La Liga Predictions and Best Bets –March 19-21, 2021

| March 19, 2021 5:15 am PDT

Are the wheels coming off at the Wanda Metropolitano?

Another draw last weekend in the league – and defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League – has made it a very difficult few days for Diego Simeone and his Atletico Madrid side. To make matters worse, everything is going right for Real.

Barcelona is still second in the La Liga table though, now just four points behind the leaders with 11 games still to play. It had looked Atleti’s title to lose – but could Simeone’s team now be doing just that?

That all makes for another fascinating weekend of soccer in Spain’s top-flight again and I’ll be looking at all ten fixtures, starting with Levante’s trip to Seville on Friday to take on Real Betis. I’ll also be picking out three of the best bets to consider in La Liga for matchday 28.

Real Betis to Beat Levante

Betis could not continue its four-game winning streak to beat its bitter local rival last weekend. But without the fans, the Seville derby definitely was lacking in excitement anyway. A solitary goal won it for the host but Manuel Pellegrini will not be too disappointed with how the season has gone recently.

The Champions League place is probably off the cards after that defeat but qualification for the Europa League would be very much on if Betis can beat Levante on Friday.

Levante will be high on confidence though, after proving itself as the best team in Valencia, by beating Valencia last weekend. There has been a real change in the hierarchy of the city this season and Levante fully deserved to win the local derby and continue its own hopes of taking one of the European places this year. It was just the one goal that beat Valencia but it would take a very good effort to repeat the result this weekend.

Athletic Club to Beat Eibar

There were not many that would have predicted a goalless draw between Athletic and Celta Vigo last weekend. But the stalemate keeps both clubs comfortably in mid-table and positive for the rest of the season.

Athletic has now only lost one of the last seven La Liga games – to league leaders Atletico away from home – and Marcelino can probably consider his job done after he was appointed head coach in January. Three points will be expected on Saturday though.

That’s because Eibar has now gone ten games without a win and is in real danger of being relegated to the Segunda Division at the end of the season. Jose Luis Mendilibar has been assured that he will remain at the club – and can probably believe the owners in that respect – but he needs to galvanize the squad into action after too many weeks of sub-par performances.

No team has scored fewer than Eibar this season and even an impressive defensive record will not save the club if that continues.

Real Madrid to Beat Celta Vigo

Celta Vigo played out an unusual goalless draw with Athletic on Sunday, just a week after its seven-goal thriller with Huesca. The point kept Celta firmly in mid-table and unlikely to move very far in either direction before the end of the season. That will suit head coach Eduardo Coudet – and he would probably see that outcome as a job well done after being brought in earlier in the season when the club was in deep trouble at the wrong end of the table.

Late goals are really starting to become a feature of Real Madrid’s belated race for the La Liga title.

After going behind at home to Elche last weekend, Karim Benzema, once again, saved the day with two goals in the last 20 minutes – including a brilliant winner in stoppage time. The performances have not always been particularly good from the champions but Real has now closed the gap to the top to six points and wins the crucial head-to-head with Atletico.

Another three points away at Celta Vigo on Saturday will keep that pressure up, even if Real does need a late goal again.

Huesca and Osasuna to Draw

This game on Saturday brings together two clubs that have struggled against the threat of relegation all season, while actually playing an entertaining brand of soccer. Huesca has enjoyed less success though and comes into the weekend bottom of the league, a position it has held since before Christmas.

Huesca head coach Pacheta has seen an improvement in results since being appointed in January though. A draw here would definitely help with the dream of staying up.

Osasuna was in much the same position as Huesca just a few months ago but believed in head coach Jagoba Arrasate enough to allow him to work out a route away from the relegation places. It has largely worked and even the last two winless games have not seen the Pamplona club fall down the table again. The first of those was a predictable defeat to Barcelona, but last weekend’s goalless draw with Valladolid would have been more of a disappointment.

Another draw on Saturday could raise anxiety at the club again.

Sevilla to Beat Valladolid

Valladolid’s good run of form continued last weekend with a goalless draw away at Osasuna.

That result may not sound like the greatest outcome, but it was the third game without defeat for Sergio Gonzales’s side – a streak that has seen the club climb out of the bottom three. But it is getting very congested at the foot of the table now and any dropped points could come back to haunt any one of five or six clubs. Defeat at home to Sevilla on Saturday will not help.

Sevilla had experienced a slight downturn in fortunes itself, including crashing out of the Champions League and the Copa del Rey within the space of a week at the start of March. But things have gotten better again with victory in the big local derby against Betis and another three points from the game against Elche in the week. Sevilla’s defensive record is one of the best in the league and it now has a nine-point cushion for its Champions League spot.

A straightforward win against Valladolid would seem to be on the cards.

