Archive for 2017

20 Dec
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(20 & 22 Dec)

Strung as it is across five pre-Christmas days and nights, jornada 17 has a rather ungainly and yet highly entertaining theme to it, meaning it’s heaven for couch potatoes, who get to feast on a range of fixtures such as the basement battle between Alaves and Malaga, the Valencian community derby between Valencia and Villarreal, plus of course the ticking time-bomb which is the Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday at midday.

More than enough to get the juices flowing, but where punters are concerned we might have to delve a bit deeper…

One side that are simply screaming out to be supported are impossible to play against Getafe, who despite modest resources rarely get beat by more than one or two, frequently upset the odds by beating higher ranked sides – just ask recent victims Valencia and Villarreal, and also are capable of roughing up the league’s aristocracy when required.

Their positive goal difference is testament to that, and at 4/5 tonight they look simply too good to miss at home to rock-bottom Las Palmas, comfortably the worst team in La Liga, and plummeting rapidly.

The islanders may well have salvaged a draw on Sunday against Espanyol, but they were a shambles for 70 minutes, and won’t find such leniency in the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez this evening.

Their goal difference of -23 highlights their defensive headaches, and up against a spiny team like Getafe it’s unlikely they’ll be returning home from Madrid with much more than another hangover.

In a set of fixtures that look very tough to call, I’m then going to wait until Friday night for selection number two, with Atletico Madrid the call to return home from Barcelona with their tails up, having beaten Espanyol away, meaning of a fashion it’s Madrid v Barcelona twice in less than 24 hours.

This might not be a vintage Atleti we are witnessing, still understandably taking time to bed in at the Wanda Metropolitano, and with rumours continuing to fly about Antoine Griezmann, plus Diego Costa still unable to feature, they’ve been grinding rather than entertaining, though this has left them second and undefeated with 10 wins and six draws for 36 points.

I think this’ll be 11 wins and 39 points, as they travel to face an underwhelming Espanyol, one who sit 16th and very much within reach of the jaws of the relegation places in the new year.

Absurdities like letting a two goal lead slip at Las Palmas might yet come to cost them dear, and Atleti have more than enough quality to put them away here.

Effective rather than beautiful, Atleti it is for the away win as we head into the winter break.

Good luck and Feliz Navidad!

This week’s best bets in La Liga:

6.30pm (Wed) – Getafe v Las Palmas – Home Win @ 4/5 (BetVictor)

8.30pm (Fri) – Espanyol v Atletico Madrid – Away Win @ 4/5 (Betfred)

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Posted 3 weeks, 6 days ago

15 Dec
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(16 & 18 Dec)

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, the Sportsman’s Tom Lee, a regular visitor to Spain and its football grounds, takes a weekly look at the best bets on the fixture list…

Still digesting the fact we’ve got Barcelona versus Chelsea and Sevilla against Manchester United to look forward to when the Champions League stirs again in mid-February, as well as the small matter of Real Madrid meeting Paris St Germain, it’s into matchday 16 we head.

Mindful of the fact squad depths will be tested before the winter break, with this weekend’s games wedged in alongside a pre-Christmas midweek round of fixtures that begin next Tuesday, there are hopefully a couple of sides that can oblige for us on home turf.

Kicking-off on Saturday afternoon (3.15pm), the all-Basque clash at the San Mamés between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad looks one to be interested in, given that La Real are on a miserable run that has seen them lose four straight in all competitions.

They were toothless when losing to struggling Malaga last weekend, outplayed and outfought by a side suddenly getting their act together and fighting like crazy for every loose ball.

More of the south coast outfit later, but Real Sociedad don’t look like a team to be trusted at present. Down to 10th in the league, no clean sheets in five and dumped out of the Copa Del Rey by Lleida.

By contrast, Athletic are four places below them in the league but starting to have a real go now, embarking on a four game unbeaten run in La Liga which included holding Real Madrid to a 0-0 draw, as well as winning away to Levante on Sunday.

You’d readily anticipate this one being scrappy, but the home side are buoyant whereas the visitors look one to avoid right now.

Athletic Bilbao are the pick and are 6/5 for the home win with bet365.

They are joined under the lights on Monday night (8.00pm) by Malaga, who can prise three points from visitors Real Betis at La Rosaleda.

