bet, priced at 1.78, has enough merit for a punt, but not a big one.

I will abstain from betting on this game as a Betis fan (told you we’d struggle and possibly get relegated at the start of the season!), but with Almeria having won 2 out of their last three away games and Betis win troubles mentioned earlier, I also offer a pick for the handicap bettors.

Lastly, if Rodri is not cleared fit to play and does not start for Almeria, the BTTS bet loses a little appeal, so I’d suggest you wait for the starting lineups before placing a bet – unless you get with the handicap offering now.

Worth a punt: Both teams to score (1.78)


Worth a punt on the Asian line: Almeria + 0.75 (1.96)

Atletico Madrid (1.17) v Levante (23)

Atletico, who have the same number of points and goal difference that Barcelona do, are imperious at home and rarely concede. They also rested pretty much all of their best eleven in the Copa del Rey midweek.

In terms of suitable bet choices, Atleti – 2 AH is 1.75, HT/FT 1.55, to win to nil 1.67 and to score in both halves is 1.67.

Los Colchoneros to score over 2.5 goals is, however, more attractive pricewise and very much plausible.

Recommendation for the goal bettor: Total Atletico goals over 2.5 (1.85)

Recommendation for the Asian handicap punter: Atletico – 2 (1.75)

Granada (2.63) v Real Sociedad (3.0)

Both teams have scored in 4 of the last 5 head to head clashes between these two, with BTTS also a winner in the last three Granada home games and Real Sociedad’s last 4 away.

In terms of the match result, Granada have lost 3 of their last 4 at home and 6/8 in total. La Real, on the other hand, have won 2 of their last 4 away – at Espanyol and Valencia, lost at Real Madrid and drawn with Valladolid.

The Basques have improved recently and should benefit from being out of the Champions League, but the Granada players have spoken of how they can’t wait for Saturday and are determined to put on a performance and win in front of their fans after a cup loss to a lesser team midweek.

That’s put me off going for Real Sociedad draw no bet at 2.1, but we can have a small tickle on the BTTS and La Real to win.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (1.85)


Worth a punt: Both teams to score and Real Sociedad to win (4.5)

As always, I hope my thoughts are of use to you when choosing which bets to take. Thanks for reading, sharing and re-tweeting, and good luck.

JC

Elche v Malaga – Betting Preview & Pick

20 Dec

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Elche (2.3) v Malaga (3.5)

With 5/8 Elche home games containing 2 goals or less and exactly the same statistics applicable to Malaga’s away games, under 2.5 goals springs to mind, but a best price of 1.62 is not enough to interest me.

As for 90 minute betting, Elche have lost 3 out of their last 4 home games, while Malaga have yet to win a league road game this season. Maybe a draw at 12/5, then?

In terms of who Elche have been defeated by at home, Villarreal, Atletico Madrid, Granada and Real Madrid are the victors in question – all teams who are superior offensively and overall, though only just in Granada’s case.

At home, Elche have beaten Valencia and Espanyol, with a draw against Real Sociedad earned in their first home game a few months back.

Now, I don’t see Malaga being as good or better than any of those, and as Elche draw no bet is a bit short to recommend at 1.62, feel that Elche – 0.25 at evens looks like the best bet if you’re looking for a punt around 2.0.

However, in a late edit, if you haven’t yet placed a bet, I’ve noticed that one firm now offers 1.78 on Elche draw no bet, which is bigger than the others (most are between 1.62 and 1.67) and my new recommended bet.

Of course, thanks for reading and good luck, whatever you bet on.

La Liga betting previews: 13-15 Dec 2013

12 Dec

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Levante v Elche

Levante (7/5) had a strange habit of picking up away wins, but have now lost five league games in a row, only scoring in one of them. They didn’t score many to begin with, but have a lot of players injured. El Zhar is, however, fit, half useful and represents their best chances of a goal.

Elche (11/4) should miss the also half useful del Moral, but Boakye is more key, and the promoted side will travel to Levante with confidence after coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Villarreal in the Copa del Rey recently. In the league, Elche are in better form compared to Levante, with losses to Atletico (expected) and Villarreal (close game with a late winner), a defeat of Valencia and a draw with Getafe making up their last five league games.

All in all, if you’re going to bet on this game then you surely have to oppose the home team, particularly as Elche have draw two and won two in their last four league away games.

However, with only a 4/6 best price about the double chance and with draw no bet 6/4, I instead opt for a small punt on the straight Elche win. Take Elche draw no bet if you want a safer option. Finally, worth noting for the in-play bettor is that Elche are very good at coming from behind.

Worth a punt: Elche (11/4)

Osasuna v Real Madrid

Osasuna (12/1) away is usually a tough fixture for Real Madrid (1/4), indeed one they’ve only won twice in the last five years, including a 0-0 draw last season. Now, given that Los Blancos played Champions League midweek, and that Barca were held to a 0-0 draw in Pamplona a few weeks ago, it seems that we have enough reasoning to bet on Osasuna + as much as we can get close to evens. However, I think that Ancelotti’s side is playing well, has too much firepower for Osasuna this time and expect a comfortable away win. Besides, Barca were not playing well at the time of their draw and Levante lost to Almeria in their last home match.

Besides, eager to impress with the FIFA/Ballon d’or/change the rules as you like award coming up soon, Ronaldo will be keen to bag two or more, particularly after his penalty miss in Copenhagen.

