La Liga Predictions and Best Bets – February 12-15, 2021

| February 10, 2021 8:18 am PDT

Maybe there will be a title race after all. Atletico might have two games in hand, but it was Real Madrid who won two games in the space of seven days – and now sits just five points behind its crosstown rivals. It may not be much, but Atleti’s draw on Monday has narrowed the gap at the top.

Barcelona is also looking good – on the pitch at least – and make up a very familiar top three in La Liga, with Sevilla continuing to impress and coming up just behind.

Matchday 23 takes place this weekend over four days, starting on Friday with Celta Vigo at home to Elche. I’ll be looking at all ten fixtures and offering up three of the best looking bets to consider as well.

Celta Vigo to Beat Elche

Celta Vigo drew its third game in a row last weekend – but it was the most impressive result of the three, as it came against league leaders Atleti in the Wanda Metropolitano. Eduardo Coudet’s side actually took the lead but needed a late equalizer from new signing Facunda Ferrayra to salvage a point. Elche at home on Friday should not be as tough a game.

That’s because Elche has not won a La Liga fixture since the third week of October and has plummeted down the league table because of that poor run. There was some hope to be taken from last weekend’s draw with high-flying Villarreal, though. After being completely outclassed in the first half, Elche looked much better in the second period and was able to score two goals to tie the game. Giving Celta a head start on Friday will be a mistake, however.

Atletico Madrid to Beat Granada

Granada’s results have faltered in the last few weeks, and it needed an injury-time header from Roberto Soldado to earn a point at Levante last weekend. Diego Martinez’s side was forced to come from behind twice and now has only won one game in the league since the start of the year. Welcoming the runaway La Liga leaders on Saturday will be a daunting experience.

Atletico was stunned by an early goal for Celta in the game on Monday and could only end up drawing with the visitors thanks to a brace from Luis Suarez. An extra game in midweek away at Levante gives Diego Simeone a chance to oversee a lengthening points gap at the top. But he will be aware that Granada will be a tough game first – and now is not the time to give Real Madrid or Barcelona any hope of catching up.

Sevilla to Beat Huesca

Sevilla went up to third in the table momentarily on Saturday with a convincing 3-0 win over Getafe at home. Papu Gomez scored his first for the club – and player of the month Youssef En-Nesyri found the net too – as Julen Lopetegui recorded another impressive result. That was marred slightly by both managers being sent off after a rash challenge on Lucas Ocampos led to Getafe defender Djene seeing a red card.

The Sevilla playmaker was carried off and may now miss Saturday’s game.

Huesca will still be worried about the wealth of talent in the Sevilla squad, though. The bottom of the table side could not follow up a rare win over Valladolid last week with another at Real Madrid. But it did take a shock lead just after half time and looked dangerous throughout, with Rafa Mir having a series of further chances. The game ended in a 2-1 defeat, but Huesca showed that it might have what it takes to compete for the rest of the season.

Eibar to Beat Valladolid

It is a real six-pointer in the Basque Country on Saturday as Eibar takes on Valladolid with both sides on 20 points and staring a relegation fight fully in the face. Eibar lost a crunch game against Osasuna last weekend by two goals to one – but it could have been much worse if not for the goalkeeping heroics of Marko Dmitrovic. If he can enjoy another good game this week – and Bryan Gil is given some chances upfront – there could be a rare win for the home side.

Valladolid will be just as desperate for the points but is looking particularly poor at the moment, losing to Alaves last weekend and struggling Huesca the week before that. Sergio Gonzalez’s side only managed one weak effort on target in that Alaves game and really failed to impress throughout. These two clubs are both enduring a torrid time at the moment, but Valladolid looks in real danger.

Barcelona to Beat Alaves

Lionel Messi and Frenkie De Jong were both surprisingly left on the bench for the game with Betis last weekend, but the Argentinian maestro still opened the scoring in what ended up being a five-goal thriller. Barca scored in the 87th minute to eventually win 3-2 and continue an unbeaten run that has now gone on for 11 games. But there will be worries about defender Ronald Aruajo who left the field limping early on.

The Uruguayan has been a real force at the back this season and will be sorely missed.

Alaves’ win over a woeful Valladolid will give Abelardo’s side some hope for this trip to the Camp Nou. It was the new manager’s first victory, after the draw with Getafe the week before, and it does look as though his appointment might be just what Alaves needed. There doesn’t seem to be much likelihood of an away win on Saturday, but it could end up being a successful fight against relegation for the Basque club.

