Spanish La Liga Preview

The Spanish La Liga returns with some cracking fixtures in store. League champions Barcelona will continue to be without Argentine superstar Lionel Messi as the Catalans look to bounce back from their shocking defeat against Sevilla, while Real Madrid and Levante will go head to head on Saturday night for what can only be described as a blood bath waiting to happen. Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid will expect a return to winning ways when they take on a Real Sociedad side in disarray, and Villarreal and Celta Vigo will do battle in an unusual top of the table clash on Sunday. There’s money to be made this weekend and I’m confident I’ve got a couple winners.

Saturday 17 October

Valencia 6/10 | Draw 29/10 | Malaga 5/1

Valencia will be hoping to return to winning ways when they host Malaga this weekend. The pressure on coach Nuno Espirito Santo was increased as his side blew a 1-0 lead to lose 3-1 at Athletic Bilbao last time out. Daniel Parejo had given Valencia the lead before the Basques struck back through Aymeric Laporte, and Markel Susaeta and the inevitable Aritz Aduriz put the final score on the board. Los Che will be happy to return to the Mestalla Stadium where they remain unbeaten. A brilliant hat-trick from Charles gave Malaga their first win of the league season as their 10 men beat David Moyes’ Real Sociedad 3-1 at home. The Anchovies will be hoping to build on that performance, but are without a win on the road this season with two defeats from three games. Valencia have never lost at home to Malaga having won 11 of 14 matches including six on the spin. The home win is a banker bet. 

Barcelona 1/7 | Draw 72/10 | Rayo Vallecano 15/1

Barcelona will be looking to get their season back on track after losing 2-1 to Sevilla last time out and what better place to start against a team they have repeatedly embarrassed in recent years. The La Liga champions have won the last nine meetings against Los Vallecanos, scoring 40 goals and conceding just twice. Los Vallecanos have lost four of their seven matches played and will struggle to cope with Barcelona’s lethal offence. Luis Enrique's men will still be without star player Lionel Messi, but with the triple threat of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Munir, Barcelona should oust their opponents here. The Catalans are short at 1/7 and given the fact that eight of their last nine meetings have seen them score three goals and up, I suggest taking them to Win By Three Or More Goals at 9/10. 

Real Madrid 1/14 | Draw 10/1 | Levante 27/1

Real Madrid were fortunate to leave the Vicente Calderon with a point after Antoine Griezmann missed from the penalty spot to deny Atletico Madrid all three points. Rafa Benitez would have been happy with that result but will expect his team to return to winning ways against Levante. Los Blancos have won the last seven meetings with Les Granotes, scoring 24 goals and conceding six times. There has been a lot of grumbling about the FIFA Virus and players getting themselves injured on international duty. Karim Benzema’s potential three-week absence has certainly spooked Real Madrid, with him being their only proper striker (although it probably sent Isco and Jese into whoops of happiness). Nevertheless, Benitez has a host of attacking stars at his disposal with the likes of Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo leading a lethal team that is superior to Levante in all departments. Los Blancos to Win By Three Or More Goals is the way to go at 13/20.

Real Betis 11/10 | Draw 9/4 | Espanyol 5/2

Real Betis have looked mighty impressive in their return to La Liga with three wins from seven games with two defeats against Real Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna. Pepe Mel’s side have won two on the bounce against Sporting Gijon and Rayo Vallecano. Betis already sit five points above the relegation zone and appear to be headed for a comfortable season. Espanyol have lost four of their seven matches including their last two against Deportivo La Coruna and Sporting Gijon. Betis won their last league meeting 2-0 at the Benito Villamarin. Back the home side at 11/10. 

Eibar 5/2 | Draw 23/10 | Sevilla 11/10

Sevilla will be high on confidence coming into this match following their superb 2-1 win over league champions Barcelona last time out. The Catalans were without talisman Lionel Messi, but Rojiblanco coach Unai Emery had eight players missing, including his first three choices for centre-back. Sevilla will welcome a host of their first-team regulars this weekend and will be looking to make it three wins on the trot. Los Rojiblancos have lost just once to Eibar in eight meetings having beaten them four times. Eibar, however, have looked solid this season with three wins and three draws having lost just once to Atletico Madrid. The draw looks a likely outcome at 11/10, but Sevilla on the double chance at 3/10 is the safest option.

Sunday 18 October

Deportivo 17/10 | Draw 2/1 | Athletic Bilbao 7/4

Athletic Bilbao will be hoping to build on their impressive 3-1 victory over Valencia last time, but face a stern test against an in-form Deportivo La Coruna team. The Blues and Whites have won three of their last five games with one defeat against Sporting Gijon. Deportivo will be confident of picking up maximum points this weekend, but their head-to-head record against Bilbao does not bode well for Victor Sanchez’s side. The Lions have won seven of their last 11 meetings with just one defeat coming in the 2009/2010 season. Bilbao are struggling to find their rhythm this season, but with the talented trio of Susaeta, Muniain and Aduriz leading the attack, the Lions are tipped to oust their opponents. 

Real Sociedad 31/10 | Draw 21/10 | Atletico Madrid 1/1

Luciano Vietto scored his first goal for Atletico Madrid to salvage a 1-1 draw for Diego Simeone’s side against their city rivals Real Madrid last time out. Rojiblancos could have come away with maximum points had Antoine Griezmann converted his penalty, but a point against Real is not the worst result. Atleti will be looking to return to winning ways and will be confident of doing so given their impressive record against Real Sociedad. Rojiblancos have won eight of their last 11 meetings with David Moyes’ men, losing just twice. Real Sociedad have recorded just one win from seven matches played in the league with three defeats. Atleti have a talented side with the likes of Vietto, Angel Correa, Griezmann and Fernando Torres all capable of causing problems for the team that sit 18th on the table. Take Atletico to win at even money.

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Villarreal 19/20 | Draw 5/2 | Celta Vigo 27/10

League leaders Villarreal will be looking to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat to Levante last time out and will be happy to return to their home stadium where they have won all three of their games. Celta Vigo are unbeaten this season and have won two of their three away games, beating Levante and Sevilla. Villarreal have won the last two meetings by 3-1 and 4-1 scorelines. Both Teams To Score is the bet here at 13/20, but if I had to pick a winner I’d back the Yellow Submarine to make home advantage count. 

Getafe 1/1 | Draw 22/10 | Las Palmas 3/1

Getafe earned a commendable draw away to Celta Vigo last time out and El Geta will be hoping to record maximum points against Las Palmas this weekend. Getafe have won two of their three home games this season, beating Malaga and Levante. Newcomers Las Palmas suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Eibar before the international break, their fourth loss of the campaign. These sides last met in the Segunda Division back in 2004 with Getafe 3-0 winners on the day. The home win is tipped at even money.

Monday 19 October

Sporting Gijon 11/10 | Draw 22/10 | Granada 11/4

Sporting Gijon will welcome Granada to the El Molinon on Monday night. Gijon are still searching for their first home win of the season, but will be confident of collecting all three points against a team lying at the bottom of the table. A last-gasp winner from Alex Menendez saw Sporting Gijon beat Espanyol 2-1 and pick up their second win of the season. Granada went down 1-0 to Valencia last time out, their fifth defeat from their seven games played. The Nazaries have been dreadful, scoring just five goals and conceding 13 times. Back the home side at 11/10. 

La Liga Picks
Valencia WIN 6/10
Real Betis WIN 11/10
Eibar DRAW 23/10
Athletic Bilbao WIN 7/4
Atletico Madrid WIN 1/1
Villarreal BTTS 13/20
Getafe WIN 1/1
Sporting Gijon WIN 11/10

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!