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La Liga Betting: Can Real Madrid Cope without Bellingham?

On Aug, 10, Real Madrid announced that starting goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois would undergo surgery after tearing his ACL in his left knee. It was a sign of things to come: just two days later, first-choice center back Eder Militao tore his ACL in his left knee in Real’s opener against Athletic Club whilst Militao’s regular partner in defense, David Alaba would succumb to an ACL injury in his left knee in December. With Antonio Rudiger picking up a thigh injury, Real had no available center backs for last weekend’s home match against Girona, who entered the fixture as the top-scoring team in Spain with 52 goals – four above Real Madrid.

With midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni and right back Dani Carvajal slotting into the back four alongside Lucas Vazquez and Fernand Mendy, Los Blancos not only kept Girona’s attack quiet, but they also managed to tear apart the Catalan side’s backline in a lopsided win. Vinicius opened the scoring within six minutes and played a role in each of the following three goals. Jude Bellingham would score twice – one of those coming after spraining his ankle – whilst Rodrygo put the stamp on a 4-0 victory at the hour-mark.

La Liga Betting: Can Real Madrid Cope without Bellingham?
Jude Bellingham central midfield of Real Madrid-Jose Breton / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

With 14 matches remaining, first-place Real Madrid sit five points clear of Girona and 10 above Barcelona, and the odds are in their favor as they look to come away with their second La Liga title in three years under Carlo Ancelotti.

La Liga betting fanatics will not be surprised to hear that Real Madrid find themselves as the overwhelming favorites in the title race, with our sportsbooks backing them at -2000. They also sit as the joint-second favorite for the Champions League crown alongside Bayern Munich at +450, ahead of Arsenal (+600) and only behind defending champions Manchester City (+175) in the betting lines.

City and Real are the only two sides who have won every single Champions League match this season. Whilst Pep Guardiola’s side escaped Copenhagen with a 3-1 win, Real had a nervy start to their match against RB Leipzig, conceding within two minutes only for it to be wrongly ruled out due to offsides.

It was a fairly lackadaisical first half for Los Blancos, who were caught out on the counter on multiple occasions, clumsily gave away possession in dangerous areas and gifted the opposition several chances. They looked a tad sluggish in their pressing as well as their transitional game.

And yet, they would take the lead shortly after the restart as Brahim Diaz, starting in the place of Bellingham, wriggled past a sea of Leipzig defenders before firing it into the back of the net. A world-class finish reminiscent of something from Lionel Messi’s playbook, Diaz came within inches of adding an assist to his tally, only for Vinicius’ effort to hit the post. In the 81st minute, he shimmied past a sea of opponents and looked set for yet another sensational slalom run, only to give up the ball after receiving a knock in the process.

Rather than stop play, Amadou Haidara picked it up from the center circle and played a through ball towards Benjamin Sesko, whose shot found the gloves of Andriy Lunin. Called into action time and time again, the Ukrainian goalkeeper dealt superbly as Real escaped the first leg with a 1-0 win in Germany.

Los Blancos will be counting on Lunin as they look to come away with their eighth league victory in nine matches on Sunday at Rayo Vallecano. Real Madrid was -157 on the road to win the match.



La Liga Player Props: Can Vinicius Deliver the Goods for Real?

With La Liga top scorer Jude Bellingham and Brahim Diaz both out due to injury, the pressure will be on Vinicius Junior as he looks to lead Real Madrid to yet another win.

Having played a total of 35 matches this season, Real Madrid’s sole defeats have come on Sept. 24 in a 3-1 loss at Atletico Madrid in La Liga and on Jan. 18 in a 4-2 loss at Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey Round of 16. They looked set to avenge their derby defeats on Feb. 4 after Brahim Diaz opened the scoring early on, only for Marcos Llorente to even the scoring in the 93rd minute against his former side and snatch a point for Atleti.

Apart from that stalemate, Real have drawn just three matches in all competitions this season, drawing 1-1 at Sevilla and Real Betis and sharing the spoils in a goalless stalemate vs. Rayo Vallecano on Nov. 5 – the only match where Real have failed to find the back of the net this season.

The La Liga betting odds are in Real’s favor as they look to come away with their 30th win in 36 matches on Sunday, with the league leaders taking on a Rayo Vallecano side that has suffered three consecutive 2-1 defeats. Apart from a 2-0 win at a Getafe side that ended the match with eight men, Rayo have won just one match since the start of October, and they sit 14th in the table, seven points above the drop.

With Diaz and Bellingham both set to miss the encounter due to injury, all eyes will be on Vinicius as he looks to replicate last weekend’s individual masterclass and lead Real Madrid to victory against Rayo. Apart from their win vs. Getafe, Rayo have taken just one point from their last seven matches.

The Brazilian looked lively in Real’s trip to Germany, constantly keeping his man guessing and utilizing his quick feet and agility to his advantage, and he was at the heart of many of Real’s dangerous attacking opportunities. At 23 years of age, Vinicius continues to show why he deserves to be mentioned as one of the top wide forwards in Europe, having racked up a total of 12 goals and seven assists in 22 appearances across all competitions this season.

Vinicius scored in three of his last five league matches and has had a goal contribution in four of his last five. I’m expecting the Brazilian to play a pivotal role in Sunday’s trip to the Estadio de Vallecas. If you’re planning to bet on La Liga soccer, bet on Real Madrid continuing their red-hot run of form against Rayo Vallecano, and bet on Vinicius having a big role to play.



Questions Of The Day

Which La Liga team is likely to win this weekend?

Despite a growing injury crisis, Real Madrid continue to roll with the punches, and they’re more than capable of coming away with their 20th win in 25 league matches.

Which player is likely to have a goal contribution in La Liga this weekend?

Vinicius Junior is enjoying an impressive run of form under Carlo Ancelotti, and we’re backing him to continue that against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

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