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…
The last weekend of January looks nothing less than pivotal towards the bottom of the table, especially for the islanders of Las Palmas, who shocked the top flight by clambering off the bottom rung and into 19th with an unexpected 2-1 win at home to Valencia last Saturday night.
Valencia might have shown a slight lack of respect with their starting 11, not helped by the fact they ended the game with only nine men on the pitch after having two dismissed, but even so the Gran Canaria side will have enjoyed their Sunday off following just their fourth league win of the campaign.
Will four become five this weekend?
Highly doubtful, with the fixture computer allotting them a stinker in the shape of a Sunday afternoon away trip to the capital, taking on second placed Atlético Madrid in the Wanda Metropolitano (3.15pm).
There isn’t a prayer Atléti will show the same lack of focus and discipline as Valencia, although by their standards they’ve had a tough week, crashing out of the Copa del Rey 5-2 on aggregate to Sevilla, as well as allowing Girona to escape the Wanda with a point last Saturday.
Therefore this clash becomes not only a perfect opportunity to get things back on track, but also to keep their goals against tally in single figures.
There’s no way they’ll be as charitable as Los Che against this limited opposition, and Atléti to win to nil at 9/10 with BetVictor appears a solid route to profit.
Prior to that, Villarreal look too good to miss on Saturday night (7.45pm), as they welcome Real Sociedad to the Estadio de la Cerámica.
A fixture that pits 5th against 15th, the home side are on a cracking run which has seen them win three on the spin, including that stunning away performance in the Bernabeu, as well as last Saturday’s comfortable home win against declining Levante, in which they had 18 shots and 59% of the ball.
If they could stop getting caught offside so much they’d be deadly, but at least that proves they’re going forward, something which will be handy against a Sociedad side yet to win a game or even a point in 2018.
To be fair, scoring goals isn’t the San Sebastian side’s issue, it’s keeping them out – they’ve let in a whopping 36 in 20 games to date – that’s two more than the bottom side Malaga!
Villarreal should have too much quality here, and could even find themselves up in fourth if they do the business as expected and Real Madrid fail to win earlier in the day at nearby Valencia.
This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:
7.45 Sat – Villarreal v Real Sociedad – Home Win @ 6/5 (BetVictor)
3.15 Sun – Atlético Madrid v Las Palmas – Atléti to win to nil @ 9/10 (BetVictor)