Saturday's Spanish La Liga previews
Deportivo La Coruna v Xerez, 17:00
The Riazor is a tough place for any team to visit, but as regular readers will know, Deportivo (1/2) are riddled with injuries and look set to gradually slip down the table as a consequence.
Nobody expected Xerez to take any points from their home fixture with Real Madrid last week, but they can take heart from their performance and I didn't even consider the double result bet of draw/Madrid. While I'm not sure of the price, I bet it was pretty good!
No longer the lowest scoring team in Europe, Xerez (5/1) have made progress recently and while they don't have the advantage of their own bumpy, poorly kept pitch in this fixture, due to Depor being on the ropes so to speak, I'm inclined to look towards the draw (14/5).
If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I'll expect to make my money back on other bets and am confident of profiting from Deportivo's misfortunes in future weeks.
I suppose I'm forecasting a lot this week, but please bear in mind that this is only for the purpose of a small stakes "predict the outcome of every match" bet.
On every preview I write, consider my arguments but make your own choices as nobody gets everything right!
Barcelona v Racing Santander, 19:00-Sky Sports 4
The Catalan giants lost to Atletico as expected last week, but Racing (14/1) appear to have given up any hope of getting something (they have drawn in the Nou Camp in the past) from this fixture, instead preferring to have their best players available for more "winnable" games.
Muntis, Colsa and Tchite will all miss this game as a result of bookings or red cards gained in their 3-0 defeat to Malaga last weekend.
Barca have many injury problems, as I documented in last week's previews, and must now add Xavi and Keita to the list.
Ibrahimovic (3/1 to score first, 8/11 anytime) has been lacking confidence recently, and as a result, goals. He did however score against Atletico and is therefore worth a mention in this preview.
As is FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who received little service last week but should benefit from the large home pitch, even if Barca are nowhere near their best.
The pint sized Argentine is 11/4 to get the first goal or 8/13 to score at anytime.
I'm not certain, but the double result of Barca/Barca looks likely on paper but is short priced at 6/10.
Listed as a "1" on my new "predict the outcome of every match" small stakes bet.
Mallorca v Sevilla, 21:00-Sky Sports 4
The most intriguing of the three Saturday night games sees fifth placed Mallorca (6/4) face off with fourth placed Sevilla (13/8) in a battle to occupy the fourth and final Champions League slot.
In last week's Monday night football (Valencia v Getafe this Monday) in which Tenerife hosted Mallorca, I leaned towards a draw based on the following logic:
It was a derby game, Tenerife had been poor in their last two games (including a home loss to Zaragoza), Mallorca had managed a handful of draws away from home and both teams would find it strange playing on Monday night.
It turned out to be wishful thinking as Mallorca lost 1-0 to a goal that looked to be offside, nothing like the awful officiating seen in Munich on Wednesday night, but a highly debatable decision to say the least.
There are many teams in La Liga that are decent at home but win few away games, the difference between them and Mallorca is that the Islanders have won every La Liga game they've played at home (a club record).
Given their away form, Mallorca must continue this record if they are to have any hope of finishing in the European places in the end of season La Liga table.
Sevilla's direct style brought them a narrow win over Osasuna last weekend, but not everybody involved with the club is enamoured with coach Jimenez's tactics and reliance on wing play.
Fabiano scored in that game as a direct (sorry!) result of Winger Diego Capel's cross and is today available at 5/1 to score first or 5/4 anytime. His team mate, former Mali International Freddie Kanoute is 7/1 and 2/1 in the same markets.
With Sevilla facing a tricky tie on the plastic pitch of CSKA Moscow next Wednesday, it's possible that the Rojiblancos field a weakened team in their trip to Mallorca.
I'm not certain, but that, the home record and the way in which all of the Mallorca players seem to want the ball (a complete reversal to what you see away from home) in front of their own fans tips me towards a home win.
However, if Sevilla do actually field a full strength team, this could be the end of Mallorca's record. Personally (and other than the "1" I will be putting on my "small stakes predict the outcome of every match" bet) I'll be waiting for confirmation of the teams before placing a bet.
If you are not sure, you can always Bet In-Play with William Hill Online