Real Madrid have shown impressive character to cling to Barcelona’s coat-tails in the race for the Liga BBVA title this season.
Los Merengues still trail their great rivals by five points, but they have managed to avoid a hangover from their 5-0 drubbing at the Nou Camp in November to keep their hopes alive.
Going into this weekend’s meeting with Sporting at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid betting fans will be encouraged by the fact that they still have a 100% home record in all competitions.
They have also picked up three points in eight of their previous nine league clashes with the Asturians, firing 24 goals in the process.
Although they will be without injury victims Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Kaka and Fernando Gago – plus the suspended Xabi Alonso – they should be too strong for Sporting.
Manuel Preciado’s men have won just one of their past 14 La Liga away games, so betting on Real Madrid to win by scorelines such as 2-0 (5/1), 3-0 (11/2) and 4-0 (29/4) could prove popular.
However, Sporting frustrated their illustrious opponents for much of their meeting at El Molinon earlier this season, with Gonzalo Higuain eventually netting the only goal after 82 minutes.
Incidentally, Higuain is back in the squad for the hosts after recovering from a long-term back injury and is priced at 11/4 to grab the last goal of the game, which could materialise if he makes his return as a substitute.
But it is also worth considering the bad blood between Preciado and opposite number Jose Mourinho, who accused Sporting of rolling over in a defeat to Barcelona earlier this season.
Preciado was furious with the comments and will make sure his players are as keen as he is to ram the former Chelsea boss’ words back down his throat.
Punters who believe a major shock is on the cards can bet on Sporting to beat Real at 14/1 with bwin, which means a successful £10 stake would return £150.
A £10 bet on Emmanuel Adebayor to score the first goal against Sporting would return £40 if the on-loan Manchester City striker breaks the deadlock.