Sunday’s La Liga Betting Previews – 22/12/13

20 Dec

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Espanyol (1.85) v Valladolid (5.2)

Interestingly, 5 of the last 6 head to head clashes between these two have ended in draws, with all 6 going under 2.5 goals.

In terms of games played this at home this season, Espanyol have failed to beat Betis (0-0 draw), Getafe (0-2 loss) and Malaga (0-0 draw), but have taken all 3 points in fixtures against Valencia, Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid!

What that suggests is that they play above their level against top 6 teams but cannot fully be trusted against weaker sides.

Pouring a little salt on the above theory is that Espanyol lost at home to Real Sociedad in their last league home game, with a defeat to Sevilla in the fixture before. Even still, it’s hard to trust Espanyol to beat Valladolid.

In their last four away games, Valladolid have won 1 (Rayo), drawn 1 (Valencia) and lost 2 (Real Madrid and Barca), which is not a bad record considering the teams they played.

What is a worry, and something that has put me off backing them + 0.5 AH at 2.16, is that Valladolid will travel to Barcelona after playing in Madrid midweek – with their best offensive players on show, one of whom has been reported injured in some quarters, in a draining contest that they played with ten men for most of the second half.

Espanyol, on the other hand, will have a fresh Sergio Garcia available again, and they played at home in the cup midweek.

All in all, perhaps under 2.5 (1.73) is the bet, but I haven’t been able to decide on a firm punt and opt not to bet on this game.

Getafe (8) v Barcelona (1.45)

Barca HT/FT has won in 6 of their last 8 away games – with a 0-0 draw at Osasuna and 1-0 defeat in Bilbao the only exceptions. In part, that suggests that Barca will win if they can score, and if they score it’ll be in the first half.

Now, Getafe did beat Barcelona 1-0 a couple of years back at the Alfonso Perez, but the Catalans emerged with a 4-1 triumph last season and had won 3 straight in Madrid prior to that.

If you can get 2.1 on Barca winning HT/FT then it’s surely good value, and I think that we have to chance it.

For those looking to bet on a high goal count, be aware that as well as Messi, Neymar is also out, though in the Brazilian’s case this is due to suspension. Xavi – who made a big difference to the teams fluidity when he came on against Villarreal – is listed as doubtful.

Indeed, with such payers missing, Asian handicap bettors might prefer to chance Getafe + at a 1.75 price. A hard fought 1-0 Barca win would not surprise me.

Recommendation: Barca HT/FT (2.1)

Worth a punt for the Asian handicap bettor: Getafe + 1.5 (1.75)

Athletic Bilbao (1.53) v Rayo Vallecano (7.5)

With 2 out of the last 3 Athletic home games containing three goals or more, 2 of Rayo’s last 3 away the same and 4 of the last 5 head to head matches passing the over 2.5 goals mark, over 2.5 goals has to be considered.

BTTS – a winner in the last five head to head – and just as prominent as the over 2.5 stats mentioned above in recent games, also appeals statistically.

Now, I’d prefer to go with over 2.5 goals instead of BTTS, but the former is only priced at 1.7 with the latter available at 1.83.

In terms of match winner and handicaps, given that Athletic have won 5/7 at home and are undefeated at the new San Mames, you’d expect the 4th placed Basques to defeat a Rayo side that sits in 18th position having won only once in their last 8 league games.

With a push in mind worst case, -1 therefore seems like the best handicap bet for those who like such punts.

Recommendation for the Asian handicap bettor: Athletic – 1 (1.8)

Worth a punt: BTTS and Athletic to win (3.1)

Celta (1.91) v Osasuna (4.8)

Celta rested a few players in their Thursday night thrashing in Bilbao, but Brazilian forward Charles will not play due to suspension.

In terms of Celta’s home form, they did win the first leg of their cup tie with Athletic Bilbao, along with a 3-1 league defeat of Almeria, but prior to these results Celta had lost 4 in a row at home and were without a league win in Vigo this season.

So, it’s seems that Celta have ‘turned a corner’ and can now be trusted against weaker teams at home, but then Osasuna – as evidenced by wins in Malaga and Valladolid – can occasionally produce shocks.

Historically this is a low scoring game so under 2.5, especially with Charles missing, does seem to fit the bill at a generous 1.83, but I’ve deiced not to bet on Sunday’s contest.

Valencia (6) v Real Madrid (1.62)

Well, I don’t like to bet against new managers, but exceptions can be made for caretakers and teams facing Real Madrid or Barca – and there’s no rule about goal betting.

Now, I can imagine that Valencia – who, like Madrid, rested a lot of their starters for their midweek cup game – will be very happy with a 0-0, but then this fixture has a high scoring history, and after their draw in Osasuna and poor 2-0 win overly vastly inferior opposition in the cup midweek, I expect Real Madrid and Ronaldo to try and score a few goals at the Mestalla.

Finally, Pepe is out through suspension, but Ramos got one of his yellow cards rescinded and will play. Centre-back Ricard Costa is Valencia’s only listed absentee. Hopefully a defender missing for each will help the goal count in our favour.

Recommendation: Over 3.5 goals (2.05)

As always, thanks for reading, sharing and re-tweeting, and good luck, whatever you choose.

JC

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