La Liga Predictions and Best Bets – April 9-12, 2021
Atletico Madrid might be one point clear at the top of La Liga, but all eyes will be on El Clasico on Saturday, as Real Madrid takes on Barcelona at Valdebebas. Both Spanish giants could actually go top of the league with a victory, with Diego Simeone’s side not playing until Sunday.
A draw would probably be the best result for Atletico, but it just goes to show how tight the race for the title is at the moment. The situation is as close down at the foot of the table, where several clubs are desperately trying to escape the drop.
Per usual, I’ll be taking a look at all ten fixtures in La Liga this weekend – with Huesca and Elche kicking off proceedings on Friday. I will also be picking out three of the best bets to consider for matchday 30 in the Spanish top-flight.
Huesca to Beat Elche
After three months of trying, Huesca has finally climbed off the bottom of the table after beating Levante last weekend. Rafa Mir scored both goals away from home to record his side’s fourth win of the season. It is nothing more than the club deserves, though – and it now stands a very good chance of pulling off a great escape. A win here would see it leapfrog Elche as well.
Fran Escriba has definitely improved Elche, but this is now a must-win game for the club from Alicante. A draw at home with Betis would be regarded as a very good result in normal circumstances, but two points out of a possible 12 is relegation form, and Elche now faces one of the more dynamic teams near the foot of the table. This could be a very difficult start to the weekend for Elche.
Getafe to Beat Cadiz
Getafe picked up another very good draw last weekend when it grounded out a goalless stalemate away to Osasuna. The Madrid club is never likely to win over many fans thanks to its pragmatic style and tactics, but Jose Bordalas will not be too bothered about that if he ends up keeping the club up for a fifth successive top-flight campaign.
It beat Valencia last weekend, but the game will be remembered for the racist abuse allegedly directed at Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby. The complaint is now being investigated but is a terrible way for Cadiz’s season to be remembered.
Athletic Club to Beat Alaves
It has not been the best of weeks for Athletic. It was beaten by Real Sociedad last weekend in the rescheduled 2020 all-Basque Country Copa del Rey final. Then it was held to a draw by the same opponents in the league after taking the lead with just five minutes to go. On top of that, Marcelino’s refusal to rest players has resulted in a number of the squad pulling up with injuries. Luckily, Athletic plays bottom of the league Alaves on Saturday, so it should still take all three points.
Alaves’ season has gone from bad to worse, falling to the bottom of the league after the home defeat to Celta Vigo on Sunday. That prompted the sacking of Abelardo as head coach the day after – a position he only took up in January. He oversaw just one win in 11 games in a fixture run where Alaves rarely looked like escaping the drop. Another defeat on Sunday will not help new manager Javier Calleja’s cause.
Eibar and Levante to Draw
Eibar has not won a La Liga game since the first fixture of 2021 and now faces the very real danger of dropping out of the top division. Losing to Real Madrid last weekend is nothing to be embarrassed about, of course, but head coach Jose Luis Mendilibar needs to find some more points from somewhere very quickly. He seems to have the owner’s support to do that – but the results are needed now.
Levante played its own part in making the relegation battle more interesting last week when it lost at home to Huesca. It was the second 2-0 reverse in a row for Paco Lopez’s side, and its fairly comfortable mid-table position is probably affecting the players’ enthusiasm. The excellent recent results against Atletico and Valencia were enough to introduce a feeling of complacency, and another draw could be the outcome this weekend.
Real Madrid and Barcelona to Draw
This is by far the biggest game of the weekend – and one that holds even more importance this season as both clubs aim to claw back the advantage held by Atletico at the top of the table. Real comes into this one off the back of a confidence-boosting win over Liverpool in the Champions League in the week, but the extra game might affect the players’ fitness as this weekend’s game goes on.
Barcelona has the Copa del Rey final against Athletic to look forward to next weekend but had to wait until the 90th minute to beat Valladolid on Monday. Ousmane Dembele kept the impressive winning streak going, but his side was a little fortunate to be playing against ten men for the final minutes of the game after Oscar Plano was controversially sent off. Now Barca must raise itself again on Sunday for the El Clasico if it keeps up the pressure at the top of the table.
