KING OF THE CARDS Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) shares his bookings-based bets from Saturday night’s tasty La Liga ties.
What a super Saturday night we have in store in La Liga! Firstly El Classico from Barcelona followed by a derby from northern Spain as Celta Vigo tackle local rivals Deportivo La Coruna.
Barcelona v Real Madrid | Saturday 19.30 | Sky Sports 2
Let's start with Real Madrid ‘s trip to the Camp Nou – always a fixture to enjoy, this one really gets the pulse racing.
When doing my card research I was surprised to see no real pattern in the previous matches, other than Madrid normally collecting the most cards of the two teams.
To my mind, the hosts are a far superior team. I remember the first match at the Bernabeu and it was verging on embarrassing for Los Blancos. Isco was sent off late on for a malicious hack at the party villain Neymar.
To be honest, I expect more of the same in this game.
Jose Hernandez Hernandez gets the whistle. He averages 6.10 cards-per-game this season. His stats probably hold little relevance in a game of this magnitude, mind.
Real Madrid’s total card figures in the past five Classicos read 5-6-2-3-7, at an average of 4.60 cards-per-game.
I really fancy this trend to continue and am recommending Over 3 Real Madrid Cards at 3/4 with William Hill.
I have already shared my thoughts on the general cards market but I've come across a few juicy prices for individual players to collect a card during the game.
First thing to say is that, the player must be on the pitch for this to count. For example, a substitute in the dugout who’s given a card wouldn't so it’s worth checking the rules if you are unsure.
The interesting thing about this market is that some guys have form. Sergio Ramos is an obvious contender with great pedigree but he's very short at 5/6 (Stan James).
Cristiano Ronaldo has been carded in 3/5 matches and is 7/2 (Stan James) to get one here. I don't fancy it personally but you might.
As this is a novelty market. let's look for more value and I would typically target central defenders and midfielders.
Raphael Varane is apparently out for Madrid so Pepe looks likely to slot in alongside Ramos and have Neymar, Messi and Suarez running at him all night! Pepe has been booked in each of his past two visits to the Camp Nou and in 3/5 encounters generally. 7/4 is a decent price with Stan James on Pepe to be carded.
One I really fancy however is Barcelona anchorman Sergio Busquets to cautioned. Busquets has been booked in 2/5 games and is 7/5 with 888 so the 11/4 on offer with Stan James is overpriced.
I'm not sure he will start but if he does then Real Madrid schemer Isco must be backed at 5/2 with Stan James. Like Pepe, Isco has been booked in his last two visits to Barcelona and was also sent off for hacking down Neymar in the most recent meeting in the Bernabeu.
In summary, whilst you can make a case for most players, I'm going put my faith in Pepe, Busquets and Isco by doing a trixie bet with Stan James.
Celta Vigo v Deportivo La Coruna | Saturday 21.05 | Sky Sports Interactive
My second tip from La Liga follows straight after the Classico with local bragging rights up for grabs in the Galician derby between Celta and Depor.
The past five meetings between these two teams have produced total card figures of 9-9-6-7-9.
David Fernandez Borbalan is in charge. He’s typically lenient but has really picked up lately; I would expect that trend to continue here.
When researching this fixture, the number of second-half cards stands out. Indeed, four of the last five contests have seen four or more cards flashed after the half-time oranges are passed around with second-half card totals of 6-8-2-5-6.
I think referee Borbalan might revert to type a bit and try and keep things tight in the first 45 minutes.
A friend of mine, a fierce Celta fan, describes this fixture as ‘the most important of the season'. So with passions running high at Balaidos I'm backing Over 3 Cards in the second-half at 10/11 with William Hill.
Barcelona v Real Madrid – Over 3 Real Madrid Cards (3/4 William Hill)
Barcelona v Real Madrid – Pepe, Busquets and Isco to be carded trixie (!7/1 Stan James)
Celta Vigo v Deportivo La Coruna – Over 3 Cards in the second-half (10/11 William Hill)
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