Last week resulted in a displeasing 5/3 record on my betting recommendations, but I slipped Ruben Castro anytime into the Betis – Barca preview and know that many of you bet on him to score from twitter comments, so not too shabby overall.
Presumably, due to the midweek Copa del Rey games we are without a round 16 Friday night Liga BBVA fixture (good – I don’t like them!) and instead have two on Monday night. However, and forgive me, I’m going to omit Monday’s double header and instead give thoughts via twitter nearer the time.
This week, so I can enjoy most of my day off work in all honesty, I’m getting straight into my picks. Like last week, I’m going to pick a lot and simply use lower stakes in case results suffer.
As always, only bet what you can afford to lose and don’t forget to follow me at https://twitter.com/JCLaLiga
Getafe v Osasuna
The Azulones lost 3-0 away to city rivals Atletico in the Copa midweek, but gained a credible draw (and were moments away from winning) away to Real Sociedad in round 15.
Osasuna also played in the cup midweek and lost 2-0 at home to Valencia. Days earlier, in the league, they lost the same fixture 1-0. Valencia were simply the better team on both occasions, though in part they were revitalised by their new boss Valverde; got to impress the new boss etc.
In conclusion, you have to favour Getafe to beat an Osasuna side who have won one, drawn one and lost five on their travels, but with both teams tired and Getafe only scoring nine goals in seven home games and Osasuna notching a mere five on their travels in 2012/3, under 2.5 goals is also a good bet.
Worth a small punt: Getafe win and under 2.5 goals (3.9)
Mallorca v Athletic Bilbao
After a great start to the season, Mallorca, limited as they are, are in terrible form and without a win in their last thirteen games. Last weekend the Barralets lost 4-0 away to Levante, while midweek they lost 5-0 at home to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey.
Athletic did, through an Aduriz goal, defeat Celta Vigo 1-0 at San Mames in round 15, but they fielded a very strong team in their midweek Basque derby cup game with Eibar and embarrassingly drew 1-1 to exit the completion in front of their home fans.
So, it’s crisis club vs crisis club! Both teams to score with each needing to put an impressive performance in, particularly after their midweek results? Maybe, but Mallorca are the lesser side and have shown no hunger or fight at all in recent games and, if you’re going to bet, it seems wiser to chance an upset. However, I’ll take a small punt on something more ambitious than the straight win.
Worth a small punt: Athletic HT/FT (5.18)
Granada v Real Sociedad
Goal shy Granada blew several clear cut chances – including missing an open goal – in their 4-0 hammering at Malaga last weekend, but didn’t actually play that badly in all honesty! In a game I fancied both teams to score in but opted for the seemingly sensible pick of Real Sociedad to win instead, La Real duly drew 1-1 at home to Getafe!
In conclusion, I’d expect Real Socieded to score in Granada but am not sure if the hosts will do the same. However, beyond putting La Real over 0.5 goals in a double with Valladolid to score, I’m not going to bet on this game.
Sevilla v Malaga
Malaga didn’t play in the cup midweek, but impressively destroyed local rivals Granada 4-0 last weekend. Sevilla drew 2-2 away to Espanyol in round 15, but the Catalans had a new manager and that often affects results. Days later, in the Copa del Rey, Sevilla destroyed Mallorca 5-0 on the Island.
In conclusion, 5/7 Sevilla home games have gone over 2.5 goals, but only 1/7 Malaga away fixtures have passed the same mark. I do fancy over 2.5 goals in this match with Negredo back from injury and scoring, but on paper it’s a bad bet as Malaga have the league’s best defence with only six goals conceded out of fifteen games!
Maybe the fact that Malaga have had more rest than their hosts will be an equaliser, but the Anchovies haven’t won a road game since they beat Zaragoza three months ago. So, Sevilla – who have won four, drawn one and lost two at home, to win is the statistical pick I feel I have to make.
Recommendation: Sevilla (2.25)
Real Zaragoza v Levante
With Obafemi Martins amongst the scorers, Levante destroyed sorry Mallorca 4-0 in Valencia last weekend. Their opponents today, 12th placed Zaragoza, surprisingly defeated Rayo 2-0 in Madrid last Monday night. Zuculini and Apono were the scorers.
In conclusion, Levante host Zara in the Copa del Rey hours after I’ve written these previews, and without knowing the result of that I’ll abstain from betting or making any kind of a recommendation for their round 16 league match. Follow me on twitter to see if I do later place a bet.
Valencia v Rayo Vallecano
Los Che, under new boss Valverde, have twice defeated Osasuna in the last week – once in the league, once in the cup – and looked impressive in doing so. Encouragingly for those who like scorers, Soldado scored in each tie.
Rayo, who seriously struggle to score if star player Leo isn’t finding the back of the net, have been in poor form recently – leaving it late to beat Mallorca, failing to score over two legs v Las Palmas in the cup and now losing 2-0 at home to Zaragoza in the league last Monday.
In conclusion, apart from the loss to Real Sociedad that cost former Che boss Pellegrino his job, Valencia have been very strong at home and should have no problems beating a Rayo side that haven’t won (or even scored) in their last three games.
Recommendations: Valencia – 1 Asian handicap (1.74) and Valencia HT/FT (2.18)
Real Madrid v Espanyol
Los Blancos twice had to come from behind to win away 3-2 at Valladolid last weekend, with both conceded goals coming via set pieces – something Real are currently very, very poor at dealing with. Midweek, in the pouring rain (at least in the first half), Jose’s charges put a pathetic performance in to lose 2-1 away to Celta Vigo in their Copa del Rey first leg clash.
Espanyol, with new boss Aguirre remaining undefeated since taking the helm, drew 2-2 at home to Sevila last weekend. Verdu, from the penalty spot, and later Simao – with his first goal for the club – were the Catalans scorers.
In conclusion, it would be better if Espanyol were in bad form, but whether they are or aren’t there’s surely going to be a backlash from Real after their midweek defeat, and I expect Los Blancos to start fast.
Recommendation: Over 1.5 first half goals (1.83)
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
What an appetising tie this is, and one I can’t wait to watch! Both teams won their respective midweek Copa del Rey ties with ease – Atletico beat Getafe 3-0 at the Vicente Calderon, while Barca, with Messi scoring a brace, defeated Cordoba 2-0 away – and both won their round 15 Liga BBVA fixtures; Barca defeated Betis 2-1 and Atleti, with Falcao scoring an astonishing five times, put Deportivo to the sword with a 6-0 win.
So, it’s Messi vs Falcao and first vs second, but will both score and who will win? Well, Falcao may score but at 2.75 anytime I’m not backing him to, while Messi – who scores twice in pretty much every game – is almost nailed on to net but offers no betting value to do so.
In conclusion, Atleti always get hammered at Camp Nou and, although they are likely put up more of a fight this time, I don’t see the end result being any different.
Recommendation: Barcelona – 1.5 Asian handicap (1.96)