Saturday's Round Five La Liga Betting Previews
Real Sociedad v Malaga, 15:00
Prieto (9/1 to score first, 10/3 anytime) and Vela (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime) both came close to scoring for La Real in their 0-0 draw away to Levante last weekend, but a stalemate it was.
Real Sociedad (10/11) also played in the UEFA Champions League midweek, losing 2-0 at home to Shakhtar Donesk. In truth, the Basques deserved something out of the game, but the Ukrainians experience showed and La Real couldn't take any of the few chances that they had. Let's hope they do better next time.
Malaga (3/1), most impressively, put hapless Rayo Vallecano to the sword in a 5-0 rout at La Rosaleda. New signing El Hamdaoui (15/2 to score first, 9/4 anytime) even netted a hat-trick! Sure, it must be said that Rayo's inability to defend was a contributing factor but, nevertheless, it was a highly impressive performance from Schuster's men.
In conclusion, Real Sociedad have not won a league game since week one and are having to juggle La Liga and the Champions League with a relatively small squad. La Real did beat Malaga home and away last season and have a stronger squad overall, but the Basque's obviously played an extra game midweek and, coupled with the above, it's hard to fully trust them to win today.
Instead, with the last four head to head clashes between these two seeing both teams score - and BTTS winning in each teams last respective home and away league games - I'm betting on goals. Also, since he'll be full of confidence after notching a treble and is available at a tempting to price, I've wagered on Malaga's Dutch born Moroccan finding the net again.
Recommendation: Both teams to score (8/11)
Worth a punt: El Hamdaoui anytime scorer (9/4)
Almeria v Levante, 17:00
Even scoring twice against a team that rarely conceded on home soil, Almeria (19/20) played very well in a 4-2 defeat at Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon stadium last weekend. Rodri (9/2 to score first, 6/5 anytime), with his fourth goal in as many games, netted Almeria's first goal and is now joint second top scorer in La Liga. Sheffield Wednesday fans will be shocked!
Levante (14/5), who had managed their first points of the season by beating Rayo in Madrid a couple of weeks ago, drew 0-0 at home to Real Sociedad in round four. The Valencia based side had a couple of decent chances, but otherwise there's nothing to report here.
In conclusion, every game that Levante have played has seen both teams score and at least four goals, but Levante have only scored twice in four league games so it's hard to trust these statistics to repeat this time.
Instead, let's see if Rodri can make it five goals in five games.
Worth a punt: Rodri anytime scorer (6/5)
Rayo Vallecano v Barcelona, 19:00 - live on Sky Sports 2
Rayo (11/1), who have now conceded twelve goals in four games since the season restarted, lost for the third time in a row, this time 5-0 away to Malaga. I expected Malaga to win and tipped them to, but to lose by five goals shows just how bad Rayo are at defending. Their coach, Paco Jemez, has done a great job at the helm, playing attacking football throughout, but stripped of his best players in the off-season, his side are now just sitting ducks for anyone with half reasonable firepower going forward.
Barcelona (1/5) were lucky to beat Sevilla 3-2 at Camp Nou last weekend, with a legit Rojiblancos goal ruled out and the Catalans scoring the winner when the allocated injury time had run out.
In conclusion, despite Barca playing an extra game when defeating Ajax in the UCL midweek, Rayo lost 5-0 to the Catalans here last season and 7-0 the year before, so it seems, in the form they're in, it's the wrong time for Rayo to play Tata's Barca!
Lastly, Barca minus two goals should prove to be a winning bet at 13/10, but I've always been a punter who prefers betting on match or team goals over handicaps. Should you fancy an ambitious punt, how about Barca minus four goals at 13/2! You never know, it was a winner last season and the one before.
Recommendation: Over 3.5 goals (4/5)
Valladolid v Atletico Madrid, 21:00
Valladolid (9/2) had a few opportunities but ultimately played out a 0-0 stalemate away to promoted Elche in round four. It was a result that lifted Juan Ignacio Martinez' side into 15th place in the standings.
With Villa (7/2 to score first, 10/11 anytime) opening the scoring, Simeone's Atletico Madrid (7/10) surprisingly conceded twice, but went on to beat Almeria 4-2 at the Vicente Calderon. Also, midweek, Atleti defeated Zenit 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League.
In conclusion, Valladolid have lost two out of the three home league games they've played this season, while Atletico have a 100% record in the league and, at the time of writing, are top of the table. Sure, we can expect a little tiredness from Los Colchoneros because of their midweek game - and I think the price is a bit short at 7/10 - but Atleti won easily here last season and I can't see any other outcome.
Recommendation: Atletico Madrid (7/10)