Archive for the ‘ football ’ Category

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 2 months, 1 week 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 2 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 2 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 3 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 3 months ago

14 Apr
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(15 & 16 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 back to the grind of league football for Spanish football’s aristocrats this weekend, following a midweek calendar in which holders Real Madrid produced a stunning Champions League display in Munich, brittle Barcelona once again went to pieces when getting walloped by Juve, and Atletico did what Atletico do, namely squeeze the life out of a game and win 1-0, taming the Foxes of Leicester.

In fact, if you translate that idea to Atleti’s league campaign, one which was a bit of a mess pre-Christmas, you’d find that they’d won without conceding in 13 of their 31 games to date, which in turn provides a solid plan of attack for Saturday’s game against rock bottom Osasuna (5.30pm).

Osasuna have shown signs of a belated fight by winning their last two, but it’s too little too late, and a trip to the Vicente Calderon to face a now in-form Atleti isn’t what they’d have wanted, far from it.

Unfortunately for Diego Simeone and his team, games are running out as they try and make ground on Barca in second, but this is a banker three points, one which can be achieved with a clean sheet at the other end.

As the first leg of a multiple, Atleti to win to nil gets the vote at 4/6 with either BetVictor or Betway.

Moving on to Sunday, the astonishing success story which is Eibar’s campaign gets its latest airing, this time with an away trip to Seville to play Real Betis (5.30pm).

That Eibar are even in La Liga is miraculous, but for them to be flying high in seventh, largely owing to a squad fuelled by low wages and loan signings, is incredible.

Momentum and confidence, something largely absent for a Betis side who’ve lost their last three, are strange creatures though, and could yet propel Eibar to Europa League football in 2017/18.

Quite what they’d do when they got there is anyone’s guess, but for now they can dream, and they’ll continue to do so if they can snatch another three points down south.

Don’t forget, they’ve won their last three on the spin, scoring eight in the process, and look generously priced at 7/4 to continue that sequence.

Finally, just when you thought every conceivable headline had been written this week, up pops Tony Adams of all people to take over as interim manager at soon to be relegated Granada.

The ex-Arsenal and England skipper had already been working in a an advisory role at the club, but now takes the reins with a side who are good to watch, but lack quality.

Sunday’s opponents, Celta Vigo, are likely to make changes with little to play for in the league, and less than 72 hours recovery time since Thursday evening’s Europa League win against Gent.

Adams, who was unveiled to the press wearing an offcut from a discount carpet warehouse closing down sale, might very well get something from this, and the way to go looks to the stalemate, with the draw available at a tempting 5/2 with any of Fred, Skybet or Victor.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

5.30 Sat – ATLETICO MADRID v Osasuna – Atletico to win to nil @ 4/6 (BetVictor or Betway)

5.30 Sun – Real Betis v EIBAR – Away win @ 7/4 (bet365 or Betfred)

7.45 Sun – Granada v Celta Vigo – DRAW @ 5/2 (Betfred, BetVictor or Skybet)

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Posted 3 months, 1 week ago

04 Apr
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(5 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 a short turnaround time for midweek ‘jornada’ 30, with some teams returning from lengthy away days having had just 72 hours (or less if you’re Las Palmas) to recover after their weekend exploits.

Chief among my interest is a trio of teams battling either the direct threat of relegation, or the possibility of being sucked into the dogfight if things don’t pick up rapidly, the latter remark applying to Malaga, who could well be sweating if things don’t go their way in Gijon, where they make the extremely long journey (off the back of a sapping home defeat against Atletico) to face Sporting at El Molinon (Wed 7.30pm).

A win and two draws from their last three have been way more like it from Sporting, who are now well and truly in the drive position as they try and redeem themselves from what had looked a bleak position.

They’re still adrift in 18th, but something positive from this is vital against a Malaga team who look shot to bits, losing five of their last six and drawing the other 0-0, while scoring just two in the process.

By contrast, win this and they Gijon can haul themselves up to within two points of the visitors, an eventuality which looks overpriced at 9/5 with any of bet365, Betfred or BetVictor.

Those wanting to play it safe may prefer the 19/20 ‘draw no bet’ available with Coral.

Elsewhere, there’s no doubt one team who are heading straight through the trapdoor are Osasuna, who remain rock bottom and are unlikely to see that position improving after their journey to face Copa Del Rey finalists, Alaves (Wed 7.30pm).

Alaves have won two and drawn one of their last three at the Mendizorrotza, a trend which should be boosted with minimum fuss.

Alaves like ideal fodder to boost multiple bets at the 9/20 available with BetVictor.

