Archive for the ‘ football ’ Category

22 Sep
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(23 & 25 Sept)

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…

Having only completed the previous round of fixtures late on Thursday night with Levante’s riotous and highly entertaining despatch of Real Sociedad, we march directly into a full weekend of action, one jam packed with what might very well be extremely tricky games.

Anything could happen when goalless Alaves welcome wobbling Real Madrid – probably a heavy away win, Girona welcome their near neighbours Barcelona in a game that not that long ago would only have been plausible as a pre-season friendly, Malaga try and get their first point of the campaign in a north versus south clash with Athletic Bilbao, while on Sunday the islanders of Las Palmas try and continue their outstanding form when hosting Leganes.

My two bets on the card are elsewhere though, and it’d be remiss not to start with what is clearly the game of the round, Saturday’s early kick-off at the Wanda Metropolitano near Madrid airport, where Atleti entertain fellow heavyweights Sevilla (12.00pm).

Two outstanding sides, Atleti unbeaten in all competitions this season, afraid to lose what is just their ever second game in their shiny new premises, buoyed by the announcement of the return next year of a certain Diego Costa, up against a lightning quick Sevilla, now led by Eduardo Berizzo, fantastic in possession, also unbeaten in 2017/18, and not afraid to take the game to anyone.

Both have had the same recovery time from their midweek wins, and this is third against second in the table.

Can’t split them?

Then don’t!

Back the draw at a hefty looking 3/1 with any of bet365, Betfred, Betway or Coral, after all, at this stage of the campaign it’s probably more important not to lose than it is to win.

It’s then a gap ’til Monday night for the other bet on the card, namely a much improved this season Real Betis to do the job at home to ‘pinch yourself’ Levante (8.00pm).

Rightly so, there’s loads of goodwill towards the Valencian side who find themselves unbeaten after five, with their two wins and three draws including the aforementioned 3-0 battering of Real Sociedad, a draw in the Bernabeu against Real, plus a point in the local derby against Valencia. Good work!

Have they been fun to watch? Definitely.

Have they ridden their luck? I’d say so.

Nothing wrong with that, but Seville’s other team look sharper this time around, with Betis not just quietening the Bernabeu with a point, but getting the full hit when silencing the place with all three on Wednesday night!

They’ve also won both their home games, and with an extra day’s prep I fancy they might just have too many guns for tired Levante legs.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

12.00pm Sat – Atletico Madrid v Sevilla – Draw @ 3/1 (bet365, Betfred, Betway or Coral)

8.00pm Mon – Real Betis v Levante – Home win @ 17/20 (bet365)

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Posted 2 days, 4 hours ago

19 Sep
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(19, 20 & 21 Sept)

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…

After a sluggish tipping start to the season it’s onto midweek jornada five as we try and up the pace, with games spread across three nights this week, yet another example of Spain’s excellence in varying the fixture list to ensure the maximum number of eyeballs have access.

First up, in-form Barcelona are unlikely to provide too many scraps for Eibar to feed off at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night, where a win to nil is very much on the cards, despite the absence of tendon injury victim Ousmane Dembélé.

Eibar will be perfectly happy with their yield of six points from four matches, but are highly unlikely to leave with anything here, with Barca conceding just one in their last five in all competitions, at a time when high profile new signings, both managerial and on the playing side, are beginning to have an impact.

Also on Tuesday night, back Valencia to make home advantage count at the Mestalla by seeing off basement boys Malaga.

Having backed them I was shocked by Malaga’s toothless display at home to Las Palmas last week, a showing that doesn’t bode well as they prepare to visit a ground where they’ve come unstuck in five of their last six visits.

They managed an entertaining 2-2 last season, but they’d take that now against a Valencia side who are showing signs of life, and who will find this significantly easier than when taking a point recently from both Atleti and Real Madrid.

One solitary goal and no points so far shows how much work Malaga have to do to kick-start their campaign.

On Wednesday night Deportivo La Coruna have a gilt-edged opportunity to get themselves going with a much-needed win, as they welcome a yet to score Alaves to the Riazor.

The Basque side are rock bottom on goal difference, just below Malaga, following morale sapping losses to Leganes, Barca, Celta Vigo and Villarreal.

They’re too good to stay in that position forever, but this tough on them going to an arena like the Riazor, to face a Depor side who, although also struggling in 17th themselves, have shown enough against the likes of Real Madrid and Real Sociedad to suggest their first three point haul won’t be long in coming. Let’s hope it’s here.

Finally, Thursday evening will, all being well, see Villarreal net a fourth consecutive win in all competitions by doing the business against Espanyol.

