La Liga Predictions and Best Bets – April 2-5, 2021
For some clubs, the international break was a welcome blessing, giving them the chance to take a rest from a grueling league campaign. But there would have been others who would have much rather have carried on their good form.
However, they regarded the time off – all 20 La Liga sides are back in action this week.
Real Sociedad and Athletic clash in the rescheduled Copa del Rey final (and then resume rivalries on Wednesday in the league), but everyone else will take part in matchday 29 – starting with Levante and Huesca on Friday.
I’ll be looking at all nine league fixtures taking place this weekend and picking out three of the best bets to consider.
Levante to Beat Huesca
Levante has done enough in the second half of the season to ensure that the remaining months should be virtually worry-free. There may have been a slight hangover from beating Valencia that contributed to the 2-0 defeat at Betis last time out. But head coach Paco Lopez probably won’t be too bothered about that – and three points here will make things better anyway.
There is no doubt that Pacheta has got his Huesca players performing with more determination since he took over in January, but he is still dealing with a limited squad that just can’t compete with the rest of La Liga. Huesca really needed to beat Osasuna at home in its last game, but it is only four points from safety now, so even a defeat on Friday is not going to be the end of the world.
Granada and Villarreal to Draw
Robert Soldado benefitted from Jorge Molina’s wonderful assistance to score a consolation goal against Valencia two weeks ago. Still, the defeat ended any realistic chance of qualifying for Europe again this year. With all the injuries and COVID-related absences, it is an achievement that Granada has done as well as it has – and another draw here will keep it safely in mid-table.
The early penalty given for a questionable handball set the game up nicely for the Yellow Submarine. The three points were warmly welcomed. Unai Emery’s side now has Real Sociedad and Real Betis in its sights as it battles for a European place.
Real Madrid to Beat Eibar
There are still four points to make up to catch up with Atletico, but Real Madrid is looking ominously good at the moment. The champions looked all-conquering in the first half of the game against Celta Vigo, with Karim Benzema continuing an excellent season with two more goals. The final 3-1 result made it eight games unbeaten, and it will surely be nine before the big one against Barcelona next weekend.
On the other hand, Eibar has shown real relegation form since the start of the year, and even a creditable draw away at the San Mames last time couldn’t help the Basque club climb out of the bottom three. Things are looking bleak for Eibar now, and another defeat this Saturday could even see it fall to the very bottom of the table.
Osasuna to Beat Getafe
A goalless draw away at Huesca will not go down as Osasuna’s best result of the season, but the frustration of the bottom-placed club contrasted the feeling of a job well done away from home for the Pamplona club. Jagoba Arrasate’s side looked to go down before the turn of the year but has pulled out some significant results against many of its relegation rivals to look safe well before the end of the season.
Getafe is in a very similar position and should be starting another season in the top flight later in the year. Another draw last time – against Elche – won the Madrid club no more fans, but then head coach Jose Bordalas has never worried too much about that. Frustrating Atletico the week before was much more his style. A defeat here will be similarly brushed.
Celta Vigo to Beat Alaves
Abelardo’s appointment as head coach at Alaves in January was a turning point for the club.
A saved penalty with four minutes to go against Atletico Madrid summed up how things are going, and another defeat on Sunday will not change the mood at the Basque club.
Celta Vigo had no answer for Real Madrid – and Benzema in particular – during the opening half an hour of their game last time out. Real was utterly dominant, and even a Santi Mina goal just before halftime didn’t make much of a difference to the way the game was played. Alaves should be a much easier proposition for Eduardo Coudet’s men, though.
Real Betis to Beat Elche
Fran Escriba became just the latest La Liga head coach to complain about the tactics of Getafe as he watched his Elche side pick up just a point away from home. But the missed penalty from the host just minutes from time must have made him feel a little better about the game. The problem is that there is very little between the bottom four or five – and that makes every game a must-win now.
Escriba could be even more frustrated this Sunday then, as Real Betis continues to time its run for European qualification to perfection. Nabil Fekir’s mazy run for the opening goal against Levante was the highlight of the game and just about made up for the glaring miss from the French international towards the end. The win was a good way to come back from the disappointment of the derby defeat to Sevilla – and now Manuel Pellegrini’s side will expect three more points here.
Cadiz to Beat Valencia
Cadiz never really got over the controversial early penalty awarded against it in the game against Villarreal. Head coach Alvaro Cervera knows that his side is still too close to the drop zone for comfort. It has been an excellent season back in the Spanish top flight, but there needs to be a few more victories to ensure that the southern club is part of the show next season. Three points at home against Valencia seems vital.
Valencia has been largely awful this season but looks comfortable already after beating Granada last time out.
Even a late goal from the visiting side couldn’t change the outcome, and Javi Gracia’s side looks set to finish comfortably in the mid-table despite itself. There will surely be many changes over the summer at Mestalla – but there needs to be a complete overhaul for the club to reclaim its’ past glories.
Sevilla and Atletico Madrid to Draw
Sevilla had keeper Bono to thank for salvaging a point against Valladolid. After going up front for a late corner, he was able to sweep the ball into the net to score deep into stoppage time and keep his side’s unbeaten run going. Sevilla is now ten points clear in the fourth Champions League spot and should be fine for another season of qualification. A draw here on Sunday could do some damage to Atletico’s title hopes, though.
Diego Simeone had Luis Suarez and Jan Oblak to thank for the victory against struggling Alaves. Suarez – who else? – scored the only goal of the game, but it was the Slovenian keeper who saved the three points when he acrobatically blocked Joselu’s late penalty. After dropping points to Getafe the week before, a draw was the last thing Atletico needed. That’s why a stalemate in Sevilla would be such a disaster.
Barcelona to Beat Valladolid
Barcelona’s game away at Real Sociedad was supposed to be a stern test – one that might have even ended the Blaugrana’s hopes of challenging for the title. But Ronald Koeman’s side looked unplayable as it swept to a stunning 6-1 victory. Since the beginning of December, Barcelona has not lost in the league and seems to be waiting for Atletico to slip up.
Valladolid should not be able to dent Barcelona’s hopes as it struggles at the wrong end of the table and is in real danger of being dragged back down into the bottom three. A draw against Sevilla last time out should be regarded as a very good result, but the late equalizer’s circumstances might leave a psychological blow. Results have been better recently, but head coach Sergio should probably look past this fixture as he plans to avoid the drop.
My Top La Liga Picks for April 2-5, 2021
Here are my three betting picks for this week’s La Liga games on matchday 29. Odds are courtesy of Betway.
- Granada and Villarreal to draw – 3.10
- Cadiz to beat Valencia – 3.10
- Sevilla and Atletico Madrid to draw – 3.10
Villarreal has looked very good this season. It has attempted to keep up with the top teams in La Liga, and Unai Emery has been doing an excellent job of keeping the European qualification dream alive. But Granada has continuously overachieved, and I feel as though these two might cancel each other out in the early game on Saturday.
It seems to be almost every week that I am tempted to bet against Valencia. There are many problems at the club, and I’m just surprised how high up the table it is. There are also some very good players, of course, but a lack of consistency is just one of Valencia’s downfalls. Cadiz could take advantage of that this weekend.
My final pick of the weekend comes in probably the biggest game of matchday 29. Sevilla has proven this season that it belongs in the top four and could severely derail Atletico’s title bid by drawing this one. If that does happen, Barcelona could be just two points behind by the end of the weekend.
What an exciting season it has been in La Liga this year!