Final word, then – If Alonso and Ronaldo start, I say go with over 2.5 total Real Madrid goals (10/11), but If Illaremendi, Jese and Morata start (surely not when experience is required in such a fixture) then attention should be directed to Osasuna + as much as possible.

Rayo v Granada

They didn’t get the win I expected at Betis, but Rayo (11/10) did at least draw 2-2 with the Seville based team in their last leage game – a result that snapped a long losing streak. However, the Rayo coach, Paco Jemez, is still under massive pressure and likely to be the next manager sacked after his Betis counterpart was recently given the boot.

As you’d expect, Barca won 4-0 at home to Granada (3/1) when the the two met at Camp Nou a few weeks ago, but Granada have been strangely more effective on the road than they have been at home this season, recording consecutive wins at Levante and Elche prior to their trip to the Catalan capitol.

In conclusion, if we factor in that Rayo, who drew 0-0 in the cup away to Valladolid midweek, have improved a little with two draws in a row and combine it with the fact that Granada have won two of their last three away games, Granada or the draw seems best. Just better hope Rayo aren’t ready to win again just yet!

Recommendation Granada or draw (10/11)

Barcelona v Villarreal

Well, I had fancied Villarreal + 1.5 Asian line or possibly BTTS since Barcelona (1/3) had lost two games in a row, but the Catalans have since racked up a few in their cup game, put six past Celtic midweek and, with key Villarreal (19/2) players Cani and Bruno listed as injured and suspended respectively, I’ve changed my mind.

Indeed, when their opponents are missing key player(s) through suspension, it usually results in an easy win for Barca as the ‘other’ teams has conceded before a ball’s been kicked. However, if anyone is to score for the Yellow Submarines, it should be Giovani. For my money, I’ll take the home side to score at least three.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 Barcelona team goals (EVS)

Malaga v Getafe

Schuster’s Malaga (11/10) managed to throw a three goal lead away to draw 3-3 at home to Osasuna in their cup fixture, but enjoyed fortune of their own after equalizing with virtually the last kick of the game away to Villarreal in their league game prior to.

In recent away games, Getafe (31/10) drew 1-1 in the cup, were hammered 7-0 at Atletico Madrid in the league, but did win away at Villarreal and Granada.

In conclusion, I’d go with Getafe + 0.5 Asian line at 11/12 on current form, but don’t want to bet on every game and opt to leave this one alone. Besides, it’s on TV in the UK so you can watch and judge in-play.

Almeria v Espanyol

Almeria (7/4) lost to Celta Vigo on the road in their last league game, but did win their first home game of the season prior to a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Real Madrid.

Espanyol (15/8) on the other hand, lost at home to Real Sociedad in their last home game, but did win away at Rayo in the game before.

All in all, I’m tempted by Espanyol, but only like to back them away at 5/2 or better and opt not to bet on this game.

Real Sociedad v Real Betis

La Real concluded their non existent Champions League campaign with yet another loss, this time at home to Bayer Leverkusen. A few days earlier, they could only draw 1-1 at Algeciras in the cup. Real Sociedad (3/4) did, however, impress in an away defeat of Espanyol in their last league game.

Betis (4/1) sacked coach Pep Mel after their 2-2 draw with Rayo Vallecano last time out, with Juan Carlos Garrido – formerly of Villarreal – quickly appointed as his successor.

In rapid conclusion, just like La Real’s win at Espanyol, styles make fights and Betis have drawn their last two fixtures at San Sebastian. For my money, with Ruben Castro back and the never oppose a new coach in his first league game rule that I have, Betis to avoid defeat is my pick. For those who like such markets, I would also expect BTTS and over 2.5 goals to be winners.

Recommendation: Betis or draw (6/5)

Sevilla v Athletic Bilbao

Sevilla (11/10) defeated Granada 2-1 on the road in their last league game, and also won 1-0 away to Racing Santander in the cup a few days later.

Of course, with Muniain scoring the only goal of the game, Athletic Bilbao (3/1) beat Barca at the new San Mames last time out.

In conclusion, I’d love to go with BTTS – a consistent winner in Sevilla home games – but it’s only 13/20. Instead, with Sevilla having played an extra game midweek, away to Freiburg in the Europa League, their key midfielder Rakitic set to miss this game through suspension, and Athletic confident after beating Barca and having won here before with similar players, I’ve gone with Athletic not to lose. Over 2.5 goals should also be a winner.

Recommendation: Athletic + 0.5 Asian line (13/14)

Atletico Madrid v Valencia

Right, this is the last one, I’m tired and want to go to bed! Nothing is impossible, but I can’t see anything other than a home win here. Atleti HT/FT is a constant winner in their home games, as is over 2.5 goals. Both bets come with bigger prices than normal.

For a longshot anytime scorer bet, Jonas – who scored a hat-trick for Valenca in their 3-0 defeat of Osasuna – is priced at 9/2.

Recommendation: Atletico HT/FT (EVS) and over 2.5 goals (4/5)

Take note that although I work for a bookmaker, this is a personal blog written in my own time with no affiliation. All prices, correct at the time of going to press, are the best market prices available.

Anyway, thanks for reading and good luck with your bets.

Saturday’s La Liga Betting Previews – 30/11/13

28 Nov

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Elche v Atletico Madrid, 15:00

Elche (6/1) were outplayed by Valencia in the first half of their meeting at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero last weekend, but eventually won 2-1. It was fair victory, all in all, with their goals scored by Fidel and Herrera.

