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…
We charge into December with Barcelona still four points clear after Sunday’s fantastic 1-1 draw between them and the great entertainers of Valencia at the Mestalla, on a weekend where I’m expecting three of La Liga’s big guns to deliver for us.
First up, it’s to the capital we’ll go on Saturday afternoon for Atletico Madrid against Real Sociedad at the Wanda Metropolitano (3.15pm), a match I fully expect Diego Simeone’s team to take by the scruff of the neck.
Cheekily ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference, they breathed fire away to Levante last Saturday, hammering in five without return, including braces for both Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann.
In other news, that’s 10 goals for and none against in the three matches they’ve contested in all competitions since drawing 0-0 with Real a fortnight ago.
In short, much more like it.
As for the visitors, Sociedad sit in seventh with a respectable 19 points, but there’s something more than a bit fragile looking about Eusebio Sacristan’s team, who draw too many games and seemingly find a way not to get the job done.
They’ve ended up with a point in both of their last two league games, including a match they really should have won convincingly against Las Palmas last weekend, while their midweek capsize against Lleida in the Round of 32 in the Copa Del Rey won’t have helped.
Back Atleti to do the job.
Another big gun who can win at home on Saturday are Sevilla (5.30pm), who really seem to have channeled their energy and focus after news broke of Head Coach Eduardo Berizzo’s battle with prostate cancer.
Fingers crossed he’s soon feeling better in every possible way, with his team certainly doing their bit by coming storming back to draw with Liverpool in the Champions League last week, before digging seriously deep to come from 2-0 down to win away to high-flying Villarreal last weekend, and then walloping FC Cartagena in the cup in midweek.
In that mood they’re not a million miles off unstoppable, and they should keep their improved run going by sending Deportivo La Coruna back up to the north west empty-handed.
Depor have shown signs of life in recent weeks, but if Sevilla turn up then they’re unlikely to have the tools to deal with them.
This has to be another home win to go in the shopping basket alongside Atleti.
Lastly, the bet of the weekend has to be Valencia to keep the temperature turned right up by triumphing away to 12th-placed Getafe on Sunday afternoon (3.15pm).
Prior to the draw with Barcelona they’d won eight on the bounce in the league, and can get back to winning ways against their solid but beatable hosts.
SkyBet are a standout 7/5 for the away victory.
This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:
3.15 Sat – Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad – HOME WIN @ 8/15 (Ladbrokes)
5.30 Sat – Sevilla v Deportivo La Coruna – HOME WIN @ 9/20 (BetVictor)
3.15 Sun – Getafe v Valencia – AWAY WIN @ 7/5 (Paddy Power)