Weekend Spanish La Liga previews
Sevilla v Barcelona, 20:00-Sky Sports 4
A mouth watering clash in prospect see's fourth placed Sevilla host top of the table Barcelona. This game will decide the title as Barca will beat Valladolid at the Nou Camp in the final fixture, make no mistake.
Sevilla (9/2) ran riot in Santander as expected, eventually beating Racing 5-1; Kanoute (9/1 to score first, 10/3 anytime), Navas and Capel each added a goal to compliment a brace from in-form striker Alvaro Negredo.
Looking likely to miss the plane to South Africa, Spanish international Negredo (8/1 to score first, 11/4 anytime) has hit form at the right time; he dispatched two penalties last weekend to add to his midweek double.
Barcelona (4/9) struggled for long periods in their rain soaked 4-1 defeat of Tenerife and many will fancy them to lose today. It's a real possibility and has been done before.
However, and although I am not as confident as I was in the Villarreal-Barca game last weekend, I think that Barca win a high scoring match (over 2.5 goals and Barca win is 5/6).
I would expect both teams to score (8/15) and over 2.5 goals (2/5) as both teams need to win and will surely go for it.
Messi (9/4 first scorer, 1/2 anytime, 9/4 for 2 or more) rescued my best bet suggestion of Barcelona -2 with an injury time goal midweek. The Argentine will get kicked a lot today but is getting close to Ronaldo's goal tally of 1997, and who'd back against him beating it!
Bojan (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime) and Pedro (6/1 to score first, 7/4 anytime) also scored on Tuesday. Both are in good form and will likely generate interest amongst punters looking for a little more value in a Barca scorer.
Like I said earlier, I am confident of a Barcelona win but would prefer to wait for a better price in-play. It's worth noting that the weather could be factor, for if it rains heavily Barcelona's short passing game will be affected.
If you want to bet pre-match, I recommend a 90 minute Barcelona win (4/9).
Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao, 20:00-Sky Sports 4 (red button)
With the gap between the two still one point and Barcelona expected to have trouble with Sevilla this weekend, Los Blancos must beat Athletic tonight if they are to have a chance of winning the title.
On the Island, Real (1/10) had problems containing Mallorca in the opening stages of their match and went behind to an Aduriz goal. Through the determination and skill of Ronaldo, Real eventually won 4-1.
An impressive first ever La Liga hat-trick for the Portuguese was capped off with an excellent lobbed goal from Gonzalo Higuain (9/4 to score first, 1/2 anytime).
Ronaldo keeps on scoring game after game, and it should come as no surprise that the prices on him doing so keep on getting shorter and shorter every week.
This week the former FIFA World Player of the Year is 2/1 to score first, 2/5 anytime, 2/1 for 2 or more and finally, 8/1 for another hat-trick; hardly worth betting on you might argue, but I doubt anyone thinks that he won't score at some point in this game.
Athletic (14/1) have slipped in recent weeks, losing at home to Mallorca and drawing with Malaga.
Toquero (5/1 anytime scorer) did score in that draw to Malaga, but like Llorente (9/1 to score first, 10/3 anytime) has been patchy recently and is not therefore reliable; good prices though!
With Real Madrid's defence often shaky and error prone, yes in the both teams to score market could be a winner at 19/20, but I'd prefer to assess that one in-play.
Over 2.5 goals appears likely but has perhaps the shortest price I have ever seen for such a bet at 3/10. Even backing Ronaldo as an anytime scorer (2/5) is more profitable than that!
An upset is possible but very unlikely given Athletic's poor recent form and Real Madrid's need to win. Considering the extremely short price on the hosts (1/10), I will only bet in-play on the 90 minute outcome.
Nobody can expect value in anything to do with a Real Madrid win at the moment, and so my best bet pre-match suggestion is Ronaldo to score at anytime and Real to win (8/15).
Deportivo La Coruna v Mallorca, 20:00
Considering that it's their final home game of the season, there's a slight chance that not so super Depor may try a little harder than usual in front of the Riazor faithful.
Deportivo (21/10) did manage a nice twenty yard strike from Riki (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime) in their 3-1 defeat away to Osasuna on Wednesday, but it was another listless performance that proved why it pays to bet against them.
Mallorca (19/20) started very well against Real Madrid midweek, with Gonzalo Castro having a goal ruled out for offside before in-form striker Artiz Aduriz gave the Barralets a deserved lead sixteen minutes into proceedings.