After a slow start in which Getafe had played well, Atletico (1/2) matched their all time record score on home soil by winning 7-0 at the Vicente Calderon. It must be said that the Azulones being reduced to ten men at the end of the first half was a large factor in the scoreline, but Garcia (2), Villa (2), Costa and Adrian – the Atletico scorers – wouldn’t have had a problem with this. The other goal, which was the second of the game, was scored by Getafe’s Lopo!

In conclusion, nearly all of Atletico’s key players were rested for the midweek 1-1 draw with Zenit in St Petersburg, but one or two defenders may have tired legs and rather than go with the double result of Atletico/Atletico, I’ve opted for Los Colchoneros to score over 1.5 total goals.I do have slight fear of Atleti winning 1-0 as Elche have lost 1-0 at home a few times, but with the confidence the Atleti attackers have they should be able to get at least two goals.

Recommendation: Over 1.5 Atletico total goals (3/4)

Celta Vigo v Almeria, 17:00

Through a Rafinha brace and Lopez strike, Luis Enrique’s boys took a 3-1 lead away to Real Sociedad last weekend. However, later reduced to ten men, Celta Vigo (10/11) capitulated to lose 4-3.

Almeria (3/1) were trounced 5-0 at home to Real Madrid last weekend – their third loss in four home games.

In conclusion, Celta are the better team and should be able to outscore Almeria, but then the side from Vigo have not even won a game on home soil this season and have lost four times in a row. Almeria, meanwhile, as poor of an excuse for a team that they are, have won two of their last three away games, including a 2-1 victory at Valencia.

Anything is possible in today’s game, but I’m not backing a team that hasn’t won at home at an odds-on price.

Recommendation: Double Chance – Almeria or Draw (17/20)

Real Madrid v Valladolid, 19:00 – live on Sky Sports 2

With Ronaldo opening the scoring after only two minutes, Real Madrid (1/7) went on to defeat Almeria 5-0 on their own turf last weekend. As well as Morata and Isco, Bale and Benzema each scored.

They were somewhat unlucky to do so, but Valladolid (14/1) lost 1-0 at home to Osasuna last time out.

In conclusion, Ronaldo may not play and that could reduce the goal count, but Los Blancos have enough firepower without him and this is always a high scoring fixture in which both teams score and Madrid win.

Recommendations: Over 3.5 total Real Madrid goals (13/10) and Match Result and Both Teams to Score – Real Madrid (also 13/10)

Espanyol v Real Sociedad, 21:00 – live on Sky Sports 2

They were aided by a red card, but Espanyol (5/4) shook off a losing streak to win 4-1 at crisis club Rayo last weekend. Stuani netted once, while Sergio Garcia recorded a rare hat-trick.

Like half of the league last weekend, Real Sociedad (11/5) benefited from a red card in winning their fixture – 4-3 at home to Celta Vigo. The star of the show was Vela, who scored four times.

In conclusion, I don’t trust Espanyol to beat Real Sociedad but do fancy both teams to score. However, the stats aren’t good for it when we look at recent Espanyol home games – and some of the La Real players that should take to the field against Espanyol played in the Basque clubs midweek drubbing in Ukraine. No bet for me, though I might change my mind once in receipt of the lineups.

Good luck with whatever you choose to bet on, and thanks for reading.

All prices are courtesy of my employer, William Hill.

Friday’s La Liga Betting Previews – 29/11/13

28 Nov

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Getafe v Levante, 19:00

Madrid based Getafe (19/20) were slaughtered by their neighbours Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon last weekend, eventually losing 7-0. For sure, being reduced to ten men in the fist half allowed Atleti to run up the score, but this result still demonstrates the ever growing gap between the top teams and the rest in La Liga.

Levante (16/5), who gain better results on the road than they do at home, lost 3-0 at home to high-flying Villarreal in their last match. Not unexpected and they were outplayed by a better attacking team, but having a player sent off after ten minutes with the score 0-0 was only going to lead to one outcome.

Now, there isn’t a lot of difference between Getafe and Levante in playing terms, so the former should win given home advantage. However, such an assumption doesn’t, generally, pay out as much as it used to and I’m more interested in opposing this theory with 2013/14 producing a vast increase in the amount of away wins amongst fairly evenly matched teams.

In their respective last four home and away games, Getafe have won one, lost two and drawn one, while Levante have won two, drawn one and lost one. Head to head, we’ve seen a win for each team and two draws in the last four matches, with Levante drawing at home but winning away in 2012/13. I’ll be happy if Levante can just avoid defeat this time.

Recommendation: Double chance – Levante or Draw (5/6)

Villarreal v Malaga, 21:00

The team dubbed ‘The Yellow Submarines’ continued their excellent start to the season by beating Levante 3-0 on the road last weekend. Bruno opened the scoring for Villarreal (11/20), with Uche later adding a brace to seal the points. It must be noted, however, that Levante played 80 minutes with only ten men after an early red card.

Bernd Schuster’s Malaga(5/1) lost for the second time in a row, this time 2-1 at home to Athletic Bilbao. Through Juanmi’s first half header, Malaga led at the break but conceded a header their selves to see Athletic draw level in the second half, before Portillo saw red and the Basques eventually grabbed the win.