Malaga are off the foot of the table and might very soon be out of the bottom three the way they’ve suddenly picked up, winning three and drawing one of their last six league games, with even the defeats defeats looking good in this context as they made Barcelona (2-0) and Real Madrid (3-2) work extremely hard for the victories in both cases.

By contrast, it seems a very, very long time since the warm month of September when Betis were winning in the Bernabeu and scoring four without return against Levante at the Benito Villamarin.

Here and now they are without a league win in six games, including losing three of their last four, including a pathetic effort when going down to nil at Las Palmas earlier this month, a team who are normally just unable to defend. 

Then there was their two-legged embarrassment against local side Cadiz in the Copa del Rey.

Things don’t look too rosy for Betis right now, and if they turn up in a similarly vulnerable frame of mind then there’s no doubt the momentum is with Malaga, who are 23/20 with any of Betfred, Betway or Hills to grab the three points and continue their excellent recent work.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

3.15pm Sat – Athletic Bilbao v Real Sociedad – HOME WIN @ 6/5 (bet365)

8.00pm Mon – Malaga v Real Betis – HOME WIN @ 23/20 (Betfred)

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Posted 1 month ago

08 Dec
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(10 Dec)

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, the Sportsman’s Tom Lee, a regular visitor to Spain and its football grounds, takes a weekly look at the best bets on the fixture list…

Unusually, Matchday 15 doesn’t exactly appear to be heaving with betting opportunities, Valencia becoming temporarily at least no longer a good thing without metatarsal victim Guedes available for selection, Barcelona suddenly drawing games, plus the vital Friday night basement clash between 19th placed Alaves and one above them Las Palmas much too tight to call.

There are a couple of angles it could pay to examine though, both of which arrive on Sunday.

The early kick-off is the 11.00am start in the Anoeta, rock-bottom Malaga making the 975km journey to the far north and San Sebastian, to lock horns with a slightly flimsy looking Real Sociedad who are currently sitting in ninth.

At 1/2 for the home win it would be tempting to idly dismiss this as a routine canter for La Real, but they’re losing games they should draw, and drawing games they should win – namely their late capsize after leading inside the half hour away to Atletico last week.

It also wasn’t a great advert that they slipped out of the Copa Del Rey on away goals over two legs to Lleida, while their ridiculous draw against Las Palmas two weeks should have finished about 7-2.

In short, there’s something more than a bit unconvincing about them, and while they seemingly won’t have too many better opportunities to get back in the winning groove, they’re meeting Malaga at a time when the visitors are finally starting to feel some momentum and winning mentality return to their ranks.

Indeed, the basement boys have made both Barca and Real Madrid sweat for three points in recent weeks, while their hard fought and rapturously celebrated wins against Deportivo and Celta Vigo have proved they’re not down yet.

What we might actually be seeing is the start of a rally, one which means the ‘double chance’ market, the one which gives us both Malaga and the draw, could be the right card to play.

A draw or a Malaga win is 13/8 with either bet365 or Unibet.

Later on Sunday we’ll head to the other end of the country, with Seville the host city for Real Betis against Atletico Madrid in the 60,000 capacity Benito Villamarin.

Betis, who charged through the autumn firing on all cylinders have come down to earth with more than a bit of a bump, suddenly finding themselves in 11th after a run which has yielded four defeats and two draws in all competitions.

Losing to Las Palmas wasn’t clever, and nor was getting bombed out of the Copa Del Rey by local side Cadiz.

Right now, they look shorn of confidence.

Meanwhile, without playing anything like as well as they can, visitors Atleti suddenly find themselves within six points of the league summit, undefeated domestically and with Diego Costa to come in the new year.

Dropping down into the Europa League isn’t ideal, plus there’s a risk of fatigue after their midweek exertions when drawing 1-1 with Chelsea in the Champions League, but even so the carrot of another slip from one or both of Barca and Valencia, plus the fun they’re having being above Real Madrid in the table, means they’re not to be missed this weekend in a game they have more than enough quality to put to bed.