Real Sociedad to Beat Getafe

Getafe was unable to overcome a severely depleted Real in a Madrid derby on Tuesday and has now failed to score in its last three games. Finding the net has never really been Getafe’s strong point, though, so manager Jose Bordalas will probably be working on figuring how to stop the goals up the other end. There have been a few tricky fixtures of late, so there is no need to worry just yet –, but Real Sociedad could add to the misery this Sunday.

La Real won its first La Liga game of 2021 last Sunday and will now be looking to get involved in the race for a top-four finish again after a very good start to the season. Mikel Oyarzabal and Alexander Isak scored two each in the 4-1 win over Cadiz and will expect a similarly successful day against Getafe. Real Sociedad has now fallen a little behind Sevilla and Barcelona and need a good run of results to reinvigorate those Champions League dreams.

Real Madrid to Beat Valencia

Zinedine Zidane was without nine first-team regulars for the game against Getafe on Tuesday but was still able to celebrate a 2-0 win and show his critics that he has what it takes to lead Los Blancos to another league title. There is a bit of a gap between Real and Atletico, though, so there is absolutely no room for error now. The threat of Valencia should hold no real worries, though.

Los Che did manage a good draw away at Athletic last weekend, but most of the attention was on the home side’s manager and comparisons with the Valencia club he was forced out of a year ago. The club can’t seem to afford to sack another manager, so Javi Gracia remains in the hot seat, hoping that players like Carlos Soler can continue to do their best. That will still probably not be enough on Sunday, though.

Levante and Osasuna to Draw

Levante is enjoying a much better season than its near neighbors at the Mestalla and has even crept into the top half of the table in recent weeks. Manager Paco Lopez will be frustrated that his side allowed a stoppage-time equalizer last weekend against Granada, but the unbeaten run continued, and there has still only been one league defeat this calendar year.

But Osasuna has also vastly improved in the last month or so – and picked up another vital three points at home to Eibar on Sunday. A flurry of draws on either side of New Year heralded a good run of form, and now the Pamplona club is outside the bottom three and performing better than the majority of the clubs surrounding it. A draw away at Levante would be another good result.

Villarreal and Real Betis to Draw

Villarreal was utterly dominant in its first half against Elche last weekend and benefitted from the return of Gerard Moreno, who scored two before the halftime whistle. But Unai Emery’s side was unable to keep out the visitors in the second period and ended up with a fourth consecutive draw. There is a lot of pressure on this club to keep up with the top four, but another solitary point this weekend might have to be enough for the Yellow Submarine.

Betis might be feeling frustrated with losing 3-2 to a Barcelona side that started without Lionel Messi. But the defeat should not be regarded as the end of the world, as Manuel Pellegrini’s side continues to impress this season and now sits just outside the European places. A few more victories and consistency would be welcomed, but another draw here should also be thought of as a good result.

Cadiz and Athletic Club to Draw

Cadiz just could not cope with a Real Sociedad back to its best last weekend and was blown away by the Basque side in a crushing 4-1 defeat. But this season still continues to be a success for the club, and with veteran striker Negredo upfront, there is always a chance of some goals. He will be the main threat once again on Monday and could be the reason for another point won by the club.

Marcelino will have had mixed feelings about Athletic’s draw with Valencia last weekend, as he may have been thinking how he could still have been at the Mestalla if it was not for the club’s owners. But he is now overseeing an Athletic side that is looking good without ever achieving the consistency that the team needs to climb the table. Another draw can be celebrated on Monday, but it is three points that the Basque club could really do with.

My Top La Liga Picks for February 12-15, 2021

Here are my three betting picks for this week’s La Liga games on matchday 23. Odds are courtesy of Betway.

  • Levante and Osasuna to draw – 3.10
  • Villarreal and Real Betis to draw – 3.40
  • Cadiz and Athletic Club to draw – 3.00

I’ve gone for three draws this weekend as there are a number of fixtures that look just too close to call either way. The first is the game between Levante and Osasuna on Sunday. The home side has really impressed this season, but it comes up against a team that has played very well in recent weeks. A draw seems the most likely outcome.

Real Betis has also upped its game in recent weeks but will still need to be on top form to come away from El Madrigal with anything. Gerard Moreno, in particular, has looked very good for the Yellow Submarine this season – but the visitors have a few aces up its sleeves as well, so a draw could be the final result.

My final pick for this weekend is a draw in Monday’s fixture between Cadiz and Athletic. Marcelino is doing a great job at San Mames but still oversees a squad that struggles for consistency. Cadiz has overachieved this season, if anything, and could earn a point at home to round off matchday 23.

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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