Round 3 La Liga betting previews
Friday, 30 August 2013
Almeria v Elche, 22:00
With three goals in only two games, on-loan Barca B striker Rodri (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime) opened the scoring for Almeria (21/20) in their trip to Madrid to face Getafe last weekend. Getafe equalised shortly after, before Soriano restored the visitor's advantage. It was all in vain, however, as they let Getafe back into the game to draw 2-2. All in all, Almeria should have left with three points.
Elche (13/5) played with great intensity and determination in their home draw with Real Sociedad last weekend but, after taking an early lead, couldn't maintain effort levels and failed to score a second goal, with La Real - who had the better of play after the restart - eventually grabbing a leveller. A fair result overall, I think.
With regards to today's game, Almeria's last two results - one home, one away - were 2-3 and 2-2, so both teams to score springs to mind. But then Elche have only scored one goal in two games and that was on home soil, so if I think that Almeria will score but don't trust Elche to, it seems best to go with a home win.
Recommendation: Almeria (21/20)
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Rayo Vallecano v Levante, 22:00
Utterly destroyed by a rampant Atletico team, Rayo (4/5) lost the Madrid derby 5-0. Atleti were vastly superior on paper and I expected them to win 2 or 3-0, but Rayo were so open it was clear early on that Atleti could score as many times as they wanted.
Levante (17/5), after losing 7-0 away to Barcelona on the opening weekend, drew 0-0 at home to Sevilla in round two. Beside the fact that Levante have yet to win a game or even score a goal, there's nothing to report here.
In conclusion, the Rayo chairman called his team the worst in the league after defeat at Atleti, but he made a similar comment a year or so ago and the team responded by winning.
Winning is, indeed, what I expect Rayo to do against Levante. Besides, Rayo won their last game on home soil and have defeated Levante three times in a row - for what that counts.
Finally, for stat lovers, the last five games between these two have contained at least three goals (10/11), with both teams scoring (4/5) in four of them.
Recommendation: Rayo (4/5)
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Saturday, 31 August 2013
Celta de Vigo v Granada, 18:00
With Charles (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime) opening the scoring and Nolito later adding a second, Celta (5/4) won an entertaining game 2-1 at Betis' Benito Villaramin stadium last Sunday evening. Betis nearly came back to draw, hitting the bar in the closing moments, but Celta hung on to record a credible win.
Granada (23/10) put in a shot on goal shy performance in round two, losing 1-0 at home to Real Madrid in the Monday night fixture. I recommended Getafe + 2 goals because I knew that Los Blancos had struggled at this ground in the past but, worst case scenario, expected them to win by one goal.
In conclusion, I'm picking both teams to score in Celta v Granada as the last two head to head matches between these two have seen 2-1 scorelines swapped, both of Celta's 2013/14 league games have also seen both teams score and both teams scored in Granada's opening day win at Osasuna.
Recommendation: Both teams to score (10/11)
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Valladolid v Getafe, 20:00
Taking an unexpected lead through Guerra, Valladolid (5/4) couldn't hold on to win at El Madrigal, eventually losing to Villarreal because of a penalty and late goal. Overall, I expected them to lose, but Valladolid played fairly well and nearly snared a point.
In an uninspiring performance, Getafe (23/10) twice had to come from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Almeria last Friday night. Lafita and Diego Costa (pen) saved the day for the Azulones.
In conclusion, a home win seems likely on paper, but then Valladolid lost their last fixture at the Jose Zorrilla and I don't trust them enough to even tentatively recommend a punt.
Indeed, while I try to pick a best bet for every game, I've developed a habit of refusing one per round and this is the one in round three.
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Osasuna v Villarreal, 22:00 - live on Sky Sports 4
They had a few chances on goal, but Osasuna (13/8) did as instructed in round two, losing 2-0 away to Athletic Bilbao. I had expected Osasuna to struggle for goals after selling their best striker, Sola, to Athletic and this game was further evidence of that.
Villarreal (9/5), coming from behind to win for the second match in a row, defeated Valladolid at El Madrigal last Sunday. Giovanni (pen) and Cani were the Yellow Submarines scorers. All in all, there wasn't that much in it, but Villarreal were fair winners on the night.
In conclusion, debt free Villarreal are in great form and appear to be on the up, while Osasuna look to be heading in the opposite direction, with their stadium, El Sadar, no longer the intimidating fortress it used to be. I think that Villarreal draw no bet is well worth a punt.
Worth a punt: Villarreal draw no bet (19/20)
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Sunday, 1 September 2013
Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao, 11:00 - live on Sky Sports 3
In yet another uninspiring performance, Real Madrid (1/6), courtesy of an early Benzema (5/2 to score first, 4/7 anytime) strike, won 1-0 at Granada last Monday evening. Los Blancos were worthy winners and at least they righted last year's wrong -when they lost here - but it was poor viewing
Athletic (14/1), playing in Real Sociedad's Anoeta stadium because their new stadium isn't yet ready, defeated Osasuna 2-0. An own goal and late De Marcos gave Athletic the points, but boy was it strange seeing them as the home team in their hated rivals stadium!
