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.
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)