Sporting v Celta Vigo - Sunday 11:00, Sky Sports 3
But given the disparity with the market, that’s merely a cover bet because the better value is to be found in backing the Asturians winning with something to spare. Only a fortnight ago, Abelardo’s men were the first team other than Barcelona to put two goals past Atletico Madrid, on which basis the 6/1 on Sporting to clear the -1 handicap also catches the eye.
With Celta eight points adrift of fourth-placed Villarreal and nine points ahead of eighth-placed Malaga, Europa League football is almost a certainty for Eduardo Berizzo’s men next season, so the weight of incentive must also surely be with the hosts who sat just one point adrift of the safety line coming into the weekend.
The Galicians are commonly turned over by chunky margins, no fewer than eight of their ten defeats this season have been by two clear goals or more. By standard conversion, my 16-match numbers make the Sporting 2-0 correct score no bigger than 10/1, so we’ll round things off this all-guns-blazing preview with that very scoreline at 15/1.
Valencia v Sevilla - Sunday 15:00, Sky Sports 5
So while the market is evidently reacting to the fact that Sevilla are currently caught between two legs of a Europa League quarter-final with Athletic Bilbao, the toxic mood towards Peter Lim makes Valencia flaky favourites whatever the circumstances, and a clean sheet might be all the visitors need to guarantee the points. Take the 11/2 about Sevilla to win to nil.
In clinching back-to-back Europa League titles with the Andalusian club, Emery has already done enough to hold his head high on his former stomping ground but his three visits in the opposition dugout to date have all ended in 3-1 defeats and he wouldn’t be human if he didn’t harbour the desire to bask in the separate paths they now tread.
Valencia have a six-point cushion on the relegation zone, so their Primera Division status hasn’t reached crisis point just yet and it would be dangerous to assume things can’t possibly get any worse before they get better. The 19/1 available on Sevilla to win 2-0 is the position of maximum value. It’s only a 14/1 shot on my tissue.
Villarreal v Getafe - Sunday 17:15, Sky Sports 5
Getafe have managed a clean sheet against the Yellow Submarine once already this season, having triumphed 2-0 the reverse fixture last November, and they boast a decent record at El Madrigal, so they won’t be seeing this fixture as a total write-off, despite having picked up just two points from their last 11 league matches.
Results last weekend plunged Madrid-based minnows into the drop zone for the first time since September and that’s usually the cue for them to suddenly pull their finger out. Two seasons ago, they went on a 16-match winless streak, only to pick up 14 points in the final eight matches once the threat of relegation became real.
Villarreal have been among the goals lately, their last three league outings producing 13 overall, which is one more than had arrived in the previous ten. But with fixture congestion a consideration again, don’t be surprised if they revert to type. With a total goals expectancy of 1.98, my ratings make the 0-0 no bigger than 6/1.