Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing six of the last eight finalists in the Champions League, as well as six of the last nine winners.
It doesn’t stop there either, with teams from Spain also ruling the roost in Europe’s second tier tournament, the Europa League, taking four of the last six editions, highlighted by triumphs for goal happy Sevilla in 2014, ’15 and ’16.
Enthused by a domestic league bursting with quality and rivalry, Betting Directory’s Tom Lee, a regular visitor to Spain and its football grounds, takes a weekly look at the best bets on the fixture list…
Jornada nine of the 38 in the 2017/18 season is an intriguing one for sure, though it might be one to avoid if you’re a fan of rock-bottom Malaga.
A solitary point from a possible 24 isn’t quick what the Rosaleda faithful will have been hoping for prior to a ball being kicked, and their goal difference of -14 is (alongside Eibar) unsurprisingly the worst around.
What could be worse then, than a visit to the Nou Camp to face a rampant Barcelona (Saturday, 7.45pm)?!
Barca, the who’ve conceded just three in eight and scored a whopping 24, up against a side who look ragged and rudderless and have barely had 24 shots all season!
Things will have to change and rapidly, but this looks for all the world like a home win to nil, with Paddy Power offering the Catalan side, who were slick and efficient in their midweek Messi show against Olympiacos in the Champions League, at 10/11 to do just that.
Likely to be a tad more even, one game this weekend which just screams entertainment is the Saturday teatime game between much-improved, gung-ho Valencia, and an out of sorts looking Sevilla (5.30pm).
Sevilla fell apart in Moscow on Tuesday night, losing 5-1 to a limited Spartak, and even domestically they’ve struggled to find a rhythm, labouring to narrow wins against Girona and Las Palmas, and getting turned over by Atleti and Athletic Bilbao.
Have Valencia got the tools for the home win?
Very definitely, but part of the reason they’re so good to watch this year is the gaps they leave at the back – consider this, their last four games have featured a crazy 24 goals!
Sevilla might not be clicking right now, but they’ll get chances at the Mestalla, so for that reason I’m backer backer of Valencia to win and both teams to score, generally a 9/4 chance, though there is some 23/10 with Paddy or better still, 12/5 with the Betfair Sportsbook.
Lastly, Monday evening’s 8th v 13th clash between Real Sociedad and Espanyol also catches the eye (7.00pm), with the home team on a high after their 6-0 Europa League cruise in Macedonia.
Before that, they easily despatched struggling Alaves, drew 4-4 in a bonkers game against Real Betis, came off worse in a five goal ding-dong affair with Valencia, and earlier played extremely well for 20 minutes before succumbing at home to Real Madrid.
A repeat of any of those performances ought to be enough against a tame Espanyol, who’ve mustered only seven goals in eight.
This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:
Sat 5.30pm – Valencia v Sevilla – Valencia to win & both teams to score @ 12/5 (Betfair Sportsbook)
Sat 7.45pm – Barcelona v Malaga – Barca to win to nil @ 10/11 (Paddy Power)
Mon 7.00pm – Real Sociedad v Espanyol – Real Sociedad to win @ 17/20 (bet365)