Spanish La Liga Preview

Can anyone stop this Barcelona side? At the moment they look simply unbeatable. The Catalan giants secured yet another victory last Sunday, this time a 4-0 beating of La Liga opponents Eibar, to extend their unbeaten streak, while equalling a 25-year-old record set by AC Milan. It was Real Madrid who stole the show though, as they hammered Celta Vigo 7-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium last Saturday, whilst their city-rivals Atletico Madrid stayed in touching distance of Barcelona with a well-deserved 3-1 win at Valencia. Elsewhere, Villarreal suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat against Las Palmas and will be eager to get back to winning ways as they look to rally on to claim a Champions League place ahead of the likes of Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao. Gameweek 29 looks promising on the betting front, so let’s find out if we can exploit the La Liga for some valuable bets.

Friday 11 March

6/10 Malaga | Draw 28/10 | Sporting Gijon 5/1 (21:30)

A late own goal from Deportivo defender Alejandro Arribas saw Malaga earn a 3-3 draw and deny Victor Sanchez's men a first victory in 12 Primera Division matches. The stalemate also extends Malaga’s winless run to five games, and they will be raring to turn their fortunes around. Sporting Gijon remain 19th on the log after Abelardo Fernandez’s men fell to a 2-0 home defeat against Athletic Bilbao. It was a third loss in as many weeks, while scoring twice and conceding eight times in the process. Malaga have won four of the last five matches at home against Sporting and are tipped to add to that.

Saturday 12 March

1/20 Barcelona | 12/1 | Getafe 33/1 (17:00)

Barcelona made it 36 games unbeaten as they saw off Eibar 4-0 last Sunday. Lionel Messi secured his brace, and his 21st league goal of the campaign - which makes it eight seasons in a row that he has scored more than 20 League goals - no other player in the history of the Spanish top flight can match that. The win for Luis Enrique’s men makes it 36 matches unbeaten in all competitions, equalling the very same feat achieved by the great AC Milan team of 1991. Barca are now joint-fourth on the list of European club’s best unbeaten run, still some way off of Glasgow Celtic’s impressive haul of 62 matches unbeaten in 1917. Getafe are a team in no shape to face this fantastic Barcelona team. The Azulones have lost seven of their last eight matches and have suffered 10 defeats from 13 travels, recording just one win. Barcelona are priced up at 1/20, so rather take the Both Halves Over 1.5 Goals market at even money.

11/10 Celta Vigo | 24/10 | Real Sociedad 24/10 (19:15)

Celta Vigo enter matchday 29 with their tail between their legs after Real Madrid romped to an outstanding 7-1 victory. Real Sociedad were quite disappointing themselves as they settled for a 1-1 draw at bottom-placed Levante, stretching their winless run to three matches. However, they do have a top record against Celta Vigo, suffering just one defeat in the last 11 meetings – which was a 3-2 loss in the reverse tie. I’m going with Real Sociedad on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 13/20.  

1/4 Atletico Madrid | 4/1 | Deportivo La Coruna 25/2 (21:30)

Atletico Madrid made it seven games without defeat in all competitions, after they produced a superb away performance to see off Valencia 3-1 last Sunday. They will welcome 13th place Deportivo to the Vicente Calderon Stadium, where they have won nine of their 13 games, losing just once, and conceding only six times – the least in the league. Deportivo are without a win in their last 12 matches, including three losses from their last four games. They will do their best to get something out of this game, but they are likely to fall short against a discipline side such as Atletico. Back the home team on the Halftime/Fulltime Double at 15/20.  

11/10 Rayo Vallecano | 5/2 | Eibar 23/10 (23:05)

Rayo Vallecano have been poor of late with back-to-back defeats. Their last home game ended in a 5-1 thrashing from Barcelona. However, their opponents know all about the Catalan giants as well, and were hammered 4-0 on their turf last weekend. Eibar currently look a team in disarray as they have lost seven of their last eight games, including four defeats on the spin, scoring twice and conceding nine times. Neither team look up for the win at the moment and with the pair leaking goals, it would be wise to take Both Teams To Score at 6/10.

