Sunday’s La Liga previews: 2012/13 – round 15

7 Dec

obafemi

Levante v Mallorca

With a few first team players rested, Levante came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Hannover in the Europa League midweek. The game itself was good viewing, with the Levante Keeper coming up for a corner in the 93rd minute to attempt an overhead kick! It didn’t work for him, but the Valencia based side scored from another corner moments later – indeed a thrilling end.

Ironically, Levante secured another point with the last kick of the game after Marti Salvador scored with seven Levante players seemingly offside moments earlier. The ref, I’m told, decided it was the second phase of play. Likely to be judged the same if this was against Real or Barca? I don’t think so. Anyway, I won my under 2.5 goals bet with the full time score Celta 1 Levante 1 so I shouldn’t moan.

With regards to today’s game, Levante have won four, drawn one and lost two (against Real and Barca) on home soil in the 2012/13 Liga BBVA campaign so far. Mallorca, on the other hand, are yet to win a road game in 2012/13 and have lost – home and away – their last nine games. Of course, the Islanders will win again at some point and that could be today, but with Levante’s home impressive home record in mind, I feel that I’ve got to go for a home win this time.

Recommendation: Levante (2.12)

llorente

Athletic Bilbao v Celta de Vigo

As anyone would have expected, Bielsa’s Athletic were comfortably defeated away to Barcelona last weekend. Ibai scored the Basque’s consolation goal. Midweek, Athletic drew 0-0 at home to Sparta Prague in the Europa League – a competition they were already eliminated from.

In round fourteen, Celta drew 1-1 at home to Levante; Enrique De Lucas was their scorer, and given the circumstances in which Levante equalised (see the Levante – Mallorca preview for further detail), Celta were extremely unlucky not to have won the game.

Winning today would be a stretch for Celta, but they’ve scored in every away game apart from against Real Madrid and we know how adept Athletic are at conceding, so both teams to score is your bet here.

However, at a 1.62 price I’m not betting. Instead, I’ll either double the pick with another game or wait for a better price in-play.

riki

Atletico Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna

Atletico, whose game plan was dealt a blow with the injury of left back Felipe in the pre-match warm-up, meekly lost 2-0 away to City rivals Real Madrid last weekend. Falcao, bar an early half chance, didn’t get any service and wasn’t able to make a positive impression this time.

Deportivo, through a Riki brace, scored twice at home to Real Betis, but lost 3-2 in a thrilling game. More depressingly, Depor owe a lot of money to the taxman and are in danger of being relegated for financial reasons or, worst case, going out of existence.

In conclusion, the Asian handicap markets prices about an Atletico win don’t appeal , over 2.5 goals and to score in both halves are the same, which leaves another favourite in both teams to score.

It has to be said that Los Colchoneros have only conceded in four out of seven home games, but Malaga, Osasuna, Valladolid and Rayo make up that four, so why shouldn’t Depor- who have scored in every (league) road game they’ve played in 2012/13- make it five in eight for Atleti?

Recommendation: Both teams to score (1.95)

rubencastro

Real Betis v Barcelona

Pepe Mel’s Betis didn’t take a day off as feared last weekend, pleasingly winning 3-2 away to Deportivo in an entertaining round fourteen fixture. The first Betis goal, which column favourite Ruben Castro headed home, was a beautiful team goal.

Castro later added a second to complete his brace, but the on-loan Arsenal winger/forward Joel Campbell scored a wonderful long range goal to seal the Andalusian’s win.

Barca also won their league game last weekend, comfortably defeating Athletic Bilbao 5-1 at Camp Nou. Messi (brace), Pique, Adriano and Fabregas were the Catalans scorers. In conclusion, it all went as planned and I won my Barca to win both halves bet.

Now, we know that Betis can beat anyone on their day – just ask Real Madrid who lost 1-0 here a couple of weeks ago – and I know that Betis can beat Barca because I’ve seen it before. But what we don’t know is exactly how fit the record chasing Messi really is.

However, we do know that Ruben Castro – who scored a brace in this fixture last season – is fully fit and available at 25/1 (26.0) to repeat his 2011/12 feat this weekend. Unlikely, but it’s worth backing him to score anytime at 4/1.

In order, with this and last season in mind – purely in games at the Benito Villamarin – Betis have lost 3-2 to Real Madrid, drawn 2-2 with Barca and defeated Real 1-0. All three results suggest that a Betis + 1.5 Asian handicap stands a historic chance this weekend.

Recommendation: Betis + 1.5 Asian handicap (2.06)

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