Saturday, March 24th
Mallorca v Barcelona (5.00pm)
Home win: 11/1 Draw: 5/1 Away win: 11/50
Key stat: Barca have won eight in a row in all competitions, scoring 29 times.
Betting tip: Seven days ago it looked like Barcelona were in a futile pursuit of Real Madrid but two successive draws for Los Galacticos has let the champions back in. Barca’s mid-season away form was cause for concern but four wins on the bounce away from Catalonia seems to have dispelled the doubts. Pep Guardiola does have problems with injuries and suspensions depleting his defence but with Madrid in view and Lionel Messi in unstoppable form, the Islanders – even with eight points from 12 – may not have enough to contain them. Messi has an unbelievable 20 goals in his last eight games and he’s 13/10 to add at least another two to that.
Real Madrid v Real Sociedad (7.00pm)
Home win: 3/25 Draw: 29/4 Away win: 17/1
Key stat: Madrid have won the last six meetings with Sociedad
Betting tip: ‘Chillona culo tiempo’ is probably a very inaccurate translation for ‘squeaky bum time’ but far from being the procession it promised to be a few weeks ago, Madrid now have Barcelona breathing down their necks once again. A pair of 1-1 draws during the past week has trimmed their lead at the top to six points and Real can ill-afford any more wobbles – especially with a visit to the Camp Nou to come. Los Galacticos should return to winning ways at home to Sociedad but with Champions League duty on Tuesday, it could be a matter of getting the job done. Real have conceded plenty at home this year so the multiple of 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 looks a touch at 31/10.
Getafe v Valencia (9.00pm)
Home win: 37/20 Draw: 23/10 Away win: 7/5
Key stat: Getafe have only won one from six at home.
Betting tip: Barring a disaster, Getafe will be safe in La Liga for another season while Valencia should plod along to secure third spot. Los Che’s priorities may lie in the Europa League and with a visit to AZ Alkmaar coming up in midweek they will be keen to wrap this up with the minimum of fuss. Getafe are the division’s third-lowest scorers at home so if the visitors can take an early lead they should be able to hold on. Valencia to be leading at half-time and full-time is 11/4.
Sunday, March 18th
Real Zaragoza v Atletico Madrid (11.00am)
Home win: 18/5 Draw: 5/2 Away win: 19/25
Key stat: Atletico have only won twice away in the league all season.
Betting tip: Zaragoza were all but gone a few weeks back but seven points from 12 means they’re still in with a faint chance of La Liga survival. Without doubt their most impressive result of the season came in the midweek win at Valencia and they have an immediate chance to replicate that scalp when they host Atletico. Los Rojiblancos have been dire on their travels and even during their Diego Simeone-inspired resurgence they’ve won only two of seven away fixtures. I don’t think I’ve tipped Zaragoza to get a point all season and with Atletico at 19/25 for the win, I’ll say back the 5/2 draw.
Espanyol v Malaga (3.00pm)
Home win: 27/20 Draw: 23/10 Away win: 19/10
Key stat: Espanyol have won eight out of 11 at home.
Betting tip: Fourth spot is up for grabs and these two are part of a handful of clubs that are after it. Malaga are on their best run of the season with four wins from five and the odd one out being a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu. Espanyol haven’t been too shabby of late either, picking up seven points from nine, and their home form is very impressive. Generally Malaga have struggles away from La Rosaleda, losing eight of 14, but they’re on the up so both sides will save face with the 23/10 draw, although 1-1 might not be a bad shout at 5/1.
Levante v Osasuna (3.00pm)
Home win: 21/20 Draw: 23/10 Away win: 13/5
Key stat: Osasuna have won once away from home all season.
Betting tip: It’s been a tale of three thirds so far this season for Levante. Early doors they won seven in a row to briefly head the table, which was followed by nine defeats in 14 that has now been bookended with four wins in five to keep their improbable Champions League qualification hopes alive. Those aspirations have largely been about gaining points at the Ciutat de Valencia and with eight wins and three draws on home turf, Levante boast one of the best records on their own patch in the division. All of which doesn’t bode well for the side with one of the worst away records. Osasuna have only lost one of their last seven away but Levante should have too much. Levante with under 3.5 goals is 17/10.
Athletic Club v Sporting Gijon (5.00pm)
Home win: 7/20 Draw: 15/4 Away win: 15/2
Key stat: Athletic have lost all three league games since winning at Old Trafford.
Betting tip: Athletic Club aren’t the first and won’t be the last team to suffer from a European hangover. They’ve lost all three La Liga games since their epic victories over Manchester United and their best chance of an entry back into the Europa League maybe to go all-out to win it at the expense of their league position. Fortunately enough, Gijon are next on the agenda having won one in ten and although Marcelo Bielsa may have one eye on Europe, Bilbao are by far the better side. A Bilbao multiple correct score of 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 is 33/20, which is good value considering the win is a short-priced 7/20.
Rayo Vallecano v Villarreal (6.45pm)
Home win: 11/10 Draw: 9/4 Away win: 5/2
Key stat: Villarreal have the worst away record in the division.
Betting tip: Things just keep going from bad to worse for Villarreal. They show no signs of putting together any form and thus no sign of pulling clear of the relegation zone. They’re now without a win in six and have lost ten of 14 away games, scoring just six goals. Vallecano have lost more games than anybody at home but they’ve also won six, which is a decent return for a mid-table team. And with three of those coming in the last four fixtures at the Campo Vallecas, they can pile further agony on the Yellow Submarine. A narrow Vallecano victory seems likely so 15/4 for them to triumph in a game of under 2.5 goals seems very generous.
Real Betis v Racing Santander (6.45pm)
Home win: 3/5 Draw: 14/5 Away win: 9/2
Key stat: Santander are winless in ten.
Betting tip: Santander’s four wins is the lowest in the league but they will have to quickly find a few more if they have any chance of avoiding the drop. They’re ten without a win and to all intents and purposes look doomed. Betis too are nosediving that way after loitering around harmlessly for the majority of the campaign and although they’ve picked up only two points from 15 they do have a knack of getting a result here and there and I expect them to do that again. Just. 1-0 Betis is 21/4.
Monday, March 26th
Granada v Sevilla (8.00pm)
Home win: 31/50 Draw: 13/5 Away win: 19/4
Key stat: Espanyol have won seven of ten at home.
Betting tip: Granada’s three goals at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night shows why so many neutrals want them to remain in the top flight and their ability to pick up results at home should ensure they grace La Liga next year. They have never been clear of danger but never really mired in it either, although they will have to improve on four losses from five to ensure safety. Sevilla are stuck in mid-table with little to play for so this could go either way, but both teams to score at 4/5 seems a good shout.
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