Archive | December, 2016

Saturday’s La Liga Betting Previews

14 Dec


Sporting Gijon v Villarreal: 12:00 – Live on Sky Sports 5

They scored a lovely free-kick with the last kick of the game, but Sporting ultimately lost 2-1 away to Espanyol last weekend to show that their defeat of Osasuna was largely because the Pamplona-based side are the worst team in the Spanish top-flight.

The Yellow Submarines of Villarreal, on the other hand, stunningly destroyed Atletico Madrid 3-0 at El Madrigal in the Monday night fixture. It’s important to say that Atletico played very poorly, but what a result for Villarreal!

With regards to this weekend’s fixture, Villarreal have only won one league away game this season – defeating Malaga 2-0 at La Rosaleda – with four games drawn and two lost, so it’s only prudent to have the draw onside, at least for cover.

Sadly, at a 4/7 price, Villarreal draw no bet is too short priced to be my pick, while you can’t back Sporting + 0.5 since they’ve lost five or their last six competitive games and lie second bottom in the La Liga Primera standings.

Goals wise, Sporting’s last six games have seen three or more goals in each, with one being in the cup, but only three of Villarreal’s last six competitive contests have passed the same mark.

So, not an ideal mix for goals on both sides, but over 2 goal line is the best I can come up with at a 1.75 price if you want a bet.

Recommendation: Over 2 goal line (3/4)


Atletico Madrid v Las Palmas: Not televised in the UK

Shockingly, Diego Simeone’s Los Colchoneros were beaten 3-0 away to Villarreal last weekend, which makes them sixth in the La Liga Primera standings. Worse still, Atleti’s goalkeeper, Oblak, was injured in the game and will be out of action for 3-4 months.

Las Palmas, for their part, drew 1-1 at home to Leganes last weekend, leading for 75 minutes before conceding a penalty. In all competitions, it was their third score draw in a row.

In conclusion, either the away team on a handicap start basis or over goals look like the best options to choose from as Atleti are not in great form, their second-choice keeper, Moya, is nowhere near as good as Oblak and Las Palmas tend to score and concede in every game.

However, the handicap is Las Palmas + 1.5 at evens, and I was excepting/hoping for + 2, while over 2.5 goals is a too short to back 8/13. Both teams to score, on the other hand, is priced at 11/10.

The problem is that in Atleti’s last six competitive games, both teams haven’t scored once! Specifically at the Vicente Calderon, mind, both teams have scored in 3/6 with Rostov, Malaga and Granada all getting on the scoresheet.

Las Palmas have scored and conceded away to Valencia, Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Sevilla, whilst they did the same at home to Real Madrid, so I’ll take a leap of faith with BTTS.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (11/10)

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Granada v Real Sociedad: 17:30 – Live on Sky Sports 5

They benefitted from two ruled out Malaga goals and really should have lost on the balance of play, but Granada drew 1-1 away to the Anchovies to make it three competitive games without defeat.

The, apart from losing 5-1 away to Deportivo, in-form Real Sociedad got back to winning ways by defeating relegation-threatened Valencia 3-2 at San Sebastian last weekend.

In conclusion, after defeating Sevilla 2-1 to earn their first league win of the season, Granada have form and confidence on their side. It’s largely the same for Real Sociedad too, but that 5-1 defeat at the Riazor, coupled with both teams having scored in five of the last six competitive games each has played, makes goals look like the best option.

Recommendation: Both teams to score (5/6)


Sevilla v Malaga: 19:45 – Live on Sky Sports 5

Very impressively with second-half sub Vicente Iborra scoring a hat-trick, Sevilla defeated Celta 3-0 in Vigo last weekend and currently occupy third place in the La Liga standings.

Malaga, meanwhile, had two goals ruled out – one in injury time – and can consider themselves very unlucky not to have beaten Granada at La Rosaleda last weekend.

All in all, I want to recommend a home win as Sevilla have won every league game they’ve played at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan besides against Barca, but Sevilla’s 1/2 price doesn’t give enough respect to Malaga.

Instead, with five of the last six Malaga La Liga games seeing both teams score and the same mark applying to Sevilla’s recent league exploits, BTTS and Sevilla to win looks like the best bet as BTTS is only priced around 8/11 as a single and over 2.5 goals is 7/10 at best.

