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Atletico Madrid has made the UEFA Champions League last eight but, if it wants another crack at Europe’s biggest prize, it must end the Spanish Primera Division ahead of Sevilla and/or Valencia on the ladder so it cannot risk fielding a second-string side versus Deportivo on Saturday.
One is sure that Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone would love to rest several of his team’s key players ahead of the second leg of the UEFA Champions League blockbuster between Atleti and Real Madrid but Sevilla and Valencia are far too close for comfort on the Spanish Primera Division ladder.
Consequently, one fully expects that Atletico Madrid will be at full strength for its Spanish Primera Division away match against a Deportivo side that is only outside the relegation zone on goal difference after going nine games without a win since posting victories over Eibar and Vallecano two months ago. Versus the five Spanish Primera Division teams fighting over the competition’s four UEFA Champions League positions Deportivo’s record stands at one win and seven losses from eight matches and an awful goal difference of minus 17.
The Spanish Primera Division side frequently confused with Atletico Madrid is Athletic and it represents the second best bet in the 32nd round of championship games as it entertains Getafe in another of Saturday’s matches.
Athletic lost 0-1 at Espanyol on its last Spanish Primera Division assignment but Aritz Aduriz missed that game due to suspension and one thinks that the result of any match in which he does not start up front for his team is not worth the paper on which it is written. Aduriz has scored a dozen Spanish Primera Division goals for Athletic, which is eight more than anyone else. If only Aduriz could control himself, though – he has received 10 cautions in his 25 appearances.
SkyBet‘s odds of -137 about a 12th Spanish Primera Division win for Athletic stick out like a sore thumb and surely will not last until kick-off time. Aduriz is available again and Athletic beat Getafe 2-1 without any goals from its premier striker in the reverse Spanish Primera Division fixture.
Getafe is almost safe from relegation as it is 13th on the Spanish Primera Division ladder but it has not collected a single away point from its seven road matches versus sides ranked in the top 10 currently – Athletic is ranked ninth.
Finally, one is tempted to revisit last weekend’s headline Spanish Primera Division pick and nominate title-chasing Real Madrid to score more first-half goals than second-half goals in its home game against Malaga on Saturday.
Only the biggest of punters are going to step into Real Madrid at odds of around -588 to beat Malaga but Bwin is offering odds of +165 that the Meringues score more goals in the first 45 minutes than in the second 45 minutes. One’s theory is that Real Madrid will be keen to put its Spanish Primera Division match versus Malaga to bed as quickly as possible so that it can start getting ready for its UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid that will take place just four short days later.
The state of the Spanish Primera Division championship race means that Real Madrid cannot afford to take any chances at home to seventh-placed Malaga so the Meringues are likely to begin with their strongest team and take from there. Real Madrid is trading at odds of around -189 to lead Malaga at half time and full time but, when it comes to value, one has no doubt that odds of +165 about the Meringues taking their foot off the pedal in the second half is a smarter call.
Atletico Madrid to beat Deportivo
18th April 17:00 GMT
Where to Bet: BetVictor
Athletic to beat Getafe
18th April 21:00 GMT
Where to Bet: SkyBet
Real Madrid Highest Scoring Half (1st) v Malaga
18th April 19:00 GMT
Where to Bet: Bwin
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