MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) has scoured Wednesday night’s La Liga coupon to find us the best bets on offer from the Spanish top tier.
Real Madrid v Almeria | Wednesday 19.00 | Sky Sports 5
Real Madrid kept their title challenge alive with a 4-2 win away at Celta Vigo at the weekend and Los Blancos should move to within two points of table-topping Barcelona with a routine Wednesday night success against relegation-haunted Almeria.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men will be without Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal but with Raphael Varana and Alvaro Arbeloa waiting in the wings, the Champions League semi-finalists shouldn’t be too weakened at the back and are primed to put their understrength visitors to the sword.
Almeria are missing Thievy Bifouma and Wellington Silva through suspension with both seemingly collecting yellow cards deliberately to miss the Bernabéu trip and be free for next weekend’s six-pointer at home to Deportivo La Coruna.
Thievy has missed 19 games this season and without him Almeria have scored just 13 goals including only two in their last six. Seven of their 11 away defeats without him have come ‘to nil’, as have four of their last five away fixtures.
Furthermore, the Rojiblanco haves lost ‘to nil’ in four of their last six trips to top-six teams and have scored only once in three trips to the Big Two since the start of last season. In fact, their last five away games have all ended in defeat without a goal scored in four of those losses.
Real arrive having W13-D1-L0 in their past 14 home La Liga outings and have come out on top in 29/31 Bernabéu league matches excluding Atletico and Barca since the start of last season. Sixteen of those victories came ‘to nil’ including 10/16 when hosting bottom-half teams and 7/8 when welcoming bottom-six teams.
With all those stats in our favour, I’m happy to have a small play on Real Madrid to win ‘to nil’ at 3/4 (BetVictor). But I’ll also tuck into Real -2.75 on the Asian Handicap line thanks to BetVictor’s 13/16 offering. Should the home side win by four goals or more, we’ll pocket a full pay-out but if they only win by three, we’ll stick bank half of that potential full pay-out.
Almeria have conceded 13 goals across three previous meetings with Los Blancos since returning to the Spanish top-flight and in five previous encounters with Real and Barca, the visitors have lost by at least three goals in all five clashes and by four goals in three of those five head-to-heads.
Ancelotti’s record against the lesser lights in La Liga is outstanding too. He’s guided the European champions to wins in 18/18 home games against bottom-half teams with victories by three goals or more in 11/18 and by four goals or better in 7/18.
Villarreal v Atletico Madrid | Wednesday 21.00 | Sky Sports 5
On paper this fixture looks like a real highlight in the midweek La Liga coupon but sadly, Villarreal’s long list of absentees and lack of recent form means a low-scoring away wins looks the most likely scenario. Atletico are 5/4 with Betfred to win and that’s a price worth taking.
Marcelinho is likely to be without Lucieno Vietto, Denis Cheryshev, the Dos Santos brothers, Bruno, Ikechukwu Uche and Mateo Musacchio. It’s fair to say that’s almost half of the Yellow Submarine’s first choice XI and has seen the Villarreal boss name a number of youth players in the squad for the El Madrigal meeting.
It is true that earlier this season Villarreal inflicted upon Atletico their only home league defeat in the last two years but that came with a fully fit squad and Marcelinho’s men appear to have run out of steam both physically and mentally in recent weeks. The hosts have failed to even score in six of their previous seven (W0-D5-L2) and with defeats in all four home clashes against the current top-five (failing to score in three).
Losses in four of their previous six on home soil certainly won’t have boosted morale in the home camp as they prepare to take on an Atleti side in their best La Liga form of the season. Diego Simeone’s charges have W6-D4-L0 of late, scoring at least twice in their last six outings.
Sure Los Rojiblancos have only recorded victories in two of their most recent six on the road in the league but their return of W6-D2-L3 in 11 visits to top-half clubs excluding the Big Two suggests they should have enough about them to get the better of their injury-hit hosts.
With Villarreal struggling for goals and results and Atletico still famed for their relatively stable and stiff defence, I’m tempted by the 5/2 from SkyBet that Atleti win ‘to nil’. But with 1-0 and 2-0 scorelines the most likely, you may prefer to plump for the Correct Score market; in this case, I’ll keep it simple with a straight bet on the away win.