Saturday's Spanish La Liga previews
Coming back from a goal down in Alicante, Almeria (21/10) showed great character to eventually beat Hercules 2-1. On the scoresheet for the second time in three games was on-loan Valencia winger Feghouli (12/1 to score first, 5/1 anytime).
Feghouli's shot should probably have been saved by the Hercules keeper, but M'Bami's effort was a stunning volley worthy of winning any game.
Overall, Almeria created few chances going forward in Alicante. In total contrast, their opponents today, Atletico Madrid (13/10), created bucket loads of chances at home to Villarreal and took enough of them to win 3-1.
Most impressive for Los Colchoneros was winger Reyes (8/1 to score first, 11/4 anytime), who scored a fantastic opener by curling the ball past the Villarreal keeper from a fair distance.
Along with Aguero (9/2 to score first, 6/5 anytime), also impressive - in his case by virtue of scoring his first goal in a long, long time - was Diego Forlan.
Like many players in this dysfunctional club, Forlan (9/2 to score first, 6/5 anytime) has had his problems with teammates and management. But Atletico have been playing well recently and look very confident going forward, particularly at home
Of course, home form is key is Spain and relegation threatened Almeria badly need the points. I'm not entirely sure they will get them though, so I'll proceed with caution and opt for a draw no bet punt.
Recommendation: Almeria, draw no bet (6/5)
Finishing off a slick team move, Adebayor (5/2 to score first, 4/7 anytime) tapped in to put Real Madrid (1/7) into the lead during their match against Racing in Santander last weekend.
Benzema (3/1 to score first, 8/11 anytime) actually looked pretty sharp in front of goal for once and bagged a brace in the eventual 3-1 defeat of Marcelino's boys.
However, the most impressive Real player in that game was undoubtedly Ozil (9/2 to score first, 6/5 anytime), who must surely be a due a goal soon himself.
Due a goal on opposition soil are Hercules (16/1), who have staggeringly failed to score away from home in the league since the end of October.
With Real Madrid having an eye on their upcoming Champions League match with Lyon, Barcelona beaters Hercules might fancy their chances of breaking the goal drought (against a potentially makeshift Los Blancos defence) tonight. If you agree, both teams to score "Yes" is 11/10.
Trezeguet (12/1 to score first, 5/1 anytime) seems the most likely scorer for Hercules today, but he himself has an unwanted record in never having scored away from home in the Primera division.
In conclusion, even with Ronaldo missing this game through injury and Real distracted with the Champions league, you have to fancy a "No" (4/6) in the both teams to score market and a comfortable home win.
However, along with the price about the above, 90 minute handicaps are too short priced for me and I don't have a fancied pick for a scoreline. I'll therefore just take one punt on Jose trying to put the game to bed in the first half so he can substitute key players in the second.
Recommendation: First half handicap, Real - 1 goal (8/5)
Worth a punt to score first: Ozil (9/2)
Through Bertolo (11/1 to score first, 4/1 anytime), Zaragoza (2/1) did at least have one decent chance in their defeat to Barcelona last weekend, but ultimately showed no ambition and looked very happy to have only lost 1-0.
Given that I could not watch the game properly through working my normal job while considering that I had recommended under 3.5 match goals, it didn't bother me.
What bothers me more is that so many small teams are resting key players when they play away to big teams. Understandable you might argue, but it weakens the credibility of the league and that's something I don't want to see.
In complete contrast, something I do love seeing - as a fan of the club - is Valencia (11/8) winning. After winning away to Atletico and Athletic in recent weeks, Los Che - with Pablo Hernandez (7/1 to score first, 2/1 anytime) scoring twice - defeated Mallorca on the island last weekend.
Going a goal down in all of the above ties, Valencia won each by a 2-1 scoreline. Besides the obvious belief and spirit created by these comebacks, all three came in grounds considered hard to win at.
With Villarreal shaky, third placed Valencia can create further distance between their selves and the 4th placed subs by winning today. But can they - having played Schalke in the Champions League midweek - win away from home for the fourth time in a row?
Certainly they can, but I've begun to consider three in a row the limit for most things betting wise (with some notable exceptions) and this is the sort of game in which anything can happen.
Don't forget, on home ground Zaragoza their selves came from behind to beat Bilbao a week and a half ago, so it could be a come from behind to win for them (10/1).
However, I don't buy into a Zara comeback, but I do buy into both teams scoring and consider it the safest bet while we see how Valencia react to their Champions League elimination.
Recommendation: Both teams to score "Yes" (8/11)
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