Archive | February, 2014

Round 26 La Liga Betting Previews

27 Feb


Athletic v Granada

By virtue of Muniain and Guillermo goals, Athletic (1.44) defeated Betis 2-0 in Seville last Sunday. It turned out to be an important result for the fourth placed Basques as the team beneath them, Villarreal, also won their round 25 fixture.

Surprisingly, Granada (8.25) took the lead away to Valencia through Piti’s second half strike last weekend. Ultimately they lost 2-1, but It was a good performance and Los Che’s winner came deep into injury time.

In conclusion, Athletic should get back on track on home soil with a win and, with – 1 Asian line only priced between 1.64 and 1.7, I’ve taken the chance that they’ll lead at half and full time.

Recommendation: Athletic HT/FT (2.16)


Malaga v Valladolid

Three points separate these two in this 17th v 18th clash, so both will be desperate to win. Of course, in modern football, this kind of scenario can also lead to a both teams are too scared to lose type of clash, with 0-0 the end result.

As such and considering that four out of the last five head-to-head contests have been draws, Valladolid + 0.5 and under 2.5 goals have appeal.

However, both teams to score is also worth consideration, and when I’ve been burned on BTTS punts in both teams need to win scenario’s in the past, the odds have generally been 1.65 or less.

So, with both Malaga (1.85) and Valladolid each (5.0) having scored in the last three H2H’s and even money on offer, both teams to score is a fair shout at evens, and that’s what I’ve taken. Hopefully this won’t be the wrong choice instead of Valladolid + 0.5 or under 2.5 goals.

Worth a punt: Both teams to score (2.0)


Levante v Osasuna

Levante (2.38) drew 1-1 away to Valladolid last weekend, while Osasuna (3.4) quickly put Atletio Madrid to the sword, with the game finished at 3-0 by half time.

Quite honestly, I thought it might end 0-0, 1-0 or 0-1 and backed under 2.5 goals instead of Osasuna + 1.25 Asian handicap. Naturally, I wasn’t happy, particularly as I’d changed my mind about also recommending Osasuna draw no bet as a worth a small punt selection, deleting it off the preview. Heartbreaking, but on we go.

In conclusion, experience tells me that after defeating Atletico Madrid at home, Osasuna will probably lose to much weaker opposition away, but I just don’t want to bet on this game, sorry. The best games in round 26 are all on Sunday and, mostly, I’m saving my money for them.


Getafe v Espanyol

Getafe (2.7) drew 1-1 away to Celta last weekend, taking the lead and even managing to play a large portion of the game with ten men. Espanyol (3.0), on the other hand, lost 2-1 at home to Villarreal, with star striker Sergio Garcia seeing his penalty saved in injury time.

All in all, despite their resilient display last weekend, I’d be inclined to back oppose Getafe and back Espanyol + 0.5, particularly since this fixture is often one in which the home team loses, but the 1.5 price about that does not appeal, nor does 1.74 for + 0.25. I’m leaving this game alone.


Elche v Celta

Elche (2.55) lost 3-0 away to Real Madrid last weekend, while Celta (3.2) proved that their price was too short at 1.85 by failing to beat a ten man Getafe team in Vigo. My bad for backing Celta when the price didn’t appeal.

All in all, however, Celta looked good going forward at times and I’d like to back them + 0.5 this weekend, but not at 1.55. Maybe I should take Celta + 0.25 at 1.78 instead, but I’ve decided to leave this game alone.


Villarreal v Real Betis

Most pleasingly, fifth placed Villarreal (1.44) won 2-1 at Espanyol lost weekend to give me a winning bet. Betis (9.0), on the other hand, lost 2-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao – which resulted in another winning punt for me.

All in all, the price is perhaps too big on Betis, but then they played Rubin in Russia on Thursday evening, so we better ignore any chance of an upset and punt on the home side.

Villarreal – 1 Asian line is too short at 1.64, so I’ll go with the Yellow Submarines HT/FT at a more attractive 2.05. They’ll certainly look to put Betis away quickly.

Recommendation: Villarreal HT/FT (2.05)


Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid

There was always a good chance of Atletico (3.5) failing to win in Pamplona for a variety of reasons, but their 3-0 defeat was, indeed, a shocker. Real Madrid, as you would expect, won 3-0 at home to Elche, with a few players rested.

