Spanish La Liga Preview

La Liga avoided a strike that threatened to suspend the final two weeks of the season and Barcelona took full advantage by claiming yet another La Liga title with a goal from Leonel Messi against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon. Second-placed Real Madrid also won, prevailing 4-1 away at Espanyol thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, but remain four-points adrift of Barca with one match remaining. With the title race complete, all attention will turn onto the relegation battle on the final day of the season. Eibar and Almeria occupying 18th and 19th spots while Deportivo and Granada are two points better off and just clear of the drop zone after important wins. All four teams will be aiming for nothing less than maximum points to ensure their La Liga status, as draws won’t do if their rivals win. Eibar look favourites to avoid the drop as they host already relegated Cordoba, while the other three teams face uphill tasks of beating Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia.


Malaga 5/2 | Draw 27/10 | Sevilla 1/1 
There is a lot at stake in this match for both sides. Malaga are chasing seventh spot that will qualify them for a place in next seasons UEFA Europa League, while Sevilla are still in with a shout for a Champions League place as they lie just one point behind Valencia. Malaga went down 2-1 at Villarreal, but can count themselves lucky to still be in the race a for a European spot after losing five of their last eight matches, and winning just once. They will need to win here and hope that Athletic don’t claim maximum points at home to Villarreal, as Bilbao lie two points above them. Sevilla will also be looking for nothing less than three points as Valencia travel to second from bottom Almeria. Sevilla are coming off a 2-1 home win over Almeria that meant the club have reached a  record points total of 73 for the season. Sevilla won the reverse fixture 2-0 in January and are tipped to oust their opponents once more. 

Almeria 33/10 | Draw 31/10 | Valencia 7/10 
Almeria's hopes of avoiding relegation suffered a blow as they lost 2-1 at Sevilla. They will host a Valencia side who are looking to secure fourth spot with a victory in their final match. Almeria have only won eight of their 37 matches, losing 21 and what is more scary is that they have come away as victors on their own ground just three times. A 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo, which saw Nicolas Otamendi rescue a point, leaves Valencia vulnerable to Sevilla, who are one point shy in fifth. The first round meeting between these sides ended 3-2 thanks to a late winner from Alvaro Negredo. After slipping up last weekend, Valencia should make amends and secure the all important fourth spot with a win. 

Celta Vigo 17/20 | Draw 27/10 | Espanyol 3/1 
Celta Vigo don’t have much to play for, while a victory for Espanyol coupled with losses for Bilbao and Malaga will see the Barcelona based team snatch a Europa League spot. Celta earned a good point at Valencia last time out to draw their third straight match. Espanyol are coming off a hammering from Real Madrid but are unbeaten on the road in their last five travels, winning three times. Espanyol scraped a 1-0 victory in the first round. The Both Teams To Score market looks the safest bet at  11/20. 

Real Madrid 1/6 | Draw 67/10 | Getafe 12/1
Real Madrid will end their season at the Bernabeu against a Getafe side who are in poor form but safe from the drop zone. Real Madrid’s 4-1 win at Espanyol was rendered meaningless by Barcelona's victory at Atletico Madrid. Barca’s triumph added to a dismal week for Los Blancos in which they crashed out of the Champions League. Carlo Ancelotti will be desperate for a win to end their disappointing season. Madrid won the reverse tie 3-0 and with no value on the home win I’m recommending taking Real to win by 3 or more goals at 15/20.

Eibar 3/10 | Draw 42/10 | Cordoba 92/10
Relegation dwellers Eibar could only draw 1-1 at Getafe on Sunday which means they will need three points here and hope that the two teams above them don’t win. They have the advantage of facing the weakest team in the league in what is their most important match of their season. Cordoba were relegated weeks back and have lost their last five games. They have scored just 10 goals in their 18 travels, conceding 32. Eibar have dominated previous meetings between the sides, losing just twice in 19 matches and winning on 10 occasions. They have won the last four home games against Cordoba and are tipped to secure their top flight status with a victory here. 

Rayo Vallecano 8/10  | Draw 28/10 | Real Sociedad 31/10
Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad will contest one of two meaningless fixtures of gameweek 38. Both sides lie in the middle of the pile with not enough points to challenge for a Europa League place. Rayo Vallecano earned a 2-1 away win over relegated Cordoba on Sunday, while Sociedad were hammered 3-0 at home by relegation scrappers Granada. David Moyes’ team have only one away win all season while Vallecano have only won eight of their 18 home games. Under 2.5 goals is the way to go here, available at a tasty 13/10.

Granada 24/10 | Draw 21/10 | Atletico Madrid 5/4
Granada defied the odds to move into 16th as they hit Real Sociedad for a 3-0 win at Anoeta. The game was cruising towards a goalless draw when Granada mounted a late siege, plundering three goals in just 13 minutes. They will face last seasons league champions looking for maximum points but a draw could save their top flight status as they lie two points above two clubs in the relegation zone. A draw will also see Atletico secure an automatic Champions League place with Valencia three points behind them. Atletico won the reverse fixture 2-0 and the draw looks a likely outcome this time. 

Barcelona 3/10 | Draw 5/1 | Deportivo 15/2
Lionel Messi's second-half winner sealed the La Liga title for Barcelona, who claimed a narrow 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday. The Catalan side dominated for the majority of the first half but took until the 65th minute to open the scoring and clinch the three points needed to seal their 23rd Spanish title with a game to go. Deportivo came up with a massive win to push themselves further up the La Liga table and will be hoping to pull off a miracle win to avoid the drop. Deportivo sit in a precarious position despite beating Levante 2-0 at home last weekend. The promoted team look likely to go back where they came from as Barcelona will be looking to lift the trophy after a victory in their final match at the Camp Nou. Deportivo could leave themselves vulnerable in defence knowing they need a win here. Back over 3.5 goals to occur, which is on offer at 9/10. 

Levante 21/20 | Draw 24/10 | Elche 26/10
Levante and Elche will be playing for just pride as they close their relatively successful campaigns which sees them clear out of reach from the bottom three. Both sides are in losing form but I’m going for the away win which will see Elche pull the double over Levante.  

Athletic Bilbao 8/10 | Draw 28/10 | Villarreal 31/10
Athletic Bilbao mounted a late comeback to edge Elche 3-2 and move into seventh place. Villarreal, despite securing Europa League qualification last week, continued to give their all and ousted Malaga 2-1 away from home. Bilbao will be looking to keep their seventh position by earning a victory while Villarreal’s sixth position will stay unchanged no matter the result here. Bilbao won this match 2-0 last season and should be backed again.  

Written by Wayde Dorkin
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Soccer Pro’s La Liga Picks
Sevilla WIN 1/1
Valencia WIN 7/10
Celta Vigo BTTS 11/20
Real Madrid WIN BY 3 OR MORE 15/20
Eibar WIN 3/10
Vallecano U-2.5 Goals 13/10
Granada DRAW 21/10
Barcelona OVER 3.5 GOALS 9/10
Elche WIN 26/10
Athletic Bilbao WIN 8/10