The visitors have just 72 hours to recover from tough game against Celta on Monday night, one they nearly threw away but eventually saw out to win 2-1.

The fresher, in-form legs of Villarreal will surely pose plenty more problems.

Good luck!

This week’s best bets in La Liga:

Tues 7.00pm – VALENCIA v Malaga – Home win @ 8/15 (Bet Victor)

Tues 9.00pm – BARCELONA v Eibar – Barca to win to nil @ 10/11 (Paddy Power)

Wed 8.00pm – DEPORTIVO v Alaves – Home win @ 10/11 (bet365)

Thur 7.00pm – VILLARREAL v Espanyol – Home win @ 3/4 (Betfred)

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Posted 5 days, 12 hours ago

08 Sep
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(9 & 11 Sept)

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…

First of all, hallelujah! The hated international break is done and dusted and we can get back to some proper sport, on a weekend which serves up some potentially great games, including the Barca v Espanyol derby.

Two games into an exciting season an interruption is the last thing that was required, though judging by the way Spain have performed, it’s not hard to believe there could be something special brewing, a la 2010 and 2012.

Plenty of the national side’s key talent resides in the capital, and will be on display when Real Madrid host promoted Levante in the opening game on Saturday afternoon (12.00 kick-off).

The new boys have done extremely well to take four points from their opening two games, but it’ll likely be damage limitation in this, their stiffest examination of the entire campaign.

Zinedine Zidane’s team are unlikely to be breached here, and the 4/5 with Stan James about the home side to win to nil looks the way to go.

Far more evenly contested is likely to be the game which follows, as Atletico Madrid, still yet to step out at their new home after the delays which have held up the Wanda Metropolitano, face Valencia at the Mestalla.

Both have bagged a win and a draw in the early part of the campaign, with Valencia especially impressive when refusing to be intimidated by Real Madrid, shrugging off conceding by fighting back to take a point.

Atleti were made to sweat at Girona on the opening weekend, a game that should have been played in the capital, but they swatted Las Palmas on matchday two and should by typically hard to play against as the season rolls on.

What appeals to me here is both a draw and goals, so backing the stalemate at nearly 4/1 in the ‘both teams to score’ market seems reasonable, with BetVictor going 15/4.

Lastly, one team who’ve made a very sluggish start to 2017/18 is a side I have a massive soft spot for, Malaga.

Gunned down 1-0 by a surprisingly good Girona last time out, they also managed to get their pockets picked at home by Eibar on the opening weekend, but the fixture computer has been kind, meaning they face poor travellers Las Palmas at home on Monday evening.

The islanders were thumped by Atleti last time out, and this looks a golden opportunity for Malaga to get their season up and running with three points at La Rosaleda

They’re even money for the win with any of bet365, Betway, BetVictor, Boylesports, Hills, Ladbrokes or Unibet.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

12.00 Sat – Real Madrid v Levante – Madrid to win to nil @ 4/5 (Stan James)

3.15 Sat – Valencia v Atletico Madrid – Draw & Both teams to score @ 15/4 (BetVictor)

8.00 Mon – Malaga v Las Palmas – Home win @ Evs (bet365, Betway, BetVictor, Boylesports, Hills, Ladbrokes or Unibet)

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Posted 2 weeks, 2 days ago

25 Aug
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(26 & 27 Aug)

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…

One of the key stories on the opening weekend of the newborn Spanish top flight campaign was victory for newly promoted Levante, the Valencian side who spent a single season in the Segunda before bouncing back in May.

A few eyebrows were raised by their gritty display in seeing off Villarreal on Monday, making home advantage pay when Jose Luis Morales kept his nerve to convert an 88th minute penalty.

That’s the same Villarreal who finished fifth last season with a tidy 67 points!

With confidence high there must be a serious chance Levante can do a Huddersfield, and make it all six points from a possible six by seeing off Deportivo La Coruna in another home encounter this weekend (Sat, 7.15pm).

I envisage this being tight and scrappy, especially as the home team are missing Roger Marti long term due to a knee injury, the man who bagged a whopping 22 goals last season.

They also can’t play loan man Rober Pier as Depor are his parent club, but Levante probably still have enough quality in their ranks having made nine signings over the summer months.

Depor for their part began in bright and industrious fashion against Real Madrid last Sunday, but were quickly worn down by the superior quality of Zinedine Zidane’s winning juggernaut.

This could also be a hard night’s work, especially given their lack of goals, and I think Levante will prevail in a tight game – they are 5/4 in a place to maintain their unblemished record.