They’ll do for me at the 4/6 available with any of bet365, Hills, Paddy or Skybet.
Good luck!
This Sunday’s best bets in La Liga:

11.00 – Real Sociedad v Malaga – DOUBLE CHANCE MALAGA & THE DRAW @ 13/8 (bet365 or Unibet)

3.15 – Real Betis v Atletico Madrid – AWAY WIN @ 4/6 (bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power or Skybet)

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Posted 1 month, 1 week ago

01 Dec
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(2 & 3 Dec)

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…

We charge into December with Barcelona still four points clear after Sunday’s fantastic 1-1 draw between them and the great entertainers of Valencia at the Mestalla, on a weekend where I’m expecting three of La Liga’s big guns to deliver for us.

First up, it’s to the capital we’ll go on Saturday afternoon for Atletico Madrid against Real Sociedad at the Wanda Metropolitano (3.15pm), a match I fully expect Diego Simeone’s team to take by the scruff of the neck.

Cheekily ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference, they breathed fire away to Levante last Saturday, hammering in five without return, including braces for both Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann.

In other news, that’s 10 goals for and none against in the three matches they’ve contested in all competitions since drawing 0-0 with Real a fortnight ago.

In short, much more like it.

As for the visitors, Sociedad sit in seventh with a respectable 19 points, but there’s something more than a bit fragile looking about Eusebio Sacristan’s team, who draw too many games and seemingly find a way not to get the job done.

They’ve ended up with a point in both of their last two league games, including a match they really should have won convincingly against Las Palmas last weekend, while their midweek capsize against Lleida in the Round of 32 in the Copa Del Rey won’t have helped.

Back Atleti to do the job.

Another big gun who can win at home on Saturday are Sevilla (5.30pm), who really seem to have channeled their energy and focus after news broke of Head Coach Eduardo Berizzo’s battle with prostate cancer.

Fingers crossed he’s soon feeling better in every possible way, with his team certainly doing their bit by coming storming back to draw with Liverpool in the Champions League last week, before digging seriously deep to come from 2-0 down to win away to high-flying Villarreal last weekend, and then walloping FC Cartagena in the cup in midweek.

In that mood they’re not a million miles off unstoppable, and they should keep their improved run going by sending Deportivo La Coruna back up to the north west empty-handed.

Depor have shown signs of life in recent weeks, but if Sevilla turn up then they’re unlikely to have the tools to deal with them.

This has to be another home win to go in the shopping basket alongside Atleti.

Lastly, the bet of the weekend has to be Valencia to keep the temperature turned right up by triumphing away to 12th-placed Getafe on Sunday afternoon (3.15pm).

Prior to the draw with Barcelona they’d won eight on the bounce in the league, and can get back to winning ways against their solid but beatable hosts.

SkyBet are a standout 7/5 for the away victory.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

3.15 Sat – Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad – HOME WIN @ 8/15 (Ladbrokes)

5.30 Sat – Sevilla v Deportivo La Coruna – HOME WIN @ 9/20 (BetVictor)

3.15 Sun – Getafe v Valencia – AWAY WIN @ 7/5 (Paddy Power)

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Posted 1 month, 2 weeks ago

24 Nov
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(25 & 26 Nov)

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…

And what a weekend this is, with the top two, Barcelona and Valencia, locking horns on Sunday night at the Mestalla (7.45pm).

Supposedly a work in progress, Barca, hard off the back of Wednesday night’s trip to trade blows with Champions League adversaries Juventus in Turin, but utterly ruthless in front of goal domestically, and absolutely deadly at the back, conceding just four in the league so far.

Will their midweek efforts and the point they earned in Italy have left a shadow on them?

Make no mistake, the towering and intimidating home of Valencia will be rocking, safe in the knowledge their team have been comfortably the most entertaining in La Liga to watch so far in 2017/18.

Kondogbia, Zaza, Mina, Rodrigo, Parejo, Soler, Pereira, and of course the mesmerising Portuguese Guedes are just some of the names who’ve thrilled a fanbase who’ve been starved of success in recent years, but are now witnessing something beautiful happening…

But are they legitimate title contenders? This game will surely be a decent barometer of those ambitions.

A win for the hosts puts them within a point, a win for Barcelona and they streak away, seven points the margin of superiority at the end of November.

What colours my thinking here is that neither have lost in the league, and though the onus will be on Los Che to come out and carry the attacking threat, especially with Barca having played midweek, they are up against the best defence in the section.

