WLB debutant Ben Ragg (@RaggysTips) shares his view on the best bets ahead of Friday night's La Liga fixture between Atletico Madrid and Mallorca.
Atletico Madrid vs Mallorca | Friday 3rd June 2020, 21:00 | La Liga TV
Atletico Madrid have shown solid form since the restart and are third in the La Liga table since lockdown behind only Real Madrid and Villareal. They face 18th-placed Mallorca on Friday night, who had a tough start to post lockdown football, but their fortunes changed on Tuesday as they put five past Celta Vigo and gave themselves a glimmer of hope for survival.
Prior to this game Mallorca had played some good stuff without much reward and this result felt like their luck was finally changing. The islanders sit five points adrift from safety with five games to play.
Despite the congested fixture schedule, both teams have avoided injuries to any key players. However, Mallorca suffered two suspensions from their last game to top scorer Ante Budimir and centre-back Martin Valjent.
Budimir found it tough straight after the restart but managed to get on the scoresheet three times in his last two games and looked to have found his scoring form. Even so, a 10th for the season and a one-match ban rules him out, whilst Valijent has only missed 56 minutes in the La Liga this season and will also be a big miss.
As mentioned, Mallorca produced their biggest win of the season on Tuesday in a ruthless display. The visitors may have felt like they reached a turning point six minutes into their last match. They were awarded a very soft penalty which sparked belief. After this moment they were clinical and finished pretty much every chance they produced.
Hernandez to impress in striker role
Budimir’s suspension opens up the door for Watford loanee Juan Hernandez who looks set to play more of a number nine role rather than playing as a number 10 or out wide. The Colombian has played multiple positions across the attack and put in a Man of the Match performance in a number 10 role last time out but looks to be pushed further here.
Hernandez has started as a central striker eight times this season and has accumulated 19 shots at an average of 2.37. So the 7/5 (Boylesports) for the Watford loanee to get a shot on-target looks good value. The 21-year-old will be full of confidence and will be the main goal threat Mallorca look to.
Atletico look set to rotate again as they have done in recent weeks with Joao Felix, Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente to fight it out for the front two spots and Kieran Trippier expected to replace Santiago Arias. Koke is also looks likely to return to the midfield.
Atletico took a well-earned point from Barcelona and since the restart have been back to their efficient ways. The position change of Llorente has added extra fire power going forward and they look to have put any top four doubts to bed as they now sit five points clear of fifth despite starting the restart outside the Champions League places.
Mallorca can keep things competitive
Diego Simeone’s have been priced as big favourites and rightly so as their home form is very good, but home advantage is somewhat less relevant without crowds. Atletico have conceded just 10 goals in 16 games here but have only scored 23.
The away team in seven of their last eight here have covered the +2 handicap and, based on Mallorca’s last performance and the the glimmer of hope they have given themselves, I expect Mallorca to be a good test for Atletico.
The underdogs don’t have another game for six days which will be their biggest rest since the restart, and I expect them to field their strongest team. So, despite their poor away record I see the guests with a +2 handicap at 20/23 with Boylesports good value.
One final angle to look at for this game is the corner market for Mallorca. The islanders have averaged 5.33 corners since the restart and will put in a performance full of energy and belief. Atlético have averaged just 3.67 corners since the restart so Mallorca to have the most corners at 27/10 with Unibet is a good price for a small stakes punt.
Atletico Madrid vs Mallorca – Juan Hernandez to have 1+ shot on-target (7/5 Boylesports)
Atletico Madrid vs Mallorca – Mallorca +2 handicap (20/23 Boylesports)
Atletico Madrid vs Mallorca – Mallorca to have the most corners (27/10 Unibet)