Villarreal to Beat Osasuna
Villarreal’s main focus will probably be on the Europa League quarter-final against Dinamo Zagreb this week, but there is still a lot to play for in the league this season for the Yellow Submarine. It may be a tired set of players that Unai Emery puts out on Sunday, but it should still be able to gain another valuable three points at home to Osasuna.
The Pamplona side has drawn its last three games without a single goal scored.
Osasuna dragged itself away from the bottom of the table with a series of impressive results and may now feel as though the job is done with respect to staying up this season.
Real Sociedad to Beat Valencia
It will be interesting to see whether Mouctar Diakhaby takes any part in this game on Sunday after the racist abuse he allegedly received during the game against Cadiz last weekend. After initially taking his players off the field, Javi Gracia was seemingly forced to complete the fixture and now needs to raise his players for the rest of the season.
La Real will come into this game as Copa del Rey champions – from last year. Imanol’s side beat Athletic in an all-Basque final last weekend to lift its first trophy in over 20 years. That victory was followed up with a last-minute goal that earned a draw against the same opponents in the league on Wednesday. That result kept the club firmly in the hunt for a European place – and another win on Sunday will certainly help with that as well.
Valladolid to Beat Granada
It took a late red card and an even later Barcelona goal for Valladolid to lose on Monday, but recent performances from Sergio’s side have seen the club climb out of the bottom three and give itself a fighting chance of staying up this year.
The loss to Barca was the first in five games. Even though most of those have been drawn, the results are beginning to go in the right direction.
Valladolid may enjoy a little more luck this weekend as it faces Granada just days after Diego Martinez’s side plays Manchester United in their Europa League quarterfinal first leg fixture. Qualifying from the league again this season will not happen, so the European competition is definitely the main priority now. That should allow Valladolid to pick up three crucial points.
Real Betis and Atletico Madrid to Draw
After a very good run of results, ruined only by defeat in the Seville derby, Betis was surprisingly only able to draw with Elche last weekend away from home. A Borja Iglesia penalty gave Manuel Pellegrini’s team the lead early on, but it could not stamp its authority on the game and had to settle for a point as it attempts to qualify for Europe this year. This game will be much tougher as well.
It has come at the worst possible time for Atletico as it attempts to cling to the top of La Liga’s narrow lead. Real Madrid and Barca play each other this weekend but will be picking up maximum points over the next few games. Atletico needs to do the same but might find things difficult without Suarez.
Sevilla to Beat Celta Vigo
Celta Vigo raced into a three-goal lead within a quarter of an hour away at Alaves last weekend – and could even afford to lose Jeison Murillo on the hour mark to a second yellow card before going on to beat the Basque side. Nolito, Iago Aspas, and Santi Mina were all on the Galician club’s scoresheet as it tries in vain to catch up with the teams in the European places. Defeat this weekend might just kill off that dream for good.
Sevilla has Champions League hopes again, of course. It was disappointingly knocked out of that competition by Borussia Dortmund this season but is well placed on returning next year as it has a 12-point lead over Real Sociedad in fifth. Last week’s victory over Atletico showed that Julen Lopetegui’s side is not that high up in the league by fluke – and it could even afford for Lucas Ocampos to miss a first-half penalty before going on to claim the points.
My Top La Liga Picks for April 9-12, 2021
Here are my three betting picks for this week’s La Liga games on matchday 30. Odds are courtesy of Betway.
I’ve gone for three draws as my La Liga picks this weekend, and the first of those is more down to Levante easing off than anything else. There will be a few sides that have little to play for over the next few weeks, and the Valencia club is one of them. That lack of urgency could be something to look out for as the season winds down to a close.
My second pick is for a much grander fixture to end up all square. This is one of the more important El Clasico’s in recent history, as it could have a huge effect on who takes over at the top from Atletico (if that happens at all). I would have gone for Real to beat its old rival, but I feel that the Champions League fixture in the week might have taken its toll a little. A draw would set up the rest of the season very nicely, though.
My final pick this weekend is for Atletico to allow Real Madrid and Barcelona’s draw to become even more important, as I think that Diego Simeone’s side will also fail to pick up three points on Sunday. The absence of Luis Suarez is huge – and could have an even bigger effect over the next three weeks. It is not an overstatement to say that his injury could cost his club the title.