In conclusion, Ronaldo looks unhappy and, like his team, hasn't played well since the season started, but Athletic have impressed and look perfectly capable of making it six times in a row of scoring at the Bernabeu.
On paper, whoever the players and whomever the managers, this fixture has always been high scoring. As such, over 1.5 first half goals (4/5) and over 3.5 match (8/11) should be in your thoughts.
I expect both teams to score and Real Madrid to win, but am most comfortable with just both teams to score.
Recommendation: Both teams to score (7/10)
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Espanyol v Real Betis, 16:00
After dominating but going an early goal down to Valencia in Barcelona last weekend, Espanyol (21/20), through Lopez, Stuani and Koulossa goals, came back to win 3-1. In conclusion, Espanyol impressed and it was a very fair result.
Real Betis (14/5), on the other hand, lost 2-1 at home to Celta Vigo. Pepe Mel's boys had played in Europe midweek and will do so again before this fixture takes place, but they should have been 2 or 3-0 up at half time with the chances they created. The only positive for Betis was that Ruben Castro (13/2 to score first, 15/8 anytime) scored on his return from injury.
In conclusion, I must point out that Betis were an effective away team last season, but one of the road games they did lose was at Espanyol and, with Betis playing an extra game midweek, I feel compelled to go for a home win.
Recommendation: Espanyol (21/20)
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Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid, 18:00 - live on Sky Sports 1
Devoid of their best player and clearly tired through having to play Lyon in a Champions League qualifier midweek, Real Sociedad (9/5) quickly went a goal down away to Elche last weekend.
La Real brought Prieto on for the second half and, with Carlos Vela scoring his second goal in two games, played well enough to earn a 1-1 draw. They could have pressed more to win the game once level, but it was apparent that the Basques were happy with a draw given that they'll play Lyon again a few days later.
Atletico (6/4), with Arda Turan their star man on the night, hammered neighbours Rayo 5-0 at the Vicente Calderon last weekend. It was marvellous display and an easy win for my Atletico HT/FT bet.
Now, with regards to today's game, both teams played midweek, with Atletico arguably playing the more tiring fixture against Barca, but I see Simeone's Los Colchoneros as more of a complete team compared to Real Sociedad and will give them the edge in the draw no bet market.
For what it matters, Atletico won 1-0 here last season, while Real Sociedad recorded a 1-0 victory in Madrid! Same again, please.
Recommendation: Atletico Madrid - draw no bet (8/11)
Sevilla v Malaga, 20:00
In a dire game, Uani Emery's Sevilla (6/10) drew 0-0 away to Levante in round two. At least, unlike last season, the Rojiblancos didn't lose, but then they didn't come close to winning either.
Malaga (9/2) put in a sterling backs to the wall type performance at home to Barcelona last weekend, losing 1-0. All in all, Schuster's Anchovies played as well as you can expect these days, hitting the post and coming close on a couple of other occasions.
With regards to today's game, I think that Sevilla are superior to Malaga and expect a home win, but considering that Sevilla played an extra game in Poland midweek, while factoring in that Malaga won at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last season, 6/10 does not appeal.
Instead, I'll take a small punt on a goal shy Malaga side holding out until after half time.
Worth a punt: Double result (HT/FT) of Draw/Sevilla (17/5)
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Valencia v Barcelona, 20:00 - live on Sky Sports 1
With Espanyol starting well and pressing for the opening goal in the process, Valencia (9/2) took a shock lead in their round two clash in Barcelona. Postiga, with his first goal for the club, was the Valencia scorer. That, however, was as good as it got for Djukic's Los Che as they eventually lost 3-1.
'Tata' and his Barcelona (11/20) side laboured to 1-0 win away to Malaga in round two. It was one of those games in which the Catalan's opponents sat back in numbers, easily stopping them from creating anything of note bar Adriano's super strike.
Unsurprisingly, Barca won the Spanish Supercup midweek, drawing 0-0 at home to Atletico Madrid after a 1-1 score in the first leg. Of course, Atletico are almost in the same bracket as Real and Barca these days and are extremely hard to break down defensively, but it was another lacklustre performance from Barca, with Messi even missing a penalty late on.
Truthfully, I'm refusing to bet pre-match on this game - a shocker indeed, but I don't trust Barca anymore and certainly don't trust them to score a few goals given current from and a history of low scoring draws at the Mestalla.
The last two Valencia v Barcelona matches have ended 1-1, with a 2-2 draw before that and 0-1 and 0-0 of we go back even further. Given all of this and both teams recent woes in front of goal, under 2.5 goals looks like a sensible punt if you must bet pre-match.
Worth a punt: Under 2.5 goals (6/4)