Atletico and Barcelona to cancel each other out
La Liga returns to action this weekend following the international break and the most anticipated match of Jornada 3 is undoubtedly at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday night, when Atletico Madrid welcome Barcelona.
Luis Enrique’s side clinched last season’s title at Atleti’s home almost four months ago and now they will look to make a statement with another three points against Diego Simeone’s side.
Both sides have started the season well, taking maximum points from their opening two matches, but home advantage for Atleti will ensure a difficult afternoon for the reigning champions.
Odds of 9/4 are offered for both an Atleti win and a draw but given the power in the Barca attack a share of the spoils looks the most likely outcome.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are all set to start together in the visitors’ attack but their defence has not been as spectacular so far this season and they travel to the Spanish capital without the suspended Gerard Pique.
For that reason, both teams to score at 4/5 looks an attractive bet and a 1-1 stalemate offers longer odds of 22/5.
Messi scored the winner at the Calderon last season to crown Barca champions and he is 4/1 to open the scoring on Saturday night with what would be his first La Liga goal of the campaign.
Atleti new boy Jackson Martinez has scored one goal in as many starts in the league and is 21/10 to score at anytime. Atleti are also are a big threat from set-pieces in the big games and that makes odds of 7/1 for centre-back Diego Godin to score attractive.
Madrid looking for momentum at Espanyol
The international break came at just the wrong time for Real Madrid after they chalked up their first victory of the season in freescoring fashion against newly-promoted Real Betis.
The ‘FIFA virus’, as it’s called in Spain, also struck, with both full-back Danilo and Colombian James Rodriguez returning to the club with injuries. The absences are a blow for coach Rafa Benitez both Dani Carvajal and Isco will provide more than adequate cover.
Madrid cruised to a 4-1 win at the Power8 Stadium last season and should find the going similarly comfortable this time around, especially with Espanyol losing a number of influential figures over the summer.
Marco Asensio and Burgui will also be ineligible to play for the hosts as part of their loan deal from the capital club.
That leaves Benitez’s side clear favourites at 3/10 for the victory but the difference in quality should allow the visitors a comprehensive win. For an away win with a winning margin of more than two goals you can get odds of 7/4.
Cristiano Ronaldo has yet to find the back of the net this season and the Portuguese star will be desperate to get his name on the scoresheet in Catalonia. The former Manchester United man is 14/5 to score first while Gareth Bale, who bagged two goals in his last Madrid outing, is 19/20 to score at anytime.
Benitez has shored up his side’s defence, with two clean sheets from as many league matches so far, and odds of 11/10 are offered for Madrid to keep their opponents out again.
The rest of La Liga
Levante and Sevilla kick things off on Friday night at the Ciutat de Valencia and the Europa League champions will be keen to get their season up and running with a first victory of the campaign.
Unai Emery’s men have slumped out of the traps with just one point from a possible six and will eye all three in Valencia against a side expected to struggle this term.
The Andalusians will welcome Steven N’Zonzi back to action after suspension and Fernando Llorente will look to score his first goal since his move from Juventus. The powerful Basque forward is 17/10 to score anytime.
Sevilla have a good recent record on the road, being undefeated in their last eight away matches in La Liga, and will be keen to bounce back from a 3-0 home defeat against Atletico Madrid. Odds of 8/11 look good for an away win.
Valencia make the trip to newly-promoted Sporting Gijon on Saturday afternoon looking to bag their first victory of the campaign after having to settle for a share of the spoils in their opening two games.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men are 5/4 to make that happen at El Molinon but the absence of injured goalkeepers Diego Alves and Mat Ryan will mean third-choice stopper Yoel gets his chance between the sticks.
Sporting handed Real Madrid a tough game in their season opener and are expected to do the same for the side from the Mestalla. Valencia should have enough in their tank for victory, especially after the international break, but a one-goal winning margin at 11/4 looks a good bet.
Former Manchester City man Alvaro Negredo scored his first Liga goal for the club last time out and he is 11/2 to score first in Asturias.
Former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes is still waiting for his Real Sociedad side to chalk-up their first victory, and score their first goals, of the campaign ahead of a trip to face Real Betis on Saturday night.
La Real have drawn both of their matches so far this season 0-0 and will look at the trip to the newly-promoted Andalusians as a chance to bag their first victory this term.
Moyes’ men are 41/20 to make it an away win and they will fancy their chances after Pepe Mel’s side let in five goals in Madrid last time out.
Summer signing Jonathas has yet to score but he is expected to keep his place and will be eager to get off the mark.
Any winning margin should be slender, however, and a one-goal cushion for the San Sebastian side offers odds of 7/2. For La Real to keep a third clean sheet from as many matches you can get odds of 9/4.
Granada and Villarreal have both enjoyed encouraging starts to the campaign ahead of their meeting at the Nuevo Los Carmenes on Sunday afternoon.
Marcelino’s Villarreal have taken four points from a possible six to arrest the alarming slump their endured towards the back end of last season. The Yellow Submarines look a good bet to sink their hosts at 5/4.
Roberto Soldado is also putting his Premier League nightmare behind him thanks to two goals in as many league outings. The former Tottenham Hotspur man is 8/5 to score anytime on Sunday and continue his impressive form in front of goal.
Despite their Spanish Super Cup success, Athletic Bilbao find themselves propping up the rest of La Liga going into Jornada 3 but will see the visit of Getafe as the perfect opportunity to get their first points on the board.
Fran Escriba’s side have lost eight of their last nine league matches and have fallen to defeat in their last four outings against the Basque club.
Athletic are 4/7 for the win and slightly longer odds of 6/5 are offered for the hosts to be winning at half-time and full-time, something they have achieved in their last four matches against the capital club.
Raul Garcia could make his full debut for Athletic but Aritz Aduriz is the man most likely to make the headlines with his goals. He is 19/20 to score anytime.
Celta Vigo will be riding the crest of a wave when they welcome Las Palmas to Bailaidos on Sunday afternoon.
The Galicians have won both of their opening matches and have a good chance of finishing the weekend top of the table if they make it three from three with victory against the Gran Canaria club.
Celta are 1/2 for the win but a two-goal winning margin offers longer odds of 13/4. Those odds should prove attractive with Paco Herrera’s side yet to score on their return to the top-flight, as should odds of 21/20 for a clean sheet for the Vigo club.
Eibar are the unlikely leaders of La Liga two weeks in and the Basque club will aim to keep their momentum going at Malaga on Sunday night.
Wins against Granada and local rivals Athletic Bilbao will leave Eibar in good spirits but a draw looks a good option at 49/20. Malaga have taken one point from their opening two matches but that defeat came against reigning champions Barcelona and by just the one goal at the Camp Nou.
Malaga have yet to score this season but they have been faced with a tough opening. In contract, Eibar have scored five goals in two outings. A 1-1 draw offers good odds of 5/1.
Rayo Vallecano and Deportivo La Coruna wrap things up on Monday night at Vallecas and both will see the match as an opportunity for their first three points of the season.
Both have secured positive points against Valencia and Depor will be buoyed by that going into the match. However, Rayo collapsed to a 3-0 loss in Vigo last time out and will be desperate to bounce back on home soil.
That should make for an even contest in the Spanish capital and odds of 12/5 are on offer for the draw.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.