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 the Christmas break it was certainly good to be back in business last weekend, a combination consisting of Atlético Madrid and in-form Eibar making it two from two for ‘jornada’ 18.
So it’s onto matchday 19 we go, with a pair of fancies who i’m hoping can also oblige…
First up on Saturday, it’s 13th against 20th at the 13,450 capacity Estadi Montilivi (12.00pm), where just over 100km from Barcelona we get to see Girona entertain the bottom team, Las Palmas.
One of the stories of the first half of the season, it took an own goal and a penalty to overhaul Girona away to Valencia in the Mestalla last weekend after they’d snuck into an early lead, and whereas they’ve had a full week to refresh themselves and prepare for this, by contrast the Gran Canaria outfit have had no such luxury, instead suffering a 4-0 Copa del Rey hammering on Tuesday night at the hands of that very same Valencia team, of whom we’ll hear more shortly.
Short on ideas, quality and confidence, plus suffering from their never-ending managerial carousel, Las Palmas look all but certainties for the drop, and appear likely to leave the north east with nothing to show for their efforts after this encounter.
Bear in mind, Girona beat Real Madrid at the end of October, and though Eibar stuffed them four days before Christmas, they’ve got more than enough in their locker to see off Las Palmas, who it mustn’t be forgotten have the worst goal difference in the whole top flight, a sorry looking minus 26!
Switching from the north east to the north west, Saturday’s late kick-off (7.45pm) next to the beach at the Riazor is potentially well worth watching, as struggling Deportivo de La Coruña lock horns with a re-energised Valencia.
This is 17th against 3rd, but if there was one team in the top flight who seemed to be out on their feet and looking longingly at the winter break, it was a weary and stretched Valencia, who after a magic autumn contrived to lose three of their four matches in December.
Now though they look miles better, the main man Guedes restored to the side after his metatarsal problem, plus spirit, energy and fight flooding back.
At 13/10 with a whole stack of firms I like the look of them here – Depor aren’t an easy to side to play against by any means – but Valencia back on their game really ought to be winning this.
As mentioned previously, they swatted Las Palmas in midweek and with the goals flowing again they can exploit the team’s leaky defence – the 35 league goals they’ve conceded this season is topped only by…..you’ve guessed it….Las Palmas….who have already let in 40!
Saturday’s best bets in La Liga:
12.00pm – Girona v Las Palmas – Home Win @ 4/5 (William Hill)
7.45pm – Deportivo de La Coruña v Valencia – Away Win @ 13/10 (Paddy Power)