La Liga Predictions and Best Bets (April 30 – May 3, 2021)
The La Liga title race is fast becoming the most exciting in Europe. There are still four clubs that can realistically consider themselves in with a shot of finishing top and it looks as though this battle will continue to go on right down to the wire.
Barcelona missed out on an excellent chance to stamp its authority in the week when it sensationally lost at home to Granada. That was the game in hand that looked to have been the big differential for Ronald Koeman’s side and now all four clubs at the top have just five games of the season remaining.
Match day 34 kicks off on Friday and all 20 sides will be in action over the next four days.
This preview will be looking at each of the ten fixtures as well as picking out three of the best-looking bets.
Celta Vigo to Beat Levante
Neither of these sides has anything really to play for in the remaining weeks of the season, but it is Celta Vigo that is looking like finishing the better of the two.
Eduardo Coudet’s team put on its best performance for quite a while to beat an in-form Osasuna at the weekend. The ever-reliable Iago Aspas opened the scoring to add to his impressive tally for the season. He will be the main man, once again, on Friday.
Levante, on the other hand, continues to look like a team that is desperate for this tiring campaign to end. It gave Elche a lifeline at the bottom on Saturday, as it lost away from home in a third consecutive defeat.
There has been just one win in the last six now for the Valencia club and no odds will be tempting enough to back the away win here.
Alaves to Beat Eibar
The scoreline wasn’t as bad, at least, for Eibar last weekend as it lost a Basque Country derby at home to Real Sociedad. After shipping nine goals in the previous two games, conceding just one against such an attacking side should probably be taken as a positive.
That is about the only positive for Jose Luis Mendilibar’s men though, as this would be a sixth consecutive defeat for the basement dwellers.
This fixture is much more of a beacon of hope for Alaves. After changing managers several times throughout the season, it had looked as though relegation could be on the cards here as well.
But another draw last week, this time away at Valencia, keeps the club out of the bottom three with a potentially huge three points to win on Saturday.
Atletico Madrid to Beat Elche
Elche’s relegation fears decreased slightly on Saturday as it beat Levante at home to lift itself out of the bottom three thanks to its superior head-to-head record with Valladolid.
It only took one goal, but it was the first win for Elche since the beginning of March. There may not be a repeat performance at home to Atletico this Saturday though.
But it is not as though Diego Simeone’s side has not been stuttering in recent weeks. Atletico still tops the table but lost again on Sunday, this time away to Athletic. It looked as though the Basque club had allowed Atletico to share the points after missing several chances in the first half.
But the Madrid club overplayed itself and conceded a second right at the end. I have said it before – but there really is no room for error now, surely?
Real Sociedad to Beat Huesca
Is the great escape dream inspired by the appointment of Pacheta as head coach in January starting to fade away? Huesca did ever so well to haul itself off of the bottom of the league but has now lost three in a row after falling at home to fellow strugglers Getafe at the weekend. Huesca is now three points from safety and I have a feeling that its hopes of staying up have gone.
La Real will certainly do the La Liga minnow no favors on Saturday. Imanol’s side won against a stubborn Eibar last weekend to stay on course for a Europa League place next season.
Although Real Sociedad led the way early in the campaign, it has still been a successful year – including a delayed Copa del Rey triumph – and another three points on Saturday should be easily achievable.
Real Madrid to Beat Osasuna
Zinedine Zidane might be more concerned with figuring how to beat Chelsea in Real Madrid’s Champions League semifinal second leg game next Wednesday. But he will also need to inspire his tired players to show up in La Liga after sharing a forgettable 0-0 draw with Betis last weekend.
There remains a long injury list, but Eden Hazard returned last week, and he could be crucial in the coming weeks.
Osasuna lost for the first time since the beginning of March last week and any remote hopes of somehow qualifying for European soccer have now finally disappeared.
The Pamplona club has played incredibly well to climb the table since the turn of the year but could not beat Celta Vigo on Sunday. Another defeat this Saturday now beckons.
Valladolid and Real Betis to Draw
Valladolid caught up with the rest of La Liga on Wednesday with an excellent draw with Athletic at the San Mames. Two goals down with just 20 minutes to play, Sergio’s side fired back into the game and salvaged a point five minutes from time.