Sunday 13 March

31/20 Levante | 22/10 | Valencia 17/10 (13:00)

Bottom club Levante gave their Primera Division survival hopes a boost after holding out for a 1-1 draw at mid-table Real Sociedad last Sunday. They have lost five of their last seven matches, and have managed just five wins from 28 games overall. A change is needed soon if they are to somehow survive the drop. Valencia were ousted 3-1 in front of their own fans against Atletico Madrid last Sunday. They can, however, take confidence in the fact that they have won their last two travels. Nonetheless, Levante have won the last three meetings at home against Valencia and take into account that they are fighting for survival, they could just have the edge over their opponents. The home win is tipped.  

15/20 Sevilla | 27/10 | Villarreal 37/10 (17:00) 

On the surface, things don’t look too bad for Sevilla. After a horrific start to the season, they have hauled their way up the table and are again challenging for Europe. Yet, despite their renaissance, there is still a huge blot on their copybook – they are yet to win a La Liga match away from home this season. Their performances away from home are the complete antithesis to their dominant and assured performances at Sanchez Pizjuan, where they recently celebrated their 12th straight victory by defeating Eibar. So the question remains: how much better could Sevilla be doing this season, had they picked up a few more victories on the road? Unai Emery’s side have dropped 33 points on their travels in 2015-16. Villarreal meanwhile slip seven points behind Real Madrid but are still in pole position to claim fourth spot after their shock 1-0 home defeat against Las Palmas. Prior to the defeat, the Yellow-Submarine were undefeated in 14 La Liga matches, so this could be a very tight affair. However, Sevilla’s home form has been just brilliant, and they are tipped to maintain that form with another victory. 

9/20 Athletic Bilbao | 7/2 | Real Betis 62/10 (19:15)

Ernesto Valverde celebrated signing a new contract as Athletic Bilbao boss with a 2-0 victory at Sporting Gijon. Valverde, who last week extended his stay with the Basque club until the summer of 2017, watched his team earn a third straight win to move them up to sixth place in La Liga, although Aymeric Laporte's unfortunate red card in the second half soured the mood somewhat. Real Betis survived the dismissal of defender Juan Vargas to deepen Granada's relegation worries with a 2-0 victory. The win extends Los Verdiblancos’ unbeaten run to six matches, including consecutive wins. Bilbao as well as Real Betis have been in great form, playing attractive, attacking football. Take Both Teams To Score at even money.

62/10 Las Palmas | 42/10 | Real Madrid 7/20 (21:30)

In a huge surprise at El Madrigal, Villarreal were beaten 1-0 by a Las Palmas side who are fighting to stay in La Liga. More than the three points, this was another demonstration that the Canary Islanders have found some form. Las Palmas now have 30 points and move into 14th place in the table. Cristiano Ronaldo scored four times as Real Madrid cruised to a 7-1 win over Celta Vigo. Ronaldo claimed his fifth hat-trick of the season to take his total to 39 as he surpassed Barcelona’s Luis Suarez on the scoring charts. Los Blancos are full of goals at present and are tipped to Score In Both Halves at 8/10.

Monday 14 March

13/10 Granada | 9/4 | Espanyol 21/10 (21:30)

Granada slipped into the relegation zone last week Sunday with a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Real Betis. They have lost five of their last seven matches, but prior to the defeat they had won back-to-back games. Espanyol come into this tie in a bit of form – three wins from their last four games. However, their record away from home this season has been dreadful, suffering 11 losses from 14 matches, conceding 33 goals. Relegation-threatened Granada can’t afford to drop any more points, and Espanyol are on the verge of falling into the drop zone as well. Get on the Totals market - Under 2.5 Goals can be found at 7/10.

La Liga Picks
Malaga WIN 6/10
Barcelona BOTH HALVES OVER 1.5 GOALS 1/1
Real Sociedad WIN/DRAW 13/20
Atl. Madrid HT/FT WIN 15/20
Rayo Vallecano BTTS 6/10
Levante WIN 31/20
Sevilla WIN 15/20
Athletic Bilbao BTTS 1/1
Granada UNDER 2.5 GOALS 7/10

Written by Aaron Crowie