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…
After a sluggish tipping start to the season it’s onto midweek jornada five as we try and up the pace, with games spread across three nights this week, yet another example of Spain’s excellence in varying the fixture list to ensure the maximum number of eyeballs have access.
First up, in-form Barcelona are unlikely to provide too many scraps for Eibar to feed off at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night, where a win to nil is very much on the cards, despite the absence of tendon injury victim Ousmane Dembélé.
Eibar will be perfectly happy with their yield of six points from four matches, but are highly unlikely to leave with anything here, with Barca conceding just one in their last five in all competitions, at a time when high profile new signings, both managerial and on the playing side, are beginning to have an impact.
Also on Tuesday night, back Valencia to make home advantage count at the Mestalla by seeing off basement boys Malaga.
Having backed them I was shocked by Malaga’s toothless display at home to Las Palmas last week, a showing that doesn’t bode well as they prepare to visit a ground where they’ve come unstuck in five of their last six visits.
They managed an entertaining 2-2 last season, but they’d take that now against a Valencia side who are showing signs of life, and who will find this significantly easier than when taking a point recently from both Atleti and Real Madrid.
One solitary goal and no points so far shows how much work Malaga have to do to kick-start their campaign.
On Wednesday night Deportivo La Coruna have a gilt-edged opportunity to get themselves going with a much-needed win, as they welcome a yet to score Alaves to the Riazor.
The Basque side are rock bottom on goal difference, just below Malaga, following morale sapping losses to Leganes, Barca, Celta Vigo and Villarreal.
They’re too good to stay in that position forever, but this tough on them going to an arena like the Riazor, to face a Depor side who, although also struggling in 17th themselves, have shown enough against the likes of Real Madrid and Real Sociedad to suggest their first three point haul won’t be long in coming. Let’s hope it’s here.
Finally, Thursday evening will, all being well, see Villarreal net a fourth consecutive win in all competitions by doing the business against Espanyol.
The visitors have just 72 hours to recover from tough game against Celta on Monday night, one they nearly threw away but eventually saw out to win 2-1.
The fresher, in-form legs of Villarreal will surely pose plenty more problems.
This week’s best bets in La Liga:
Tues 7.00pm – VALENCIA v Malaga – Home win @ 8/15 (Bet Victor)
Tues 9.00pm – BARCELONA v Eibar – Barca to win to nil @ 10/11 (Paddy Power)
Wed 8.00pm – DEPORTIVO v Alaves – Home win @ 10/11 (bet365)
Thur 7.00pm – VILLARREAL v Espanyol – Home win @ 3/4 (Betfred)