European NAP: Spanish showdown to feature goals galore


EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) is looking to continue his hot European NAP streak with a selection from Sunday's La Liga action.

Rayo Vallecano v Levante | Sunday 23rd December 2018, 17:30 | Eleven Sports

Last season’s Segunda champions Rayo Vallecano have had a tough introduction to life back in La Liga. The Madrid minnows are entrenched in the bottom three of the Spanish top-flight having lost 10 of their opening 16 fixtures, although the capital club have tended to be involved in open, enjoyable and entertaining encounters.

Michel’s men aren’t a million miles away from picking up more positive results; Rayo have only lost by more than a solitary strike on four occasions and their performance data marks the newly-promoted club out as a bottom-half side above the dreaded relegation zone. However, it’s their carefree approach that’s worth attempting to profit from here.

Rayo recorded only six clean sheets in 21 home outings on their way to the second-tier title last term as Michel was determined to continue the club’s cavalier playing style. That’s continued in 2018/19 with Los Franjirrojos seeing nine of their 16 games feature both sides scoring as matches have averaged a bulbous 2.88 goals per-game.

Rayo have recorded just two shutouts since promotion and are shipping an average of 1.94 goals per-game – but they’re firing in 6.81 shots in the box per-game, which is more than high-flying Atletico Madrid. In fact, their 0.83 xG from open play return is better than that of Atletico, Celta Vigo and almost on a par with Real Betis.

Goals on the agenda

Due to the open nature of Los Franjirrojos’ contests, finding a goals-based selection is always preferred when analysing Rayo’s matches, and that’s most definitely the case when a lively Levante outfit turn up on Sunday evening.

Under Paco Lopez’s stewardship, Los Granotas have only twice failed to score this season, notching twice or more in nine of their 16 outings. During his 27 matches at the helm, Levante have scored twice or more on 16 (57%) occasions with the likes of Roger Marti, Emmanuel Boateng and Jose Luis Morales enjoying the freedom of expression in the final-third.

That swashbuckling approach has caused numerous problems for opposition outfits, although Levante – like Rayo – suffer from below-par backline efforts. Los Granotas have leaked two goals or more in half of their 16 encounters this season and only Rayo have given up a larger xG from open play figure on average.

Put the two teams’ styles, ideals and stats together and this looks like a great chance to support Over 2.5 Goals at 13/19 (188BET).

Collectively, the pair have seen their La Liga matches feature 2.03 xG from open play – easily the highest joint-average in the division, whilst Over 2.5 Goals has banked in 11/16 (69%) of their combined home/away games with an average of 3.44 goals per-game. If that wasn’t enough, 20/27 (74%) of Levante games under Paco have produced at least three goals.

Best Bets

Rayo Vallecano v Levante – Over 2.5 Goals (13/19 188BET)

About Author

The big cheese at WLB. After starting his career in newspaper journalism, Mark soon found his way into the online betting world, forging a career in content, social media and marketing production before setting WeLoveBetting up soon after the 2014 World Cup. With a huge passion for stats, analytics, the EFL and European football, Mark’s other interests include playing rugby, following his beloved QPR and travel.

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