There has still only been one victory since the start of January, but the sheer number of draws continues to give Valladolid a chance of staying up.
Recent form is usually a good indicator of how a fixture will go and these two have been drawing games more than anyone in the league recently. The fixture won’t be remembered for much, but Betis’ draw with Real Madrid at the weekend was its fifth in a row and keeps the club in the hunt for a Europa League place.
Another stalemate is surely on the cards this Sunday.
Villarreal to Beat Getafe
Villarreal was already 2-1 down after a frantic first half against Barcelona at the weekend when Manu Trigeuros was shown a red card. That ended the Yellow Submarine’s hopes of picking up three points and any climb of the table into the Europa League places.
It is that tournament that is on the minds of Unai Emery’s men now though, as they look to keep the goal advantage it enjoys over Arsenal in next Thursday’s second leg.
The hope that Villarreal will be preoccupied with the European tie might give Getafe some hope ahead of this weekend’s fixture. But the Madrid club did itself a huge favor in the battle against the drop on Sunday when it beat Huesca.
Overcoming one of the other strugglers increased the gap between Getafe and the bottom three to four points and means that it can probably afford an off day on Sunday.
Granada to Beat Cadiz
Granada ramped up the excitement surrounding the La Liga title race on Thursday when it beat Barcelona in the Camp Nou. The home side took the lead in the first half, but Granada fought back to record the surprise victory.
With three wins in the last four games, Diego Martinez’s side looks to be making a late run for another shot at Europe. Three more points on Sunday would help with that as well.
Cadiz could only draw with Valladolid at the weekend but still enjoys a seven-point cushion between it and the relegation zone. That should be enough for Alvaro Cervera’s side to feel as though the main job has been done this season and for the head coach to set about planning how to stay up once again next season.
Defeat here should be of little real consequence.
Barcelona to Beat Valencia
Valencia almost allowed Alaves to snatch a late victory on Saturday but benefitted from a red card for the visiting side just minutes from time, mounted one last attack and salvaged a point thanks to a Jose Gaya goal.
Three draws out of the last four has kept Los Che’s head just about above water but defeat at home to Barca on Sunday could make for worrying times.
Barcelona could have been going into this weekend’s fixtures top of the league – at least until the Madrid clubs play on Saturday. But a shock home defeat at the hands of Granada on Thursday has kept the drama going in the race for the title.
The Blaugrana had been doing quite well while Atletico faltered but now remains third and need a win on Sunday as much as anyone at the top.
Sevilla to Beat Athletic Club
Julen Lopetegui must be enjoying himself this season. There has been excitement in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League with Sevilla’s place in the latter next season already assured with five games to go.
A convincing win against Granada last weekend made it seven in the last eight games and keeps Sevilla as an outside chance of winning the league. That is still a long shot, but another victory on Monday would keep things very interesting.
Athletic has had a dramatic season of its own, of course. Two Copa del Rey finals lost in the space of two weeks will have taken their toll. But Marcelino has completely changed things around since being appointed head coach at the start of the year and now he is being linked with several clubs for next season.
An astonishing six draws in seven games has ruined Athletic’s European dreams but even a defeat here will not take away from a successful season.
The Best La Liga Bets for Match Day 34
All four clubs at the top will be desperate to win this weekend and not allow any of the others a chance to pull away at such a crucial stage. But my three betting picks involve clubs a little further down the table.
Alaves to Beat Eibar at 3.00
Eibar looks dead and buried after overachieving in the Spanish top flight for longer than anyone imagined the Basque club would manage. It is seven points from safety now and Alaves has the wind in its sails after a series of positive results.
The odds of 3.00 from Betway for the away win look very good value to me.
Valladolid and Real Betis to Draw at 3.40
Valladolid is another club at the wrong end of the table struggling to pull away from the bottom three. I’m not sure it will be able to do as well as Alaves this weekend but it might take a point from its encounter with Betis.
Villarreal to Beat Getafe at 2.15
My final betting pick this weekend is for Villarreal to follow up its 2-1 win over Arsenal in the Europa League on Thursday with another victory against Getafe on Sunday.
There are sure to be some tired legs but the Madrid club tends to frustrate opponents rather than stretch them and Villarreal definitely has the players to overcome that.