All in all, the only thing that should put any punter off backing Real Madrid (2.15) is the fact that they played in the Champions League midweek and Atletico didn’t. Of course, coupled with a fresh Diego Costa to take one of the few chances he gets, given this, it’s possible that Atletico will recover the general intensity and defensive solidarity that they’ve used to defeat Real Madrid in the past.

Even still, I’m tempted to back Real Madrid draw no bet but, all things considered, I’m chancing that the extra game factor and needs must leads to Atletico scoring at least once, along with Real Madrid doing the same.

However, just about to post my previews I’ve noticed that BTTS has gone from 1.87 to 1.7, which is perhaps a little too short. Instead, I’ll go with over 2.5 goals at a more attractive price. But If your bookmaker offers a similar price on both, take BTTS.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals (1.87)


Sevilla v Real Sociedad

Playing after a midweek Europa League game, Emery’s Sevilla (2.05) did just enough to win 1-0 away to Rayo in round 25. It wasn’t a good result for your writer since he’d recommended over 2.5 goals. Real Sociedad (3.9), of course, defeated Barcelona 3-1. At least I had a winner there in the Basques + 1.5.

In conclusion, Sevilla haven’t won a league home game since January, they played in Europe midweek and La Real didn’t, Real Sociedad are in much better form and beat Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last season = back Real Sociedad + 0.5 Asian handicap (or double chance if you prefer).

I would also expected BTTS and over 2.5 goals to yield profit, but there’s a bigger price about my bet.

Recommendation: Real Sociedad + 0.5 Asian handicap (1.98)


Barcelona v Almeria

I thought that they might draw given their recent record at San Sebastian and participation in the Champions League midweek, but Barcelona (1.06) went one step further by losing 3-1 to Real Sociedad in round 25.

Almeria (46.0), meanwhile, drew 0-0 at home to Malaga last weekend. It wasn’t a good game to watch, what can I say.

In conclusion, obviously, we should expect Barca to defeat Almeria, so it’s just a matter of finding a bet relating to that.

Sadly, however, the usual favourites – Barca – 2.5, over 1.5 first half goals, over 3.5 match and to win both halves – are all far too short priced to interest me, so It’s going to have to be in-play on this one.


Rayo v Valencia

I had two bets in mind for Rayo (3.5) v Sevilla last week: Over 2.5 goals and Rayo + 0.5. In a dire game, Sevilla won 1-0. I went with the overs, but at least didn’t have to feel like i’d chosen the wrong bet out of my final two selections – jut both. So, I just wasn’t winning on that game, and that’s ok.

Anyway, Valencia (2.25) played in Europe midweek and, of course, 18th placed Rayo didn’t. So, can we give needs must Rayo a handicap start or should I go for the overs again?

Well, players and managers come and go over the years, but the last five Rayo v Valencia matches have all contained three goals or more, while six out of the last eight Rayo (league) home matches have passed the same mark this season, so I’m hoping this weekend will follow suit. Rayo + 0.5 is virtually the same price but not a fair one. Goals, please.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals (1.73)


Round 25 La Liga Betting Previews

18 Feb


Valladolid v Levante

In their round 24 fixture, Valladolid (2.15) lost 3-0 away to Atletico Madrid. Of course, this result wasn’t a surprise, and there really isn’t much to say about it. Valladolid remain in 18th position.

Levante (4.0), through a second half David Barral goal, defeated Almeria 1-0 at home last weekend. The Valencia based side have now risen to 8th place in the La Liga standings – level on points with Valencia themselves.

In conclusion, although Levante are currently situated just outside of the UEFA cup qualifying places, their seasonal objective is to avoid relegation, mainly by wining home games. Valladolid, of course, have the same objective, but they desperately need the points and, in theory, should be favoured to win this tie.

However, despite needs must for the home side, they’ve only won three games on their own patch this season and a 2.15 price does not interest me.

For what it’s worth, Valladolid have beaten Levante at home in each of the last two seasons, while this does sound like the type of game that will be level at half time (2.05) – a bet Real Madrid TV man Phil Kitromilides often likes to take.

