Saturday’s Round 23 La Liga Betting Previews

8 Feb


Valencia v Real Betis

Somewhat surprisingly, Valencia (1.5) defeated Barcelona 3-2 at Camp Nou last weekend. Surely, anybody who watched the game will agree that it looked like nothing more than a question of how many goals Barca would win by they were so dominant in the first forty minutes, but credit to Los Che and their coach, Pizzi.

Less surprising but a surprise nonetheless is that bottom of the table Betis (8) also won their round 22 fixture, at home to Espanyol. Best player and column favourite Ruben Castro bagged his fourth goal in two games in the 2-0 win.

All in all, both teams will have gained confidence from their shock victories and while I understand if you prefer Valencia -1 on the Asian lines, my guess is that there’ll be a few goals in this game, hopefully with Ruben Castro getting one of them.

In any event, it’s not impossible to beat one of the top teams one week but lose to one of the worst the next, as we’ve seen repeatedly. Goals, please.

Recommendation: Over 2.75 goal line (1.85)

Worth a small punt: Ruben Castro anytime (3.8)


Rayo Vallecano v Malaga

Last weekend, second-bottom Rayo (2.5) managed to draw 0-0 away to a Levante side that had just beaten Sevilla on the road. A positive result – of sorts – for the Madrid based side, then.

Malaga (3.1), on the other hand, defeated Andalusian rivals Malaga 3-2 in a thrilling game at La Rosaleda. Indeed, although they were 1-0 up at half time, to come back come back from 2-1 down with less than 15 minutes to play was stunning.

All in all, the factors I’ve considered – Malaga have held Villarreal and Sevilla to draws on the road and recently won in Elche, Rayo haven’t won a home league game since October, lost the reverse fixture 5-0 and have improved little defensively since then – have led me to believe that I have to oppose a home win.

Interestingly, Malaga are only four points clear of the dropzone and seven off Rayo, so Schuster and his troops will surely know that they have to, at the very least, avoid defeat here.

Recommendation: Malaga + 0.25 Asian handicap (1.89)


Real Madrid v Villarreal

Albeit manly through deflected goals, Real Madrid (1.4) swept aside cross-city rivals Atletico at the Bernabeu in the Copa del Rey midweek, eventually winning 3-0. In La Lga a few days prior, Los Blancos, were, however, outplayed by Athletic in Bilbao, drawing 1-1.

Villarreal (9) continued their impressive season by comfortably defeating Osasuna 3-1 at El Madrigal. Perbet bagged a brace, with Trigueros also scoring. It was a result that put the Yellow Submarines four points clear of sixth placed Real Sociedad and three behind Athletic Bilbao in fourth.

Of course, I could be wrong and regret not taking Real Madrid – 1.5 Asian handicap or for them to win to nil, but Los Blancos will miss Ronaldo, have played the extra game midweek and are quite happy to win by a one goal margin, so I’m taking a chance on Villarreal + 1.5 instead.

I should think that Villarreal will want to have long phases of possession, but I don’t think that they’ll be afraid to have a go at a Real Madrid side that was lucky to draw 2-2 with them at El Madrigal earlier in the season.

Worth a punt: Villarreal + 1.5 Asian handicap (1.9)


Almeria v Atletico Madrid

Real Madrid were fair victors over Atletico (1.33) in their Copa match midweek, but Simeone’s Los Colchoneros took full advantage of Barcelona’s loss to Valencia by defeating Real Sociedad 4-0 at the Vicente Calderon to create a three point lead and top the table individually for the first time this season.

Almeria (12) lost 1-0 away to Elche in the noon (CET) Sunday fixture last weekend. Little to write home about in that one, but Almeria are only two points off the drop zone and need to start picking up points.

All in all, Atletico have played an extra game midweek, might have an eye on trying to restore some pride in the second leg of their Copa semi-final against Real Madrid, will miss Felipe Luis, David Villa and Koke this weekend, and Almeria need the points, but we have to assume that Los Colchoneros will still at least win.

But finding value and not wanting to risk anything more than an Asian handicap minus one Atletico, which is way too short at 1.43, has led me to a different bet with an acceptable price.

Five out of Almeria’s last seven league home games have contained less than three goals, while three out of Atletico’s last four have been the same. If we add this to the fact that Almeria’s top scorer, Rodri, will miss this game and mix it with the assumption that a tired Atletico side missing a few players will happily win 1-0, it sounds like we’ll see less than three goals.

Worth a punt: Under 2.75 goal line (1.95)


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