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…
Back in league action on week 17 of the calendar, the first round of games since the Christmas break, it’s debatable which sides will be suited by having had a Cup game in the Copa del Rey to ease them back into the ebb and flow, and which will be best suited by coming into these matches as a fresh side?
Not that they’ve had any choice in the matter, but Friday night’s sole fixture pits well-rested Espanyol against a trigger happy Deportivo La Coruna, one who only played 72 hours ago.
So is it as simple as back the home win and support the locals at the Cornella-El Prat?
Things are rarely simple where Depor are concerned; they leak like a sieve but score for fun!
If you don’t believe me watch the clips online of their recent 4-3 defeat at Malaga, their even more recent 5-1 home win against an otherwise rock-solid Real Sociedad, plus their agonising 3-2 defeat against Real in the Bernabeu.
As recently as Tuesday night they shared four goals with a quality Alaves side, and have it in them to get something in Barcelona.
Ninth placed Espanyol are good, but they’re not great, and I can see this one being shared as a draw out in an encounter where both teams score, something about which both Fred and Victor are offering a tempting 19/5.
By the time Depor do return to the north west to catch up on some sleep and a glass or two of Estrella Galicia, they’ll be able to tune into Saturday’s early kick-off, featuring leaders Real Madrid at home to 19th placed Granada.
An unbeaten team with seemingly limitless resources and a goal difference of +26, against a side battling relegation who have a figure of -19 in the same column. Hmmmm.
Granada are a well run club from a stunning city which boasts the Alhambra amongst its distinctive Moorish architecture, but it’s unlikely that piece of info will save them from leaving the capital with their 10th defeat of the season in the bag.
Since we last saw them in La Liga action Madrid have won the Club World Cup against Kashima Antlers, and were as ruthless as ever against Sevilla in midweek Copa del Rey action.
BetVictor go a seemingly generous 20/21 about Real to win to nil.
Lastly, the other game I want to touch on this week is Celta Vigo against Malaga, which is 13th against 11th on Sunday evening at the Balaidos.
Celta capitalised on disarray at Valencia in midweek to runout easy winners in the Copa, but they’ll find this tougher agasinst a capable Malaga side who’ve drawn three of their last five in the league.
I see this finishing in another stalemate, an eventuality about which Betfred are top price at 18/5.
This weekend’s La Liga recommendations:
Sat 12.00pm – Real Madrid to win to nil vs Granada @ 20/21 (BetVictor)
Sun 5.30pm – Celta Vigo v Malaga DRAW @ 18/5 (Betfred)