Lastly, this game sounds like under 2.5 goals (1.58) on paper, but the price is so short about that you may as well have a small bet on over at 2.38 instead!

No bet here, though! Good luck if you opt to wager.


Real Madrid v Elche

With Jese, Benzema and Modric on the scoresheet, Real Madrid (1.09) easily defeated Getafe 3-0 at the Alfonso Perez last weekend. Los Blancos remain level with Atletico and Barcelona on 60 points at the top of the table.

Elche (34.0) drew 0-0 at home to Osasuna in round 24’s Friday evening fixture. It wasn’t as boring as the scoreline suggests, but there’s little to write about bar a missed Elche pen.

In conclusion, Ronaldo and Modric miss out through suspension, but Real should have no problems putting Elche to bed, and they’ll want to do it quickly with a UEFA Champions league trip to Schalke on the horizon.

Sadly, Real Madrid to score before 30 minutes is too short to back at 1.5, while over 1.5 first half goals is only 1.7, but Ancelotti’s boys have very consistent in winning to nil at the Bernabeu, and Elche don’t offer much of a threat going forward, so we’ll take that.

After all, although Real Madrid should win 3 or 4-0 against Elche, we know that Los Blancos are happy to win 1 or 2-0 against teams like Granada and Osasuna when they’ve had fixture pileups in the past – and neither of those two games saw two goals in the first half. All in all, to win to nil is better value compared to over 1.5 first half goals.

Recommendation: Real Madrid to win to nil (1.8)


Celta Vigo v Getafe

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the tear gas canister that was thrown onto Villarreal’s El Madrigal pitch with Celta (1.85) leading 1-0 and a few minutes to play last weekend, so I’ll just say well done to Enrique and charges for eventually winning 2-0. Celta now reside in a respectable 11th position.

Getafe (5.2), who will likely dispense of their coach, Luis Garcia, soon if results don’t improve, lost 3-0 at home to Real Madrid last weekend – a result that leaves them just four points above the relegation places.

In conclusion, Celta are in great form, winning three and drawing one of their last four fixtures, while Getafe have lost three out of their last four and haven’t even won a game in 2014.

I’m not sure that their price is right at 1.85, but I can’t see a sensible choice other than a Celta win here. Indeed, if the pre-mentioned Garcia is soon to be sacked, then really we should oppose the Azulones until he is.

Recommendation: Celta (1.85)


Real Sociedad v Barcelona

La Real took an early lead through Carlos Vela and rode their luck at times, but ultimately won 1-0 away to Malaga in the round 24 Monday evening fixture. Sixth placed Real Sociedad (8.5) are now level on points with fifth placed Villarreal and four behind fourth placed Athletic Bilbao.

Barcelona (1.4), as expected, put Rayo to the sword last weekend, winning 6-0. Messi scored a brace and is now level with Raul on the all-time La Liga scorers list. Neymar, back from injury, added the sixth and final goal after stunning run and finish.

In conclusion, much like their inept, overly defensive Champions League campaign, La Real stood off and admired Barca last time these two met at San Sebastian in the Copa del Rey a week and a half ago, and they really should have lost about 4-1, but the Basque’s, through a Griezmann goal, drew 1-1.

Now, I’d like to back Barca on a minus handicap because they were vastly superior to La Real in the cup tie mentioned above and didn’t actually have to win that game since they had a 2-0 lead from the first leg, but then Barca played Man City in Manchester in the UEFA Champions League midweek and San Sebastian has not been a happy hunting ground for the Catalans in recent years, with two losses and two draws from their last four trips there.

Indeed, Real Sociedad twice covered their Asian handicap mark in both cup ties with Barca, so why not again when the Catalans have played an extra game midweek?

Recommendation: Real Sociedad + 1.5 Asian handicap (1.91)


Almeria v Malaga

Almeria (2.5) lost 1-0 away to Levante last weekend, a week after they’d beaten Atletico Madrid at home! Almeria are in 15th place in the standings, four points off the drop zone.

Malaga (3.0), despite dominating the second half, struggled to create clear cut chances at home to Real Sociedad, losing 1-0 at La Rosaleda in the Monday night fixture. Schuster’s boys are now in 17th position, three points 18th placed Valladolid.

