The weekend's La Liga previews
I'm now 95% healthy but, as my Spanish pay as you go internet connection costs 3 euro's for about 10 minutes surfing, am again rapidly typing these brief previews after my normal working hours. Writing ten previews in a row is a big task indeed, so straight to the point again in most. Thanks to Paddy O'Neil for the comment last week, cheered me up!
Saturday, 20 November 2010:
Villarreal v Valencia, 17:00
Despite failing to take a point from their game with Barcelona, Villarreal (evens) gave a good account of their selves in the Nou Camp and only lost out to the brilliance of the current FIFA World Player of the year, Lionel Messi.
On the scoresheet with an excellent individual goal in the Yellow Submarines 3-1 defeat was Nilmar (11/2 to score first), a player I recommended as an each way shot.
Like his American born Italian colleague Rossi (5/1 to score first, 11/8 anytime), Brazilian Nilmar now has seven La Liga goals to his name in the current campaign and, despite being a Valencia fan, is a player I'll be backing to score first tonight - Should you err on the side of caution, you can always back Nilmar to score anytime time at 6/4.
Though I'm not backing any of them, plausible alternatives if you fancy a Valencia scorer are Soldado (15/2 to score first, 2/1 anytime) and Aduriz (13/2 to score first, 7/4 anytime)
Unai Emery's Valencia (13/5) beat Getafe 2-0 last weekend but, to get to the point, generally lose to Villarreal at El Madrigal and I see tonight being no different.
Recommendation: Villarreal (evens)
Worth a punt: Nilmar first scorer (11/2)
Almeria v Barcelona, 19:00-Sky Sports 4
Despite playing against nine men, Juan Manuel Lillo's Almeria could not score in Bilbao, and defeat again tonight could see his tenure as coach come to an end.
Of course, realistically, nobody expects Almeria (11/1) to gain any points from tonight's game with Barcelona (1/4), but the Almeria chairman will point to last year's draw (9/2) with the Catalans and he's openly been looking for an excuse to sack his manager for weeks.
Whether there is a change of coach or not, I'd give little chance to Almeria winning tonight, particularly when you consider that Barcelona are playing Real Madrid next weekend.
In case of dropping points in the Classico, Barca will be focused in gaining all three tonight. Likely to help them do that are Messi (2/1 to score first, 2/5 anytime) and Villa (3/1 to score first, 8/11 anytime), both of whom scored in last weekend's 3-1 defeat of Villarreal.
Both Messi and Villa scoring is great for Barca, but it's not great for punters! Why? Well, it's no longer clear who will likely score first. For weeks I recommended the wincast bet of Messi scores first and Barca win (12/5), but now the same bet involving Villa (7/2) must be considered given that number 7 scored first last weekend.
With such uncertainty, I'm leaving this game alone. However, if you can accept the short price (8/11), either of Villa or Messi to score first could be for you.
Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao, 21:00-Sky Sports 4
With Mourinho banned from the bench, Real Madrid (1/6) struggled to beat Sporting in Gijon last weekend and have Higuain (5/2 to score first, 4/7 anytime) to thank for their 1-0 win.
Los Blancos also have goalkeeper Casillas to thank for a world class save in the dying moments of that match. A pity as, in my ill state, I tentatively suggested both teams to score in that game.
Although my article missed the publishing deadline, I recommended a Bilbao win and Llorente to score first in Athletic's 1-0 home defeat of Almeria last weekend.
This weekend I think that Bilbao (16/1) will lose and Llorente will probably score. A goal in the Bernabeu is far less likely than a goal in San Mames, but the big target man is a potential Real player next season and will want to make an impression tonight. Besides, he's surely worth an e/w punt at the generous price of 9/1 to score first (10/3 anytime)
As I think Llorente will score, "Yes" (10/11) is the obvious choice in the both teams to score market. For scorelines, I like 2-1 and 3-1 to Real, priced at 17/2 and 9/1 respectively.
Worth a punt: Llorente e/w first scorer (9/1)
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Deportivo La Coruna v Malaga, 16:00
Not so super Depor (6/5) did what I feared might happen and gained a very credible point at Mallorca last weekend. After the 0-0 stalemate and two wins in a row prior to that, I think Deportivo's early season crisis can now be brushed under the carpet.
With the playing resources he currently has, new Anchovies boss Manuel Pellegrini will not walking on a footballing red carpet come the end of the season, but he does have two wins in two games (one cup) since officially taking the reins at relegation candidates Malaga (5/2).
Last weekend, the Chilean's new charges beat Levante 1-0 at La Rosaleda, with Eliseu (11/1 to score first, 3/1 anytime) scoring the game's only goal.
This weekend I expect a narrow Depor win (1-0 is my favourite scoreline punt at 11/2), but am wary that, with their momentum, Malaga could snare a draw.
