MONDAY night’s La Liga offering features Athletic Bilbao and Sporting Gijon. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) talks us through the best bets.
Athletic Bilbao v Sporting Gijon | Monday 19.30 | Sky Sports 5
Athletic Bilbao are 17 games into their 2015/16 campaign but find themselves languishing just two points and a place above the La Liga drop zone after eight league fixtures (W2-D2-L4). The Basques have struggle to get going this term but at least arrive at Monday night’s match on their best run of form (W2-D1-L0) this season.
Ernesto Valverde’s men have already had to face big-hitters Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as high-flying Villarreal, Eibar and Deportivo. Although Les Leones’ eight point tally from a possible 24 is far from remarkable (or even acceptable) there have been signs that Monday’s hosts are finally finding a dollop of consistency.
Athletic dispatched Partizan 2-0 in Belgrade on Thursday night and were the better team for the majority of a 2-2 draw at Depor in their previous La Liga outing – the Basques being hit by two late goals in Galicia.
Valencia were well beaten 3-1 at San Mames in their previous home game and it’s their Bilbao record that continues to impress. The hosts have W6-D0-L2 at their Basque base this term with only Barca and Real stopping Les Leones from claiming maximum points.
However, we won’t get rich quick by backing Athletic at 4/7 quotes to see off a tricky Sporting Gijon. Since winning promotion the Rojiblancos have equipped themselves excellently, holding Real Madrid to a goalless draw and never being beaten by more than the odd goal.
And Abelardo Fernandez’s guests have started to let their hair down and play some enterprising football in recent weeks. A 3-3 thriller with Granada in front of their home fans showcased the best and worst of Sporting’s ability, taking the total goals tally from their most recent five matches to 20.
The visitors have notched in each of those five (10 in total) with Over 2.5 Goals following suit on each ocassion. This is without doubt Sporting’s toughest away trip back in La Liga but Fernandez’s troops can boast an impressive W2-D1-L1 return from their previous four on their travels and will fancy their chances of getting amongst the goals.
Only seven clubs are averaging more shots-on-target-per-game than Gijon and so I’m keen to take up a goals-based angle for Monday night’s encounter. Athletic have W23-D10-L9 of 42 league fixtures as hosts under Valverde and should have enough to eek out maximum points but I’ll add in a Both Teams To Score angle as well as an Over 2.5 Goals play to bolster the odds on offer.
We’ve already seen Sporting’s switch to an offensive and cavalier approach to life in the top-flight and despite Athletic’s reputation as Under 2.5 Goals specialists in the past 12 months, Les Leones have beaten the goals line in five of their last six La Liga games as well as five of their eight San Mames matches this term.
Athletic and Over 2.5 Goals is backable at 6/4 with Boylesports whilst Athletic to win and BTTS is a far hunkier 11/4 with the same firm. Both bets have a strong chance of landing in what should be an enjoyable encounter.
Athletic Bilbao v Sporting Gijon – Athletic Bilbao to win and Over 2.5 Goals (6/4 Boylesports)
Athletic Bilbao v Sporting Gijon – Athletic Bilbao to win and Both Teams To Score (11/4 Boylesports)