In conclusion, Almeria will want at least a point to remain above Malaga, while Malaga really need to win. I would suggest that Malaga are the better team, so we’ll give them the nod with a handicap start.

Recommendation: Malaga + 0.25 Asian handicap (1.78)

Rayo Vallecano v Sevilla

Rayo (3.5) were destroyed 6-0 by Barca at Camp Nou last weekend, but we knew that their wide-open style of football was always going to lead to a similar scoreline.

In a game which goals were expected, Sevilla (2.25) drew 0-0 at home to Valencia in round 24. Rakitic – who has failed to convert as many as he’s scored from the spot this season – even missed a penalty. Emery’s boy’s also had a one man advantage for a large part of the second half.

As for this weekend’s game, well, Rayo were impressive in thrashing Malaga 4-1 in their last home game, while Sevilla lost 3-2 to Malaga in their last road game and have only won one game in 2014.

Now, Sevilla have had to play an extra game in the Europa league midweek and Rayo drew with Sevilla at Vallecas last season, so we could give Rayo a + 0.5 handicap start at 1.75, but five out of the last six clashes between these two have seen three goals or more and with BTTS too short at 1.6, I opt for over 2.5 goals instead.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals (1.73)

Real Betis v Athletic Bilbao

Not surprisingly, and despite having a one man advantage in the final ten minutes, bottom club Betis (3.13) lost 1-0 away to Granada in the noon Sunday kick-off slot last weekend.

Athletic (2.4), surprisingly, lost their unbeaten La Liga record at the new San Mames after a Sergio Garcia inspired Espanyol won 2-1 in round 24.

Now, Betis did beat Athletic here in the cup earlier this season, but the Basques spurned a plethora of chances, before easily winning the second leg in Bilbao.

Also, with Betis – albeit at home – having played Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday evening, I’ve got to give Athletic the nod on a draw no bet (the same thing as 0 Asian handicap) basis.

Finally, although fifth placed Villarreal also lost weekend, sixth placed Real Sociedad won to draw level with Villarreal on points, so an Athletic side with a bad taste in the mouth after last week’s defeat will surely see a game against Betis as one they have to win.

Recommendation: Athletic 0 Asian handicap (1.78)

Valencia v Granada

Los Che’s improved form continued as they managed to draw 0-0 away to Sevilla in round 24 – a result that kept them in 7th place. Valencia (1.5) were even reduced to ten men in the second half, so big credit to them for getting a point,

In a pitifully dire game, Granada (7.5) defeated Betis 1-0 in the noon Sunday fixture last weekend. Granada are now in 12th position, six points clear of the relegation places.

In conclusion, I want to back Valencia -1 AH here, but Los Che have played the extra game midweek when they faced Dynamo Kiev, so it’s made me think twice.

However, we should still expect an in-form Valencia that has beaten Granada five times in a row to win once more, so I’ll risk a possible push with the minus one.

Finally, I have a feeling that under 2.5 goals (2.1) will be a winner in this game, as Granada only lost 2-0 to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu recently, some of Valencia’s players will be tired from the Europa League and this fixture has been contained less than three goals in four out of five head to head matches.

Recommendation: Valencia – 1 Asian handicap (1.83)

Osasuna v Atletico Madrid

In a half decent contest, Osasuna (8.0) drew 0-0 away to Elche last Friday evening. With this draw, Osasuna remain above Elche in 13th place with 26 points.

Atletico (1.5), through Garcia, Costa and Godin goals, easily defeated Valladolid 3-0 at the Vicente Calderon in their round 23 fixture. Atletico are still level on points with Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the table.

In conclusion, I believe that there are two suitable betting angles for this match:

Firstly, Atletico had to play AC in Milan midweek, and a league away game at Osasuna just a few days later is one of the worst fixtures Los Colchoneros could have been dealt.

Indeed, Osasuna held both Real Madrid and Barcelona to draws in Pamplona earlier this season, so why not an Atletico side that has played an extra game midweek?

Betting wise, as Atleti would be perfectly happy to win 1-0 in such a scenario, Osasuna + 1.25 Asian handicap looks like it could be the bet at 184.