That was as good as it got for the Islanders as a Ronaldo inspired Real eventually beat them 4-1 with some fantastic finishing.
Defeat on the Island against such opposition was not unexpected. Sure, Mallorca will be tired, disappointed and possibly carrying less confidence then they had prior to Los Blancos visit, but the Champions League is still an achievable goal.
Now 5th in the table, Gregorio Manzano's charges must win both of their remaining games and hope that Sevilla cannot defeat Barcelona tonight. - An entirely plausible situation.
Previously terrible away from home, Mallorca impressively beat Athletic 3-1 in Bilbao last weekend; Athletic have been stumbling as they near the final fence for a couple of weeks now, but I would not read too much into that for purposes of betting on this game.
Deportivo have nothing to play for, Mallorca have a Champions league place within their grasp. Bar a couple of Riki wonder goals there can only be one outcome here.
And so, my best bet recommendation is a 90 minute Mallorca win (19/20).
Espanyol v Osasuna, 20:00
By virtue of a 4-1 defeat to Tenerife on the Island a couple of months ago, Espanyol (evens) are not yet mathematically safe from relegation based on the head to factor.
If Tenerife won both of their remaining games and Espanyol lost theirs, the two would swap places. That is the only way that Espanyol could lose their top division status.
However, we must also not forget that the teams currently in-between Espanyol and Tenerife could also fill the final spot by losing their own games; the picture will be much clearer next week.
In the midweek fixtures, the Catalans lost a close match 1-0 away to Zaragoza; Pochettino's boys put more effort in than I expected but you could tell that Zaragoza needed it more.
Osasuna (21/10) easily defeated Deportivo 3-1 in their last game, with the only blemish being the goal they conceded; I expected the Pamplonans to win to nil given that Depor had not scored for several games, but am very happy with the 90 minute result.- One of the easiest winners I'll ever pick.
That win guaranteed Osasuna' survival, and although a point today would do the same for Espanyol, I would expect the Catalans to do enough to win this game; despite losing 2-0 at home to Valencia in their last game at the Cornella El Prat, Espanyol are usually good at home.
Just in case this develops into a training match in which one point keeps everybody happy, my best bet recommendations are 0-0 (17/2) and 1-1 (11/2) scorelines with a larger stake on an Espanyol win (evens).
Getafe v Malaga, 20:00
With Real Madrid due to visit La Rosaleda on the final day, Malaga (16/5) must win today. Getafe played lethargically in their 1-1 home draw with Sporting midweek, so an Anchovies win is not as unlikely as it seems.
However, one must tread with caution when considering that Getafe's top scorer Soldado returned from injury to score a fabulous overhead kick on Tuesday evening.
Like most good strikers, Soldado (9/2 to score first, 5/4 anytime) tends to a score in consecutive games and I for one will be backing him to make it two in two tonight. Along with Pedro Leon and Michel's boy Adrian, Getafe (4/6) should have too much firepower for plucky Malaga.
Plucky is as kind as I can be with Malaga who are, at best, a team of physical battlers with little technical skill to rely on.
Duda (11/4 anytime scorer) accounts for nearly all of the skill within the squad and is currently Malaga's top scorer with seven goals. One of them came in Malaga's impressive 1-1 draw away to Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday night.
Caicedo (8/1 to score first, 9/4 anytime) is not a player I back, but must be offered for his good form in recent games; no goal last time out however.
In conclusion, Getafe will qualify for the Europa league if they win this and their remaining game with cup occupied Atletico Madrid next weekend. Despite Malaga's needs, that should be enough motivation for superior Getafe.
There are safer 90 minute winners at similar prices, but if forced to choose pre-match I'd take a Getafe win (4/6). If you have doubts over Getafe's midweek showing you can always bet in-play.
Sporting Gijon v Atletico Madrid, 20:00
Miguel De Las Cuevas (13/2 to score first, 7/4 anytime) scored a stunning goal in Sporting's 1-1 away draw with Getafe on Tuesday.
Previously considering their selves to be safe from relegation, Sporting (4/6) snapped out of a four game losing streak to draw with Malaga last weekend.
Two points from two away games is a good haul for a club of Gijon's stature, but is not enough to guarantee safety.
A win today would guarantee Primera league survival, and I can't imagine that anyone with knowledge would back against them beating nothing to play for Atletico (3/1).