Having mentioned the Champions, it’s to Madrid we’ll go next for a recommendation for their home clash with Valencia (Sun, 9.15pm).

Both started with a win, Valencia toiling to a 1-0 scoreline against Las Palmas, but Madrid ought to have significantly too much here.

Rarely have they looked better than right now, with fantastic young players being blended in alongside astonishing quality.

They can win this without conceding, and its appealing that Real are 13/10 with Stan James to win to nil.

Elsewhere, one game that might end up all square is at the Ipurua Municipal, as tiny Eibar welcome Athletic Bilbao (Sun, 5.15pm).

Bilbao were frustrated at home in a goalless draw against Getafe on Sunday, whereas Eibar fashioned a classic smash and grab by taking all three points north from their visit to Malaga, leaving with a cherished 1-0 victory.

This is last season’s 10th against 7th, but a draw would be far from a disaster for both as we approach next weekend’s international break in the infancy of the campaign.

The stalemate is 9/4 in several places.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

7.15pm Sat – LEVANTE v Deportivo La Coruna (Home Win) @ 5/4 (Hills)

5.15pm Sun – Eibar v Athletic Bilbao – DRAW @ 9/4 (Betway, Sportingbet or Unibet)

9.15pm Sun – REAL MADRID v Valencia (Madrid to win to nil) @ 13/10 (Stan James)

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Posted 1 month ago

18 Aug
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(19 & 20 Aug)

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…

It’s a case of tread carefully as we welcome La Liga back from its summer siesta, seemingly just a few sleeps since domestic champions Real Madrid swept through Cardiff to win their third European Cup in just four years in early June, demolishing Juventus 4-1 in the Millennium Stadium.

Their 12th win in Europe’s Premier competition overall, Zinedine Zidane’s team warmed up for the season with the small matter of a two-legged Clasico stroll against Barcelona this week, sweeping Ernesto Valverde’s team aside 5-1 on aggregate in the Super Cup.

If complacency was a possible issue, you might want to find a different reason to doubt the Bernabeu side.

They open up their league season with a Sunday night journey to play Deportivo La Coruna in the North West (9.15pm), an early season treat for the patrons of the Riazor.

Depor finished last season anxiously in 16th spot, with a goal difference of minus 18.

With that in mind, and with Real’s Isco flying and playing the best football of his career, and the champions already looking mean, I’m drawn to the half time odds offered by Ladbrokes.

They go 4/5 that the goal happy Madridistas will be a leading at the interval, a decent price when you consider the same firm are 3/10 about the away win overall.

Elsewhere, way down south it’s Sevilla who catch my eye in the late slot on Saturday (9.15pm), entertaining Espanyol at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Sevilla came through a Champions League first leg qualifier in Istanbul unscathed earlier this week, emerging with an important 2-1 advantage.

That means they’re match fit and ready to go against an Espanyol side who aren’t always the greatest travellers.

They’re 4/6 for the home win.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

9.15pm Sat – SEVILLA v Espanyol – Home Win @ 4/6 (BetVictor, Coral)

9.15pm Sun – Deportivo v REAL MADRID – Madrid to be winning at half time @ 4/5 (Ladbrokes)

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Posted 1 month, 1 week ago

13 May
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own….(14 May)

This Sunday’s best bets in La Liga – 10 trebles, 5 fourfolds plus a five team acca:

3pm – ALAVES v Celta Vigo – Home Win @ 4/5 (Coral, Hills, Fred or Ladbrokes)

7pm – EIBAR v Sporting Gijon – Home Win @ 21/20 (Ladbrokes)

7pm – Real Betis v ATLETICO MADRID – Away Win @ 4/7 (bet365, Betfred, BetVictor)

7pm – REAL MADRID v Sevilla – Home Win @ 1/5 (Boyle, Hills or Skybet)

7pm – Las Palmas v BARCELONA – Barca To Win To Nil @ 29/20 (BetVictor, Coral or Ladbrokes)

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Posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

05 May
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(6 & 7 May)

7.45pm (Sat) – Granada v REAL MADRID – Madrid to win to nil @ 13/10 (Paddy Power)

11.00am (Sun) – Alaves v ATHLETIC BILBAO – Away Win @ 5/6 (Bet Victor)

7.45pm (Sun) – MALAGA v Celta Vigo – Home Win @ 4/9 (Ladbrokes)

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Posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

30 Apr
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(30 Apr)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing five of the last six finalists in the Champions League, as well as five of the last eight 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 five 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…

With Barca cruising through their local derby and Real Madrid leaving it late but getting the job done against Valencia yesterday, the status quo was maintained at the top of the table.