The other finalist in the bet selection process is under 2.5 goals at a 1.91 price. Now, Osasuna generally struggle to score goals, while Atletico don’t concede many or often win big on the road. As mentioned above, Atletico – like they did away to Malaga after their last UEFA Champions League game – will take a 1-0 win.

I like both angles, but under 2.5 gets the nod because of Ateti’s defence and need to win if they are to remain in the title race. I wouldn’t however, blame you for backing the other option, or indeed both!

Recommendation: Under 2.5 goals (1.91)


Espanyol v Villarreal

Somewhat surprisingly, Espanyol (2.7) dealt Athletic Bilbao their first ever La Liga loss at the new San Mames stadium last weekend, with Sergio Garcia and Diego Colotto each netting in the 2-1 victory.

Villarreal (2.88), meanwhile, lost 2-0 at home to Celta Vigo – a shocking result in most punters eyes. The Yellow Submarines remain in fifth place, four points behind Athletic Bilbao.

In conclusion, Espanyol’s seasonal objective is always just to avoid being relegated – and they’re currently 11 points clear of 18th placed Valladolid – while Villarreal are chasing a European place – in particular a Champions League slot.

Now, Villarreal will expect fourth placed Athletic Bilbao to at least draw away to Betis and, as such, Marcelino’s charges will need to do the same or better in order to keep pace with the Basques.

Recommendation: Villarreal + 0.25 Asian handicap (1.8)

Sunday’s Round 24 La Liga Betting Previews

14 Feb


Granada v Real Betis

Currently situated in 16th position in the La Liga standings, Granada (2.2) are only three points above the drop zone and will therefore need to make sure they win most of their remaining home games to ensure survival.

Indeed, after Granada lost 1-0 away to Espanyol last weekend, despite having a one man advantage for more than half of the game, they will see this game with bottom club Betis as a must win fixture.

Of course, every game is a must win for Betis (3.6), but last week they came nowhere near recording victory after a 5-0 thrashing at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium.

In conclusion, we have to expect a home win today, but whilst current form is more important, it cannot be ignored that Betis have won their last two head to head matchups in Granada.

Now, I’m not saying that Betis will avoid defeat this time, but it has spooked me a little and over 2.5 goals – a constant winner in Betis matches – might instead be your best bet at 2.1.

However, personally, I’ve only had a punt on Ruben Castro anytime. Castro is by far Betis’s best player and, with four goals in his last three games and three in his last two against Granada, looks like a good value pick to score again.

Worth a small punt: Ruben Castro anytime (3.5)


Getafe v Real Madrid

Failing to score for the third game in a row, Getafe (12.0) lost 2-0 away to Osasuna in their round 23 fixture. It was a result that left the Azulones in 15th place, just four points above the relegation places.

Real Madrid (1.3) defeated Villarreal 4-2 at the Bernabeu in an entertaining game last weekend, while midweek Los Blancos easily defeated Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the Vicente Calderon to progress to the Copa del Rey final 5-0 on aggregate.

In conclusion, Getafe will be fired up this clash and, since they beat Real Madrid 2-1 at the Alfonso Perez in 2012/13, the Azulones have more of chance than you might think.

However, last season’s result came at a time when Los Blancos were playing poorly and regularly dropping points, while the Real Madrid of 2013/14 rarely concedes goals and is joint top of the La Liga standings.

Ancelotti and his players will know that it’s 99.9% likely that the two teams level with his side on points – Atletico Madrid and Barcelona – will win their games this weekend, so it’s vital that they do the same.

Even without Ronaldo, who – bar his penalty double against Atleti – has been hitting most of his shots into row z anyway, Real should be able to win at the Alfonso Perez in 2013/14.

As we’ve seen many times this season, Los Blancos are quite happy to win road games by a 1-0 score, so we can’t trust them minus one goal, and we certainly can’t back them to win at 1.3.

Instead, I’ve gone with Real Madrid HT/FT at a decent 1.83 price. Quite honestly, I’m loathe to look through the stats of each of their games to see how many times they’ve been ahead at HT and FT, but I’m confident it’s enough to justify this bet.

Recommendation: Real Madrid HT/FT (1.83)


Athletic Bilbao v Espanyol

Well, they got the point they wanted away to Celta Vigo last Monday, but it was a negative, long ball filled display from fourth placed Athletic Bilbao (1.65).