Also, factor in that Valencia drew with both Madrid giants in earlier league encounters, suggesting a similar outcome might be the value play here.

In many ways a draw would suit both, unbeaten records maintained, reputations upheld, honours even.

For those reasons, it has to be the stalemate for me, an attractive 3/1 chance with any of Betfred, BetVictor, Stan James or William Hill.

Also in Valencia, 24 hours previously a team I have great affection for (especially after they did the job for followers of this column on Sunday night to bring up the full house!) is Levante, the solid and compact outfit who sit 12th after their 2-0 win away to Las Palmas, who face a difficult home encounter at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia, with fourth placed Atletico Madrid coming to town.

Atleti, at home and in decent nick with a 2-0 win over Roma at the Wanda in the Champions League in midweek, remain unbeaten in the league, although thus far it’s been mainly pragmatism and steel over adventure and flair, with 16 scored and only six conceded.

I expect them to do what they so often do in these circumstances, namely emerge with a hard fought narrow victory.

Levante are no pushover, but Atleti do have superior quality, and find their way into the shopping basket at a not overly generous 4/7.

Finally, an appealing piece of value to make up a decent patent arrives in San Sebastian on Sunday afternoon (3.15pm), with Real Sociedad at home to whipping boys Las Palmas.

The visitors don’t look anywhere near ready to reverse their slump, and for the hosts this a strong opportunity to win without conceding, against the bottom team who to date have managed just eight goals in 12.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

7.45pm (Sat) – Levante v Atletico Madrid – AWAY WIN @ 4/7 (William Hill)

3.15pm (Sun) – Real Sociedad v Las Palmas – SOCIEDAD WIN TO NIL @ 9/5 (BetVictor)

7.45pm (Sun) – Valencia v Barcelona – DRAW @ 3/1 (BetVictor)

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Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago

16 Nov
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(18 & 19 Nov)

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…

Back with a bang from the unpopular international break, jornada 12 has a very obvious highlight at 7.45pm on Saturday evening, with the first ever meeting between the two Madrid giants, Atleti and Real, at the gleaming new Wanda Metropoliano.

Six months on from the capital city rivals playing out a thunderous (literally) Champions League semi-final, we find them a third of the way through season 2017/18, locked together on 23 points, meaning this represents fourth against third.

Apart from at home to Chelsea in the Champions League, Simeone’s Atleti have been nigh on impossible to beat, winning six and drawing five of their 11 league games so far, though with the lowest goals for tally in the top five (16).

Across town, Real’s form has been more unpredictable. A pair of stumbles in the league plus a comprehensive defeat to Spurs at Wembley means the gato is very much among the pigeons when it comes to weighing up their season to date.

Mean, miserly, solid and dependable Atletico, against their neighbours who are harder to second guess, but would surely love to bank a point and come out of this something to hold before they head to Cyprus for Champions League duty on Monday.

For that reason, it’s a draw all the way in this for me, with both bet365 and Stan James offering 5/2 about the stalemate.

Another team who love to keep it tight are Leganes, who find themselves in a highly respectable ninth position after conceding just eight all season, the third best defensive tally in the division after Barca and Atletico!

The problem for them is in finding a way through, with their yield of nine in 11 equating to just 0.81 goals per game.

Up against rampant table-toppers Barcelona on Saturday afternoon at the Estadio Municipal de Batarque (3.15pm), that’s not especially likely to suddenly improve – the Catalan giants have let in just four so far, while notching 30 of their own!

Therefore, it doesn’t sound too exquisite to suggest the way to go is Barcelona to win to nil at BetVictor’s 23/20.

I’m not sure they’ll run away with it, but the league leaders can emerge with a valuable victory, while maintaining that excellent rearguard form.

Finally, if you’re looking for something a shade more high risk, what about Levante to claw out a crucial away win against Las Palmas in Gran Canaria (Sun, 5.30pm)?

Strugglers Deportivo went there and swatted them 3-1 just three weeks ago, beating a team who haven’t exactly flourished since bizarrely getting shot of ace former manager, Manolo Marquez, who really seemed to have the makings of something good despite humble resources.

On -20 the islanders have the worst goal difference in the entire division, and entertain visitors who’ve been scrapping hard for points, losing just three of their 11 to date.

