Spanish La Liga Preview

Atletico Madrid sweated out a 1-0 victory over Villarreal without leading scorer Diego Costa to stay top of the Spanish league on Saturday, while Lionel Messi scored two goals in Barcelona's 3-1 win over Real Betis to stay one point behind. Gareth Bale's long-range goal helped make sure Real Madrid didn't miss star Cristiano Ronaldo as they cruised to a 4-0 victory at Real Sociedad, staying within three points of the pacesetters in third place.

Osasuna 11/10 draw 9/4 Valladolid 24/10
Osasuna picked up an unlikely three points on the road to leap out of the relegation zone, passing their hosts Almeria by those three points and ending a dry spell of picking up just one point in 6 games. Valladolid also moved out of the relegation zone with a goalless draw a home to Valencia last weekend. Looking at statistics Osasuna should be favoured to claim another three points as they won the reverse fixture 1-0 and Valladolid’s away form has seen them win just one away match this season, losing 10 of their 16 travels. 

Celta Vigo 16/10 draw 9/4 Real Sociedad 16/10
Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad were on the receiving end of 3-0 and 4-0 thrashings from Vallecano and Real Madrid respectively. Sixth place Sociedad sit seven places above their hosts, scoring 20 goals more but have struggled away from home winning only four games and losing seven of their 16 travels. Celta Vigo won their last home match with an impressive 1-0 victory over Sevilla. However, that was just their fourth home win out of 16 matches, having lost six times. The draw is on the cards. 

Villarreal 5/10 draw 3/1 Levante 57/10
Villarreal went down 1-0 at Atletico Madrid last weekend and will be looking for maximum points when they host Levante who were beaten 2-1 at home on Monday night by Athletic Bilbao. The Yellow Submarines won the reverse fixture 3-0 and home advantage should see them pull the double over their opponents.

Granada 86/10 draw 5/1 Barcelona 1/4
Things won’t get any easier for Granada as they host Barcelona on Saturday. Granada suffered their third straight defeat with a 4-1 loss at Malaga which leaves them just three points above the relegation zone. Lionel Messi scored twice for Barcelona in a laboured home victory over the bottom side Real Betis as the champions stayed hard on the heels of leaders Atletico Madrid. The result means Barca are a point behind Atl├ętico with six matches remaining, including a clash between the sides at the Camp Nou on the final day of the season. Barcelona have won all five previous meetings and won the reverse fixture 4-0.

Real Madrid 1/20 draw 10/1 Almeria 31/1
Real Madrid shrugged off the absence of superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo, keeping pace in the La Liga title race with a 4-0 victory at Real Sociedad, goals courtesy of Asier Illarramendi, Gareth Bale and Alvaro Morata. Almeria suffered a 2-1 home defeat at home to Osauna. Real Madrid won the first round fixture 5-0 should again easily thump Almeria who have lost 12 of their 16 travels. Take the half-time win for a better price at 3/10 if you want to add a banker to your multiples.  

Betis 19/10 draw 24/10 Sevilla 13/10
Betis fought hard against Barcelona but suffered a 3-1 loss at the weekend. They will play Sevilla for the fourth time this season after meeting in the round of 16 of the Europa League. Sevilla won the leg at Betis 2-0 and will look to do the same as they chase a crucial Champions League place. They are coming off an impressive performance, humiliating Espanyol 4-1 at home. Sevilla should be backed for the away win.  

Valencia 5/10 draw 31/10 Elche 53/10
Valencia are winless in three matches and will look at this game against 14th place Elche as an opportunity to claim maximum points. Valencia have managed 31 goals at home while Elche have scraped up less than half of that on their travels with 14. Elche have won just twice on the road in 15 matches. Valencia have only won half of their 16 home matches but this is one they should claim all three points.  

Getafe 6/1 draw 31/10 Atletico Madrid 9/20
2008 was the last time Atletico managed a win at Getafe and they will look to change all that or lose their place at the top of the table. A header in the 14th minute from Raul Garcia was enough to see Atletico keep top spot for another week. Atletico Madrid have been grinding out the results having not scored more than two goals in their last nine matches. Relegation side Getafe have lost six of their 16 games at home but are tipped to hold Atletico here. 

Espanyol 8/10 draw 27/10 Rayo Vallecano 32/10
Espanyol and Vallecano were on the opposite ends of the weekend results with Espanyol going down 4-1 at Sevilla and Vallecano winning 3-0 at home to Celta Vigo. However Espanyol are clear favourites here as Vallecano have conceded the second most goals on the road in the league, 38. Espanyol won the reverse fixture 4-1. Espanyol should redeem themselves with another comfortable win over their opponents.

Athletic Bilbao 5/10 draw 3/1 Malaga 58/10
Athletic Bilbao strengthened their hold on fourth spot in La Liga on Monday with a 2-1 win at Levante thanks to a brace from Aritz Aduriz. Malaga are in good form with four wins from their last six matches and are coming off a 4-1 home win over Granada at the weekend. Bilao managed a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture, scoring the winner after Malaga were reduced to 10 men. Malaga’s recent form warrants a draw.

Written by Wayde Dorkin
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Soccer Pro’s La Liga Picks
Osasuna WIN 11/10
Celta Vigo DRAW 9/4
Villarreal WIN 5/10
Barcelona WIN 1/4
Real Madrid HT WIN 3/10
Sevilla WIN 13/10
Valencia WIN 5/10
Getafe DRAW 31/10
Espanyol WIN 8/10
Bilbao DRAW 3/1