Espanyol (6.0), who i’d backed to win, managed to defeat Granada 1-0 in Barcelona last Friday night, despite being reduced to ten men for most of the game. Credit then for Aguirre and his charges, who now sit in 10th place in the league table.

In conclusion, sure, we should expect Athletic to defeat Espanyol given that they are extremely strong at home, but this fixture always has goals in it (the last six head to head clashes have all seen three goals or more scored) and that’s what I’ve bet on.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals (1.94)


Sevilla v Valencia

They took the lead through Moreno’s deflected shot, but Sevilla (2.15) were ultimately put to the sword by Barcelona at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last weekend, losing 4-1.

After their stunning 3-2 upset of Barcelona at Camp Nou, Valencia (3.6) continued their improved recent form by thrashing Real Betis 5-0 at the Mestalla.

In conclusion, the form book says that Valencia + 0.5 is the bet to take at 1.83, as Sevilla have lost three games in a row and have not won in five, while Valencia are undefeated in three having drawn with Espanyol and beaten Barca and Betis.

However, the over goals also screams out to be backed here, as Sevilla’s last three games have contained 15 goals and Valencia’s 14! Also, four out of the last five head to clashes between these two have contained three goals or more – including a 3-1 win for Valencia in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

I’ll see if the price holds on Valencia + 0.5, but I don’t think that it will on the overs and am backing that as my main pick now.

Finally, with four goals in his last three games, Valencia’s Paco Alcacer is worth a small punt as an anytime scorer.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals (1.73)

Worth a small punt: Alcacer anytime scorer (3.5)

Saturday’s Round 24 La Liga Betting Previews

13 Feb


Atletico Madrid v Valladolid

Although they looked to have run out of gas in their 3-0 Copa del Rey semi-final first leg defeat to Real Madrid, it was still a shock to see Atletico Madrid (1.2) lose away to Almeria in the game after.

Midweek, Diego Simeone rested all of his key players, and several others, in the second leg cup tie, which Atletico lost 2-0. Therefore, Costa and co should be fit enough to put Valladolid to the sword.

Although they did well to come from two goals down to draw at home to Elche last weekend, Valladolid (21.0) are still in 18th place in the table and therefore badly need the points.

Of course, for very different reasons, Atletico need the points too, and we have to favour them to win. The only question, seemingly, is how we can get a decent bet out of this.

Atletico – 1.5 sounds good, but then it’s only available a paltry 1.57. Los Colchoneros – 2 is probably a winner, but then Atletico will miss left-back Filipe Luis, his replacement Manquillo, midfielder Tiago, striker David Villa and possibly goalkeeper Courtois.

Therefore, minus two doesn’t seem worth the risk, particularly if key player Courtois misses out. Instead, with over 2.5 goals a mere 1.53, I’ve gone for over three goal line, Atletico to score in both halves and a small punt that will need Atleti’s weakened defence to concede.

Recommendations: Over 3 goal line (2.0) & Atleti to score in both halves (1.75)

Worth a small punt: Atletico to win & BTTS (3.4)


Levante v Almeria

Levante (2.1) dug their heels in and ground out a 0-0 at Real Sociedad last weekend – the exact same result we saw in the repeat fixture earlier this season.

Almeria (4.2), on the other hand, shocked the world by beating Atletico Madrid 2-0 at Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos. From viewing, the game looked certain to end 0-0, but in the last ten minutes it was evident just how tired Atletico were and Almeria took advantage.

In conclusion, Levante are in 9th position and should beat 12th placed Almeria – who have four points less – but I find it hard to trust them at a 2.2 price since they’ve only won three league games on home soil.

Indeed, if Levante goalkeeper Navas misses out and his replacement is the same guy who played in the recent cup tie with Barca at Camp Nou, then you might be better chancing your money on Almeria + 0.5 (1.88) or even a shock over 2.5 goals at 2.45.

For now, however, I opt not to place a bet on this game.


Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano

Barcelona (1.08) conceded an early goal away to Sevilla last weekend, but eventually won 4-1, with Messi the star of the show. After Atletico Madrid lost and Real Madrid won, Barca are level on points at the top of the table once more.