Levante could very well come away with a third win of the campaign, an outcome that strikes me as overpriced at the 11/4 available with Betfred or SkyBet.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

3.15pm (Sat) – Leganes v Barcelona – BARCELONA TO WIN TO NIL @ 23/20 (BetVictor)

7.45pm (Sat) – Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid – DRAW @ 5/2 (bet365)

5.30pm (Sun) – Las Palmas v Levante – AWAY WIN @ 11/4 (Betfred)

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Posted 2 months ago

03 Nov
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(4 & 5 Nov)

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…

The only place to start this week has to be at the Mestalla, the towering and brilliantly done-up home (for now at least) of high-flyers Valencia, who sit second on 24 points after a scrappy but nonetheless effective three points at rock-bottom Alaves last week.

No European football means they’ve had all week to rest and recover from that trip, welcoming a highly impressive Leganes at midday on Saturday.

Parsimonious in defence, but also low scoring in attack, Leganes are a highly effective unit who don’t sit seventh by mistake, though with respect to their recent assignments this is way tougher.

Los Che are generally a 1/2 shot to make it win number eight on the bounce in all competitions, but that can be turned into a far more attractive odds against 23/20 (Coral) by backing them to be winning at half time.

They will blast off in front of their own fans and should have too much firepower, having already scored 27 in 10 in the league.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Alaves remained rooted to the foot of the table and will probably remain there after Espanyol have paid as visit to the Mendizorrotza (5.30pm).

Four goals in ten games just isn’t good enough, and though Espanyol aren’t world beaters they do know how to get the job done, arriving here off the back of a 1-0 victory against Betis, as well losing just one of their last eight in all.

The Catalan side can help prolong the Basque outfit’s misery, and look attractively priced at 8/5 with Paddy Power.

Lastly, another team who struggle to hit the target this season are Eibar, and it’s hard to envisage them getting too much change out of their 5.30pm Sunday visit to face Real Sociedad in the Anoeta.

On -17 Eibar have the joint worst goal difference in the top flight (alongside Las Palmas), and come up against a side who badly need to ignite their campaign after some indifferent results.

Available at 4/6 with SportingBet, La Real should do just that.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

12.00 Sat – VALENCIA v Leganes – Valencia to be ahead at half time @ 23/20 (Coral)

5.30 Sat – Alaves v ESPANYOL – Away win @ 8/5 (Paddy Power)

5.30 Sun – REAL SOCIEDAD v Eibar – Home win @ 6/10 (Betfair)

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Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

28 Oct
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(28 Oct)

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…

Matchday 10 brings with it a flurry of attractive games this weekend, especially on Saturday when in the early kick-off, struggling Alaves welcome high-flying Valencia to the Mendizorrotza (12.00pm).

It’s 19th against 2nd, which on both counts no-one would’ve believed two months ago, but here we are with Alaves at least showing signs of life in the last four weeks, winning away to Levante for a much needed three points at the end of September, and then experiencing that presently all too rare winning feeling in midweek, when seeing off Getafe in the Copa del Rey.

As for Valencia?

For a team who hail from a brilliant city in which oranges grow on trees in the streets and a paella is never more than 100 yards away, even they have it pretty good right now, with the infamously hard-to-please Mestalla crowd purring in appreciation of what they’re seeing.

They sit second after a stirring run of form which has seen them hit 23 goals in their last six in all competitions, in the process showing us the brilliance of Messrs Guedes, Kondogbia and Zaza.

They continue to dazzle, with the Portuguese loan-signing from PSG, Guedes, looking truly special, and as such they look a must at 8/13 with any of Boyles, Coral or Skybet.

Later in the day, its fourth against sixth at the Wanda Metropolitano, as Atleti entertain Villarreal in what will be a real test of Diego Simeone’s side (5.30pm).

This will be as tight as tight can be, but the home team have conceded just two in the last six in the league, and will once again, boa-constrictor style, try and squeeze the life out of the game.

I certainly fancy them to win to nil, but I’ll go further than that and suggest a 1-0 correct score home win, with 11/2 the odds of reward about that eventuality with any of bet365, Betfred, Betway or Ladbrokes.