Bar what I have stated, the reasoning is as follows: Sporting are decent at home while Los Colchoneros are terrible away. Atletico also have the small matter of a Europa league final with Fulham next Wednesday and will therefore field a reserve team tonight.
Without hesitation or fear of failure, my best bet recommendation is a 90 minute Sporting win (4/6).
Tenerife v Almeria, 20:00
In the midweek fixtures, Tenerife (4/6) lost 4-1 away to Barcelona as expected. They did better than the scoreline suggests and midfielder Roman (12/1 to score first, 7/2 anytime) scored for the third game in a row.
To my surprise, Almeria hammered Villarreal 4-2 with Uche, a player I don't rate, amongst the scorers. I won't be backing him again today because I expect that Almeria (14/5) will consider their selves safe from relegation after this win.
While I expect them to retain their Primera league status for another season, Almeria could still get relegated. Ironically, the only team in the bottom three that could go above them is Tenerife!
Almeria and Tenerife drew the reverse fixture 1-1, with six points currently the difference between the two. As head to head records count above goal difference in Spain, if Tenerife take three points today they will have the advantage should the teams finish the season level on points.
Of course, Tenerife would also have to win their next game and hope that Almeria loses theirs:
In the final round of matches, the islanders travel to Valencia to square off with nothing to play for Los Che. At the same time, Almeria will travel to Seville to face Sevilla.
Even if they lose to Barcelona this weekend and Mallorca beat Deportivo, Sevilla would still qualify for the Champions league if they beat Almeria and Mallorca fail to defeat Espanyol on the final day.
Under those circumstances, Almeria do not want to travel to Andalusia needing a point to guarantee safety.
If you're a cautious punter, watch five minutes and assess how hard Almeria try before betting. If you want a pre-match bet I recommend a 90 minute Tenerife win (4/6).
Valladolid v Racing Santander, 20:00
Three points separate nineteenth placed Valladolid (evens) and seventeenth placed Racing. The first game ended 1-1 so Valladolid will go above their opponents if they win today.
Javier Clemente's boys spurned several first half chances in their 3-1 midweek defeat to Atletico in Madrid; former Manchester United striker Manucho (5/1 to score first, 11/8 anytime) was the guiltiest party but will look to make amends today.
Racing (11/5) were pathetic in their 5-1 home defeat at the hands Sevilla in the midweek fixtures and, despite Valladolid averaging less than a goal per game since master tactician Clemente took over, should be marked for defeat today.
The only positive for Racing is the red hot form of Mohamed Tchite who has scored five goals in five games.
Valladolid travel to the Nou Camp in the final round of games and must obviously win today to stand a chance of survival.
My best bet suggestion is a 90 minute Valladolid win (evens).
Villarreal v Valencia, 20:00
The Yellow submarines started well in Almeria midweek but were dominated in the middle stages, eventually losing 4-2. Tonight they face a tired, injury ridden Valencia (3/1) team that now has nothing to play for.
Los Che beat Xerez 3-1 on Tuesday evening with some terrific finishing and team play. They did, however, go a goal down and it could have been very different if Juan Mata had not scored a terrific free kick just before the whistle blew for half time.
That goal deflated the visitor's confidence and Los Che consequently went on to win the second half with little cause for concern.
The three points taken from that win sealed third spot for Valencia and, as is often the case in these scenarios, you would expect them to field a weakened team with a casual outlook at El Madrigal tonight.
Besides, Villarreal are good at home and often beat Valencia in this fixture.
The only bet that makes sense is a 90 minute Villarreal win (8/11).
Xerez v Real Zaragoza, 20:00
With Xerez's 3-1 defeat to Valencia, the unlikely comeback is all but finished. Survival is still possible for the 20th placed Sherry makers; all they have to do is win both of their remaining games while relying on other teams losing theirs.
Zaragoza (13/10) have in-form striker Colunga (5/1 to score first, 11/8 anytime) to thank for their 1-0 defeat of Espanyol at La Romareda midweek, and will probably foolishly consider their selves to be safe from relegation with that win.
The confidence was clearly drained from Xerez's players when Mata equalised with the last kick of the first half in Valencia midweek, and you have to therefore wonder how much that will affect them today.
It's no certainty but I expect Zaragoza to apply the pre-mentioned mindset and lose today. He did not score in Valencia but I will give Bermejo (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime) possibly his last chance to win me some more money this season.
My best bet recommendation is a 90 minute Xerez win (7/4).
Enjoy the action and don't forget that you can bet In-Play with William Hill Online.