Real Madrid are strong 7/25 favourites to beat Malaga in their penultimate home match of what has been one of the most eventful seasons in living memory, even by the soon-to-be-deposed champions’ standards.
Despite their Champions League semi-final misery, a strong end to the La Liga camapaign has seen Real take 11 wins from their last 12 games and leave rivals Atletico Madrid trailing in their wake – which is perhaps why Malaga are priced as long as 29/4 for victory at the Bernabeu (the draw is 5/1).
Although the visitors seemingly have more to play for as they seek to keep their bid for another top-four finish alive, there is another good reason why Real are such overwhelming favourites.
Los Blancos are two matches away from completing the season unbeaten at home, a feat one imagines Jose Mourinho would take pleasure in pulling off in time for his departure should he leave the club, as expected, after the visit of Osasuna on the final day.
There is also the possible short-term satisfaction in delaying Barcelona’s title celebrations for a few more days with a win tonight.
While Real’s home league form has remained a dependable foundation of success in a turbulent season, interestingly, for the second successive campaign, Real have left it relatively late to make their quality count at their own ground.
The ten times that Mourinho’s men have been in the lead at home at half-time this season is less than the number of leads Barcelona, Atletico and Sevilla have treated their respective fans to at the interval.
This could be due to Real’s propensity to hit teams on the break making them particularly dangerous when second-half fatigue kicks in.
Given that Manuel Pelligrini’s Malaga have one of the strongest defences in La Liga, this could make an 18/5 bet on a half-time draw and Real win at full-time a promising option.
Punters registering with bwin today can claim a free £20 bet and placing this on Real to win after a drawn first half would return a cool £92 if successful.
And considering that Los Blancos are so short in the 3Way market, this certainly provides some genuine value on what should be yet another home triumph for the men from the capital.