Round 4 La Liga Betting Previews
Saturday 14th September
Through Villa (5/2 to score first, 4/7 anytime) and Koke goals, Atletico (3/10) defeated Real Sociedad 2-1 at San Sebastian last time out. It was an impressive performance against a very good Real Sociedad team, one that landed me another winner in Atleti draw no bet.
Although I openly stated that I wasn't going to bet on the Friday evening round three games, I was very annoyed that Almeria - who twice led Elche - conceded a 95 minute goal to draw 2-2 after I'd picked them to win. With the information I had, I felt it was the right choice at the time, but this team is quickly forming a pattern of throwing leads away and not being able to defend well.
In conclusion, Almeria games look good for BTTS bets, but Atleti rarely concede at home and have proved to be very reliable in leading at half time and full time unless they're playing Real or Barca.
Sure, there is slight concern that Atleti will play in the UCL only days after this match, but their potential tiredness seems better factored into next week's game and not this one.
Recommendation: Atletico HT/FT (8/11)
Surprisingly, at least in my eyes, Levante (2/1) defeated Rayo 2-1 in Madrid prior to the international break. Ruben and, with a 95th minute winner, Ivanschitz were their scorers. Unfortunately, I picked Rayo to win, ignoring that fact that games between these two had consistently produced three goals or more in the past on the basis that Rayo had lost nearly all of their offensive players in the off-season, while Levante had yet to score this season. Oh well, we move on.
Real Sociedad (11/8), as predicted, lost at home to Atletico Madrid in round three. Prieto (10/1 to score first, 7/2 anytime) scored a stunner with the Basques 2-0 down, but it wasn't enough against a team who is a year or two ahead of them in terms of being able to challenge for trophies. No face lost, though, La Real are clearly the fourth best team in Spain - and they'll certainly be happy with that.
In conclusion, the Basque's are due to play in the Champions League only days after this fixture and could be content with a draw. As such, the Real Sociedad draw no bet option appeals, but at 13/20 it's simply too short and, unless I just make a pure guess on one of the popular markets like BTTS, I can't find another bet I fancy.
Barcelona v Sevilla, 19:00
Tata's Barca won 3-2 at Valencia last time out, with Messi scoring a hat-trick. All in all, Barcelona (1/5) didn't defend well but had the best player in the world to save them. However, Valencia scored two stunning goals, and it's also fair to say that had Messi and Neymar taken their second half chances it would have ended 4 or 5-2 to the Catalan side.
Sevilla (11/1), with Gameiro (14/1 to score first, 11/2 anytime) bagging a brace, surprisingly drew 2-2 at home to Malaga. Now, I'd refused to back or tip Sevilla at 6/10 considering that they'd played in the Europa League midweek, so I opted for the chancier double result of draw/Sevilla at 16/5. It was 1-1 at half time and I expected to win this bet, but it wasn't to be. Still, better to lose a small bet at a good price as opposed to a regular one that was too short.
In conclusion, Sevilla have proved to be a terrible road team over the last year or so, but a lot of the Barca players have travelled across the globe to play midweek international games and we must factor this is into the equation.
Therefore, while over 1.5 first half goals may well still prove to be a winner, it seems smarter to bet on match goals, allowing for a slow start from Barca's jet lagged stars.
Recommendation: Over 3.5 goals (8/11)
Worth a punt: Gameiro anytime scorer (11/2)
In what was my most pleasing pick of the weekend given how much value it had, Villarreal draw no bet romped home at 19/20 as the Yellow Submarines easily put Osasuna to the sword in Pamplona, winning 3-0. In truth, it should have been 5 or 6-0, but it was quickly apparent that Marcelino's charges were going to win and really enjoyable watching them do so!
Perbet, Aquino and Uche were the scorers, though Giovani (9/1 to score first, 10/3 anytime) should have netted a couple, too!
Real Madrid (8/13) defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at the Bernabeu in round three, with Isco the star of the show, netting a brace. Notably, Ronaldo scored his first league goal of the season.
In terms of transfers, of course, Gareth Bale (6/1 to score first, 4/5 anytime) has now joined Real Madrid, while Ozil has left for Arsenal. I was shocked to see the German leave instead of Di Maria, but it was decided that, as good as Ozil is, they had other players like him (Isco) but not like Di Maria - isn't Bale comparable to Di Maria?!
Anyway, Mr Bale, reportedly, isn't fully fit and therefore unlikely to start against Villarreal, but Isco and Coentrao are both expected to miss the trip to Valencia and the Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, has stated that the Welshman will play a part.
In conclusion, BTTS (8/15), over 2.5 goals (1/2) and Villarreal + 2 (4/9) are the bets that spring to mind for this game - which should be a thrilling contest - but all three are too short priced and, given that Real will have had far more players on international duty than Villarreal, that star man Isco is injured and that Los Blancos will play Galatasaray in Turkey midweek, it sounds like a fairly good time to be very brave with our bets and bet on the unthinkable.
