Sunday's La Liga Previews
Hercules v Levante, 16:00
They started well and made Espanyol fight for it, but Hercules (10/11) had their goalkeeper sent off and eventually lost 3-0 away to the Catalans last Sunday. Back in Alicante this afternoon, Hercules and their star striker, Frenchman David Trezeguet, will expect to revert to winning ways.
I too expect them to beat Levante, and given that Trezeguet (4/1 to score first, 11/10 anytime) only seems to score in home games, think that he's worth a punt in the scorers market.
However, If you want to choose from other Hercules players, Valdez (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime) and the on - loan Drenthe (11/1 to score first, 3/1 anytime) should represent the best alternatives.
If you fancy a Levante (3/1) scorer, Stuani (15/2 to score first, 2/1 anytime) has been their most consistent scorer in recent weeks and, along with Felipe Caicedo (15/2 to score first, 2/1 anytime), netted in last weekend's 3-1 home defeat of Racing.
As regulars readers know, home advantage counts for everything with most La Liga teams, and I see this game being no different.
For potential scorelines: I like 2-1 and 3-1 to Hercules - priced at 15/2 and 16/1 respectively - and given this, think that "Yes" (10/11) and over 2.5 goals (21/20) are the obvious picks to make in the both teams to score and over/under goals markets.
Recommendation: Hercules (10/11)
Worth a punt: Trezeguet e/w first scorer (4/1)
Mallorca v Malaga, 16:00
Sevilla piled on the pressure after going a goal down to Laudrup's boys at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last weekend, but Mallorca held their own and added a late Pierre Webo (9/2 to score first, 5/4 anytime) strike to compliment Pereira's (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime) opener and condemn the Rojiblancos to a 2-1 defeat.
Condemned to a 3-0 away defeat last weekend were Manuel Pellegrini's Malaga (15/4), who lost to Deportivo at the Riazor: Two goals down in half an hour, the Anchovies tried hard and actually had more shots than their hosts.
Not all doom and gloom for Malaga then, but I would not expect them to take any points from Son Moix tonight for Mallorca (8/11) are usually pretty good on their own turf.
I'm not sure about the over/under goals markets in this one to be honest but, when they win, Mallorca seem to do so by a 2-1 scoreline (15/2). Other than that, 2-0 is the only other potential score outcome I'd consider (priced at 15/2).
Recommendation: Mallorca (8/11)
Worth a punt: Webo e/w first scorer (9/2)
Racing Santander v Deportivo La Coruna, 16:00
As is the case most weeks, after losing away from home, Racing (6/5) will expect to take all three points on home ground in Santander tonight.
Opponents Deportivo might have something to say about that as they have clearly recovered from their slump (3 wins and 1 draw in their last 4 games) and could well be worth a punt to continue winning ways tonight.
Last weekend, Lotina's Deportivo comfortably defeated Malaga 3-0 at the Riazor. Amongst the goals were Adrian, Colotto (22/1 to score first, 6/1 anytime) and Alvarez.
On the scoresheet for Racing in their 3-1 defeat away to Levante last Sunday was Lacen (14/1 to score first, 4/1 anytime).
With no chance of being on the score sheet this week is Racing's Cisma, who was sent off for violent conduct after a brawl broke out when Levante scored after a Racing player lay injured.
Staying with scoring and although a 0-0 is not impossible (priced at 7/1), I fancy both teams to score (21/20). I'm not overly confident in over 2.5 goals (11/8), but as I'm going to take a chance on Deportivo winning (5/2) and with what I've just written about the teams to score market, the score must be at least 2-1 (priced at 11/1) and over 2.5 would then be a winner.
However, you should also consider the draw (9/4) as it seems to be the sensible option on paper. I've just decided not to be sensible this time and go with a hunch.
Worth a punt: Deportivo (5/2)
Cover bet for a much lesser stake: 0-0 correct score (15/2)
Sporting Gijon v Real Sociedad, 16:00
Despite a promising start to their away match against Osasuna last weekend, Sporting (6/5) could find the back of the net and eventually lost 1-0 in Pamplona.
Until the 71st minute last weekend, Sociedad led Atletico Madrid through Llorente's (6/1 to score first, 13/8 anytime) goal. Sadly for the Basque's, the in-form tandem of Aguero and Forlan then ran riot resulting in a 4-2 win for the Colchoneros.
