Real Madrid have suffered a few embarrassments this season, but anything less than a win this Saturday evening against La Liga basement club Deportivo La Coruna would be right up there on the cringe-meter.
Given that Deportivo – beset by financial problems – have lost all of their last five matches and won just one of their last 14 league ties, a 13/2 bet on the hosts to stun Real doesn’t look particularly promising.
A 9/25 bet on an away win offers fairer value in my view, with a draw priced at 4/1.
The Madrid giants have slipped up to teams around the relegation zone in their inconsistent season, losing at Granada and being held at Osasuna recently.
On an average day, though, you would still expect their attacking talent to comfortably see off a Deportivo side with La Liga’s leakiest defence.
Looking at the stats, the prospect of Real racing into a comfortable first-half lead appears likely.
Deportivo have proved vulnerable in the opening stages this season, conceding 19 goals in the first 30 minutes of their matches, while Los Blancos have hammered 22 in the same period.
Real can be backed at 3/1 to score twice in the first period – as they did in beating Vallecano 2-0 last weekend – and 6/1 to net three or more in the first 45.
As ever, judging the precise number of goals is a tricky task, but backing more goals to be scored in the first half than the second looks a solid play at 17/10.
After all, Real have scored 53 per cent of their La Liga goals prior to half-time and Deportivo have conceded over 55 per cent of theirs in the initial period.