Recommendation: Sevilla to win and both teams to score (21/10)


Sunday’s La Liga Betting Previews

14 Dec


Leganes v Eibar: 15:15 – Live on Sky Sports 5

Madrid-based Leganes drew their first league road game of the season after a penalty earned them a 1-1 draw in Las Palmas. Basque side Eibar, meanwhile, also drew their round 15 fixture, 0-0 at home to Alaves.

A draw this weekend, then? Well, it’s very possible, but I like to bet on the side of the handicap that covers such an eventuality. Sadly, however, both teams are priced around 4/6 on a + 0.25 Asian handicap basis!

I just don’t bet on draws – unless it’s an end of season game and a share of the spoils suits each team. Instead, you could argue that as there’s been over 2.5 goals in three of the last six competitive games both Leganes and Eibar have played, anything above evens offers value on three goals or more – and you can get a juicy 27/20 about that – but this game could just as easily be 0-0, 1-0, 0-1 or 1-1. Up to you, but no bet here.


Deportivo La Coruna v Osasuna: 17:30 – Live on Sky Sports 5

Through a brace from substitute Joselu, they were actually leading until the 84th minute, but plucky Deportivo eventually lost 3-2 to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last Saturday.

Largely because Barca kept missing clear-cut chances, Joaquin Caparros’ Osasuna held the Catalan side for nearly an hour of their round 15 clash in Pamplona, and a 0-0 did not look out of the question, but Messi scored and Enrique’s boys ran out 3-0 winners.

In conclusion, Osasuna have lost their last six competitive games and are, surely, the worst team in La Liga Primera. As such, we should back Depor, but then their 8/13 price, in my book, is too short for a team that’s only won one of their last nine games – that 5-1 at home to Real Sociedad.

As is often the theme, goals are next on my radar and since the last seven Depor league games have resulted in both teams scoring at least once each, BTTS Yes is a runner.

However, Osasuna have only scored once in their last six competitive games. Caparros’ boys have conceded at least twice in each of their last four league games, though, while Depor have scored two or more in their last four La Liga fixtures, so the Northern side to score over 1.5 team goals at a more agreeable 4/5 it is.

Recommendation: Over 1.5 Deportivo team goals (4/5)


Barcelona v Espanyol: 19:45 – Live on Sky Sports 1

As mentioned in the last preview, Barca missed a lot of first-half chances before eventually putting Osasuna to the sword and winning 3-0 last weekend. Albeit against the worst team in the league, it halted a run of three straight league draws for the Catalan side. Midweek, Barca played a friendly organised by sponsors Qatar Airways, in Qatar, defeating Al-Ahli Jeddah 5-3. Many of their regulars, including Messi and Neymar, took part.

Quique Sanchez Flores’ Espanyol, meanwhile, defeated Sporting Gijon 2-1 in Barcelona and are now unbeaten in nine league games, ten if we count the cup. Their goalkeeper, former Villarreal and Real Madrid man Diego Lopez, hadn’t conceded in five straight league games until that picture-perfect last gasp Sporting free-kick stopped it becoming six in a row.

In conclusion, as documented and including their 0-0 home draw with Malaga, Barca haven’t been in great form recently and you can’t ignore their 2-1 home loss to Alaves either. That, playing in Qatar midweek, the fact that Espanyol beat Barca in the Copa Catalunya at Camp Nou, the ten-game Espanyol unbeaten streak and illustration that their defence first philosophy worked in a 0-0 draw away to Atletico Madrid all says that an upset is very possible in this massive derby game.

As usual, I’ll play handicapper and take the away team on a + 2.25 basis at 11/8, which looks like an excellent bet, particularly as I thought it would be around evens for + 2.

Recommendation: Espanyol + 2.25 Asian Handicap (11/8)

Hopkins v Smith Jr – Betting Preview

13 Dec


Held at The Forum in Inglewood, California, USA, and live on Box Nation from 03:00 in the early hours of Sunday morning, Bernard Hopkins fights his final professional boxing bout when he takes on Joe Smith Jr.

The evergreen B-Hop, now 51-years-of-age, is a sure-fire future entrant to the Boxing Hall of Fame after a 27-year career that saw him make a record number of middleweight world title defences and break George Foreman’s record of being the oldest man to win a world title, before going on to win further world light-heavyweight titles aged 48 and 49.

Father time eventually caught up to Hopkins (55-7-2), of course, and his crafty style of trying to goad opponents into making mistakes and looking to counter-punch, hold and fight at a slow pace were of no use against the much younger and harder-hitting elite level boxer that is Sergey Kovalev.