Surprisingly, Rayo (41.0) demolished Malaga 4-1 at Vallecas last weekend. Falque (2) Arbilla and Larrivey were the scorers. The Madrid based side did benefit from Malaga having a man sent off early on, but they looked likely to win before that anyway. With this win, 18th placed Rayo are now four points off 16th place.

In conclusion, Rayo won when they needed to at home last week, and they won’t expect to get anything out of their trip to Camp Nou. Past head to head matches have seen at least four goals score in crushing Barca wins and this should be no different.

Over 3.5 goals is, however, too short priced for my liking at 1.65, while total Barca goals over 2.5 and -2.5 Asian line are the same at 1.4 and 1.67 respectively, so I opt for over 1.5 first half goals instead.

Ok, Barca haven’t been as efficient as they used to be at scoring at least twice in the first half, but I think they can do it at home to a Rayo team that continues to play ‘wide-open’ football.

Recommendation: Over 1.5 first half goals (1.73)


Villarreal v Celta Vigo

Villarreal (1.57) gave a good account of themselves, but ultimately lost 4-2 away to Real Madrid in round 23, with Mario and Giovanni their scorers. The Yellow Submarines remain in fifth place, four points behind fourth placed Athletic Bilbao.

Celta (7.0) put us all to sleep in their 0-0 home draw with Athletic Bilbao last Monday night. It really was a dire game, but Celta coach Luis Enrique and his charges will be happy to occupy 11th place in the La Liga standings, and they have improved recently, winning two and drawing one of their last three games.

In conclusion, with Villarreal missing key midfielder Cani (well, he’s been out for ages), striker Uche and goalkeeper Asenjo, they’re hard to trust at a 1.57 price.

Now, I’d like to back over 2.5 goals and that stats look good for that, but head to head this is always an under 2.5 goals game, and that scares me a little. Also, both Villarreal and Celta like to keep possession of the ball, which could lead to a frustrating game with few goals.

Instead, with Celta having won their last road game and Villarreal missing their goalkeeper, I’m thinking about backing both teams to score at even money.

However, I do have a feeling that Celta will get something out of this game and am torn between BTTS and Enrique’s boys + 1 on the Asian lines, also at even money.

Indeed, if we consider Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Sevilla to be on a similar level or better than Villarreal, and factor in that Celta won in Seville and lost away to the others by a one goal margin, then, all in all, Celta + 1, in theory, looks like the bet to take against an injury riddled Villarreal side who drew the reverse fixture 0-0.

Worth a punt: Celta + 1 Asian handicap (2.0)

Elche v Osasuna – Betting Preview & Pick

13 Feb


Elche v Osasuna

Elche (2.2) managed to let a two goal lead slip in their 2-2 draw away to Valladolid last weekend. It was a result that left them in 14th position, four points clear of their opponents, 18th placed Valladolid. An opportunity lost, then.

Osasuna (3.75), meanwhile, defeated Getafe 2-0 in Pamplona, which put them just above Elche in the La Liga standings, with the same number of points.

Now, Elche have won their last two home games, but they’ve only won four at their own gaff all season, so it’s hard to trust them at 2.2. Of course, this game represents an opportunity for Elche to distance themselves from the relegation zone, but it’s the same for Osasuna – and they will want at least a point to remain above Elche.

For those looking to bet on the over/under goals market, like Valladolid v Elche last weekend, it’s under 2.5 goals on paper, but at 1.62 – and with two out of the last three Osasuna away games going over 2.5 goals – you might be better off just having a small punt on the overs at 2.45.

All in all, pricewise i’d favour Osasuna + 0.5 at 1.79 as there isn’t much between these two teams in terms of quality, and the visitors certainly have the most prolific scorer on display in Oriol Riera.

Indeed, with a goal in each of his last two games and nine in 20 La Liga starts, Riera to score at anytime looks to be worth a punt at the price.

Recommendation: Osasuna + 0.5 Asian handicap (1.79)

Worth a small punt: Riera anytime scorer (4.0)

Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid – Betting Preview

11 Feb


Atletico Madrid (3.3) v Real Madrid (2.38)

Held at the Bernabeu stadium, the first leg of this Copa del Rey semi-final ended in a comfortable 3-0 win for Real Madrid. Two of Real’s goals were fortuitous own goals, but Los Blancos deserved their victory.