Getafe and Elche to Draw

With just one win in eight, the prospect of a Madrid derby against the league leaders was not what Getafe head coach Jose Bordalas would have wanted. Especially with his team sitting just above the bottom three and the owners of the worst goals record in La Liga. But a 0-0 draw with Atletico was a great result for Getafe after it had Allan Nyom sent off with 20 minutes still to play. It was able to hang on for the point and now may feel as though it has the ability to stay up after all this year.

Elche will be hoping that it will also be able to finish 17th at the very worst.

But two defeats in the space of five days has undone a lot of the good work of beating Sevilla the week before. Elche actually took a shock one-goal lead against Real Madrid on Saturday but eventually fell to a late show from Benzema. Then Sevilla exacted revenge for that earlier defeat by winning 2-0 on Wednesday. A draw against Getafe on Sunday will not help a great deal with the fight against relegation.

Granada to Beat Valencia

The season just keeps on getting worse for Valencia. Defeat in the local derby against a club that most fans would not even deem worthy of that honor is another negative in a season that has seen more than its fair share. Los Che has done just about enough to somehow still be away from the real danger at the bottom of the table, but performances have been very poor and the tactics from Javi Gracia have been strange to say the least. Another defeat looms on Sunday.

Granada head coach Diego Martinez has done wonders with an injury and illness-ravaged squad – and a never ending fixture list – and still can honestly say that his team could qualify for Europe one again. At the time of writing Granada has a very good chance of progressing to the quarter final stage of this year’s Europa League, so the barrage of games won’t stop any time soon. But another three points on Sunday should ease the pain of that a little.

Villarreal to Beat Cadiz

Villarreal is another of the Spanish clubs looking like its European dream will live on at the time of writing. But it took another excellent performance from Gerard Moreno to win all three points away at Eibar last weekend. He didn’t get on the scoresheet himself, but was instrumental in the Yellow Submarine’s victory – a win that keeps its hopes of qualifying for next season’s continental competitions alive as well. Three points at home against Cadiz should be a formality.

That is not to say that Cadiz has been a pushover in its return to the Spanish top-flight. But the travails of a long season have caught up with the club in recent months. There has been a slight resurgence lately though, a narrow victory over Eibar being followed with last weekend’s draw with Alaves. It took an 84th minute penalty and a red card for one of the home side for that outcome – but a point was gratefully received.

Atletico Madrid to Beat Alaves

A home game against one of the division’s weaker sides is exactly what Diego Simeone and his Atleti players need after the week it has had. After allowing Real Madrid to snatch a point right at the end of the game a few weeks ago there has been some understandable tension at the Wanda Metropolitano. Defeat to Chelsea this week means that Atletico can now concentrate on keeping the points gap going at the top of the league.

There should be three more after this game – but then that was what was expected from the Getafe fixture last week that ended in a surprising draw.

Alaves does not look to have the same level of fight in it as Getafe though. It has been a poor season all round and the appointment of Abelardo as head coach in January has had no kind of effect on the club’s fortunes. The draw with Cadiz last weekend brought only the fifth point in nine games for the new boss and there will be little hope of coming away from Madrid with any more on Sunday. It looks as though Alaves will be depending on the poor performances of others for it to stay up this season.

Barcelona to Beat Real Sociedad

It had looked as though La Real had gotten back on track for a European place in the last few weeks, after dropping points either side of Christmas. But a fortuitous goal from Granada last weekend was enough to give it the win and leave Real Sociedad just three points ahead of Betis. European qualification still seems to be on but there are some definite rivals for the Europa League spot now. A rejuvenated Barcelona is probably the last side that head coach Imanol will want to face.

Barcelona is still a place of chaos and confusion. But there is some semblance of the club getting things in order now – and results in the league have been much better of late. New club president Joan Laporta has been setting out how he is going to keep Lionel Messi at the club and help it dominate La Liga again. At the moment the performances on the pitch have helped Barca remain in second – and there will be some hope that poor from on Atletico’s part might open up an unexpected opportunity for the Blaugrana to take the title. A win here would certainly help.

My Top La Liga Picks for March 19-21, 2021

Here are my three betting picks for this week’s La Liga games on match day 28. Odds are courtesy of Betway.

  • Huesca and Osasuna to draw – 3.10
  • Getafe and Elche to draw – 3.10
  • Granada to beat Valencia – 3.75

Huesca and Osasuna to draw is my first betting pick for match day 28. The two relegation strugglers have both shown great resolve this season as their league positions have stayed relatively the same. Osasuna has done the better of the two but a draw here seems more likely than an away win.

Getafe is no stranger to grinding out results and has been able to do so to such an extent in the past that it has qualified for European competition. That won’t happen this season but a draw against one of its relegation rivals at the foot of the table would be a hugely pragmatic result for the Madrid club.

My final pick for this weekend is for Granada’s players to raise their weary limbs once again and overcome a poor Valencia on Sunday. There is a Europa League fixture on Thursday to take into consideration, but I still think that there is three points to be won against a club that has looked a pale imitation of its former glorious self this season.

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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