Realising that he could no longer upset the odds against top-level boxers, the former self-titled executioner turned self-titled alien, a two-weight multiple-time world champion, decided to hang up his gloves after a farewell fight against Smith Jr.

New Yorker Joe Smith Jr. (22-1) is 27-years-of-age and best known in the boxing world for sensationally knocking out Andrzej Fonfara in the first round of their June 2016 clash.

Otherwise, and certainly to UK fight fans, Smith is largely an unknown with a high KO percentage of 78, which equals 18 stoppage wins from 22 victories. In his solitary career defeat back in 2010, Smith was stopped by someone called Eddie Caminero – a man who was subsequently beaten six times in a row.

In conclusion, it’s hard to really know what we’re getting with Smith Jr – was his win over Fonfara a one off, just like his own defeat turned out to be or will he give a man only three years shy of being double his age a real beating and march on towards a world title shot?

My guess is that, besides Kovalev, and you can understand Hopkins wanting to test himself against the very best after what he’s achieved post-40, Bernard doesn’t pick fights that he doesn’t think he can win and is clever at selecting opponents.

All in all, I expect Philadelphia-born Hopkins to use his defensive skills, ring savvy and counter-punching abilities to defeat a little-known opponent coming off a big win over a contender on points.

After all, B-Hop hasn’t won a bout by KO or TKO since 2004 and if his fight with Smith was to go the distance, given his standing and promotional connections within the industry, it seems unlikely that Smith would be given the verdict.

Recommendation: Hopkins on points (8/11)

Alaves v Real Betis – Betting Preview

12 Dec


Alaves v Real Betis: 19:45 – Friday – Live on Sky Sports 5

Basque side Alaves drew 0-0 away to Eibar in their last La Liga fixture and are now unbeaten in three league games – four if you include their 3-0 away win at Gimnastic in the Copa del Rey.

Betis, meanwhile, defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 in Seville via a Ruben Castro goal last Sunday and can claim to be three games unbeaten, including a 1-0 home defeat of Deporitvo La Coruna in the cup.

All in all, Betis are now playing well and with passion, so there’s a temptation to back the Andalusian team on a + 0.25 Asian handicap basis, but then they were beaten 3-1 away to Eibar in their last away game, and Alaves have just drawn the same fixture.

So, both teams are in decent form and since only two of the last six Alaves league games have seen both teams score, along with 2/6 for Betis, you can’t trust each team to score a goal. Nor can you trust over 2.5 goals with 1/6 Alaves game passing that mark and 2/6 Betis.

How about under 2.5 goals or BTTS No, then? Well, under 2.5 goals is priced at a too short 4/7 and BTTS No is priced around 7/10 to 8/11. If I had to choose, I’d recommend that you back BTTS NO since it’s the more acceptably priced of the two, but it’s a little too short for my liking (5/6 would be ok) and I’ve decided no bet.

Good luck if you take the plunge, though, and check back for Saturday’s La Liga previews.

Villarreal v Atletico Madrid – Betting Preview

11 Dec


Villarreal v Atletico Madrid: 19:45 – Live on Sky Sports 2

In a sleep-inducing contest, Villarreal drew 0-0 away to Leganes in their last La Liga game, while days later they defeated a poor Steua Bucharest side 2-1 at home in the Europa League. This victory was their first in five competitive games.

Atletico, meanwhile, couldn’t do any better than taking a share of the spoils after a 0-0 draw at home to an Espanyol side in good form last Sunday. Midweek, it got worse for Simeone’s Los Colchoneros as they lost 1-0 away to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.

All in all, neither team is in good enough form to trust and while they could play from memory and grind out a 0-0 or 1-0 win like they’ve done in the past in this fixture, recent results like Villarreal 0 Alaves 2 make it hard to put my faith in backing the Yellow Submarines on a + 0.5 Asian handicap basis, especially with Griezmann in town.

Given that the last six head-to-head meetings between Villarreal and Atletico have seen less than three goals in each, and in the expectancy of a tight, hard fought game, under 2.5 goals was what I had in mind, but at 4/7 it’s not worth the risk, so no bet.

From experience, when the under goals are too short priced to back, a half-time draw sometimes pays dividends in this sort of game in La Liga, but then it really would be guessing for the sake of it and I don’t want to do that.

