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Barcelona and Real Madrid should register easy wins in the first round of Spanish Primera Division but the best bet is Sevilla to defeat Valencia in what one could describe as a grudge match given what went on between them last season.
Sevilla and Valencia met four times last term – twice in the Spanish Primera Division and twice in the UEFA Europa League – and it was their fourth clash that ensured that Saturday’s game should be explosive. Sevilla won the UEFA Europa League first leg in the south of Spain 2-0 but Valencia was leading the second leg on Spain’s east coast 3-0 until four minutes into stoppage time. Sevilla midfielder Stephane Mbia scored with a header to put his team ahead of the away-goals rule, sparking wild celebrations that infuriated Valencia fans.
What Sevilla achieved last season was remarkable given the very high turnover of players leading into its domestic and international campaigns. It took a while for Sevilla to hit its straps but it motored home after the Christmas and New Year break, climbing the Spanish Primera Division ladder to finish in fifth place and beating Benfica on penalties in the UEFA Europa League final. Sevilla’s home performances were central to its fine results in both tournaments.
Valencia struggled away from home in the Spanish Primera Division last term and that is putting it mildly. Only the bottom two teams, Betis and Valladolid, registered fewer road wins than Valencia, which averaged worse than one goal per game away from its Mestalla home. Remarkably, Barcelona was one of the three sides that Valencia beat on its Spanish Primera Division travels but most of its road form was bad.
Sevilla is trading at odds of +110 with several bookmakers, including Betfred, Paddy Power and Sky Bet, to beat Valencia and get off to a Spanish Primera Division flier. There is not much to choose between the pre-season results of Sevilla and Valencia, although Sevilla does have the advantage of having played a semi-competitive match. Sevilla lost 0-2 to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup game staged in Cardiff.
Apart from Sevilla, Barcelona and Real Madrid, the Spanish Primera Division coupon is bereft of home teams that warrant support. One of interesting away sides is Bilbao, which kicks off its Spanish Primera Division campaign at Malaga.
Bilbao has to be more match fit than Malaga having contested the UEFA Champions League play-offs versus Napoli in Italy on Tuesday. Bilbao did not trail Napoli and it would have taken confidence from its 1-1 road draw that makes it the favourite to qualify for the lucrative group stage. Bilbao defeated Malaga home and away in last term’s Spanish Primera Division, although one should acknowledge that the score in Malaga was 1-1 before the home team was reduced to 10 men late in the game but not late enough to stop the away side grabbing a winner. Bilbao won the San Mames meeting 3-0.
BetVictor is offering odds of +160 about a Spanish Primera Division win for Bilbao, although the odds of -227 with Bet365 and Boylesports about the away team avoiding defeat may represent a smarter investment at this point in time.
Finally, Atletico Madrid will appear attractive to punters for its Spanish Primera Division match at Rayo Vallecano, particularly as the champion won last season’s fixtures 5-0 at home and 4-2 on the road. However, a word of caution for those that do not know their Spanish Primera Division geography: Rayo Vallecano is a Madrid-based side and, therefore, the game is a derby. One is reluctant to take short odds about Atletico winning this local argument.
Bilbao win/draw v Malaga
23rd August 18:00 GMT
Where to Bet: BetVictor
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