Finally, the third and final recommendation comes in the late, late game at the Sanchez Pizjuan (9.30pm), where a strangely out of sorts Sevilla try and wake themselves up against one of the stories of the season, Leganes.

Eighth versus fifth isn’t the way you’d have expected to bill this, and yet both have a similar record, with Leganes currently a point superior (17).

Maybe their bubble will burst, but equally Sevilla have looked utterly lethargic in recent games apart from their Copa Del Rey stroll against Cartagena, and it might very well be that Leganes can exploit the hosts’ current malaise and grab a valuable point.

For two teams so close together in the table, the draw does look big at 3/1 with either Fred or Paddy.

Good luck!

Saturday’s best bets in La Liga:

12.00pm – Alaves v VALENCIA (away win) @ 8/13 (coral)

5.30pm – ATLETICO MADRID v Villarreal (1-0 correct score) @ 11/2 (bet365)

9.30pm – Sevilla v Leganes (draw) @ 3/1 (Paddy Power)

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Posted 2 months, 2 weeks ago

20 Oct
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(21 & 23 Oct)

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.

Good luck!

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)

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Posted 2 months, 4 weeks ago

30 Sep
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(1 Oct)

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…

That Spanish top flight’s seventh match day of the campaign, the last before yet another dreaded international break, sees Alaves desperately trying to hoist themselves out of a barren spell which is yet to yield a single point or indeed a goal away from home this season, a buoyant and extremely fun to watch Real Betis heading to San Sebastian for a huge test against Real Sociedad, as well as what should be a highly entertaining encounter as a re-born Valancia take on Athletic Bilbao at the Mestalla.

I’ll be waiting ’til Sunday for a three game combination consisting of the following:

Not everyone agreed with the signing of Paulinho, the Super Cup was a disaster, Valverde had the hard task of hitting the ground running in the dugout, Dembele got injured almost immediately, Neymar decided the banks of the Seine were a better place to sunbathe than Barceloneta, yet FC Barcelona have started the campaign in utterly blistering fashion, scoring 20 and conceding only two, as they sit top with maximum points.

Bizarrely, presumably because they’d had a fall and a bang on the head, someone at Las Palmas thought it’d be a good idea to get rid of their brilliant manager, Manolo Marquez, earlier this week, this despite the islanders winning two of their six games already.

That looks an extremely poor decision, and it’ll be damage limitation for Las Palmas when they are the visitors at the Nou Camp on Sunday afternoon (3.15pm), a side who really should have been proudly lead out by their now departed Catalan coach.

I’ll take Barca to win comfortably, to nil. A 21/20 chance with a couple of bookies.

A pair of games kick off at 5.30pm, both of which can go the way of the home sides…

Athletic Bilbao haven’d had much recovery time since Thursday night’s frustrating Europa League defeat, a 1-0 damp squib against the Russian side Zorya Luhansk, and it’s worth bearing in mind their brittle league form leading up to that game, defeats against Las Palmas of all people, as well as Atletico Madrid, plus allowing a healthy advantage to slip when pegged back to draw 3-3 away to struggling Malaga.

That could spell trouble when they face an upwardly mobile Valencia away from home, with the hosts scoring for fun at present and high on life after winning 3-2 away to Real Sociedad last Sunday.

I expect their good run to continue, with Valencia 4/5 chances with any of Betfair Sportsbook, Hills or Victor.

Lastly, this season is shaping up to be a real struggle for tiny Eibar, and their troubles could well be intensified as they face a very tricky journey to face Villarreal at El Madrigal.

Only two places separate them in the league table, but with Villarreal (especially at home) it’s looking a case of onwards and upwards, whereas Eibar where a shambles at home to Celta Vigo last weekend, and shipped six at the Nou Camp the time before.

It could be a long season for them, particularly if Villarreal get all three points here.

Good luck!

Sunday’s best bets in La Liga:

3.15pm – Barcelona v Las Palmas – Barcelona to win to nil @ 21/20 (BetVictor or Boylesports)

5.30pm – Valencia v Athletic Bilbao – Home win @ 4/5 (Betfair Sportsbook, BetVictor or William Hill)

5.30pm – Villarreal v Eibar – Home win @ 5/6 (William Hill)

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Posted 3 months, 2 weeks ago