La Liga Predictions and Best Bets for April 24-26 (2021)

| April 23, 2021 10:47 am PDT

Attention in the world of soccer has tended to focus away from the pitch this week as the fallout of the failed European Super League launch rumbles on. Still, there has been a full round of fixtures in La Liga that has kept the title and relegation races going at full speed.

Barcelona is now the slight favorite to win the league, although Atletico Madrid still leads the way at the top. Real Madrid and even Sevilla can also include themselves in a very close race. Things are just as interesting at the bottom, where only the unfortunate Eibar looks like being a definite for relegation.

Matchday 33 kicks off on Saturday when Elche entertains Levante – and I will be taking a look at all ten fixtures over the weekend. I will also be picking out three of the best bets to consider in the Spanish top-flight.

Elche and Levante to Draw

Elche took the lead in its crucial game against Valladolid on Wednesday but could not hold on in what turned out to be something of a bad-tempered clash. The draw did neither side a lot of good. Now, Fran Escriba needs to figure out how to get a team that has only won two games since the end of October to pick up three points against Levante.

The Valencia club is ambling on quite contentedly in mid-table after doing the hard work in the middle of the season. The home defeat to Sevilla in the week was expected – but it was the club’s fourth in the last five games. Without any real fear of relegation, there might not be too many more victories to celebrate, but a draw should be achievable on Saturday.

Valladolid to Beat Cadiz

Valladolid has a game in hand over most of its rivals at the bottom of the league. That extra breathing space could become crucial in the coming weeks. Strange things happen at the end of the season, and head coach Sergio will be hoping that his players can pull out a few surprises of their own. The draw with Elche in the week was just about acceptable as it affected a direct rival – but a win on Saturday would be much better.

Cadiz failed to halt the Real Madrid steamroller on Wednesday but can look back on the majority of results in the last month as the ones that will keep the club up for another season of top-flight soccer. There was fear at the beginning of March that Cadiz would be drawn into a relegation battle, but now even a defeat at the weekend would be too much to worry about.

Alaves to Beat Valencia

Valencia gave Osasuna every chance to win their game in the week, and the Pamplona club duly obliged, ending up with a 3-1 win. Javi Gracia’s side had pulled back level after half an hour but then immediately gifted Osasuna a goal. Valencia also handed its opponent two second-half penalties – one saved and one scored – and could not feel aggrieved that it came away with no points. The season cannot end quickly enough for Los Che.

Alaves would probably like the season to end now as well, thanks to its excellent form in the last few games.

After Abelardo failed to turn things around, it looked like the club was heading for the drop. But Javier Calleja has come in and kicked off a three-game unbeaten run.

The win against Villarreal in the week kept the side out of the bottom three. Now, a win against Valencia on Saturday is not inconceivable either.

Real Madrid to Beat Real Betis

Real president Florentino Perez has been in the headlines this week, failing spectacularly to explain why the formation of a European Super League was a good idea. The players have been largely kept out of the controversy as much as possible, gaining another title with a 3-0 win away at Cadiz on Wednesday. Karim Benzema scored another two to add to his tally and will fancy his chances against Betis on Saturday as well.

Betis have recently made a habit of drawing games and managed another one in the week when it could not break the deadlock between itself and Athletic Club. That recent run of form has slowed down the club’s European qualification hopes, although it still finds itself in the top six. Villarreal is on the same amount of points, though, so an expected defeat in Madrid will be a worry with just five games remaining.

Huesca to Beat Getafe

Both these clubs faced top opposition in the week and will gladly have lost if they could take all three points from this fixture on Sunday. Pacheta has done wonders with Huesca since taking over in January, but the defeat to Alaves last weekend showed that the fight against the drop is not over. A win against Getafe would definitely get it right back on track.

Barcelona soundly beat Getafe on Thursday, but the Madrid club did make the Catalans work for the result. Two goals in the last five minutes made the 5-2 scoreline look a little better for the host, but Getafe will continue to frustrate opponents in the hope of grinding out results as usual. The prospect of relegation has not completely disappeared, so another loss on Sunday could cause real problems.

Barcelona to Beat Villarreal

It may be because of the extra Europa League games, but Villarreal has started to wilt at the most important part of the season. The 2-1 defeat to lowly Alaves on Wednesday made it two in the last three games when it could have overtaken Betis to climb back into the European places. Unai Emery’s side has a semifinal first leg against Arsenal on Thursday as well, so he may feel that this game is not the priority right now.

Barcelona will be going all out to win, of course.

