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…
The opening fixture of Week 19 might not be the most glamorous game ever served up by this great country, but Friday night’s face-off between mid-table dwellers Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna in Gran Canaria is nonetheless attractive.
It’s 10th against 15th, with goal differences of -2 and -5 respectively, a hint at a low scoring draw if ever there was one.
Las Palmas, coached by Quique Setien, drew three straight in all competitions at the start of last month, whereas Depor, led by Gaizka Garitano, have drawn all four matches in 2017.
You can get 5/2 about this one finishing all square with any of Betfred, BetVictor, Betway or Hills.
On Saturday afternoon, another game that looks cherry ripe to end all-square is the 5.30pm kick-off at the Estadio Municipal de Santo Domingo, also known as the home of 12th placed Alaves, UEFA Cup runners-up in 2001.
They entertain a low-scoring Leganes outfit, one who’ve steadied the ship and pulled away from an increasingly isolated bottom three, drawing four of the last five league games.
Another stalemate looks likely, an outcome chalked up at 9/4 by Paddy Power.
Later on, Saturday evening’s ‘Derbi de la Communitat’ at El Madrigal ought to go the way of Villarreal, who can’t halt the mini revival of local sparring partners Valencia.
You can argue that Villarreal draw too many games (seven out of 18 so far) to heave themselves up into the Champions League places, but even so they’re only a good result behind fourth placed Atletico, and this is a prime opportunity for them to rub their neighbours’ faces in it.
Valencia rewarded their fans with a nervy 2-1 win against Espanyol last weekend, but this’ll be far, far tougher, and Villarreal can keep up the pressure on Real Sociedad and Atletico above them.
Betfred are 19/20 about a home win.
Finally, how a rampant Sevilla side lost to Granada seven weeks ago is a complete mystery, but it’s unlikely the team who ended Real Madrid’s unbeaten run will be so forthcoming when they travel to bottom side, Osasuna (Sun, 11.00am).
The hosts looks punch drunk and will be fearing a hammering here, give that Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla have scored 25 in their last seven in all competitions.
Rather than back Sevilla to win at 4/7, try the Andalusian side at 7/4 to win to nil, a price available with BetVictor, Coral or Skybet.
This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:
Fri 7.45pm – Las Palmas v Deportivo – Draw @ 5/2 ( BetVictor)
Sat 5.30pm – Alaves v Leganes – Draw @ 9/4 (Paddy Power)
Sat 7.45pm – Villarreal v Valencia – Home Win @ 19/20 (Betfred)
Sun 11.00am – Osasuna v Sevilla – Sevilla To Win To Nil @ 7/4 (BetVictor)