Elche v Rayo Vallecano
Friday 18th February – 8:00PM KO
The first game of the La Liga weekend isn’t a particularly glamorous one, but it is an intriguing one. Rayo Vallecano are slightly favoured by the bookies, yet that doesn’t at all fit with the form guide or with the general feeling around each of these clubs.
Looking at the numbers, Elche have collected the joint-third-most points (11) of the entire division across their past six LaLiga Santander matches, whereas Rayo Vallecano have the fourth-fewest points (4) across that same time period. Rayo Vallecano’s league-leading home form has now fallen off and their away form wasn’t particularly good anyway, with just one road win all LaLiga Santander season and with that coming back in September.
Then, there’s a sense that these are two teams trending in opposite directions. At Elche, they have improved a lot since Francisco took over as coach in December and their only defeats in the 13 matches played in that time have been against Valencia, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla, four of the strongest sides out there. At Rayo Vallecano, their focus has been on the Copa del Rey for some time now and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the players are also distracted by the various off-the-pitch controversies currently taking place at the club, with captain Óscar Trejo even releasing a statement last week to criticise ownership.
With Elche at home, in better form and enjoying more off-the-pitch tranquillity, they should be the favourites for this match. The bookies disagree and give Rayo Vallecano the slight edge, but that just means there’s more value to be had for those backing Elche.
Prediction: Elche Draw No Bet, 1.85 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Granada v Villarreal
Saturday 19th February – 1:00PM KO
Ahead of their Champions League last 16 first leg against Juventus next Tuesday, Villarreal have a trip to take on Granada on Saturday lunchtime. As much as Unai Emery is insisting that his focus is fully on this league fixture, Villarreal have one of their biggest games in years coming up just after this and rotations should be expected from the Yellow Submarine.
Perhaps Villarreal will still go to the Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes and warm up for Juventus with a victory, but there isn’t too much value there in the win markets. Even though Granada have lost their past four league games, they are no pushovers and actually played quite well in some of those defeats. Plus, it should be kept in mind that three of their four defeats in a row were away from home.
If staying away from the win markets, there could be some value in betting on under 2.5 goals for this one. Granada haven’t scored in any of their past three games, while Villarreal come into this one with three clean sheets in a row. Plus, Villarreal will be without star forward Gerard Moreno for this game, so they might struggle up the other end too.
It was 0-0 when these two sides met earlier in the season at Villarreal’s home ground. It could be similarly low-scoring this weekend.
Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 1.8 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Osasuna v Atlético Madrid
Saturday 19th February – 3:15PM KO
It went from bad to worse for Atlético Madrid in midweek, as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to bottom-placed Levante. That followed the pattern of their 2022 league form, with Diego Simeone’s charges winning one then dropping points then winning one then dropping points, and so on.
This weekend, they are on the road at Osasuna, where they’ll aim to end a run of five away matches without a victory in the league. That away form is a concern, but it should be kept in mind that Osasuna have the third-worst home record in the division this year. They recently made significant upgrades at their El Sadar stadium, but the atmosphere just isn’t quite right and the players don’t feel fully comfortable in these new surroundings yet.
Antoine Griezmann should be back for Atlético Madrid, which is a boost in more ways than one. They need a spark on the pitch and off the pitch and the Frenchman should be able to provide it.
Many might want to stay away from betting on this topsy-turvy Atleti side these days and that’s understandable, but this is a good opportunity for them to get back to winning ways and to move back into the Champions League qualification spots. Their midweek loss has seen the odds for them to collect a road win drift, which means there is even greater value if Atleti can do what they’ve done on their past two visits to Osasuna, when they won 5-0 and 3-1.
Prediction: Atletico to Win, 2.05 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Cádiz v Getafe
Saturday 19th February – 5:30PM KO
Cádiz are still looking for their first home victory of the season and they’ll try once again to achieve it when Getafe come to town on Saturday. The Andalusian club changed the name of their home ground to the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla in the summer, yet the Nuevo Mirandilla still hasn’t had a home triumph.
Although Cádiz have improved a little under new coach Sergio González, earning draws against Espanyol and Celta Vigo in his two home games so far, they still didn’t perform well in those games and this is still a struggling team. They are second-bottom of the table for a reason.
Getafe, meanwhile, are climbing up the standings. This is because of their great run of home form, but their performances on the road have been improving too, as they’ve drawn five and lost three of their eight away games since Quique Sánchez Flores was appointed, with those three losses all by just one goal and coming against strong opposition in Villarreal, Sevilla and Atlético Madrid.
At the simplest level, this is a match between a team yet to win at home this season and a team yet to win away. But, Getafe’s away performances have been better than Cádiz’s home displays. The visitors should be considered the favourites, although adding a draw no bet safety net might be the way to go about it, just in case this match finishes with Cádiz still winless at home and Getafe still winless away.
Prediction: Getafe Draw No Bet, 1.65 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Real Madrid v Deportivo Alavés
Saturday 19th February – 8:00PM KO
After a horrible performance away at Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, Real Madrid will look to bounce back on Saturday night and they have the perfect fixture for it, at home to third-bottom Alavés.
When it comes to previewing this game, we should forget everything we saw at the Parc des Princes. In fact, we might as well consider this a different sport. Los Blancos went to Paris with a conservative sit-back approach, hoping to simply keep the tie alive for the second leg, but they will be taking the initiative here and going out for the three points they need to maintain their lead over Sevilla at the top of the LaLiga Santander table.
Karim Benzema will have had four more days to get closer to 100 percent and Real Madrid don’t actually have any absentees for this Saturday’s game. Alavés, on the other hand, are without the suspended Víctor Laguardia, their best centre-back. For a team that has conceded 1.625 goals per game this league season, which is the second-most in the division, that’s certainly not a good sign.
Even though Alavés have improved slightly under new coach José Luis Mendilibar, ending a three-month winless run last weekend, Real Madrid are heavy favourites here and could go out there and put on a show to try to forget about the events of Tuesday night.
Prediction: Real Madrid -1, 1.67 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
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