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, 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…
Match day 15 looks set to be a cracker, and gets off to a flying start with Friday night’s southern derby between Malaga and Granada at La Rosaleda.
Despite being dumped out of the Copa del Rey, Malaga have enjoyed an impressive run of results, winning against the likes of Sporting Gijon, Leganes and Deportivo, scoring 11 goals alone against those three.
Bolt onto those victories a stubborn point in the Nou Camp, plus last weekend’s 2-2 draw away to Valencia, and you can see why their fans are perfectly content with how the campaign is going.
So, three points a formality against their less fashionable neighbours from an hour and a half down the road?
Don’t bet on it.
Threatened by the prospect of being jettisoned from the top flight, Granada’s backs to the walls performances of late mean they have what it takes to grab a point in what could be an entertaining game.
Five points from their last four league games has been much more like it, with further momentum gained by a Cup win over Osasuna.
Last weekend’s breathless victory over big-hitters Sevilla was a huge step, a league win any long last, and their point away to Valencia three weeks ago (who Malaga drew with last weekend) is a decent barometer of where they are at present.
Malaga are odds on and understandably so, but Granada can get something out of this, and at the prices a much more appealing bet is both teams to score and the game to end all square, something bet365 and Betfred go 9/2 about.
The great news for Granada is that they’re no longer bottom, leapfrogging current bottom feeders Osasuna with last week’s success.
That’s the same Osasuna who have the misfortune to welcome Barcelona to town this weekend in Saturday’s early kick-off, with Barca looking to build on their midweek Champions League romp against Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Luis Enrique’s team were deflated by a late late show from Sergio Ramos in the Clasico last Saturday, but they can take out their frustrations on an Osasuna outfit who struggle to score, let alone win, a prospect that seems unlikely with Barca desperate not to drop any more points before Christmas.
Stan James go even money about Barca to win to nil.
This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:
Fri 7.45pm – Malaga v Granada – Draw & both teams to score @ 9/2 (bet365)
Sat 12.00pm – Osasuna v Barcelona – Barca to win to nil @ Evens (Stan James)