All in all, I’d expect Villarreal to defeat Malaga at El Madrigal, but their price is too short by my calculations. The last time this situation arose – against Getafe – 4/7 shot Villarreal had a player sent off and lost 2-0. Instead of opposing Villarreal I bet on over 2.5 goals – cashing out for a tiny loss when the home side were reduced to ten men and a goal down.

Perhaps Marcelino’s side – who’ve only lost once at home this season but have not won in two games there – will get the win in a similar situation this time, but Malaga have drawn four of their last six away games and I’m going to take a chance they can avoid defeat on Friday.

Recommendation Malaga + 1 goal (11/8)

All prices are courtesy of my employer, William Hill, and are correct as of 18:45 GMT 27/11/13.

Friday’s La Liga preview: New manager changes everything!

13 Feb

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Sevilla v Deportivo La Coruna

Losing their fourth game in a row, Deportivo were defeated 3-0 by Granada at the Riazor last weekend – a result that led to coach Domingos parting company with the Galician club.

Manu del Moral scored a late goal for Sevilla at the Bernabeu last Saturday evening, but it was in vain as the Rojiblancos lost 4-1 to a Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid.

In today’s match, I was all set to punt on Sevilla HT/FT at 2.3, only to later learn that Domingos had left Deportivo after only a few weeks in the job.

Of course, as regular readers will know, I won’t oppose a new boss in his first game and am therefore now without a bet.

Priced at 1.85, Deportivo + 1.5 fits my scheme. But I’m not sure if I want to follow it this time as three different Depor managers in six weeks is unchartered territory for this column!

Instead, over 2.5 goals could be a runner as Sevilla usually get a couple at home and Depor have scorer options like Riki.

However, at 1.73 the bet is a little shorter than it should be – and games between Sevilla and Deportivo at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan have gone under 2.5 for many years.

So, I’m going to either make a late decision on Depor + 1.5 when I’ve seen the team sheets, bet in-play or not at all!

Good luck if you’re punting pre-match.

Wednesday’s Copa del Rey previews: 2012/13 – 16th January

16 Jan

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Real Zaragoza v Sevilla

Click for projected Marca line-ups

-Zaragoza, who’ve won only three home La Liga games in 2012/13, defeated Sevilla 2-1 at La Romareda when the two last met earlier this season.

-However, in contrast to their league fortunes on home soil, Zara have won each home leg of the two cup rounds they’ve played so far, beating Granada 1-0 and Levante 2-0.

– With a solitary win, three draws and six defeats on their league travels this season, Sevilla have so far proved to be a terrible road team.

-Like their hosts today, though, Sevilla have been the opposite of their league away form when competing in the cup, winning both away legs; 3-0 at Espanyol and 5-0 at Mallorca.

-Each team has traded wins in recent head to head matchups – with no draws for several years.

Conclusion:

Both teams to score was going to be my pick and should still be a decent bet at 1.91, but Sevilla have a new boss in Unai Emery, and as I don’t oppose new coaches in their first game as a betting principle because of the immediate momentum change it often brings to a losing team, I’ve taken a chance on Sevilla draw no bet at 1.91. Only for small stakes, mind.

Admittedly, I’m less keen to utilize this principle in an away game, particularly a cup fixture in which a team has had little time to adapt to the tactics of it’s new boss. But as it is a principle, I’d better stick to it!

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Barcelona v Malaga

Click for projected Marca line-ups

-As expected and as they always have done in recent years, Barca easily defeated Malaga at La Rosaleda in La Liga round nineteen last weekend.

-Barca will rest several first team players for this game. David Villa, now injured, is one of them.

-It is not clear if Messi will start at time of writing (probably won’t be until close to kick off when we know for sure).

-Malaga will likely also rest a few first team players.

-Little needs to be said about Barca – league or cup, home or away, regular starters missing or not – they just keep winning.

-Malaga, however, have so far failed to impress in the 2012/13 Copa del Rey – scraping past lowly Cacereno on away goals and relying on four late goals to defeat Eibar when on the verge of exiting the competition.

-The Anchovies have at least managed to score in both away legs of the two cup rounds they’ve played.

-Both teams have scored in the last six head to head matchups between these two.

Conclusion:

With Barca virtually guaranteed to rest a few of their stars and strong statistical backup I want to bet on and recommend both teams to score at 2.05. However, I really need to see how strong a starting eleven Anchovies boss Pellegrini opts to field before I can fully decide. The goal count, after all, could be heavily affected by this – it’s not Cordoba travelling to Camp Nou again.

Another angle is that if Messi doesn’t start and Malaga do field a near full strength side, then maybe, just maybe the visitors can cover a + 2.25 Asian handicap. I await team confirmation!

Edit: Barca rest a few players but Messi starts. Malaga rest several players – including Toulalan, Joaquin and Isco.

Therefore, while I obviously cannot rule out both teams scoring, BTTS doesn’t look like a strong bet on paper with Malaga missing so many attackers. Toulalan’s ability to marshal the Malaga midfield should prove to be a big loss too.

I’ve opted to bet on the goals bet listed beneath, but if you prefer a punt that’ll last the full match I’ve offered the logical choice below – pity it isn’t – 2 AH at 1.91. Barca should be able to cover three goals, though.

Recommendations: Barca – 2.25 AH at 1.92 and/or over 1.5 first half goals at 1.83

Friday’s La Liga preview: 2012/13 – round 20 – Espanyol v Mallorca

16 Jan

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Espanyol (16th) v Mallorca (18th)

With Sergio Garcia scoring the only goal of the game, Javier Aguirre’s Espanyol defeated Celta Vigo in Barcelona last weekend. Though Celta had three good chances to score, it was a routine home team wins game – which Espanyol used to be very good at.