Four more games today are trickier, especially as they combine a mix of teams with very little left to play for, along with teams with have different priorities – just see how Las Palmas appear to have clocked off early by going behind almost immediately at home to Atleti yesterday – for a side already on their holidays!

This afternoon in Seville, Real Betis entertain Copa del Rey finalists, Alaves, at the Estadio Benito Villamarin (3.15pm).

It’s 15th v 10th, both struggling to find any sort of rhythm or consistency, neither in danger or about to light any fireworks.

A point would suit both.

This is a very long trip for Alaves, but one in which their players will have Cup final places on their minds – for that reason a little flutter on the draw looks sound logic – it’s a 5/2 opportunity with the Betfair Sportsbook.

Meanwhile, the strongest bet in La Liga today has to be Athletic Bilbao to win, for whom a European spot is very much up for grabs on the strength of recent performances.

They stuck five past Las Palmas a fortnight ago, scrambled through the Basque Derby on Monday against Eibar, and then got the job done against Betis at hone in midweek.

In the evening slot (7.45pm), this is an ideal time for them to play away to a Celta Vigo side who are going nowhere fast in 11th, and are just four days away from the game their entire season hinges on, as they welcome their Europa League semi final opponents, Manchester United, to the north west.

You could forgive them for being distracted, and in their current mood Bilbao will likely capitalise.

Good luck!

Today’s best bets in La Liga:

3.15 – Real Betis v Alaves – DRAW @ 5/2 (Betfair Sportsbook)

7.45 – Celta Vigo v ATHLETIC BILBAO – Away win @ 8/11 (Hills or Ladbrokes)

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Posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

24 Apr
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(25 & 26 Apr)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing five of the last six finalists in the Champions League, as well as five of the last eight 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 five 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…

After a crazy, helter-skelter weekend, one capped off by a stunning, stoppage-time Messi winner in the Clasico, you might be tempted to go and lie down in a darkened room for a week or two, and understandably so!

There’s no time for anything of the sort though, as all 20 teams have got to dust themselves down and go again, with the 34th wave of games all being played midweek.

On Tuesday night there are southern bragging rights up for grabs in Andalusia, with Tony Adams still looking for a first goal from his Granada side under his management, having lost his opening two games 0-3 and 0-2 respectively.

Here they welcome neighbours Malaga to Los Carmenes (7.30pm), who unfortunately for Adams have lifted themselves from the doldrums with three wins at just the right stage of the campaign, taking nine points from a possible 12, including wins to nil against both Barcelona and a much-improved Valencia.

Malaga really ought to extend their good run of form here, and are 5/4 with William Hill to take all three points.

On the same night, Diego Simeone’s hard-as-nails Atletico Madrid are back in action, entertaining Villarreal (8.30pm) in their third last league game at the Vicente Calderon.

Their rapidly approaching stadium move isn’t flavour of the month with all of their fans, who understandably adore their current scruffy but atmospheric, tight-knit home out by the river and the gas works.

With that in mind, they not only want to maintain their impressive form but also win all remaining games at the famous old stadium.

Watching them win away to Espanyol on Saturday night was a bit like watching one of those wildlife programmes where a despairing animal is cornered by a python, who slowly but surely squeezes the life out of it.

They barely had a chance during the 90 minutes, but when one arrived the finish supplied by Antoine Griezmann perfectly demonstrated why Europe’s elite will be moving heaven and earth to try and sign him this summer.

Boylesports are 6/5 about Atletico doing what Atletico do, namely win to nil.

Lastly, Real Madrid have a defensive headache for the lengthy trip to the north west to face Celta Vigo on Wednesday night (8.30pm), with just one senior centre back available.

It’s likely Casemiro might fill in against a team who threw everything at them when the the two sides met in the capital in December, Real eventually winning a breathless encounter, 3-2.

After Sunday night Zinedine Zidane’s team have zero margin for error – indeed Barca are top on goal difference and have a superior head-to-head record – though Madridistas will rightly point out their game in hand.

Celta, Europa League opponents for Manchester United next week at the semi final stage, are not to be underestimated.

I fancy them to score but Madrid to do enough to take all three points in another entertaining game.

Paddy Power go 17/10 about Madrid to win and both teams to score.

Good luck!

