After the unluckiest streak that’s been known to man, I’m returning confident as ever and being careful not to tread on any cracks, break any mirrors or walk under any ladders in the process.
Getafe v Celta Vigo (3:00pm)
Getafe for me have been in the pot of ‘underrated’ sides for most of the season now, having amassed a record of W5-D3-L3 at home. In what seems to be set routine, they lost convincingly to Barcelona at the Nou Camp, although this serves almost no relevance to the big picture. Celta on the other hand have been one of the league’s worst away sides, having lost 10 of their 12 games on the road. They were however very unlucky to lose to Valencia and are certainly a team I want to keep in my good books for home fixtures. They have a fair few missing for this match; Hugo Mallo, Samuel Llorca and Enrique de Lucas are all injured, whilst Borka Oubina serves a one match suspension for the accumulation of yellow cards. Getafe on the other hand don’t appear to have too many concerns. As far as I can tell, but bear in mind team news is often hard to come by in Spain, Xavi Torres, Juan Valera and Juan Rodriguez should all return after being seemingly rested against Barcelona. The most significant team news is that Pedro Leon could be in line for a start after playing the final quarter last weekend – the Madrid side have heavily missed his services in recent weeks. I think Getafe are the better side, in terms of personnel, results and underlying quality and am frankly shocked that their win price is so high. I’m personally taking the -0.25 handicap, but would not deter anyone from taking the straight win.
Malaga v Athletic Bilbao (5:00pm)
Malaga have been one of the league’s best home sides over the course of the season but have run into a lot of trouble of late. They are now without a win in their last 3 on home soil and seem to be suffering from lethargy and complacency, especially against sides they would normally beat comfortably. Looking at their past four results, you could easily make a case that they’ve been very lucky to come away with the results they have done. Athletic Bilbao have been showing moderate signs of improvement of late, yet their result at the weekend goes to show that we shouldn’t be getting carried away with them too quickly (they were beaten 4-0, at home, by an improving Espanyol side). Whilst I recognised that Espanyol were underrated for that particular fixture, I didn’t expect a win, yet alone a convincing 4-0 victory. I still think this result is a little flattering and helps take Bilbao on a handicap for this game as the market overcompensates a little in its price adjustments. Malaga do have a Champions League game this week, which I incorrectly stated was the case last week, with the natural implication being that players are likely to be rested and/or attention will be elsewhere.
Osasuna v Zaragoza (9:00pm)
Two of the league’s least entertaining sides face one another in this week’s Saturday night Sky Sports fixture. They both have a habit of being extremely volatile, indeed Osasuna have an equal W4-D4-L4 split in home results, whilst Zaragoza have W4-D2-L6 on the road. As many of you may have seen on Twitter over recent weeks, I’ve spotted a decent relationship between potentially low scoring games and the half time draw result. This match has under 2.5 goals trading at levels around 1.5, yet the half time draw is priced at 2.1. I don’t know who the bookmakers have hired to trade these markets, but it just doesn’t make any sense to have such a low scoring game (therefore higher chance of 0-0 or 1-1 at HT) at these levels. In addition, Osasuna are the league’s HT draw specialists at home, having been level in 9 of their 12 home games. 33% of their home games go over 2.5 goals, whilst 33% of Zaragoza’s away games have the same feat. The HT draw in this game is potentially the bet of the week.
James’ Spanish Football Tips:
Getafe v Celta Vigo – Getafe -0.25 (1.91 Pinnacle)
Malaga v Athletic Bilbao – Athletic Bilbao +0.75 (1.88 188bet)
Osasuna v Zaragoza – Half Time Draw (2.1 Bet365)