Islanders Mallorca lost 3-1 away to Valladolid in their round nineteen clash. Victor was the Barralets scorer. All in all, Valladolid simply had better offensive players but, certainly when you consider that Mallorca’s Nsue had a goal ruled out in injury time, the final score was harsh on Caparros’s Mallorca.

On a head to head basis, matches between Espanyol and Mallorca are usually won by whoever is at home. On the Island, Mallorca won the last meeting 2-1 with Tomer Hemed scoring a brace.

Some strikers score freely against specific teams – and maybe Mallorca’s Israeli forward will net again today – but Hemed has not been in goalscoring form recently. His team, however, have scored in each of their last two league away games – one of them a surprising 2-1 defeat of Betis in Seville before the holiday break.

Given that Espanyol have scored in recent home games, then, it’s fair to say that the both teams to score bet has a strong chance of winning. However, Espanyol won this fixture 1-0 in 2012/12 La Liga and have won their last two home games to nil in 2012/13.

Therefore, in deciding on my recommendation, I’ve decided that a home win is the best bet on paper – particularly when you consider that Aguirre has not yet lost at El Prat since taking the reins.

Recommendation: Espanyol (2.0)

Sunday’s La Liga previews: 2012/13 – round 1

17 Aug

Athletic Bilbao vs Real Betis

After a long, tiring season with little squad rotation, Bielsa’s boys were outclassed and soundly beaten in both the Copa del Rey and Europa League finals in 2011/12. Los Leones did at least ensure another Europa League slot for the 2012/13 tourney by virtue of the fact that Barca had already qualified for the Champions League, but they’ll do well to repeat last season’s heroics.

In strengthening their squad, Athletic have re-signed two former players in Artiz Aduriz and Ismael Lopez. Both were intended as cover – for Llorente and Muniain respectively – but the former will become first choice if Llorente leaves, while the latter is highly likely to start against Betis with Muniain listed as doubtful due to injury

Llorente, as I expect most of you will know, has refused to sign a new contract and though the club say he won’t leave before his current deal expires at the end of this season unless his release clause is met (over 30 million euro’s), there remains a good chance that he will.

Whether Llorente plays out the season or not, what we can be sure about is that he’s a model professional and proud Basque. Like every player, though, he wants to play in the Champions League and win trophies.

Betis managed to top the La Liga standings for a few weeks in 2011/12, but suffered a bad run of form before recovering to finish clear of relegation with a few games to play. Pepe Mel’s charges, at times, provided great entertainment and were seconds away from defeating Barcelona in their final game of the campaign.

Sadly, the loan of Roque Santa Cruz has not been made permanent, while Jefferson Montero has decided to ply his trade in Mexico. Though he may not start in today’s game, Joel Campbell has signed on loan for Betis from Arsenal. Further depth was added with acquisition of Salvador Agra – a stocky wide player who could well prove to be a steal for his small transfer fee.

With talk abound that Athletic will try and sign Basque born Betis midfielder Benat should defender/midfielder Javi Martinez leave (which looks highly likely at the time of writing) for Bayern Munich, the midfielder may look to impress when he visits San Mames to play against his potential suitors.

Benat, who has now been capped at international level, scored four free kicks last year and I wouldn’t bet against him netting another in Bilbao. What I’ve long since convinced myself to bet on, though, is Ruben Castro anytime.

Scoring 16 goals in 34 league games, 7 of them game winners, the skilful Ruben Castro met his own expectations of netting 15 Liga BBVA goals and a had a tremendous season for the Andalusian club. He, along with Benat, are key players and vital to the success of their team.

From a seasonal perspective, the success of both clubs depends on injuries to key players and personnel changes, with resulting morale and collective squad confidence problems that often follow always a possibility.

There are no good bets to be had on ante post unless you back Athletic to finish with less points than they did last season, but I fancy a punt on an upset today.

San Mames is a hard place to win at for sure, but uncertainty at the club with regards to Martinez and Llorente, coupled with the injury to Muniain and the fact that Betis twice defeated Athletic last season makes me think that this is worth a pop.

Recommendation: Betis (7/2)

Worth a small punt: Ruben Castro anytime (5/2)

Real Madrid vs Valencia

With the needless purchase of Luca Modric on the cards and a bench already packed full of talent, Real Madrid really don’t need to sign anybody else. However, should- as expected – Sahin leave and Kaka go with him if the pre-mentioned Tottenham Hotspur player does sign for Los Blancos, then maybe they do need a new midfielder after all!

In any event, Real overcame their mental hurdle of beating Pep’s Barca in 90 minutes to all but seal their Primera Liga title in 2011/12 and will be flowing with confidence to retain Spanish football’s top prize as a result.

I’m not betting on them as the price is too short at 9/10, but I do agree with the bookies and think that Real will edge out Barca in a close title race. Most likely it’ll come down to the Clasico’s. Real made great progress in those last season – as you’ll know.

Valencia, who lost Jordi Alba to Barca, have, as usual, made some good signings in Portuguese national team right back Joao Pereira, Mexican international wideman Guardado and Argentinean midfielder Gago.