This week’s best bets in La Liga:

7.30pm Tues – Granada v MALAGA – Away win @ 5/4 (Hills)

8.30pm Tues – ATLETICO MADRID v Villarreal – Atleti to win to nil @ 6/5 (Boyles)

8.30pm Wed – Celta Vigo v REAL MADRID – Real to win & both teams to score @ 17/10 (Paddy)

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Posted 5 months ago

20 Apr
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(21-23 Apr)

Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing five of the last six finalists in the Champions League, as well as five of the last eight 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 five 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…

It’s worth noting, as we head into match day 33, that once again Spain leads the way in Europe’s premier competition, with both Real and Atleti yet again comfortably through to the Champions League semis after their midweek exploits.

For both it’s a return to their excellent recent league form this weekend, with the Clasico towering above the weekend calendar as Real entertain Barca on Sunday night, while Atleti head the other way, going to Catalonia to face Espanyol in the Saturday evening slot.

At the other end of the table, Tony Adams’ stint in charge of soon-to-be-relegated Granada started in calamitous fashion at home to Celta Vigo (0-3) last Sunday, prompting headlines such as ‘The Adams Family’ from Marca, while Mundo Deportivo were less humorous, simply going with: “Disastrous debut”.

Are things about to get much better?

Doubtful, as the first match of the jornada sees the former Arsenal and England stalwart take his team west, making the short hop across Andalusia to face Sevilla at the Sanchez Pizjuan (Fri 7.45pm).

So far 2017 has been a disappointment for Sevilla, because although they reached their second best points tally prior to the last few games of the campaign, they also slipped out of the title race and were bombed out of the Champions League by Leicester City, prompting Jorge Sampaoli to say: “What went well for us before is damaging us now”.

That said, Sunday’s 0-0 draw away to Valencia, as well as the previous weekend’s 4-2 victory against Deportivo La Coruna were more like it, and they come up against ideal opposition to keep the ball rolling here.

Granada are preparing for life in the Segunda, and are unlikely to get much joy here – back Sevilla to win to nil, a 5/4 chance with Paddy Power.

Two places above them, Leganes in 17th look like they’ve done just enough to ensure survival, though a late rally from 18th-placed Sporting Gijon (who incidentally go to bottom team Osasuna) would have them sweating, especially as Leganes are unlikely to get any change out of Villarreal this weekend (Sat 3.15 pm).

The Yellow Submarines have been in and out in recent weeks, winning four and losing three of their last seven, but they’ll be delighted to be playing at home, having won nine league games in total at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Europa League football is theirs in 2017/18 if they keep steering in the right direction, and the home side should oblige at 4/6 with any of Boyles, Hills or Skybet.

As I mentioned earlier, the Madrid teams still have much to look forward to, and Atleti are favourites to get three points on the road as they head to Barcelona to take on Espanyol (Sat 7.45pm).

It might pay to be cautious where they’re concerned though; Diego Simeone’s team have been in some gruelling battles of late, including the two legs against Leicester as well as a drawn Madrid derby, and the Argentine could make changes.

What’s more, they’ve finished all square in eight of their last 21 in all competitions, and it’s also worth recalling Atleti and Espanyol played out a 0-0 at the Vicente Calderon back in December.

With not much to be gained for either in terms of league position another stalemate looks to be the value – back the draw at 13/5 with any of bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Betway or Paddy Power.

Finally, the game you simply must watch on Sunday night is the Clasico (7.45pm), in which Real can effectively end the title race by going six points clear (with a game in hand) of their bitter rivals with victory in the match which counts for so, so much.

The two sides drew 1-1 at the Nou Camp back in December, but since then Barca’s season has fizzled out whereas the Madridistas find themselves with something of a Midas touch, boosted by the return of Gareth Bale to training on Thursday, the emergence of Marco Asensio, plus a sixth Champions League hat-trick for ‘Viva’ Ronaldo in midweek.

You’d imagine they’ll be eager to get out there and make a statement on Sunday, but don’t underestimate a Barca side who are likely to be boiling with frustration after being shutout by Juventus on Wednesday.

They can find the net here, but the vote goes to Madrid.

Back the home team to win and both teams to score at 11/5 with any of 365, Fred, Victor or Hills.

Good luck!

This weeekend’s best bets in La Liga:

7.45pm Fri – SEVILLA v Granada – Sevilla to win to nil @ 5/4 (Paddy Power)

3.15pm Sat – VILLARREAL v Leganes – Home win @ 4/6 (Skybet)

7.45pm Sat – Espanyol v Atletico Madrid – DRAW @ 13/5 (bet365)

7.45pm Sun – REAL MADRID v Barcelona – Home win & Both teams to score @ 21/10 (bet365)

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Posted 5 months, 1 week ago