Apologies that I can’t give you a solid betting pick in this game, but good luck if you have a bet, thanks for reading and check back for a preview of Friday’s game between Alaves and Real Betis.

Sunday’s La Liga Betting Previews

9 Dec


Eibar v Alaves: 12:00 – live on Sky Sports Interactive

Just like last season, Eibar were beaten 3-1 away to Basque rivals Athletic in their most recent La Liga fixture, while Alaves drew 1-1 at home to Las Palmas.

Statistically, with only one loss and defeats of teams like Valencia, Villarreal and Real Sociedad, Eibar are currently the sixth best home team in La Liga. Alaves, meanwhile, have managed to defeat Barcelona and Villarreal on their travels, along with drawing against Atletico, and are the fifth best away side in Spain’s top flight.

So, while I feel like I should me making the obvious pick of an Eibar win this weekend, the away side – who’ve won their last three road games in all competitions – have pulled off enough upsets to put me off and make me feel like I have to have the draw onside.

If you can’t choose the match winner it’s always worth looking at goals, and four of Eibar’s last six goals have resulted in both teams scoring, with 4/6 passing the over 2.5 goals mark.

Decent stats, then, but sadly only two of Alaves’ last six games have seen both teams score, with the same mark for over goals. Just not enough to chance an overs or BTTS bet unless you buy into the theory that playing Eibar = goals.

So, all in all, I can’t make a firm recommendation in this game, but you’re now armed with information and I wish you good luck if you opt to have a bet.


Celta Vigo v Sevilla: 15:15 – live on Sky Sports 3

With the red-hot Iago Aspas bagging a brace, Celta drew 3-3 away to Betis in their last game, while Sevilla continued their awful away form in La Liga by losing 2-1 away to Granada to give their hosts a first league win of the season.

Of course, Sevilla played in the UEFA Champions League midweek, drawing 0-0 away to Lyon, and although they rested a few players, enough of their regulars played to mix tired legs into the equation.

Notably, Celta have won their last five home league matches, but conceded in them all. Now, both teams have scored in Sevilla’s last six away La Liga games, plus four of the last six head-to-head contests between the two, so you’d expect this weekend’s tie to follow suit.

Sadly, however, BTTS Yes is priced around 4/7 and too short for a single bet. You could instead back over 2.5 goals and BTTS as one bet at even money (2.0) and I certainly wouldn’t talk you out of that, but the safest and simplest play seems to be backing Celta on a draw no bet basis at home to a team who’ve played an extra game midweek and won something like (at a guess) three of their last twenty-seven away league games.

Recommendation: Celta draw no bet (10/11)


Espanyol v Sporting Gijon: 17:30 – live on Sky Sports 3

Defence-minded Espanyol ground out a 0-0 draw away to Atletico Madrid last weekend, meaning that they’re now undefeated in eight league games and nine if we add the cup.

Last weekend was a landmark for Sporting too as they won their first league game since September when defeating hapless Osasuna 3-1 in Gijon.

All in all, I feel I should be making the simple pick of Espanyol to defeat Sporting, but the visitors have a good record away to their hosts, losing only one of their last five visits and 8/11 is not a great price for the Barcelona-based team.

Instead, and since Espanyol tend to reserve 0-0’s for when they play bigger teams, coupled with the fact that Sporting’s last five competitive games have seen three goals or more, the home team to score two or more is my pick.

Recommendation: Over 1.5 Espanyol team goals (evens)


Real Betis v Athletic Bilbao: 19:45 – live on Sky Sports 1

In a thrilling game, Betis drew 3-3 at home to Celta last Sunday to make it one win, one loss and a draw in three league games since their new coach took over.

Athletic, on the other hand, defeated fellow Basque’s Eibar 3-1 at the new San Mames, which they followed up with a 1-1 draw away to Rapid Vienna in the Europa League a few days later.

All in all, I’d have recommended Athletic + 0.5 in previous seasons, but this time they’ve played an extra game midweek and are far looser at the back then they used to be.

Betis, as mentioned, haven’t shown any consistency recently, so I’m just not confident enough to make a pick in the match winner or handicap markets.

It could well be a BTTS game and if anything, that or over 2.5 goals is what I’d chance as both teams have scored in five of Athletic’s last six competitive games with four seeing three or more goals, but it’s only a 2/6 for Betis in both markets, so I’m not confident enough to bet on either market.