If not for those two I would have picked a Sociedad win (5/2). This afternoon I'd like to pick a Sociedad win, but Sporting are usually good at home and I won't go against them this time.
Just who will score for Sporting I'm not sure but, if he plays, Nacho Novo could be worth consideration as he bagged his first ever La Liga goal in his club's 1-1 draw at Almeria a few weeks ago.
However, and although he's not scored recently, Diego Castro (7/1 to score first, 15/8 anytime) is the club's top scorer (4 goals) and probably the best pick if you're looking for a Sporting scorer.
For scorelines I'd look at 1-0 and 2-1 to Sporting: Priced at 11/2 and 8/1 respectively.
Recommendation: Sporting (6/5)
Athletic Bilbao v Osasuna, 18:00-Sky Sports 1
Despite being eventually beaten 5-1 away to Real Madrid, I got what I wanted out of Bilbao (3/4) last weekend as Llorente scored. Not first - though he nearly did - but enough to get the e/w part of my scorer bet correct.
lorente was 9/1 to score first last week, 10/3 anytime. Sadly such prices were only available because of the location and level of Athletic's opposition.
Bilbao's opposition this week, 11th placed Osasuna (15/4), are somewhat weaker and travel shy so prices are back to normal.
Despite this, I would still recommend a punt on Llorente (7/2 to score first, 10/11 anytime) as he is regular goalscorer and, besides Gablilondo (7/1 to score first, 2/1 anytime) and penalty taking defender San Jose (16/1 to score first, 6/1 anytime), pretty much the only player who scores for the Basque side.
Scoring for Camacho's Osasuna in their 1-0 home defeat of Sporting last weekend was Shojaei (11/1 to score first, 4/1 anytime), who composed himself to coolly shoot from the edge of the box after a nice team move.
Moving on to the double result market, I'd favour Athletic/Athletic (9/5) over draw/Athletic (16/5) and discount anything else for consideration.
Under 2.5 goals (evens) seems the logical choice in the over/under markets, but I'd prefer to take a chance on Bilbao winning 2-0 (priced at 7/1), along with a punt of "No" (10/11) in the both teams to score market.
An alternative correct score punt could be the 1-0 that Athletic won by in their last home game - against Almeria. Should you prefer that choice to my 2-0 pick, 6/1 is available.
Finally, I will be taking my (slim) chances on a £1 pound scorecast of Llorente scores first and Athletic win 2-0, available at 25/1.
Recommendation: Athletic (3/4)
Worth a punt: Llorente to score first (7/2)
Valencia v Almeria, 20:00-Sky Sports 1
I was quite seriously stunned that Los Che did not lose away to regional rivals Villarreal last weekend. The Valencia coach, Unai Emery, played a defensive, counter attacking game which paid dividends when lone striker Aduriz (7/2 to score first, 10/11 anytime) put them in front in the 21st minute.
Unai's boys had a few bright spots after that, but it was all Villarreal in the second half and the Yellow submarines equalised through Rossi. Stankevicius was later sent off for the Che, but Valencia (4/9) held on to take a point back to the Mestalla.
Taking all three Champions league points on Wednesday night were Valencia who cruised past Bursaspor 6-1 by virtue of goals from Soldado (7/2 to score first, 10/11 anytime), Aduriz, Joaquin (7/1 first scorer, 2/1 anytime), Mata (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime) and Chori Dominguez (no, really he did score!).
As enjoyable as it might have been for me watching that game, I'm still not convinced by Valencia and think they'll come undone against a decent team given how sloppy their defending can be.
Bursaspor were poor opponents and a decent team would have scored three goals against Valencia. Today's opponents for the Che are Almeria (6/1), a team who lost 8-0 at home to Barcelona last weekend.
I would not, however, expect a glut of goals this afternoon as the Almeria players knew that the axe was looming over former coach Juan Manuel Lillo and arguably capitulated to ensure it fell.
Almeria have yet to announce a new, permanent manager so I would not look to them winning this game. A Champions league hangover is possible though and my original thoughts were for this game to be a draw (7/2).
However, I'm not so sure after Valencia's explosive, offensive performance on Wednesday night and the 4/9 price about the hosts is not worth the risk pre-match in my eyes.
Sunday double recommendation: Athletic (3/4) and Mallorca (8/11)
Enjoy the action and don't forget to check out my preview for Monday's Barcelona - Real Madrid match, it should be a cracker!