Mike Holden analyses Sunday's live La Liga clash between Sevilla and Real Betis.
It’s derby day in Seville and the timing of this meeting at the Sanchez Pizjuan could be ideal for Real Betis to avenge a humiliating Copa del Rey exit at the hands of bitter rivals Sevilla three months ago. Stick a point on the visitors to win at 11/2 and back it up with a bet on the Verdiblancos to keep a clean sheet at 15/2.
This will be the fourth meeting between the two sides this season but Betis are a different animal to the one beaten 6-0 on aggregate in January, mainly thanks to the input of new boss Juan Merino. The long-serving Betico had been in charge for just two days when Sevilla inflicted a 4-0 second-leg defeat on the dishevelled team he inherited.
Since then, Betis have preserved their Primera status with win-to-nil victories over Valencia, Espanyol, Granada, Levante and Las Palmas, while holding fourth-placed Villarreal to a goalless draw at El Madrigal and keeping Real Madrid at bay for 71 minutes in another tight encounter at the Benito Villamarin. On average, the Betis goal stays unbreached for 66 minutes.
There has been the odd bit of turbulence with concentration wavering from time to time, not least in the 5-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid at the Calderon earlier this month, but ultimately Merino has picked up more points (21) than his Sevilla counterpart Unai Emery (20) during his time on the bench, largely thanks to the Emery’s cup distractions.
The current Europa League holders travel to Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek as they attempt to lift the trophy for the third successive season and while they obviously understand the importance of this game to their supporters, finding your best form for a league match after taking just one point from the last available 15 might be easier said than done.
History suggests home advantage is negligible on these occasions with seven of the last 14 Seville derbies going the way of the visitors (Sevilla four, Betis three) and the first goal could also be crucial with ‘both teams to score’ backers thwarted in each of the past seven meetings going back to November 2013.
With that in mind, correct score bets on Betis to win 1-0 and Betis to win 2-0 should also be considered at standout best prices of 28/1 and 50/1 respectively. The Verdiblancos have won 11 matches this season and 10 of them have been achieved with a clean sheet, six by the only goal and three of them finishing 2-0.
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