Sticking with the relegation theme, one team who would be sweating if Sporting can deliver against Malaga are Leganes, who sit in 17th after doing this column a favour by drawing away to Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Things are about to get even tougher for them here, with the visit of league leaders and local rivals, Real Madrid, to the Municipal de Butarque (Wed 8.30pm).

It’s hard to believe Real will show any leniency to their neighbours as they close in on the title, but what is clearly noticeable is the league leader’s open style of play – conceding in seven of their last eight games in all competitions.

For that reason, back Madrid to win and both teams to score, a 2/1 chance with any of Betway, Boylesports, Coral or Hills.

Lastly, spare a thought for Canary Islanders Las Palmas, who haven’t exactly been well looked after by the fixture list.

Monday night saw them schlep all the way to the far north west for a 3-1 hiding at the hands of Celta Vigo, and just under 72 hours later they’ll be racking up the frequent flyer points once again, heading to the Basque Country to lock horns with Eibar.

The home team will have had more than 53 hours extra recovery time after their 3-2 win away to Villarreal in the early kick-off on Saturday, and can make that advantage count at the tiny Ipurua Municipal.

Eibar are 17/20 with any of bet365, Betfred or Hills.

Good luck!

Week 30’s best bets in La Liga:

Wed 7.30pm – SPORTING v Malaga – Home Win @ 9/5 (bet365)

Wed 7.30pm – ALAVES v Osasuna – Home Win @ 9/20 (BetVictor)

Wed 8.30pm – Leganes – REAL MADRID – Away Win & Both Teams To Score @ 2/1 (Hills)

Thur 6.30pm – EIBAR v Las Palmas – Home Win @ 17/20 (bet365)

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Posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago

31 Mar
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(1 April)

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…

We resume, not before time it has to be said, with a much anticipated 29th week of the season, one which comes after the widely unpopular international break, a seemingly unnecessary pause in the action which frustrates fans and disrupts momentum.

No-one that I know cares about Honduras playing Finland in some meaningless kickabout, whereas just about anyone who enjoys sport can surely appreciate the pressure and intensity of the business end of the Spanish season, one which sees both Real Madrid and Barcelona facing nine games apiece in the month of April!

Back to them later though, as in the hunt for some attractive prices and a winnner to two, it’s to the far north and Osasuna we’ll head, with bottom the team welcoming Bilbao giants, Athletic Club, to El Sadar (Sat, 3.15pm).

Based in Pamplona, the home team are running rapidly backs towards the Segunda, having amassed just 11 points so far, with a goal difference of minus 39.

To be fair to them, they have been having a right go in recent weeks, trying to mask their chronic lack of quality with a string of spirited displays, and in doing so finding the net in four of their last seven – including against the league leaders, Real!

Yet another defeat looks likely, but they might well score during the 90 minutes, so rather than take the miserly 4/7 about the away side, why not have a bash at Bilbao to win and both teams to score?

It’s a far more appetising 12/5 with either Hills or bet365, and could very well come to fruition.

Next up, the game that follows on Saturday afternoon sees Real Sociedad play improving Leganes in San Sebastián (5.30pm).

The survival instinct has well and truly kicked in for the side who are used to being overshadowed by their near neighbours Real and Atleti – Leganes come from a Madrid satellite town situated just 11km from the city centre of the capital – with a win against Granada topped up by battling draws against Sevilla and Malaga in recent weeks.

Those confidence restoring points have come at a valuable time, earning them a five point cushion above 18th placed Sporting Gijon.

Furthermore, they may well be meeting Sociedad at a good time; the hosts have lost their last two and were also held 2-2 at home by Eibar at the end of February.

I fancy Leganes to scrap their way to another point here, with the stalemate available at 5/2 with any of Betfred, BetVictor, Coral, Hills or Paddy.

Finally, back to (near) the top of the table on Sunday night, where Barcelona could very well be chasing a five point gap as they travel to strugglers Granada (7.45pm), with Madrid at home to Alaves earlier in the day.

Defeat is out of the question against the seemingly doomed southerners, and Barca to win to nil at 7/5 with Paddy Power looks the way to go.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

3.15 Sat – Osasuna v ATHLETIC BILBAO – Away Win & Both Teams To Score @ 12/5 (bet365 or Hills)

5.30 Sat – Real Sociedad v LEganes – DRAW @ 5/2 (BetVictor or Paddy)

7.45 Sun – Granada v BARCELONA – Barca to win to nil @ 7/5 (Paddy Power)

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Posted 3 months, 3 weeks ago

17 Mar
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own…(Sun 19 Mar)

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…

Undoubtedly the game of the weekend is Sporting Gijon at home to Granada, two teams rooted deep in relegation mire, desperately trying to find a spark from somewhere.

