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)


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