So what went wrong with Atletico? Well, their game is based on collective hard work, with a stern defence that rarely concedes and a striker that is able to take one of the few chances he gets.

Against the big boys in particular, favourable low scoring outcomes came as a direct result of a peak Los Colchoneros squad playing to their strengths and believing in their manager’s system.

Super Copa included, in the three games they’ve played against Barca this season, Atletico have twice drawn 0-0 and once 1-1. When they defeated Real Madrid in La Liga earlier this season, it was 1-0.

What seems to have gone wrong recently – and it was always inevitable – is that Atletico, in comparison to Barcelona and Real Madrid, have little depth in their squad and, after playing league and cup games for four consecutive weeks, have suffered from fatigue and injuries.

So, once again, credit to Real Madrid for beating Atletico 3-0 last week but, part of the equation was that Atletico were simply too tired and not able to impose their game.

Instead of Diego Costa taking one of his few chances and Courtois making heroic saves, Costa didn’t produce a meaningful effort on goal and the Belgian keeper saw shots deflected past him by his own players.

Brazilian midfielder Diego, who played for Atletico a year or so ago, is a wise addition on-loan to freshen things up offensively. But given that they didn’t look like scoring in their shock 2-0 defeat at Almeria last weekend, expecting an off-colour Atletico to defeat Real Madrid by three goals or more seems like pie in the sky.

But I wouldn’t recommend backing Real Madrid to win tonight either, because at this level I won’t bet on teams who don’t need to win on the night, particularly those who are 3-0 up on aggregate.

There is no magic cure to tiredness, but it’s not impossible that Atletico, with pride in mind and a further point to prove after defeat to Almeria in La Liga, could find that little bit of extra mental and physical strength required to secure in order a draw or better. As such, Atletico + 0.25 Asian handicap is one to consider at 1.98.

Alternatively, though no longer overpriced, under 2.5 goals is a brave but fully justifiable punt at 1.99. Indeed, Real Madrid don’t need to score and Atletico have had trouble doing that recently.

In conclusion, I’m going to wait for team news before making a decision, but hope that you’ve found this article a useful read.

Celta Vigo v Athletic Bilbao – Betting Preview & Pick

10 Feb


Celta Vigo v Athletic Bilbao

They had to come from behind, and to some extent it was – dare I say it – a game of two halves, but Athletic Bilbao (2.3) fully deserved the draw they got with Real Madrid at the new San Mames last weekend.

Celta Vigo (3.4), meanwhile, continued their improved recent form by winning 2-1 away to Granada in round 22 – a result that leaves them four points above the drop one.

It’s worth pointing out that Celta have won two games in a row at home, defeating Real Betis 4-2 and Valencia 2-1. Notably, Enrique’s boys came from behind to win in both games.

Athletic, on the other hand, had struggled to score goals on the road, failing to register in four out of their last five – league and cup combined – games, but then they put five past Osasuna at a ground where Real Madrid and Barcelona had both drawn 0-0.

In head to head competition, last season saw a 1-1 draw in Vigo and 3-2 win for Athletic in Bilbao, while Celta won 1-0 at home and Athletic progressed to the next round of the cup with a 4-0 win in Basque country.

In my opinion, there are two notable betting angles for this game. Firstly, the value is all about Celta since they’re in good form at home, need the points after relegation rivals like Almeria won their round 23 fixtures, and have defeated and drawn with Athletic in their last two meetings in Vigo. Celta Vigo + 0.25 is priced at 1.98.

Secondly, fifth placed Villarreal and sixth placed Real Sociedad both lost their weekend fixtures, so Athletic – who are currently three points clear of the Yellow Submarines – will want to take at least a point from their trip to Vigo, and to do that I think they’ll have to at least score against an in-form Celta team that is scoring and conceding goals at home. Both teams to score is 1.7.

In conclusion, I’ve backed BTTS with a friend at his enhanced 4/5 price because I think that both teams are currently in good goalscoring form and each needs the points for different reasons.

I could be mistaking a mistake by ignoring the value on Celta, but the die is cast and the choice is, of course, yours.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (1.7)