Jonathan Viera – who was a vital player at Las Palmas in 2011/12 – has also signed a long term contract with the club, while the loan deal of Sergio Canales has been made permanent. Of course, if he does well Real Madrid will buy him back, but it’s good news for Valencia short term and the young Spaniard’s signings compliments the equivalent of an A- in NFL draft terms.

My only worry for Los Che is that defensive midfielder Topal, whom Banega said he felt comfortable playing in front of, has not been adequately replaced. Gago, who had a good season at Roma last year, is like Banega in playing style but not as skilful and a lesser player than his younger compatriot in my opinion.

Perhaps new boss Pellegrino will look to high percentages of possession to try and counter the lack of steel, dynamism and general endurance lost with Topal’s departure. We’ll have to wait and see, but I think they need a ‘minder’ to compliment one of the two Argentines. Certainly when you consider that Banega is often injured (he won’t play today) and really, really, shouldn’t allowed to drive a car (look it up)!

Valencia will finish third or fourth in 2012/13 and are attractively priced in the ante post betting offering such eventualities. In the without Real and Barca betting market, Valencia are priced at 5/2. Considering that they’ve finished third three seasons in a row and have made some good singings, particularly in wide areas, that look like a good bet.

What I would certainly recommend you do is to back Valencia to finish in the top four at 11/10. Atletico Madrid could pip them to third place as the league is their focus this season, but I can’t see any other opposition to these two finishing in third and fourth in any order.

At the Bernabeu, recent clashes between Real Madrid and Valencia have been low scoring affairs, with the 2011/12 game ending 0-0. Be it due to injury, suspension or simply because he fell out with his boss, Soldado often misses Real – Valencia games and will likely do so again today.

In conclusion, I think that Valencia are due a comfortable defeat away to Real and have gone against the stats by betting on over 3.5 match goals at 11/10.

Recommendation: Over 3.5 goals (11/10)

Seasonal recommendation: Valencia to finish in the top four (11/10)

Barcelona vs Real Sociedad

As discussed at the end of last season, new Barca boss Tito Vilanova will continue the clubs traditions and playing philosophies after the departure of Pep Guardiola, with the only notable addition to the playing squad being attacking left back Jordi Alba – signed from Valencia.

However, the return of David Villa should feel like a new signing given how badly he was missed in the goalscoring stakes last season. Considering the teams reliance on Messi and his mouth watering tally of 50 league goals last season, add a potential 25 for an injury free Villa in 2012/13 and you can see why I’m just not betting on the title race pre-season!

Keita has departed and Barca, with limited spending power, will look to replace him before the transfer window closes. Otherwise there’s little to write about other than that Barca will, obviously, expect to win every competition they enter.

Sociedad won’t expect to win anything, just content to survive another season in the top flight. But with Carlos Vela’s loan move being made permanent and the Basque’s also bringing in Chori Castro to compliment Griezmann and Prieto, ambitions should be raised.

Indeed, I think that Sociedad might be able to snare the final Europa league slot should they not suffer from too many injuries and, crucially, not lose interest once avoiding relegation is certain.

Despite an attractive line of attackers, there’s every chance that Sociedad will put ten men behind the ball and look to break and counter attack Barca when they don’t have 85% possession of the ball!

Nevertheless, I’ve opted to bet on goals in this game with over 3.5 the mark at 5/6. Hopefully Sociedad can get one of them, but so long as there are four or more in total I won’t complain – it’s a long season.

As is customary and part of the fun I have in betting (I expect the main bet, which is for a larger amount, to win and comfortably cover this type) comes from backing anytime scorers at inflated prices.

A lot of these bets fail, but it sure feels sweet when they win! Find mine dubbed as ‘worth a small punt’

Recommendation: Over 3.5 goals (5/6)

Worth a small punt: Vela anytime scorer (8/1)

Seasonal worth a punt: David Villa (14/1) in the without Messi and Ronaldo top scorer betting.

Levante vs Atletico Madrid

Overachieving by finishing sixth in 2011/2, Levante are unlikely to repeat that feat in 2012/13. They say the table doesn’t lie and Levante were, indeed, worthy of their final position, but the sale of Kone –their top scorer – to Wigan Athletic leaves a big gap and they haven’t signed an able replacement. That, for me, makes a big difference and I expect Levante to finish in the bottom half of the table.

Atletico, who finished just above Levante in fifth place, came close to qualifying for the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League but ultimately lost out to Malaga. This season, however, with Malaga’s well documented financial problems I’m very confident that Los Colchoneros will finish in the top four.

Vital in Atletico’s chase for Champions League football will, of course, be Falcao. Despite missing a plethora of easy chances, the Columbian striker still managed to score 24 Primera Liga goals in 2011/12 and further cemented his reputation as a top class marksman with two superb efforts in Atletico’s Europa League triumph over Athletic Bilbao.

Perhaps in part because he didn’t have the right agent, the loan move of Brazilian midfielder Diego wasn’t made permanent. But Atletico – with Arda Turan and returnee’s Raul Garcia and Diego Costa – still have enough creativity to supply Falcao and ensure that the club achieves its seasonal goals.

Defence minded Colchoneros boss Simeone has retained the services of Chelsea goalkeeper Phillip Courtois and further strengthened his backline with the addition of compatriot and former Getafe stopper Cata Diaz. Certainly, the latter – a rugged centre back who doesn’t hold back in his tackles – will suit his bosses playing philosophy and is almost certain to rack up a few yellow’s and the odd red card.

