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…
First of all, hallelujah! The hated international break is done and dusted and we can get back to some proper sport, on a weekend which serves up some potentially great games, including the Barca v Espanyol derby.
Two games into an exciting season an interruption is the last thing that was required, though judging by the way Spain have performed, it’s not hard to believe there could be something special brewing, a la 2010 and 2012.
Plenty of the national side’s key talent resides in the capital, and will be on display when Real Madrid host promoted Levante in the opening game on Saturday afternoon (12.00 kick-off).
The new boys have done extremely well to take four points from their opening two games, but it’ll likely be damage limitation in this, their stiffest examination of the entire campaign.
Zinedine Zidane’s team are unlikely to be breached here, and the 4/5 with Stan James about the home side to win to nil looks the way to go.
Far more evenly contested is likely to be the game which follows, as Atletico Madrid, still yet to step out at their new home after the delays which have held up the Wanda Metropolitano, face Valencia at the Mestalla.
Both have bagged a win and a draw in the early part of the campaign, with Valencia especially impressive when refusing to be intimidated by Real Madrid, shrugging off conceding by fighting back to take a point.
Atleti were made to sweat at Girona on the opening weekend, a game that should have been played in the capital, but they swatted Las Palmas on matchday two and should by typically hard to play against as the season rolls on.
What appeals to me here is both a draw and goals, so backing the stalemate at nearly 4/1 in the ‘both teams to score’ market seems reasonable, with BetVictor going 15/4.
Lastly, one team who’ve made a very sluggish start to 2017/18 is a side I have a massive soft spot for, Malaga.
Gunned down 1-0 by a surprisingly good Girona last time out, they also managed to get their pockets picked at home by Eibar on the opening weekend, but the fixture computer has been kind, meaning they face poor travellers Las Palmas at home on Monday evening.
The islanders were thumped by Atleti last time out, and this looks a golden opportunity for Malaga to get their season up and running with three points at La Rosaleda
They’re even money for the win with any of bet365, Betway, BetVictor, Boylesports, Hills, Ladbrokes or Unibet.
This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:
12.00 Sat – Real Madrid v Levante – Madrid to win to nil @ 4/5 (Stan James)
3.15 Sat – Valencia v Atletico Madrid – Draw & Both teams to score @ 15/4 (BetVictor)
8.00 Mon – Malaga v Las Palmas – Home win @ Evs (bet365, Betway, BetVictor, Boylesports, Hills, Ladbrokes or Unibet)