Round 25 La Liga Betting Previews

18 Feb

manucho

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.

Elche

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)

Charles

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)

Prieto

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)

duda

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)

bruno

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)

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