Anyway, thanks for reading and hopefully my thoughts prove to be useful.

Saturday’s La Liga Betting Previews

8 Dec


Osasuna v Barcelona: 12:00 – live on Sky Sports 5

Since appointing Joaquin Caparros, Osasuna have lost four games in a row, scoring just one goal and conceding nine. The fact that they managed a goal in their last game potentially ruins a Barca to win to nil bet (evens), or BTTS No, but if Osasuna are to get something out of this games it seems most likely to be via a 0-0 scoreline, which they achieved last time they hosted Barca.

Barca, of course, played an extra game midweek – in the UCL – and their coach, Luis Enrique, may well field a weakened team in Pamplona this weekend as a consequence.

All in all, then, there’s an outside chance of a 0-0, but more than likely Barcelona will win comfortably. Given that the regular Asian line is Barca – 2, meaning that they’d have to win by three goals for the bet to yield profit, and factoring in that Barca have conceded in three of their last four competitive games, the Catalan side to score three or more is the pick.

However, wait and see how strong a team Enrique puts out before betting and don’t take less than 8/11. You can always just bet in-play, judge how likely Barca look to score a few and chance waiting for a better price.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 Barcelona team goals (3/4)

Spare change cover bet: 0-0 correct score (28/1)

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Real Sociedad v Valencia: 15:15

Unlucky not beat Barca after having what would have been a winning goal wrongly ruled out, Real Sociedad were shockingly beaten 5-1 away to Deportivo in their next and most recent fixture.

Valencia, meanwhile, conceded a later leveller to draw 2-2 at home to Malaga last Sunday evening to make it six league games without a win. On a positive note, Los Che did win 3-1 away to Leganes in the cup a few days before hosting Malaga.

However, the only conclusion that can be drawn in the match winner or handicap markets is that you simply cannot justify backing Valencia to win at San Sebastian this weekend.

On the other hand, you can justify backing Los Che to score, and certainly their opponents too as they’ve conceded in every La Liga game so far this season, scoring at least once in 10/12.

Indeed, in all competitions, both teams to score (best priced at 7/10) has occurred in La Real’s last four games, so with the Basque side’s impressive record of having won four of their last six matches against Valencia, and Los Che having conceded two or more goals in four of their last six La Liga matches, Real Sociedad team goals over 1.5 and BTTS and a home win are the bets to take.

Recommendation: Over 1.5 Real Sociedad team goals (10/11)

Worth a smaller punt: BTTS and Real Sociedad to win (11/4)


Las Palmas v Leganes: 17:30 – live on Sky Sports 4

Canary side Las Palmas came from a goal down to draw 1-1 away to Alaves last weekend, while Leganes recovered from a 3-1 midweek home defeat to Valencia in the Copa del Rey by holding an out of form Villarreal side to a 0-0 draw in Madrid.

Interestingly, Las Palmas haven’t lost at home this season, winning four and drawing three, so the ideal wager would be Las Palmas drawn no bet (Asian line 0). However, that’s way too short to back at 1/3 and understandably so.

Leganes, for their part, have an interesting away record with three wins and four losses from seven La Liga games. So, unlike Las Palmas’ home record, zero draws.

All in all, it’s not a five-star bet by any means, but Leganes have lost their last three road games and since they don’t do draws on their travels and Las Palmas are undefeated at home, a victory for Vinny Samways’ old side is the pick.

Recommendation: Las Palmas (5/6)

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Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna: 19:45 – live on Sky Sports 3

La Liga leaders Real Madrid conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League midweek, but then they’d been the beneficiaries of a late goal only days earlier when Sergio Ramos’ header secured a draw at Camp Nou in the Clasico.

Deportivo, meanwhile, surprisingly thrashed in-form Real Sociedad 5-1 at the Riazor in the Monday evening La Liga fixture. Notably, the also in-form Florin Andone bagged a brace to make it five goals in his last four La Liga games.

In conclusion, Real Madrid tend to thrash Deportivo and this weekend should be no different, but with potentially tired legs on show, both teams scoring and conceding in five of their last six competitive games, and a – 2.75 Asian handicap relying on a four-goal win for Los Blancos to ensure a full payout, Real Madrid to win and both teams to score is my fancy.

Finally, if you like a big-priced anytine scorer, Andone is best priced at 9/2 and well worth a pop given his form.

Recommendation: BTTS and Real Madrid to win (11/8)