THE Copa del Rey Round of 16 continues apace on Wednesday night with four more first leg ties. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) is on the hunt for the value bets.
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid | Wednesday 20.00 | Sky Sports 5
Punters don’t often get the chance to back Real Madrid at odds-against but Los Blancos have been on the drift to defeat their city rivals in the first leg of their Copa del Rey clash and can now be backed at 6/5 with Ladbrokes. It’s a tasty price, alright.
Real were left licking their wounds on Sunday evening as their 22-game winning streak was ended in Valencia but Carlo Anceolotti’s men carved out enough chances to get a result in that game despite claims from local media the European champions were lazy and uninventive.
However, Diego Simeone’s hosts hold the Indian sign over their city rivals in recent years. Atletico are unbeaten in 90 minutes in the past five meetings between the two Madrid giants and have already won away to Real in La Liga this season. In fact, Los Blancos’ only two wins in eight showdowns against the Mattress Makers came in last season’s Copa del Rey.
It promises to be another mouthwatering battle and although I’m tempted to oppose Real, there’s just not enough juice in the 3/4 to take Atletico in the Double Chance market. So instead, I’ll play it safe with a bet on Both Teams To Score at 8/11 with BetVictor.
The fixture normally conjures up goals and dating back to 2006 we’ve seen 18/26 clashes feature BTTS whilst Atletico arrive having only failed to notch once in their past 16 outings.
Valencia v Espanyol | Wednesday 21.00
Valencia’s win over Real Madrid brought the house down at the Mestalla on Sunday. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side stuck to their principles of pressing high, harassing their opponents and producing lightning fast attacks to end Real’s 22-match winning streak and propel Los Che to within four points of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Nuno’s side have been a joy to watch this season, especially in front of their home fans. It’s a resulted in a superb W7-D1-L1 record at Mestalla in La Liga with games averaging 2.78 goals. They’ve hit three or more goals in seven of those nine games.
The Valencia boss kept changes to a minimum in the previous round when the Bats overcame Rayo Vallecano in a fantastic two-legged affair and I’m bullish about their chances of another high-scoring win on Wednesday night. Betfair have made a Valencia win and Over 2.5 Goals an 11/8 chance and I’m tucking in.
There’s no doubt Espanyol have improved over the past month but they’ve taken just two points from a possible 21 against top-half teams in the league this season with five of those seven matches featuring three goals or more. The Catalans netted in a 3-1 defeat at Valencia earlier this season and a repeat scoreline could again be on the agenda.
Almeria v Getafe | Wednesday 21.00
My final selection involves backing Almeria at 13/8 with William Hill. Why? Well the Andalusians have found their feet and starting to play with confidence and freedom.
Francisco was sacked after their feeble performance in a 5-2 defeat at Eibar in early December and since Juan Ignacio Martínez has taken charge, Almeria have recorded W3-L1 in four games. The sole defeat came at home to Real Madrid where the Rojiblancos put in a very creditable performance despite the 4-1 result.
On Saturday they returned from the winter break to defeat high-flying Malaga 2-1 away from home and they’re nicely priced to make it four successive victories when Getafe head south.
The capital club appointed Quique Sanchez Flores as their new boss last week following their surprise departure of Cosmin Contra to take up a post in China. And the Blues fell to a home defeat to city rivals Rayo at the weekend.
I’ve a feeling Contra’s departure will be felt hard at Getafe and a trip to an in-form and confident Almeria side could be a test of character for Flores’ charges. Almeria are well worth a plunge at 13/8.
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid – Both Teams To Score (8/11 BetVictor)
Valencia v Espanyol – Valencia to win and Over 2.5 Goals (11/8 Betfair)
Almeria v Getafe – Almeria to win (13/8 William Hill)