Now I have a feeling that Atleti, having won the Europa League twice in three years, will prioritize their league campaign over the defence of UEFA’s second tier tourney and finish third in the La Liga standings. If Atleti get knocked out of the UEFA early and Valencia enjoy a long campaign in Europe – be it in just the Champions League or Europa as well – the mattress makers of Madrid could capitalise.

However, from a betting perspective I recommend that you back the safer option of a top four finish for Atletico at 11/10. After all, Malaga are selling their best players and the majority of those left want to leave, while Sevilla are not good enough and Athletic Bilbao don’t have a big enough squad and may yet lose Llorente and Martinez.

As for today’s game, well, Levante defeated Atletico in this fixture last season and I correctly predicted it at a 12/5 price, but Levante had Kone then and Atletico had played an extra game in the Europa League days before.

The circumstances made Levante worth a bet last time, but this time it is they who will have to play a Europa League (qualifier) around their league matchup. That, the Kone sale and clear playing squad superiority of Atletico Madrid has led me to back and recommend Loc Colchoneros at a 7/5 price.

Of course, I must point out that Atletico are traditionally slow starters and famed for being great at home yet indifferent away, but Falcao and co churned out several 1-0 away wins last season – particularly in the latter part of it – and should be able to win a tight game at the Ciutat de Valencia today.

Recommendation: Atletico (7/5)

Seasonal recommendation: Atletico to finish in the top 4 at 11/10

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17 Sep

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Eubank Jr. vs Abraham Betting Pick

15 Jul

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Held at London’s Wembley Arena and live on ITV Box Office, Chris Eubank Jr. defends his lightly-regarded IBO super-middleweight title against former two-weight, three-time world champion Arthur Abraham.

Quite honestly, whilst I’d normally write a preview detailing each boxer and their respective careers so far, I’m currently very distracted by the Star Sixes indoor football tournament on Sky Sports (well, Kodi box here), am now watching the England U19 team in a final and the Eubank Jr. v Abraham boxing card starts in 60 minutes, so I’d better just get to the point.

‘King’ Arthur Abraham is a tough man, going the distance in a loss to Carl Froch and even winning with a broken jaw against Edison Miranda, and is also the more experienced fighter at super-middleweight.

Eubank Jr. is a vicious hitter, though, particularly with the uppercut, and with Abraham being well past his prime and bouts more likely, in my opinion, to be stopped by ref’s in Britain than in Germany or certainly USA, a late stoppage win for junior is my fear and worth a small punt at the 13/2 price to happen in rounds 9-12 if you don’t like odds-on bets and prefer a chancier approach.

All in all, however, and with ideal pick over 7.5 total rounds way too short to back, the logical pick is for Eubank Jr. to win on points at a 4/5 best price. Abraham has been stopped once in is pro career, but that was only because his eye had swollen grotesquely shut and the ref had to stop the bout in the second round.

Recommendation: Eubank Jr. to win on points (4/5)

Saturday’s La Liga Betting Previews

14 Dec

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Sporting Gijon v Villarreal: 12:00 – Live on Sky Sports 5

They scored a lovely free-kick with the last kick of the game, but Sporting ultimately lost 2-1 away to Espanyol last weekend to show that their defeat of Osasuna was largely because the Pamplona-based side are the worst team in the Spanish top-flight.

The Yellow Submarines of Villarreal, on the other hand, stunningly destroyed Atletico Madrid 3-0 at El Madrigal in the Monday night fixture. It’s important to say that Atletico played very poorly, but what a result for Villarreal!

With regards to this weekend’s fixture, Villarreal have only won one league away game this season – defeating Malaga 2-0 at La Rosaleda – with four games drawn and two lost, so it’s only prudent to have the draw onside, at least for cover.

Sadly, at a 4/7 price, Villarreal draw no bet is too short priced to be my pick, while you can’t back Sporting + 0.5 since they’ve lost five or their last six competitive games and lie second bottom in the La Liga Primera standings.

Goals wise, Sporting’s last six games have seen three or more goals in each, with one being in the cup, but only three of Villarreal’s last six competitive contests have passed the same mark.

So, not an ideal mix for goals on both sides, but over 2 goal line is the best I can come up with at a 1.75 price if you want a bet.

Recommendation: Over 2 goal line (3/4)

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Atletico Madrid v Las Palmas: Not televised in the UK

Shockingly, Diego Simeone’s Los Colchoneros were beaten 3-0 away to Villarreal last weekend, which makes them sixth in the La Liga Primera standings. Worse still, Atleti’s goalkeeper, Oblak, was injured in the game and will be out of action for 3-4 months.

Las Palmas, for their part, drew 1-1 at home to Leganes last weekend, leading for 75 minutes before conceding a penalty. In all competitions, it was their third score draw in a row.

In conclusion, either the away team on a handicap start basis or over goals look like the best options to choose from as Atleti are not in great form, their second-choice keeper, Moya, is nowhere near as good as Oblak and Las Palmas tend to score and concede in every game.

However, the handicap is Las Palmas + 1.5 at evens, and I was excepting/hoping for + 2, while over 2.5 goals is a too short to back 8/13. Both teams to score, on the other hand, is priced at 11/10.

The problem is that in Atleti’s last six competitive games, both teams haven’t scored once! Specifically at the Vicente Calderon, mind, both teams have scored in 3/6 with Rostov, Malaga and Granada all getting on the scoresheet.

