FootballLa Liga

La Liga betting tips: Crucial week in La Liga as Atletico Madrid’s clash with Barcelona can swing the title Real’s way

June 29, 2020

LAST week a draw for Barcelona enabled Real Madrid to take top spot on goal difference. This week, another draw for Barcelona has seen them fall two points behind. And guess what? This week, they face one of the best, most resurgent sides in La Liga at the moment, Atletico Madrid. Life isn't easy at the top! Then again, try telling Zinedine Zidane that…

Leganes vs Sevilla | Tuesday June 30, 20:00 GMT
 

Leganes took more points in their final game before La Liga was suspended (a 2-1 win at Villarreal) than they have in their five games since returning (two points from five games). Having faced Real Valladolid, Mallorca, Granada and Osasuna in that run, that point return will be troubling for Javier Aguirre, particularly with Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid, and of course Sevilla still to face.

As for Sevilla, Julen Loptegui is also entitled to feel a little frustrated. His side are unbeaten since La Liga returned, but they've also won just won game. To open with a comfortable 2-0 derby win against Real Betis – arguably Sevilla's biggest game of the 2019/20 season – and then let eight points slip over the next four matches is hugely frustrating, and now sees Sevilla in a battle to retain fourth spot from challengers Villarreal.

Oscar Rodriguez – the only player who seems to score for Leganes since Martin Brathwaite left for Barcelona – is an injury doubt for this fixture so goals will presumably be even harder to come by than usual. Back Sevilla to get their top four push back on track with a win.

Match Odds: Leganes (3/1) Draw (41/20) Sevilla (21/20)
Tip: Sevilla to score first and win the match (5/4)
Correct score: Leganes 1-2 Sevilla (8/1)

 

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid | Tuesday June 30, 21:00 GMT
 

The pressure is seriously on Barcelona heading into this clash. Having drawn two of their last three matches, a two-point gap at the top of La Liga has become a two-point deficit. If the unthinkable happens, and they lose Atletico Madrid while rivals Real beat Getafe on Thursday, the title race will effectively over. And this is without doubt the worst point in the season to face Atleti.

Diego Simeone's side are 12 unbeaten, having put worries about a top four finish behind them with four straight wins. Marcos Llorente's switch from midfield to attack has brought the best out of his teammates with Joao Felix, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata all scoring in recent weeks. Atleti have built up a seven-point cushion between themselves and nearest threat to a top four spot, Villarreal. So minimal is the pressure on Simeone that he may actually opt to prioritise winning the Champions League this season.

Madrid also have a 2020 victory against Barcelona to their name having come from behind to win the Spanish Super Cup semi-final 3-2 in January, and that was during one of their worst runs of the campaign. Barcelona are reeling, it really hasn't quite clicked for Quique Setien, and with the exception of Real, Atleti are the best team in La Liga at the moment.

Match Odds: Barcelona (17/20) Draw (5/2) Atletico Madrid (10/3)
Tip: Atletico Madrid or Draw (19/20)
Correct score: Barcelona 1-1 Atletico Madrid (11/2)
 

Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao | Wednesday July 1, 18:30 GMT
 

2019/20 was already well on its way to being a disappointing season for Valencia prior to their post-lockdown collapse which has seen them lose three of their last four games without so much as troubling the scorers. Getafe and Real Sociedad have maintained their advantage over Los Che despite winning just one game between them, and now even Athletic Bilbao, whose season was petering out, can leapfrog them with a win. In fact, Valencia made find themselves in the bottom half after this match week if results go against them.

Bilbao have ticked along nicely since the restart – solid draws with Atletico Madrid and Eibar, encouraging wins over Real Betis and Mallorca, and just the narrowest of defeats away to Barcelona. The three points earned against Mallorca at the weekend were essentially wrapped up within half an hour. However, just two away wins all season points to a problem playing on the road. No side has drawn more away games (8, level with Atleti) however, and that could be useful guide for this clash.

For all Valencia's general inconsistency, they remain highly impressive at the Mestalla having lost just two of their last 32 La Liga matches this. Confidence is returning to Bilbao just as it is draining from Valencia, but given that defiant home record, I'm going for the draw.

Match Odds: Valencia (27/20) Draw (2/1) Athletic Bilbao (23/10)
Tip: HT Draw FT Draw (16/5)
Correct score: Valencia 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (5/1)

Real Betis vs Villarreal | Wednesday July 1, 21:00 GMT

Betis have beaten Villarreal 2-1 at home on both of their last two visits to the Benito Villamarin Stadium, but it would be very surprising if they made that a hat-trick given their recent struggles and Villarreal's surge up the table. Los Verdiblancos have won just two of their last 12 games, against first-placed Real Madrid and last-placed Espanyol naturally, and they were on their way to a tonking at Levante on Sunday before two late goals pulled it back to 4-2.

Villarreal on the other hand are simply magnificent at the moment. If you haven't seen seen Gerard Moreno's stunning volley to seal victory against Valencia on Sunday, stop what you're doing, scroll down a bit and watch it. The most skilful route one goal you'll ever see. After losing their last three pre-lockdown matches, The Yellow Submarine have now won four of their five since returning. A 2-2 draw with then third Sevilla is as 'bad' as it has got.

With all Villarreal's Europa League rivals have struggled since lockdown, Javier Calleja's side have timed their run perfectly, opening up a four-point cushion over Real Sociedad, and finding themselves just three points off the top four. Sevilla hold the position for now, but they will become Villarreal's next target. Back them to reverse the 2-1 trend this Wednesday.

Match Odds: Real Betis (37/20) Draw (5/2) Villarreal (29/20)
Tip: Total goals by Villarreal over 1.5 (6/5)
Correct score: Real Betis 1-2 Villarreal (8/1)

 

Real Madrid vs Getafe | Thursday July 2, 21:00 GMT

After scoring the La Liga goal of the season a fortnight ago against Valencia, Karim Benzema notched the assist of the campaign against Espanyol, backheeling beautifully for Casemiro to score the only goal of the game. Ahead of La Liga's return, Duncan Alexander wrote in these pages about how now could finally be the time Benzema gets the recognition he deserves – that has proved a very wise prediction indeed.

Benzema has been the figurehead, but elsewhere Real have been fantastic – organised, tough to break down, and a constant threat. Although there have been one or two favourable VAR calls, Real have thoroughly deserved all five of their wins since the restart, and should have had more goals.

Getafe are in sixth place, just five points off the top four, and yet it must be a frustrating time for their supporters. Four draws and a defeat, or to put it another way four points from 15, have cost the Azulones serious ground in their genuinely credible chase for the top four. This however is not the fixture to address that. Real's supreme confidence should see them win this one comfortably.

Match Odds: Real Madrid (33/100) Draw (4/1) Getafe (9/1)
Tip: Total goals over 2.5 (8/11)
Correct score: Real Madrid 3-1 Getafe (10/1)