Saturday February 4th
Athletic Bilbao v Espanyol
Home win: 3/4 Draw: 5/2 Away WIn: 15/4
Betting tip: With Levante fading fast these two are handily placed to take advantage of the potentially vacant fourth spot that nobody is laying any great claim to. Bilbao are quickly turning into a very well rounded unit and if they keep up their form from the autumn onwards, the Basque side will take some stopping in securing their debut in the Champions League. Marcelo Bielsa’s men have lost just one of their last fourteen domestic games and that was to Real Madrid – who beat everyone bar Barcelona. Espanyol are on a decent climb themselves and indeed start the weekend two points above Bilbao in fifth after four league wins in six but with just one win in eight on their travels, the hosts should get the better of this one. Espanyol have also not won at the San Mames in eleven attempts so get on Bilbao with under 3.5 goals at 13/10.
Levante v Racing Santander
Home win: 11/10 Draw: 23/10 Away WIn: 12/5
Betting tip: Levante must have been on raw meat throughout September and October when they won seven games in a row to briefly to La Liga, but since then things have nosedived and over the last six games, the ‘frogs’ are bottom of the form table. They’ve fell to seven losses in their last eleven games and will soon find themselves outside of the top four if things don’t pick up. Santander are still just about floating above the relegation zone but are awful away from home. They won away to Osasuna last weekend but that was their first away victory of the season and coupled with Levante’s decent home record, the home side should get the better of another low scoring affair. Levante with under 3.5 goals is 33/20.
Mallorca v Real Betis
Home win: 11/10 Draw: 11/5 Away WIn: 5/2
Betting tip: I’ve been up all night studying these two and I’m still not sure how to call it. With only two draws all season your almost virtually guaranteed a result with Betis but which way is anybody’s guess. Similarly, five wins, seven draws and eight defeats makes Mallorca about as rational as a package holiday to Magaluf. Even at home where the Islanders used to be steady enough they’ve lost four from ten but even that doesn’t clear things up with Betis having lost seven from ten away. If you fancy one side to win but can’t decide who, a safe earner is to pick an odd amount of goals in the game at 19/20.
Getafe v Real Madrid
Home win: 15/2 Draw: 4/1 Away WIn: 33/100
Betting tip: Real have won 24 games on the bounce against opposition other than Barca and are averaging close to four goals a game in doing so. Getafe are on an acceptable stretch themselves, having won four of their last 12 games, but Granada, Mallorca, Santander and Levante are not Real Madrid…and Getafe aren’t Barcelona. Even 33/100 for the Real win outright seems tempting but given the goal glut Cristiano Ronaldo and company invariably serve up – and the fact that Iker Casillas has kept just one clean sheet in ten – the Madrid win with over 2.5 goals is outrageously priced at 17/20 and that certainly gets my nod.
Barcelona v Real Sociedad
Home win: 7/100 Draw: 9/1 Away WIn: 28/1
Betting tip: If Barcelona are going to retain their title then they will have to virtually pick up maximum points between here and the finish. The seven point deficit to Madrid is solely down to draws on the road given their phenomenal record at the Camp Nou. Sociedad have little chance of getting anything here but their away defensive record is generally good and they could keep it respectable. A Barca multiple of 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 looks value at 9/5.
Sunday February 5th
Sporting Gijon v Osasuna
Home win: 5/4 Draw: 23/10 Away WIn: 21/10
Betting tip: Gijon are right in the mire after losing five of their last six and last time out they were hammered by Sociedad who aren’t pulling up many trees themselves. Gijon have only lost two of their last six on home turf and one of them was to Madrid. Osasuna have lost two and drawn two since the resumption scoring just the one, but they’re usually a resolute bunch and with only five losses all season they’ll have enough to leave the El Molinon with the 23/10 draw.
Sevilla v Villarreal
Home win: 3/4 Draw: 5/2 Away WIn: 15/4
Betting tip: Last season these two were squabbling over the last remaining Champions League slot, but how times have changed. Villarreal are still in the drop zone despite just one defeat in four since Jose Molina took charge and last weekends scoreless draw with Barcelona coming on the back of a 3-0 against Gijon should have put some wind in their sails. Sevilla are poor and their descent into mid-table shows no sign of abating. It’s just two wins in thirteen in the league and three home defeats in five but one thing which may go in their favour is Villarreal’s appalling record at the Sanchez Pizjuan. The Yellow Submarines have lost nine of their last ten at this ground, but with Sevilla in such bad nick an Molina steadying his side, the 5/2 draw seems about right and the half-time full-time draw at 4/1 even better.
Real Zaragoza v Rayo Vallecano
Home win: 13/10 Draw: 23/10 Away WIn: 2/1
Betting tip: Zaragoza are going down and Vallecano are one of a squadron of sides who could well join them. There’s no end in sight for Zaragoza who have picked up just a pair of draws in the last dozen but at least they’ve tightened things up at the back, conceding just seven goals over that time. Rayo have lost their last two after winning the previous three, which followed five defeats so they peak and trough but at least they’ve got a win in them, which is more than can be said for the hosts. Rayo to win it with under 2.5 goals is 17/4.
Atletico Madrid v Valencia
Home win: 1/1 Draw: 23/10 Away WIn: 11/4
Betting tip: In four games in charge of Atletico, Diego Simeone has led los Rojiblancos to three wins and a draw the other and have yet to concede. Even prior to Simeone taking the reigns, Atletico were doing alright at home having won six and lost one of their ten so they should be in good shape to take on an ordinary Valencia. Los Che have won only two of their last eight matches in all competitions and Unai Emery’s team have also only won one of their last five away so back a resurgent Atletico to keep on ploughing forward at 1/1.
Monday February 6th
Granada v Malaga
Home win: 21/10 Draw: 11/5 Away WIn: 13/10
Betting tip: Malaga beat Sevilla last weekend to end a seven winless run but things weren’t supposed to be like this when the Qatari owners poured megabucks into the club. Los Boquerones are only three points off fourth place but they don’t feel like a team with any cohesion or consistency. Plucky Granada are still honourably scrapping away for safety and two wins from six has lifted them out of the bottom three. Granada have lost only three times at home and Malaga have won just two away so box off the draw at 11/5.
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