Madrid seeking opening victory of the season
Real Madrid will look to get their season up and running with their first three points when newly-promoted Real Betis visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night.
Former Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez opened his La Liga campaign with his hometown club with a 0-0 stalemate at another side promoted from the Segunda Division in Sporting Gijon last weekend and Madrid will be desperate to make amends against their visitors this weekend.
Los Blanco’s have short odds at 3/25 for the victory so a winning margin of more than two goals at odds of 4/5 look more tempting given Madrid’s desire to excel in front of their own fans.
The hosts will look to come flying out of the traps and are 53/20 to lead after the first ten minutes as well as being 4/11 to lead at half-time and full-time.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be eager to get off the mark and issue a response to finishing behind nemesis Lionel Messi in the UEFA Player of the Year award by getting on the scoresheet against Pepe Mel’s men. The Portuguese star is 12/5 to open the scoring, while former Tottenham Hotspur man Gareth Bale is 4/1 to do likewise and ease the pressure on his shoulders.
Betis bagged a point with a 1-1 draw against Villarreal in their first game back in the top-flight but they face a challenge in taking anything from the Bernabeu and even breaching the Madrid defence. Benitez’s side are 4/5 to keep a second clean sheet in a row.
Barcelona out to make amends for last season’s Malaga upset
Champions Barcelona play their first home match against Malaga on Saturday night and are big favourites to clinch a second win from as many La Liga matches this season at 1/9.
The Costa del Sol club caused one of the upsets of last season with a 1-0 win at the Camp Nou but odds of 47/2 for the win show how difficult a repeat of that feat will be for Javi Gracia’s side.
The visitors will be helped by the suspension of Gerard Pique but Jeremy Mathieu returns from suspension. Sergi Roberto is expected to fill in at right-back with Dani Alves and Douglas sidelined through injury.
Barca’s famed front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are set to start together for the first time this season with the Brazilian recovering from injury and that spells bad news for the Andalusians.
Messi (5/2), Suarez (16/5) and Neymar (7/2) will all be eager to get on the scoresheet and will look to open the scoring.
Luis Enrique’s side are also strong at the other end of the pitch in La Liga, despite their leaking of goals in the Spanish Super Cup and European Super Cup. The hosts are 1/2 to keep an eighth clean sheet in nine league matches.
The rest of La Liga
Eibar were all set for Segunda Division football this season but Elche’s financial problems kept the Basque club in the top flight and they find themselves top of the table after the opening weekend of the season.
Jose Luis Mendilibar’s men go into Sunday afternoon’s Basque derby against Athletic Bilbao on the crest of a wave but are still 57/20 outsiders to make it two wins from as many matches.
Athletic suffered a narrow loss to Barcelona last season and they will be happy for a repeat of their 1-0 win at Ipurua last season. The same result offers odds of 21/5.
In-form Aritz Aduriz is the man most likely to bag the winner for Ernesto Valverde’s side and is 4/1 to score first.
Villarreal host Espanyol in the weekend’s first La Liga fixture on Friday night at El Madrigal.
Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Roberto Soldado scored a goal on his competitive debut for the Yellow Submarines in a 1-1 draw at Betis last weekend and he is 7/2 to open the scoring against the Catalan club and help further restore his damaged reputation.
Marco Asensio will add some bite to the Espanyol attack after joining on-loan from Real Madrid and the former Mallorca star is 4/1 to find the back of the net at any point during the match.
A draw looks attractive at 29/10 and for both sides to find the back of the net in a score draw you can get odds of 23/20.
David Mayes will look to guide his Real Sociedad side to their first win of the season when Sporting Gijon make the trip along the north coast to San Sebastian.
La Real took a point from their trip to Deportivo La Coruna last weekend and are favourites to bag their first victory at 5/6.
Asier Illarramendi has returned to Anoeta from Real Madrid and he is expected to shore up the La Real defence. A clean sheet for Moyes’ men, at 11/10, and a slender one-goal victory for the hosts, at 47/20 bring attractive odds.
Jonathas will look to get his scoring account underway with the Basque outfit after making the summer switch from Elche and is 9/2 to break the deadlock.
Celta Vigo enjoyed a thumping 6-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano last season and although Paco Jemez’s men will want to tighten up at the back this season, the Galicians still look good to make it two wins from two this season at odds of 8/15.
Iago Aspas scored on his return to Celta in last weekend’s victory at Levante and the former Liverpool man is 4/1 to score first at Balaidos on Saturday night.
Although securing a positive point against Valencia in their opener, Rayo have struggled for goals lately and with Sergio Alvarez set to return in goal for Eduardo Berizzo’s men, a clean sheet for the hosts looks a good bet at 13/10.
Sevilla host Atletico Madrid on Sunday in what looks set to be the most closely contested match of the weekend on paper with little love lost between the two clubs.
Steven N’Zonzi will sit out through suspension for the Andalusians but Daniel Carrico is set to return to the heart of Sevilla’s defence. Felipe Luis is the only injury doubt for Diego Simeone’s side.
Unai Emery’s men limped to a 0-0 draw against Malaga in their season opener and with Jackson Martinez and Antoine Griezmann leading the Atleti line, a close-fought away win could be on the cards at 33/20.
Griezmann bagged the winner against Las Palmas last weekend and the Frenchman is 9/2 to score first at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, while strike partner Martinez is 9/2 to score his maiden Atleti goal in La Liga.
Sevilla will be boosted by the capture of Fernando Llorente from Juventus and he is 5/2 to make an immediate impact at score at anytime in the match.
Valencia had to make do with a share of the spoils at Rayo Vallecano last weekend and Los Che will be desperate for their opening three points of the campaign when they host Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will be boosted by their qualification for the Champions League, secured thanks to a two-legged victory over Monaco, and are 9/20 to see off the Galicians.
Former Manchester City man Alvaro Negredo scored a sublime goal against the French side in Europe and is 7/2 to open the scoring at the Mestalla this weekend.
A winning margin of two goals in Valencia’s favour looks promising at 2/1 against a team amongst the favourites for relegation this season.
Getafe and Granada are also two teams earmarked for the drop this season, making Sunday’s match in the Spanish capital key albeit being so early in the campaign.
Both slumped to opening day defeats but with home advantage and a wise coach in Fran Escriba, Getafe will be favourites to edge their way to a maiden three points of the season at 21/20.
Escriba usually sets his sides up well defensively and the hosts are 23/20 to keep a clean sheet. A 2-0 home win brings enticing odds of 33/5.
Las Palmas’ Gran Canaria stadium will be rocking for their return to La Liga on Sunday night when Levante provide the opposition.
Paco Herrera’s side gave a good account of themselves in a 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid on the opening weekend and they will be in good spirits going into a game against a team that struggled on their travels last term.
The hosts are 9/10 for the victory and those odds are good given Levante have lost nine of their last eleven league matches.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.