After all, Villarreal (5/1) and her players must be full of confidence after winning their first three games, and hopefully it's Giovani's turn to score.
Worth a punt: Villarreal (5/1) and Giovani anytime scorer (10/3)
Sunday 15th September
With new signing Piti scoring the leveller, Granada (7/5) drew 1-1 away to Celta in round three. It was a pleasing result given my BTTS bet, and one that moves Granada up to 9th position, with 4 points from 3 games.
Espanyol (21/10) drew 0-0 at home to Betis in their last league fixture, but really should have won. Of course, I won't wager against Betis given my affiliation with the club and always make that clear, but my pick of Espanyol to win was wrong.
Anyway, I'll pick Granada to beat Espanyol, but this is another game in which I think any outcome is possible, so I'm steering clear personally.
Getafe (19/20) lost 1-0 away to Valladolid in their last game. It was a result that moved the Azulones into 19th position in the standings.
Osasuna (3/1) were easily beaten 3-0 at home to Villarreal last weekend - a result that cost coach Mendilibar his job.
In conclusion, I would have recommended a Getafe win here but, as regular readers will know, I won't oppose a new coach in his first game in charge. Therefore, the double chance bet of Osasuna or draw is my logical pick.
Worth a punt: Double chance - Osasuna or draw (5/6)
Schuster and his charges must be given credit for their 2-2 draw away to Sevilla in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, with his side twice taking the lead through Morales and Santa Cruz (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime). Of course, we have to consider that the Rojiblancos had played in Poland midweek, but it was a surprisingly good performance from the Anchovies.
Rayo (11/4) lost 2-1 at home to Levante in round three, with Lass seeing red on the hour mark. Larrivey, with his first top flight goal in Spain, scored the Madrid sides goal. Losing pick for my previews in this game and horrible to concede in the 95 minute, but these things happen, sadly.
In conclusion, Malaga (19/20) exceeded expectations in a 1-0 home defeat to Barca, only lost 1-0 away to Valencia and drew 2-2 away to Sevilla when they were expected to lose. Therefore, against a Rayo side who lost 2-1 at home to Levante, were beaten 5-0 by Atletico Madrid and criticised by their chairman as being the worst team in the league, Malaga should win today.
However, it's worth pointing out that five of the last six head to head clashes between these two have gone over 2.5 goals (4/5). Indeed, much like Rayo's last game, such stats shouldn't matter as both teams have far less firepower than they did last season or the season before, but these things have a strange habit of repeating their selves in La Liga.
Recommendation: Malaga (19/20)
In round three, Betis (17/10) drew 0-0 away to Espanyol. Considering that Pepe Mel's boys had lost on their last two visits here and had played in the Europa league midweek, it wasn't a bad result for the Seville side, gaining them their first league point of the season.
Valencia (8/5) defended poorly and were blown away by Messi in the first half of their clash with Barcelona at the Mestalla. Los Che only lost 3-2, though, and Postiga (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime) scored two cracking goals, particularly the first one - a bicycle kick - but Djukic and his players look set to struggle to qualify for anything better than the Europa league come the end of the season.
Indeed, Europa League is what these two will play a few days after they face each other in the league, but what are we to expect from today's game?
Well, neither team is in great form and we must consider that Betis' Ruben Castro and Joan Verdu are both listed as doubtful, but if you're going to punt on this contest and believe in head to head stats, over 2.5 goals - a winner in 5/6 head to head clashes between these two - looks like the bet to chance.
Worth a punt: Over 2.5 goals (10/11)
Monday 16th September
Somewhat surprisingly, newly promoted Elche - who had lost their last away game 3-0 - twice came from behind to draw 2-2 away to Almeria in round three. Albacer (pen) and Boakye were the players who gained Elche their first away point of 2013/14. All in all, Elche deserve some credit, but Almeria threw the game away.
Valladolid (11/5), through defender Marc Valiente's first ever La Liga Primera goal, beat Getafe 1-0 in another one of those Friday night games that I refused to bet on. This result gave Valladolid their first points of the season, moving them up to 11th position in the standings.
In conclusion, based on home advantage, I'll give Elche (13/10) the nod here, but I'm not interested in betting on them personally as it's one of those games in which anything is possible.
As expected, Athletic (8/11) scored but lost away to Real Madrid in round three, giving me a winning BTTS bet and a highly accurate preview in terms of other bets mentioned. Ibai Gomez (7/1 to score first, 2/1 anytime) found the net for the Basque side.
Celta (18/5), most pleasingly considering that they've looked great going forward but poor in defence so far this season, drew 1-1 at home to Granada in their round three fixture. Rafinha (11/1 to score first, 4/1 anytime) was Celta's scorer.
In conclusion, I expect Athletic to win this match in their new stadium, but have always preferred goal related bets to 90 minutes and, since both teams have scored in every La Liga game they've played so far this season apart from Athletic's 2-0 defeat of Osasuna, opt for BTTS instead.
Recommendation: Both teams to score (8/11)