Copa Del Rey Tips | 15th January 2015 | Sky Sports 5

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THE Copa del Rey Round of 16 concludes on Thursday night with giants Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona all on show. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) looks at the best bets.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid | Thursday 19.00 | Sky Sports 5

Having watched Barcelona’s impressive 3-1 win against Atletico Madrid on Sunday night, a part of me felt down, disappointed and responsible. Having trumped Atleti and slagged off Barcelona’s pre-match odds to the hilt, I’d been proved emphatically wrong over 90 minutes.

But as one of Twitter’s great minds (@JulianBets) said, “A winning bet is not always a good bet. And a losing bet is not always a bad bet.” And for me, that summed up my selection on that La Liga encounter. I’d most definitely back that bet again and again and again. More often than not, we’ll have a winner.

The crux of that opening spiel is to say, don’t run from Atletico just yet. Yes, they were unusually poor defensively against Barca and yes; they did resort to unneeded dirty tactics. But they remain a real force in Spain and still hold the Indian sign over their city neighbours.

That loss to the Catalans was the Mattress Makers’ first in seven attempts head-to-head and against their bitter rivals, Diego Simeone’s men have suffered just two reverses in 10, dating back to the start of last season. In fact, the only side to have stopped Real winning on home soil this season is, you guessed it, Atletico. Twice.

Even more impressive is the fact that Madrid’s second side have not conceded more than a single goal in their last five meetings with Los Blancos and only once in their last five visits to the Bernabéu. Sure, Simeone will make changes to his team (like at the Vicente Calderon last week) but don’t discredit them based on Sunday’s defeat.

The bet here is the same as Sunday. Back Atletico +1 in the Asian Handicap at BetVictor’s 22/23. It means we’ll get our cash back if the Mattress Makers lose by a single goal and have a winner on our hands should they draw or win.

Elche v Barcelona | Thursday 21.00 | Sky Sports 5

This tie is over and that means finding a decent priced winner to cheer on, a tough task. Barcelona hammered Elche 5-0 at the Camp Nou but punters should be wary when expecting a repeat.

Barca boss Luis Enrique will ring the changes ahead of more important La Liga battles and instead, a speculative on Under 2.5 Goals at 7/4 with William Hill looks the best avenue for success.

Elche may have the worst defence in Spain’s top tier but the Catalans don’t tend to do thrashings on their travels. Only three times have they won by 3+ goals away from home this season and six of their nine La Liga road trips have featured fewer than three goals.

Best Bets

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid – Atletico Madrid +1 Asian Handicap (22/23 BetVictor)

Elche v Barcelona – Under 2.5 Goals (7/4 William Hill)

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After starting his career in newspaper journalism, Mark soon found his way into the online betting world, forging a career in content, social media and marketing production. With a huge passion for stats, the Football League and European football, Mark’s other interests include playing rugby, following his beloved QPR and travel.

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