MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) talks us through the best bets in Spain this weekend.
Sevilla v Celta Vigo | Sunday 11.00 | Sky Sports 3
The early Sunday showdown features Sevilla and Celta Vigo in what looks to be an exciting encounter for neutrals. However, it may pay to go against the goals in the blistering midday sun with Under 2.5 Goals quoted at 5/4 (Marathan) worth an interest.
Seville is the hottest mainland city in Europe and the mercury is set to rise towards 30 Celsius around kick-off time, conditions that never suit an open, expansive style. And Unai Emery’s charges are still looking for their La Liga win this season following three false starts.
Los Nervionenses recording draws with Levante and Malaga, as well as a rare 3-0 home loss to Atletico Madrid. The hosts did manage a comfortable 3-0 victory over bang-out-form Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Tuesday but with goalkeeper Beto and defenders Nico Pareja, Daniel Carrico and Adil Rami all out still, I expect Emery to set his side up to protect their patched up backline.
Only in three previous La Liga seasons have Sevilla scored just one goal after fixtures and not since the 1982 campaign. And a further nod towards a low-scoring tie came be found in Los Nervionenses’ record when welcoming top-half clubs that aren’t Barcelona or Real Madrid – 10/13 have strayed below the Under 2.5 Goals line.
Eight of the past nine head-to-heads between these two teams at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan have delivered fewer than three goals with the side from Vigo failing to score more than once since a visit in 1995. Sure, Los Celestes are unbeaten in eight (W4-D4-L0) top-flight games for the first time since 2002/03 but Eduardo Berizzo's troops have been aided by red cards in each of their three outings this term.
In fact, all three games have featured an opposition player receiving their marching orders inside the first 15 minutes with the Galicians playing 155/180 minutes against 10 men. Last week they threw away a 3-1 lead to draw with newly promoted Las Palmas and so whilst the 2-1, 3-0 and 3-3 scorelines don’t exactly suggest an Under 2.5 Goals punt has legs, 14/20 (70%) of Liga road trips under Berizzo's watch have returned two goals or fewer.
Real Madrid v Granada | Saturday 15.00
This is probably one of my most boring selections since we began WeLoveBetting but hey, a win is a win, right? Right?
Real Madrid have won 16 of their last 18 La Liga matches at the Bernebeu, they’ve scored three goals or more in nine of their last 11 league fixtures and plundered 15 goals in their previous three clashes against Shakhtar Donetsk, Espanyol and Real Betis.
For the first time ever, Los Blancos have started a Liga season without conceding a goal in four games and Rafa Benitez’s boys have also made their strongest opening to a campaign since 1975/76. There’s more…
Cristiano Ronaldo has bagged an eye-popping eight goals in his last two games and has four hat-tricks in his last six Real appearances. Over the past five seasons, the capital club have won all 30 games when entertaining bottom-six finishers – 20 of those matches were won by at least three goals and 13/30 were won by four or more goals.
Granada, who’ve never finished higher than 15th since returning to the top-flight in 2011, were destroyed 9-1 in April in the corresponding encounter last season were also hit for six at Barcelona in 2014/15. The Andalusians have already conceded seven goals in three fixtures with goalkeeper Andres being whistled by his own fans last time out – owing to a woeful performance.
Sure, the visitors have managed to record three wins in their last three La Liga away matches, defeating Getafe twice and Real Sociedad respectively, their best road run in La Liga history and with Real missing Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Danilo and James Rodriguez, they’ll hope for a victory.
But Bale has missed nine games since the start of last season and Real have won every single one. Furthermore, they’ve scored at least three goals in each match, including a 4-0 win at Granada last term.
I’ll back Madrid to beat the -2.75 Asian Handicap at 8/11 with BetVictor – we’ll pocket a full pay-out should they win by four or more goals but also bag half a win if they win by exactly three goals.
Valencia v Real Betis | Saturday 17.15 | Sky Sports Interactive
A surprise defeat for Valencia on their return to the Champions League dampened the mood around Mestalla this week. Zenit came away with a 3-2 victory to put Los Che on the back foot in continental competition but a return to domestic duties should bear fruit for Nuno’s men.
The Bats have made a slow start to the new campaign but following draws against Rayo Vallecano and Deportivo, Valencia bagged their first win of the season when edging out previously unbeaten Sporting Gijon 1-0. The form book doesn’t exactly sound earth-shattering but their fierce La Liga home record under Nuno deserves serious respect.
Since his appointment at the start of last season, Los Che have W15-D4-L1 of their 20 fixtures when welcoming La Liga opposition. In fact, Los Che have W11-D8-L1 in their past 20 league fixtures when including away games – their only loss coming against Barcelona back in April.
Andre Gomes is back to full fitness and should play a part whilst Antonio Barragan is back from a ban to line-up at right-back. Nuno’s an almost full-strength squad to pick from and you’d have to assume the hosts will be bang up for putting their midweek blues behind them.
Real Betis arrive having recorded their first win since getting back into the top flight last time out, with a 1-0 victory over goal shy Real Sociedad. However, Pepe Mel must contend with Petros’ suspension and an injury to Cristiano Piccini for the journey east and his settled side may not have enough depth to match the home side in a difficult contest.
The guests’ goalkeeper Adan has faced more shots-on-target than any other La Liga rival and the Verdiblancos have a horrid record when visiting Valencia – losing on each of their last 10 trips. Betis’ only away day this season ended in a 5-0 trouncing at Real Madrid and although Valencia aren’t quite at the same level, they should be expected to pocket the points.
During Nuno’s reign, Los Che have won by two or more goals in 12/20 (60%) games at the Mestalla. A 60% success rate would equate to odds of around 4/6 but we’re getting the chance to back Valencia off a -1 Asian Handicap start at 7/8 with BetVictor. Bearing in mind the hosts have won 75% of those 20 matches, the price offers huge value.
With this Asian Handicap bet, we’ll get our cash back should Valencia only win by one goal but we’ll pocket full profit should they run out victors by two goals or more. The only way in which we’ll finish the game out of pocket is if the match ends in a draw or an unlikely away win.
Real Madrid v Granada – Real Madrid -2.75 Asian Handicap (8/11 BetVictor)
Valencia v Real Betis – Valencia -1 Asian Handicap (7/8 Bet365)
Sevilla v Celta Vigo – Under 2.5 Goals (5/4 Marathon)
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