Recommendation: Deportivo (6/5)
Worth a punt for a much smaller stake cover bet: Correct score of 0-0, priced at 7/1
Espanyol v Hercules, 16:00
The Catalans secured a valuable 0-0 draw away to Racing last weekend and will expect to continue their excellent 100% home record against Hercules (3/1) tonight.
Hercules came from behind to beat Sociedad 2-1 in Alicante last weekend. I went for Trezeguet to score first, but sadly the Frenchman could only score second!
While there's always a danger that he will score his first away goal of the season tonight, Trezeguet is not a player I would back tonight given this fact.
Anyone looking for a potential Hercules scorer might be better served backing Valdez (15/2 to score first, 2/1 anytime) who has scored on both home and away ground this season.
Under the impression that new Malaga coach Pellegrini would be on the bench in Espanyol's last home game - a 1-0 defeat of Malaga - I went for the upset away win. Today I go back to sense and, as regular reader Terry says, always back Espanyol at home theory.
Recommendation: Espanyol (10/11)
Worth a punt for a lesser stake: Correct score bets of 1-0 and 2-1 to Espanyol (priced at 11/2 and 8/1 respectively)
Levante v Racing Santander, 16:00
Home team Levante (13/10) lost 1-0 away to Malaga last weekend and are in poor form. Away team Racing (21/10) missed a penalty and several other clear cut chances in their 0-0 home draw with Espanyol last weekend, and while a better side than Levante, are not in great form either.
I'll admit that this preview is suffering from me mentally fading writing ten previews in a row, but I think that x marks the spot tonight and see no need to write any more.
Worth a punt: Draw (11/5)
Osasuna v Sporting Gijon, 16:00
Camacho's Osasuna (10/11) were hammered 3-0 away to a Diego Forlan inspired Atletico Madrid last weekend, but will expect to get back to winning ways at home tonight.
Tonight's visitors to Pamplona, 17th placed Sporting (3/1), put up a spirited fight in their 1-0 home defeat to Real Madrid last weekend, but are generally very poor travellers.
On that note, the only bet for me is a simple 90 minute home win.
Recommendation: Osasuna (10/11)
Sevilla v Mallorca, 18:00-Sky Sports 1
Manzano's Sevilla (4/6) made my suggested Sunday double (them and Malaga) a winner by virtue of Negredo's last minute winner in Zaragoza. Amazingly, the Rojiblancos did this with ten men after the sending off of defender Alexis.
Mallorca (9/2) hit the woodwork more times than I can remember in their 0-0 home draw with Deportivo last weekend and can therefore count their selves very unlucky not to have won the game.
I see it as unlikely that Laudrup's boys will be lucky enough to win tonight's game, but they could get a point. After all, Laudrup has won in Valencia, drawn in Barcelona and drawn with Real Madrid on the Island.
I fancy a Sevilla win due to the form of Negredo and Fabiano (both 4/1 to score first or evens anytime), but be warned that it's no banker.
Worth a punt: Fabiano and Negredo as anytime scorers doubled (16/5)
Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid, 20:00-Sky Sports 1
A game to look forward to I think: The generally decent and defensively fairly sound at home Sociedad (17/10) against an Atletico (6/4) team that has two strikers in good form.
While column favourite Diego Forlan's (9/2 to score first, 6/5 anytime) return to goalscoring form did not help me win any money last weekend after I suggested Kun Aguero (6/1 to score first, 7/4 anytime) to score first, it's good to see him back amongst the goals and, crucially even better for punters who like to back scorers.
I like to back scorers, and while I'm not convinced that this bet is a winner tonight, the anytime scorers doubled bet of Forlan and Aguero could nevertheless be worth a small punt at 11/2.
You could also make an argument for the above bet with Forlan and, instead of Aguero, Sociedad's Llorente (5/1 to score first, 5/4 anytime). That bet is priced at a much shorter 4/1.
As for Sociedad: They lost 2-1 away to Hercules last weekend after taking the lead through Griezmann (8/1 to score first, 11/4 anytime), but they will expect to beat an Atletico side that have never been great travellers.
However, goals win games and with Forlan back amongst them, I fancy an away win in Basque country.
Finally, my favoured correct score punt is 2-1 to Atletico (17/2).
Recommendations: Atletico (6/4) and Forlan e/w first scorer (9/2)
Worth a punt: Wincast bet of Forlan scores first and Atletico win (7/1)
Monday, 22 November 2010:
Getafe v Real Zaragoza, 20:00-Sky Sports extra (online)
Michel's Getafe (4/5) disappointed me by putting in a poor performance when losing 2-0 away to Valencia last weekend, and cannot be trusted to beat Zaragoza (7/2) tonight given that the latter now have a new manager in Javier Aguirre.
In all honesty, I'm not certain that the former Mexico and Atletico Madrid manager will be on the bench this weekend, but if he is the new manager wins his first game theory is worth considering.
A bet in-play only game for me given my concerns.
As ever, enjoy the action and don't forget that William Hill Online offer more than a 100 markets for you to bet on in-play.