Sunday's La Liga previews
Finally breaking their unwanted record of not having scored away from home in a league match for longer than I care to research, Hercules, inspired by two goal here Royston Drenthe, won 3-1 away to Sociedad.
Espanyol (13/5), despite the returning Osvaldo (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime) scoring a cheekily taken penalty, lost 2-1 at home to Racing.
To quickly conclude, I think you have to ride the wave of enthusiasm created by a new coach and back Hercules (11/10) to win. Avoiding relegation is a real possibility if they can.
Recommendation: Hercules (11/10)
After losing 3-1 away to in-form Levante last weekend, Malaga must win their remaining home games if they are to avoid relegation. Their opponents today, 16th placed Deportivo, impressively came from behind to beat Mallorca 2-1 at the Riazor in their last fixture.
Only 5 points separate these two teams: If Malaga (4/5) win they have a good chance of survival, if Deportivo (19/5) win they will surely be only 3-4 points away from securing their top flight status for another season.
While they often prove to be untrustworthy at home, I think you have to give Malaga -and Rondon (9/2 to score first, 6/5 anytime) - another chance today.
Recommendation: Malaga (4/5)
Worth a punt: Rondon, first scorer (9/2)
Last weekend, Racing (10/11), through Colsa and Giovanni goals, beat Espanyol 2-1 in Barcelona. In - form Levante (16/5) continued their winning ways by beating Malaga 3-1 at home.
Basically, this is a team in decent form vs a team in excellent form. Factor in that Racing are at home and I fancy chancing a draw.
Worth a punt: Draw (23/10)
Last weekend, through a well worked Miguel De Las Cuevas goal, Sporting (EVS) shocked the world by beating Real Madrid 1-0 at the Bernabeu. Throughout that match Los Blancos peppered the Gijon goal, but Sporting deserved their victory.
Travelling to Gijon today are Osasuna (14/5). Losing 3-2 at home to Atletico last weekend, the Pamplona based outfit need a couple more wins to likely be sure of retaining their top flight status for another season.
In conclusion, this should be a simple case of home team wins.
Recommendation: Sporting (EVS)
Winning 3-1 away to Osasuna last Sunday, Atletico (8/15), who were missing Kun Aguero, did not do what they were supposed to do. Everything pointed to a home win, but De Gea made some game changing saves in the first half before the previously ineffective Diego Costa scored a hat-trick to give Los Colchoneros the points.
Real Sociedad (5/1) lost for the 5th time in 6 games after going down 3-1 at home to Hercules last weekend - Diego Ifran scored the Basque's consolation goal, slotting home Xavi Prieto's cross.
In conclusion, Atletico should win and win comfortably. However, Madrid's 2nd team often fail punters at short prices and Sociedad badly need the points so I'm going to bet against them. Take note though, it's more out of anger towards Atleti than anything else; I'm probably throwing money away!
Worth a punt: Sociedad (5/1)
Without a goal in some time, Valencia's Soldado scored all four in the 4-2 away defeat of Getafe last weekend. I did not see that coming, nor would I have given any merit to backing him to score at all. Form and confidence are obviously key in strikers and he had none.
Now full of confidence, Soldado (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime) is the obvious pick to score for 3rd placed Valencia (EVS) tonight.
The obvious choice for 4th Villarreal (14/5), despite him drawing a blank in the Yellow Submarines 1-0 defeat at home to Barca, is top scorer Giuseppi Rossi (7/1 to score first, 2/1 anytime).
However, jet heeled Brazilian forward Nilmar, though not scoring with the regularity of his American born colleague, must also be given consideration. Nilmar is 8/1 to score first or 11/4 anytime.
Previously in poor form, I would have marked Valencia for defeat in this game before they played Getafe. Now, with Villarreal having the burden of Europa League on the Thursday night prior to today's offering, I'm not so sure.
If I had to make a decision in the 90 minute market I'd chance the biggest price, but it is a derby game and a draw cannot be ruled out. Therefore, for the cautious pre-match punter, Villarreal-draw no bet looks good at 7/4.
Finally, a both teams to score "Yes" looks likely at 7/10, but then it did in Villarreal's game last weekend and look what happened. Perhaps over 2.5 goals is a better bet at 10/11.
Recommendation: Villarreal, draw no bet (7/4)
Worth a punt as anytime scorers doubled: Soldado and Rossi (6/1)