Las Palmas have scored and conceded away to Valencia, Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Sevilla, whilst they did the same at home to Real Madrid, so I’ll take a leap of faith with BTTS.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (11/10)

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Granada v Real Sociedad: 17:30 – Live on Sky Sports 5

They benefitted from two ruled out Malaga goals and really should have lost on the balance of play, but Granada drew 1-1 away to the Anchovies to make it three competitive games without defeat.

The, apart from losing 5-1 away to Deportivo, in-form Real Sociedad got back to winning ways by defeating relegation-threatened Valencia 3-2 at San Sebastian last weekend.

In conclusion, after defeating Sevilla 2-1 to earn their first league win of the season, Granada have form and confidence on their side. It’s largely the same for Real Sociedad too, but that 5-1 defeat at the Riazor, coupled with both teams having scored in five of the last six competitive games each has played, makes goals look like the best option.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (5/6)

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Sevilla v Malaga: 19:45 – Live on Sky Sports 5

Very impressively with second-half sub Vicente Iborra scoring a hat-trick, Sevilla defeated Celta 3-0 in Vigo last weekend and currently occupy third place in the La Liga standings.

Malaga, meanwhile, had two goals ruled out – one in injury time – and can consider themselves very unlucky not to have beaten Granada at La Rosaleda last weekend.

All in all, I want to recommend a home win as Sevilla have won every league game they’ve played at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan besides against Barca, but Sevilla’s 1/2 price doesn’t give enough respect to Malaga.

Instead, with five of the last six Malaga La Liga games seeing both teams score and the same mark applying to Sevilla’s recent league exploits, BTTS and Sevilla to win looks like the best bet as BTTS is only priced around 8/11 as a single and over 2.5 goals is 7/10 at best.

Recommendation: Sevilla to win and both teams to score (21/10)

Sunday’s La Liga Betting Previews

14 Dec

eibar

Leganes v Eibar: 15:15 – Live on Sky Sports 5

Madrid-based Leganes drew their first league road game of the season after a penalty earned them a 1-1 draw in Las Palmas. Basque side Eibar, meanwhile, also drew their round 15 fixture, 0-0 at home to Alaves.

A draw this weekend, then? Well, it’s very possible, but I like to bet on the side of the handicap that covers such an eventuality. Sadly, however, both teams are priced around 4/6 on a + 0.25 Asian handicap basis!

I just don’t bet on draws – unless it’s an end of season game and a share of the spoils suits each team. Instead, you could argue that as there’s been over 2.5 goals in three of the last six competitive games both Leganes and Eibar have played, anything above evens offers value on three goals or more – and you can get a juicy 27/20 about that – but this game could just as easily be 0-0, 1-0, 0-1 or 1-1. Up to you, but no bet here.

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Deportivo La Coruna v Osasuna: 17:30 – Live on Sky Sports 5

Through a brace from substitute Joselu, they were actually leading until the 84th minute, but plucky Deportivo eventually lost 3-2 to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last Saturday.

Largely because Barca kept missing clear-cut chances, Joaquin Caparros’ Osasuna held the Catalan side for nearly an hour of their round 15 clash in Pamplona, and a 0-0 did not look out of the question, but Messi scored and Enrique’s boys ran out 3-0 winners.

In conclusion, Osasuna have lost their last six competitive games and are, surely, the worst team in La Liga Primera. As such, we should back Depor, but then their 8/13 price, in my book, is too short for a team that’s only won one of their last nine games – that 5-1 at home to Real Sociedad.

As is often the theme, goals are next on my radar and since the last seven Depor league games have resulted in both teams scoring at least once each, BTTS Yes is a runner.

However, Osasuna have only scored once in their last six competitive games. Caparros’ boys have conceded at least twice in each of their last four league games, though, while Depor have scored two or more in their last four La Liga fixtures, so the Northern side to score over 1.5 team goals at a more agreeable 4/5 it is.

Recommendation: Over 1.5 Deportivo team goals (4/5)

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Barcelona v Espanyol: 19:45 – Live on Sky Sports 1

As mentioned in the last preview, Barca missed a lot of first-half chances before eventually putting Osasuna to the sword and winning 3-0 last weekend. Albeit against the worst team in the league, it halted a run of three straight league draws for the Catalan side. Midweek, Barca played a friendly organised by sponsors Qatar Airways, in Qatar, defeating Al-Ahli Jeddah 5-3. Many of their regulars, including Messi and Neymar, took part.

Quique Sanchez Flores’ Espanyol, meanwhile, defeated Sporting Gijon 2-1 in Barcelona and are now unbeaten in nine league games, ten if we count the cup. Their goalkeeper, former Villarreal and Real Madrid man Diego Lopez, hadn’t conceded in five straight league games until that picture-perfect last gasp Sporting free-kick stopped it becoming six in a row.

In conclusion, as documented and including their 0-0 home draw with Malaga, Barca haven’t been in great form recently and you can’t ignore their 2-1 home loss to Alaves either. That, playing in Qatar midweek, the fact that Espanyol beat Barca in the Copa Catalunya at Camp Nou, the ten-game Espanyol unbeaten streak and illustration that their defence first philosophy worked in a 0-0 draw away to Atletico Madrid all says that an upset is very possible in this massive derby game.

As usual, I’ll play handicapper and take the away team on a + 2.25 basis at 11/8, which looks like an excellent bet, particularly as I thought it would be around evens for + 2.

Recommendation: Espanyol + 2.25 Asian Handicap (11/8)