Sunday's La Liga Previews
Espanyol v Real Zaragoza, 16:00
Unable to take their chances in the 1-1 midweek draw with Atletico, Espanyol (5/6) will expect to get back to winning ways in the league by defeating the improving Zaragoza (7/2) this afternoon.
For Javier Aguirre, the Zaragoza coach, improvement in his players came via a 2-1 home defeat of Real Sociedad last weekend - Notably the match winner came in the last minute, a definite confidence booster.
Even though Espanyol are injury ravaged and Zaragoza have had an extra few day's rest, I'm not so sure that the visitors new found confidence will lead to a shock away win.
I'm 60/40 in favour of an Espanyol win but have decided to only bet in-play on the 90 minute market given my concerns about them scoring.
With a potential lack of goals in mind, and looking for some value, I'm going to take two correct score bets in this match: 1-0 to Espanyol (11/2) and a 0-0 draw (7/2).
Mallorca v Almeria, 16:00
After Almeria's 4-3 Copa Del Rey defeat of Espanyol at Son Moix, these two teams will face each other for the second time in three days. I'd like to suggest that there can't be so many goals this time, but then the first leg of the cup tie also ended 4-3 to Almeria!
Of course, in reality, it seems highly unlikely that we will see a third high scoring game between the two teams, particularly when you consider what such small squads they both have.
Legs will be tired and Mallorca losing twice in a row at home seems even less likely so I'll cut this short and suggest a Mallorca win (8/11) as my main recommendation, with under 2.5 goals (4/5) and 1-0 to Mallorca (6/1) as worthy punts.
Osasuna v Getafe, 16:00
Given that Osasuna (13/10) are La Liga's worst away side, it comes as no surprise that their coach, Camacho, is under pressure to take all three points every time his team plays in Pamplona.
Osasuna's Primera division survival will undoubtedly depend on their home form, it the way it's always been.
At home to a Getafe (11/5) team that look to be dipping form wise after their poor 3-1 home defeat and cup elimination at the hands of Segunda leaders Real Betis midweek, I expect Osasuna to scrape a win tonight.
Who will score? I don't know - there are no clear choices. But given that the hosts are usually a low scoring team, I'm taking a punt on a correct score of 1-0 to Osasuna - priced at 6/1.
Racing Santander v Sporting Gijon, 16:00
There are two simple ways of looking at this game:
Numero uno: Sporting (16/5) are in bad form (see last weekend's 2-1 home loss to Malaga for recent evidence) and their coach will likely be fired if he loses this game. Based on that, and as poor as Racing have been in front of goal recently, logic suggests you back a home win at 10/11.
Theory number two: As a player and coach, current Sporting boss Manuel Preciado spent ten years at Racing and is held in high regard by their fans. Sporting also have a very friendly relationship with Racing , one which saw them "take it easy" and lose 2-0 to their friends when Racing needed a win to guarantee top flight survival on the final day of last season. Based on this, Sporting are owed a favour and an away win is the pick at 16/5.
I must, however, point out that Sporting had nothing at stake when they lost to Racing in that fixture, so there doubt as to whether the favour will be returned tonight.
For my money, given the decent price on a Sporting win (16/5), I'm willing to take a chance on Racing helping out an old boy. To compliment the 90 minute pick, I'm going for a 2-0 scoreline (20/1) and Diego Castro to score the first goal (8/1).
Real Madrid v Villarreal, 18:00-Sky Sports 1
Indeed, this is a tasty looking tie. Sadly for both neutrals and fans of The Yellow Submarines, Nilmar and Senna will not take to field tonight, so the chances of Villarreal (8/1) gaining a draw - or even shock victory - seem too remote to take seriously.
Believe you me, I'd like to look for the upset here but, as is the theme in today's previews, I'll have to keep it short and sweet as I don't feel well and must therefore offer quick, conclusive, reasoning:
Real Madrid (3/10) have won every game at the Bernabeu and most of their "stars" were rested for the surprising 2-0 midweek away cup defeat Levante.
Besides missing the injured players I mentioned earlier, Villarreal's comparatively miniscule squad will be further handicapped by severe tiredness after coming from two goals down to beat Valencia in the cup on Thursday evening.
That's enough reasoning for me, so I'll conclude in recommending the following bets:
Ronaldo wincast (12/5), Ronaldo to score two or more (2/1), correct score of 3-1 to Real Madrid (9/1) and the "Yes" option in the both teams to score market (8/13).
Worth a small punt: Rossi anytime scorer (10/3) and the double result of draw/ Madrid (17/5).
Levante v Valencia, 20:00-Sky Sports 1
Had Levante (16/5) not impressed in their 2-1 league defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp last weekend, nor gained a big confidence boost from beating Real Madrid in the cup midweek, picking the 90 minute market in today's match would have been very easy indeed.
Derby game or not, I would have picked a Valencia win (5/6). However, Valencia surrendered a two goal lead to lose 4-2 away to Villarreal in the cup midweek and will no doubt be tired and demoralised after such a game.
If you are looking at the scorers market, Levante's Stuani (8/1 to score first, 11/4 anytime) and Sergio (16/1 to score first, 6/1 anytime) will both be anything but demoralised after each scoring wonderful goals in the last week, while Valencia's Soldado (4/1 to score first, evens anytime) will be hungry to get back on the goal trail.
I'm opting to bet in-play on the 90 minute market but I will recommend the "Yes" option in the both teams to score market (4/6), along with a small correct score punt of 2-1 to Valencia (15/2).
Whatever you choose, enjoy the action and don't forget that you can always bet in-play with William Hill Online.