While Real Madrid and Barcelona both landed comfortable wins, it was Valencia’s 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid that swung things in the La Liga betting last weekend.
A plum Roberto Soldado volley helped condemn Atletico to their first defeat in 16 league matches and firmly halted their march to become Spain’s third club in its tracks.
The second biggest side in Madrid are still as short as 1/20 to finish in the top four and 1/4 to win an imaginary league without Barca and Madrid.
An eight-point cushion on fifth-placed Levante grants Atletico plenty of (well-earned) breathing space in the battle for Champions League qualification, but with the season still relatively young, the odds on some of their rivals securing a top-four berth look appealing.
Valencia have a track record that only the big two can better, having finished third for the past three seasons running, so on that basis, the 11/4 on Los Che finishing in the top four is surely worth snapping up before it tumbles further.
Similarly, a price as long as 12/1 for the men from the Mestalla to win the league with Barcelona and Real Madrid rubbed from the table looks superb.
Anyone joining bwin.com today can claim a free £20 bet and placing this on Valencia to win a league without the Catalans and Jose Mourinho’s men – which will surely mean finishing third – would return an impressive £260 if successful.
They may be 11 points behind Atletico, but Los Che have ticked off the two most difficult fixtures of the season, away at the Bernabeu and the Nou Camp, with Atletico yet to face either of the Clasico pair.
Saturday’s gritty win showed that Pellegrino, Rafael Benitez’s former right-hand man at Liverpool and Inter Milan, is starting to impose his motivational power on Valencia.
Their hopes of staging a bid for third place is also helped by the fact that rivals Malaga lost 2-1 at home to Rayo Vallecano and are now 17/2 shots for a Barca and Real-less league (out from 8/1).