A blockbuster Wednesday night is in store for us, with La Liga and Scottish Premiership fixtures headlining.
We have a triple-header for our selected La Liga best bets. Villareal are targeting European football, and a win against Cadiz, who are looking to avoid relegation, would put them a step closer to catching Real Sociedad in fourth. Meanwhile, Celtic take on Hibernian and Ross County can secure their spot in the Premiership with a win, in an action-packed Wednesday night of Scottish top-flight football.
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Wednesday’s Best Bets
Villarreal vs Cádiz
Both of these teams had something to celebrate after impressive wins at the weekend, but the clash of the two Yellow Submarines in La Liga means only one will depart happy, as it is a case of only three points will do for both sides.
Villarreal are in the chase for Europe and know time is running out to catch up with Real Sociedad in fourth. Their four wins and a draw in their last five have helped them keep up the pace, averaging three goals scored per game over that period. It’s now the case that only the current top three of Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid have won more matches on home turf this season.
Cádiz are three points clear of safety following their win over Real Valladolid but have not won consecutive matches since May 2021. They now face a lot of pressure to achieve that feat on the east coast of Spain, but it will be a big ask against a side that sit second in the form table.
They will now face a Villarreal side who play a completely contrasting style of football and who will be tough to stop. Cádiz’s 282 passes per 90 are well behind Villarreal’s 420 per 90, so this will be a battle of philosophies as much as quality. Only four teams register more passes per 90 than Villarreal, and over the past three months, they have all beaten Cádiz with an aggregate score of 11-1. There’s every reason to expect Villarreal to add to that.
Hibernian v Celtic
Hibs will be seeking to take advantage of a Celtic side that has stepped off the intensity of their play in recent matches. The hosts are still chasing fourth, though a limp performance against Rangers on Sunday in a 3-1 home defeat has jeopardised this challenge.
Lee Johnson’s side will feel that they have the capability to trouble Celtic. After all, Hibs have scored in 15 of their last 16 league matches, except a scoreless draw away to an Aberdeen side that have largely stopped conceding over the past couple of months.
Celtic, on the other hand, look as vulnerable as they have at any point this season. Although hit by a smattering of defensive injuries, they were poor in a 2-2 home draw against St Mirren, which was not exactly the emphatic response expected after a defeat to Rangers. Indeed, Celtic have now conceded at least one goal in eight of their last 10 league matches.
While the outcome of this match is tricky to predict due to the mercurial nature of the champions at this point in the season, Hibs should have the capability of troubling a Hoops defence that looks far weaker without Cameron Carter-Vickers. By the same token, Celtic are still scoring goals regularly, so the logical outcome here is for both teams to net.
Hibs have scored in six of their seven matches against Rangers and Celtic this season, and with the guests looking vulnerable, there is a strong chance of that run continuing.
Ross County v St Johnstone
Ross County can secure their place in the Premiership next season by overcoming a St Johnstone side whose minds may well be on the beach after doing just that themselves at the weekend.
County’s form of late has been decent. Victories over Livingston and Dundee United have carried them to an advantageous position in the relegation battle, and though they were defeated 1-0 by Motherwell at the weekend, they gave a good account of themselves in that fixture.
Historically, the hosts also have a strong record against their Perth opponents, losing only two of the last 14 fixtures between the clubs. Indeed, it was just over a month ago that County scored a 2-0 win over St Johnstone away from home.
As for their guests, meanwhile, it would be understandable if they were to have their minds elsewhere after their survival was secured at the weekend thanks to a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock. It was a victory aided by their opponents going down to 10 men in the first half.
With nothing on the line and a long and unattractive coach trip to Dingwall, it would be little surprise if interim boss Steven MacLean decided to ring the changes in the first team. Certainly, it would be surprising if risks were taken over players who are tired or struggling with knocks.
This, in combination with County’s need for three points and strong head-to-head advantage in this fixture, means that backing the hosts on a draw-no-bet basis looks healthy.
Real Betis vs Getafe
A win in this game would be enough for Real Betis to guarantee their status as a Europa League qualifier for next season, but there is also plenty at stake for Getafe as they fight for their lives at the wrong end of the table.
Getafe currently sit outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone and need to pick up points in these final three games to avoid dropping into the bottom three, but that’s a big ask when they travel to the Estadio Benito Villamarín. Only Almería and Elche have picked up fewer points on the road than Getafe at 0.65 points per game from away fixtures this season, and they also sit third from bottom in the form rankings with four points from their last six games.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are emerging from a tough run of form relatively unscathed, having taken points off many of their rivals for European football in recent weeks, and Getafe will be a very different task. The Azulones have not won away at Betis since 2019, also under current coach José Bordalás, and Pellegrini has beaten the Getafe coach in four of their five meetings.
Bordalás has got the Madrid-based team playing a rougher and more direct style of football, but that is one that Betis’ physical defence should be able to handle with ease. With 14 red cards this season, the home team will certainly not be afraid to go toe to toe with Getafe on their own terms if required.
Espanyol vs Atlético Madrid
Relegation-threatened Espanyol welcome in-form Atlético Madrid to the RCDE Stadium with time running out for them to escape from the bottom three. The Catalan side have won two of their last four to give them hope of salvation and climbing away from relegation, but with three games left, they remain a point from safety.
Luis García has got Espanyol firing with a gung-ho style which has seen them rank third for total xG in their matches over the past four games with an average total of 3.97 xG per 90. Given that Espanyol have scored 1.75 goals per 90 over that same stretch, even against mean defences like that of Barcelona, they will be hopeful of scoring against Atleti.
The good news for Espanyol is that Jan Oblak is out until the end of the season with a neck injury and is expected to undergo surgery, and his deputy Ivo Grbić is a significant step down. Sunday’s win over Osasuna was his first clean sheet after Oblak’s absence led to a run of four consecutive games conceding for only the second time this season.
Atleti are one of the few sides to have recorded more xG in favour than Espanyol in recent matches, with 2.31 xG per 90 over the past six games. While Álvaro Morata may miss out due to injury, Ángel Correa replaced him on Sunday and scored, and Antoine Griezmann continues to be in fine form. Goals at the RCDE Stadium seem inevitable for this fixture.
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