MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) shares his favourite bet from the continent this weekend.
Sevilla v Real Sociedad | Sunday 19.30 | Sky Sports 5
There are few stranger tales than that of Sevilla in 2015/16.
Unai Emery’s troops have been scintillating on home soil, seeing off each of their last 17 visitors to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, scoring an average of 2.40 goals-per-game and keeping 13 clean sheets.
Here’s just a select few of the sides to have fallen to Los Nervionenses in that 17-match streak – Basel, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, Juventus, Valencia and Real Madrid. Runaway league leaders Barcelona have also been beaten at the Pizjuan.
Bizarrely, Sevilla are still searching for their first victory on the road this season. A 4-0 shellacking at Real Madrid last time out was unfortunate and a tad harsh but returning to their fortress base in Andalusia, normal service should resume.
Playmaking genius Ever Banega is back from a ban to feature in the starting XI once more off lone striker Kevin Gameiro whilst Vitolo’s returned to full fitness and should be given a starting berth on the right-hand side of an attacking midfield.
Only Real Madrid and Barcelona are averaging more on-target attempts as hosts and if we needed any more convincing, Emery’s charges have won 26/34 (76%) La Liga duels at the Pizjuan since the start of last season.
That 76% success-rate implies betting odds of just 3/10 but the kind chaps at Coral have chalked Los Nervionenses up as 7/10 shots on Sunday night, a huge value price that just cannot be missed.
The international break arrived at just the right time for Real Sociedad. Eusebio’s men had suffered successive 1-0 defeats to extend a winless run to five (W0-D2-L3). But leading goalscorer Imanol Agirretxe remains sidelined and the Basques tend to flounder when meeting La Liga’s biggest guns.
La Real have lost by at least two clear goals in seven of their last eight trips to top-six teams and 11 of their last 14 further back. Expand the sample to 2012/13 (the season Sociedad finished fourth) and down to top-half clubs, the visitors have managed just W7-D7-L21 as guests. It’s pretty black and white.
Rotten away form is nothing new for the northerners, mind. Sociedad have W6-D11-L17 on their travels since the start of 2014/15 with 12 of those losses clearing a one-goal handicap and only seven shutouts recorded in 34.
Ordinarily I’d be heading towards the Asian Handicap market here for a slice of Sevilla -1 (we’d see our stake returned should the hosts only pick up a victory by a one-goal margin) but in this instance, I’m more than happy to take a big bite out of the 7/10; it’s not a price that’ll send us to Barbados but it’s a rock-solid selection at incredibly generous odds.
Sevilla v Real Sociedad – Sevilla to win (7/10 Coral)
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