The 5-2 win over Getafe in the week forced many bookmakers to make the Catalan club the favorite to win the league. That is understandable when you consider that Barca has a game in hand and looks simply unstoppable at the moment.

For all the chaos surrounding the club this season – and to do with the Super League – Lionel Messi and his teammates have really stepped up recently. The defeat to Real will rankle, but a victory here keeps the title charge on track.

Celta Vigo and Osasuna to Draw

Celta Vigo went three games without a win on Thursday when it lost 2-1 away at Real Sociedad. The Galician club took the lead but conceded just minutes later to ruin all its good work in the opening 20 minutes. Two second-half penalties – one saved, one scored – ultimately gave the home side the win. Eduardo Coudet can consider this season a success after the way it started for Celta, but it looks likely to peter out now.

Osasuna has made even greater strides as a club this season if anything. The owners trusted Jagoba Arrasate when his side was at the bottom of the table at the turn of the year. He has since repaid that trust by overseeing a remarkable turnaround that now sees the Pamplona club in the top half of the table and on a six-game unbeaten streak. The last three of those have been victories, but this one on Sunday could turn out to be a well-fought draw.

Sevilla to Beat Granada

Sevilla continues to fly under the radar and even moved to just three points off the top on Wednesday when it beat Levante away from home. Atletico’s victory the day after meant that the gap was extended to six again, but Julen Lopetegui’s side can still consider itself part of the title race. But with both Real and Barca playing before Sevilla on Sunday, it will probably need to pick up another three points in the later game to keep that going.

Granada dealt Eibar a crushing blow in the week with a very comprehensive 4-1 win that might just have condemned the Basque club to the second tier. Roberto Soldado scored another two to continue his excellent season and that of his club, which has suffered injuries and COVID this year. The Europa League campaign may be over – and there is no real chance of repeating the qualification this time around – but Granada’s players can hold their heads high.

Atletico Madrid to Beat Athletic Club

It has been a tough time for Athletic, who lost two Copa del Rey finals in the space of two weeks and had to ensure that its league form didn’t drop.

So even though Marcelino’s side hasn’t won since the beginning of March, their fifth consecutive draw against Real Betis on Wednesday should be celebrated.

A top-half finish should be attainable, but the Basque club may find Atletico too much to handle on Sunday.

When Luis Suarez went down injured during the defeat to Sevilla, it seemed as though Atletico could struggle to hold on to its lead at the top of La Liga. But a draw with Betis was followed by the thrashing of Eibar – and now another victory over Huesca on Thursday. That last win was a stroll in the park for Diego Simeone’s side, and, with Angel Correra scoring again, he may not even miss Suarez if the Uruguayan is forced to watch this one from the sidelines.

Real Sociedad to Beat Eibar

Things are not looking good for Eibar. The Basque club lost again on Thursday to make it four defeats in a row and nine goals conceded in the space of five days. That left Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side rooted to the bottom of the league and now a full five points from safety. Eibar has not won a game since the start of January, so it seems unlikely that it will be able to turn around its form to save its place in La Liga for next season.

Real Sociedad needed two penalties in the second half of its game against Celta Vigo on Thursday to ensure that its European dreams continue. One of those was missed, but La Real deserved the three points after looking the better side for most of the game after Celta had taken an early lead. With an eight-point cushion, Europa League qualification seems to be assured once again. But a straightforward win on Monday will be welcomed.

My Top La Liga Betting Picks for April 24-26, 2021

Elche and Levante to Draw3.20
Alaves to Beat Valencia3.50
Celta Vigo and Osasuna to Draw3.30

Although the big four in La Liga all have fairly straightforward games this weekend, I think there is some value found in some fixtures on matchday 33. Elche desperately needs some points to avoid the drop – and although I’m not sure it will escape relegation, a draw against a Levante side waiting for the season to end is possible.

Alaves could take advantage of a Valencia eleven in much the same mood. Los Che have struggled throughout this season without ever really looking like going down and will go against Alaves on Saturday, who has picked up some form and points of late. The away win could be on the cards here.

My final pick of the weekend is for one of the real stars of 2021 to pick up another point on the road as Osasuna travels to Celta Vigo. The Pamplona club has been terrific since the turn of the year and looks a good match for Eduardo Coudet’s side.

Dan Roberts
Dan Roberts

Dan Roberts is an experienced freelance writer specialising in sports and sports betting. He is particularly knowledgeable about world soccer, but also writes about football, basketball and cricket.

As a fan of Nottingham Forest, New York Knicks, Minnesota Vikings and New York Mets, Dan has not had much to celebrate recently.

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