Villarreal (1/2) v Real Betis (7/1) – Saturday 7.30pm
Six straight league wins mean Villarreal are sat just one point behind Real Madrid in third place. On Saturday evening they face a team that has taken a measly two points from a possible 18. I noted last week that Pepe Mel was in trouble and the former West Brom boss was sacked on Monday afternoon after an away loss to Getafe. Betis have not scored in five consecutive La Liga outings and last week crashed out of the Copa Del Rey after a heavy 6-0 aggregate defeat to city rivals Sevilla.
Villarreal to win + over 1.5 goals is a solid 3/4 shot, but a home win ‘to nil’ is much more appealing. They have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four league victories. At El Madrigal this season Villarreal have beaten Real, Atletico and Valencia all without conceding. Are four teams in with a chance of winning the Primera Division this year?
Villarreal win ‘to nil’ – 13/10 (2.3) with Paddy Power = LOST, 0-0
Real Madrid (1/11) v Sporting Gijon (40/1) – Sunday 3pm
The Zidane effect will continue for Real, and this weekend a hapless Sporting Gijon side will be on the receiving end. The visitors have lost seven of their last eight league games, and have been beaten three times on the bounce. The leaky backline has let in 11 goals in their last five outings, and even if they choose to park the bus at the Bernabeu, the Madrid frontline will find a way through. The -3 Asian Handicap pays out should the home side win by four or more, with our stake refunded if the winning margin is three goals only.
Last week overachieving Deportivo were torn apart 5-0, so it is unlikely that 18th-placed Gijon will fare any better against Real. Dating back to the 2010/11 season, Los Blancos have won all 17 matches against newly-promoted teams. Gareth Bale is on fire, with a whopping eight goals and two assists from his last four appearences. SkyBet offer a range of tempting markets for this match, such as Bale to score in a home win featuring 3 or more goals (10/11). Bale and Benzema both to score is another decent selection at 6/4.
*BEST BET* Real Madrid –3 Asian Handicap – 43/40 (2.08) with Bet365 = WON
Bale to score, over 2.5 goals & Real to win – 10/11 (1.91) with SkyBet = WON
Eibar (5/6) v Granada (4/1) – Monday 7.30pm
Comparing the league form of these two sides, Eibar have the ability to edge out a victory on Monday night. The Basque side usually put up a tough fight on home turf. Athletic Bilbao were defeated at the Ipurua stadium this season, with Sevilla, Valencia and Celta Vigo held to draws. Borja Baston has helped Eibar record four wins from their last six home games in La Liga.
Granada are 11 places below Eibar in the table and have lost five of their last six in all competitions. Their away form is pretty dreadful, with just one victory since August. The confidence will be low in the Granada camp so expect Eibar to take full advantage and remain amongst the European places.
Eibar win – 5/6 (1.83) with SportingBet = WON
Anytime Goalscorer selections
Favourite: Kevin GAMEIRO (Sevilla v Malaga) – 5/4 (2.25) at 888sport = WON
Underdog: Alvaro VAZQUEZ (Getafe v Espanyol) – 9/4 (3.25) at BetVictor = LOST
Longshot: Soriano BRUNO (Villarreal v Real Betis) – 17/4 (5.25) at 888sport = LOST
By Nick Munday - @NM_sport
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