It’s 19th against 18th, with both looking in an increasingly hopeless position, the gap between Granada (who’ve been showing plenty of fight in recent weeks but precious little quality) and 17th placed Leganes, a yawning six points.

It’s too tough to call, though clearly a draw is no good for either, unlike the team they’re pursuing, with Leganes looking good for at least a point at home to Malaga on Sunday morning.

Their home game is 17th against 16th, both sides struggling to find any fluency, but even if Granada win, Leganes can maintain a four point advantage by sharing the spoils.

Malaga have been poor in recent times, but often score, so a share of the spoils (at 9/4 with the Betfair Sportsbook) looks to be the way to go.

Later in the day, a rejuvenated Deportivo La Coruna look the nap bet to take all the points against Celta Vigo at the Riazor (5.30pm).

The departure of former boss Giazka Garitano has had an immediate impact, with his replacement, ex-West Brom and Real Betis man, Pepe Mel, installing a new found belief and momentum.

A yield of eight points from a possible 12 is much more like it, especially as three of them came in last weekend’s shock win against Barcelona!

The Riazor has always been a very tough place to visit, but that’s especially true if you’re fellow north west team Celta, on the back of their gruelling Europa League trip for Thursday night’s game against Krasnodar.

Progress in Europe and an element of fatigue may turn out be a distraction for Celta, leaving Mel and his re-energised players to secure another valuable win.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:

Sun 11.00am – Leganes v Malaga – DRAW @ 9/4 (Betfair Sportsbook)

Sun 5.30pm – DEPORTIVO LA CORUNA v Celta Vigo – Home Win @ 6/5 (bet365, Betfred, Betway, Boylesports, Stan James or Unibet)

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Posted 4 months, 1 week ago

11 Mar
2017

In A Liga Of Its Own (11th & 12th March)

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…

If Friday night’s seesaw seven goal thriller between Espanyol and Las Palmas is anything to go by, week 27 on the Spanish top flight calendar could be a highly enjoyable one.

Sandwiched inbetween Champions League and Europa League commitments for the select few, there’s also the small matter of Sunday morning’s Basque derby at the Anoeta, as Real Sociedad welcome Athletic Bilbao, both of whom will be disappointed if they’re not playing European football of some kind in 2017/18.

It’s there where we’ll kick-off, with fifth against seventh as well as local bragging rights at stake, as the local Basque provinces of Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia go head-to-head.

Athletic overcame their great rivals 3-2 at San Mames back in October, and it’s highly likely there’ll be goals again.

The hosts have taken seven points from the last nine available, while the visitors have netted six in the same period.

In a match of the magnitude, with local pride at stake, it’s often seen as more important not to lose than to gain all three points, which suggests the ‘Draw and both teams to score’ option sounds tempting, especially at the 15/4 available with BetVictor.

Later on, Sunday evening’s game sees Real Madrid entertain Seville side Real Betis in a must win encounter at the Bernabeu.

Although they’ve got a game in hand Real could be four points adrift of Barca if Luis Enrique’s team win earlier on that afternoon away to Deportivo La Coruna, meaning there’s no room for slip ups from Zinedine Zidan’s men.

It’s unlikely there’ll be any to be fair, with Madrid on a high after their Champions League victory in Naples in midweek.

Betis had a tough game in getting a point in La Coruna 24 hours later, and could very well struggle here.

They’re a hard team too call, Betis, taking a point off Barcelona in January and battling ferociously two weeks ago in the Derbi Sevillano, but it’s unlikely they’ve got the quality to keep Madrid at bay.

I was present for the corresponding fixture in Madrid in late summer 2015, when Madrid ran amok in a 5-0 canter, and it may be another stroll for the home side.

Madrid to win to nil at 10/11 with Paddy Power gets my vote.

Lastly, soon to be relegated Osasuna have conceded 21 goals in their last six games, losing all of them in the process.

That sequence is unlikely to end happily when they entertain the miracle team of La Liga, Eibar, on Monday night.

Eibar, the shoestring minnows, are now so used to punching above their weight, they’re beginning to look like they fit in here in the top flight, and a trip to El Sadar holds absolutely no fears for them.

Expect them to hammer another nail into Osasuna’s coffin with a win on the road – 11/10 are the odds of reward with any of bet365, Fred, Hills or Stan James.

Good luck!

This weekend’s best bets:

11.00am Sunday – Real Sociedad v Athletic Bilbao – DRAW & BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE @ 15/4 (BetVictor)

7.45pm Sunday – Real Madrid v Real Betis – MADRID TO WIN TO NIL @ 10/11 (Paddy Power)

7.45pm Monday – Osasuna v Eibar – AWAY WIN @ 11/10 (bet365, Betfred, Hills or Stan James)

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Posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago