Saturday January 21st
Espanyol v Granada
Home win: 7/10 Draw: 5/2 Away win: 4/1
Betting Tip: Sat safely in mid-table, Espanyol are well set up to have a dart at the Europa League places over the second half of the season rather then get dragged down south. They’ve lost just one of their last nine and held neighbours Barcelona at home a fortnight ago. Opponents Granada have slipped back into the thick of the relegation battle after losing both games since the winter break resumption and their woes will be added to on Saturday. Granada don’t score many, while Espanyol are tight and have enough to edge it. An Espanyol multiple of 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 is 37/20.
Racing Santander v Getafe
Home win: 3/2 Draw: 11/5 Away win: 9/5
Betting Tip: Santander have recovered from an awful start to the season to pull themselves out of the bottom three. Indeed, Racing’s recent form is among the strongest in the division, having won three and drawn two of their last five, but opponents Getafe virtually mirror that with three wins and two draws from the last six. Getafe have won only once away and Santander have lost just twice at home, so all things being equal, get on the 11/5 draw.
Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid
Home win: 21/10 Draw: 9/4 Away win: 127/100
Betting Tip: Diego Simeone’s arrival at Atletico may finally instil some substance into La Liga’s most dysfunctional set-up. Atletico’s previously porous backline has kept two clean sheets since Simeone shook things up and last time out against Villarreal, the quality in attack clicked to score three. If he can combine both facets, Atletico have the ability to move swiftly up the league but something else the Argentine must rectify is their awful away record. Los Rojiblancos have drawn two and lost six of their eight matches outside the comforts of the Vicente Calderon, scoring just five goals. They’ll do well to significantly improve that against a solid Sociedad who are unbeaten in seven. The draw’s both best value and most likely…
Real Betis v Sevilla
Home win: 31/20 Draw: 11/5 Away win: 7/4
Betting Tip: Betis’s revival of three wins on the spin was halted at Barcelona last week, but only after the plucky visitors had pegged the champions back from two goals down. They eventually went down 4-2 but Pepe Mel’s men will take many positives into the Andalusian derby against a disjointed Sevilla side. Los Nervionenses have won one of their last five and two from 11 La Liga games as they continue to slide into mid-table. Betis have won half of their ties at home, while Sevilla have generally been poor on the road. Betis can do the business but both teams could score – take the hosts to win a match containing over 2.5 goals at 333/100.
Sunday, January 22nd
Osasuna v Valencia
Home win: 11/5 Draw: 11/5 Away win: 5/4
Betting Tip: Osasuna have struggled since the resumption, scoring just one goal and drawing one game from four. Generally their home form remains strong though, having won six of the last seven, meaning a trip to the Reyno de Navarra won’t be overly welcomed by a Valencia team at far from full tilt. Los Che went three without a win from the start of the new year but rectified that with a 4-1 Copa del Rey hammering of Levante in midweek and a result in Pamplona will further cement third place. A draw looks likely and with both sides far from prolific but strong defensively, the 1-1 is reasonably priced at 19/4.
Rayo Vallecano v Mallorca
Home win: 21/20 Draw: 9/4 Away win: 13/5
Betting Tip: Neither of these two are having a particularly vintage season, both losing more than they win. Vallecano have resumed in 2012 with two successive wins and that will put them onto the front foot to beat a Mallorca side who get a nosebleed when they leave the island. Mallorca have won just once on their travels this season and have won just one from five since the restart. The hosts will have enough here in a low-scoring game. Vallecano with under 3.5 goals is 17/10.
Malaga v Barcelona
Home win: 9/1 Draw: 17/4 Away win: 7/25
Betting Tip: All of Barcelona’s troubles this year have come on the road in La Liga, but the fact they’ve twice defeated Real Madrid on their great rivals’ patch suggests the flaws are rather self-inflicted. A draw at Espanyol in their last away game left the champions five points adrift of Real and they can ill afford any more costly blips away from the Camp Nou if they are to reel Real in. Malaga are still largely inconsistent, although their home form could test Barca’s away capabilities. On the back of another triumph at the Bernabeu, Barca should have the mental strength to carry on here. A multiple of 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 Barca is 3/1.
Levante v Real Zaragoza
Home win: 4/5 Draw: 12/5 Away win: 7/2
Betting Tip: Zaragoza are a shambles and will without doubt be playing their football in Spain’s second tier come next season. They’re without a win in 13 games, losing ten of those and ongoing ownership issues aren’t helping much either. Levante are still in the fourth Champions League slot largely courtesy of their seven-match winning streak during the autumn but although they’ve only won one of their last five, meetings with Zaragoza are tantamount to a bye. Levante tend to improve after the break and Zaragoza generally don’t, so the half-time draw/Levante win is worth a look at 15/4.
Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao
Home win: 9/50 Draw: 25/4 Away win: 11/1
Betting Tip: Real’s breakdown against Barcelona in midweek has left few in doubt as to who are the best team in Spain but that label will be fairly redundant provided Jose Mourinho’s men keep picking up results against everyone else. Madrid have won 22 of their last 24 games – the two anomalies being the home defeats to Barca – meaning they’ve opened up a nice five-point cushion at the top. Few others are able to get close to los Galacticos and even though the obdurate Bilbao have only lost one of their last 20 domestic games, this is only likely to go one way. With not much value for Real to win, the goalscorers market offers a few nice punts, including Karim Benzema to score first at 3/1.
Monday, January 23rd
Villarreal v Sporting Gijon
Home win: 4/5 Draw: 12/5 Away win: 7/2
Betting Tip: Even a change of manager has yet to alter Villarreal’s fortunes as last year’s Champions League qualifiers now find themselves three points from safety. Jose Molina began promisingly enough with a 2-2 draw at home to Valencia but the Yellow Submarine were awful in capitulating at Atletico last weekend. Despite being second bottom, their home form hasn’t been too bad and results at El Madrigal will have to be enough to keep them up. Gijon aren’t much better and Villarreal can jump above them with a win on Monday night. The Villarreal win with over 2.5 goals looks the best shout at 39/20.
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