Do not watch Celta and Athletic for entertainment

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One week out from El Clasico and one thinks that the best bets on the Spanish Primera Division are plays on under two and a half goals rather than simple wins, draws or losses.

The pick of the Spanish Primera Division bets is under two and a half goals in Saturday’s match between Celta and Athletic Bilbao, an option that one can back at odds of -149  with several bookmakers, including Betfred, BetVictor and Bwin.

Athletic is the Spanish Primera Division king of under two and a half goals and Celta is a pretender to its crown. In the 26 rounds of Spanish Primera Division games, Athletic matches have gone under two and a half goals 18 times and Celta matches have gone under two and a half goals 17 times. When it comes to goals per Spanish Primera Division game, Athletic (2.08) and Celta (2.15) rank last and second last.

Break down the numbers to home and away data and still the play looks as tasty. Seven of Celta’s 12 Spanish Primera Division home matches have gone under two and a half goals, while 10 of Athletic’s 13 top-flight away games have gone under two and a half goals. And this season’s first Spanish Primera Division match between Celta and Athletic resulted in a 1-1 draw in Bilbao in which one of the two goals was a penalty kick and efforts on target were relatively rare.

Almost as appealing are the odds of -125  with a large group of bookmakers, including Bet365, Ladbrokes and Winner, that Sunday’s Spanish Primera Division game between Almeria and Villarreal goes under two and a half goals as well.

It takes breaking down the numbers to home and away data for the suggestion to make sense because neither Almeria nor Villarreal is in the same postcode as Celta and Athletic without that distinction. However, eight of Almeria’s 12 Spanish Primera Division home matches have gone under two and a half goals (only Granada has a higher home strike rate), while nine of Villarreal’s 13 top-flight away games have gone under two and a half goals (only Athletic and Bilbao are getting the job done more frequently away).

Villarreal beat Almeria 2-0 when the sides clashed in Round Eight of the Spanish Primera Division so one can tick that box also. The knock on the bet is that Villarreal has the small matter of a UEFA Europa League match against Sevilla on Thursday and that game may take priority of Sunday’s Spanish Primera Division fixture. But, on the other side of the coin, Almeria has not scored in any of its last three Spanish Primera Division games, it is averaging less than one goal per league match and it is in the relegation zone.

Finally, one is willing to put aside one’s concerns about fixture congestion and nominate Sevilla as the best win option on the Spanish Primera Division coupon, with Coral listing it at odds of -227  to beat Elche on its home pitch.

One cannot help thinking that Sevilla, which has won 23, drawn six and lost zero of its last 29 home games across all competitions since losing 0-2 to city rival Betis 12 months ago, would be much shorter odds to defeat Elche if it was not for the three-day turnaround that it faces. After all, Sevilla beat Elche 2-0 on the road when they met earlier in the Spanish Primera Division season and Elche’s raw results versus top-six teams are zero wins, one draw and seven losses with four goals scored and 25 goals conceded.

Tips Summary

Celta v Athletic Bilbao Under 2.5 goals
14th March 21:00 GMT
Odds:  -149
Where to Bet: Betfred, BetVictor, Bwin

Almeria v Villarreal Under 2.5 goals
15th March 11:00 GMT
Odds:  -125
Where to Bet: Bet365, Ladbrokes, Winner

Sevilla to beat Elche
15th March 18:00 GMT
Odds:  -227
Where to Bet: Coral

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