The top five teams in La Liga remains unchanged heading into Matchweek 25, but second-place Sevilla gained ground on league leaders Real Madrid. Heading into the final third of the season, we’ve got a two-team title race but there’s plenty going on elsewhere.
We’ll recap the most recent round of matches in La Liga and look forward to a full slate of games this weekend. It’s as good a weekend as any to bet online, especially given the fiery Basque Derby is set to take place.
La Liga Roundup: Tight at Top
Without Karim Benzema for the last two matches, leaders Real Madrid has scored just one goal. They drew 0-0 on the road at Villarreal and now hold just a four-point lead over Sevilla.
Benzema may be back in time for Real Madrid’s massive Champions League clash later on Tuesday with PSG, but he’s dealing with a persistent hamstring injury. At the weekend, Los Blancos are -500 favorites vs an Alaves side that is trying to escape relegation.
Alaves beat Valencia 2-1 last Sunday and is now three points away from safety. There’s a chance Benzema plays Tuesday and sits as a precaution on Saturday, so this is not a game I’d recommend for online gambling until his status becomes clearer.
Sevilla got two late goals to defeat Elche 2-0 last weekend as Papu Gomez and Rafa Mir got on the scoresheet. Los Sevillistas are now unbeaten in their last 10 La Liga matches and should continue that streak on the road at Espanyol.
It won’t be easy, as Barcelona found out last weekend in a 2-2 draw. Espanyol have the league’s second-leading scorer, Raul de Tomas, and have picked up 21 of their 28 points at home. Sevilla have kept four clean sheets in their last six matches so I’m inclined to take under 2½.
Real Betis’ high-powered offense was on full display at Levante as they scored four goals in the first 49 minutes of their 4-2 win. Nabil Fekir, Betis’s focal point, managed a brace for the first time all season.
Facing Mallorca at home this weekend, anything other than three points won’t be good enough for La Liga’s third-place team. I wouldn’t hesitate to take Betis in this one.
Barcelona needed to be rescued by Luuk de Jong in stoppage time at Espanyol to preserve a point. Still, Barça have won the most points in La Liga in the last five matches and are on the upswing.
However, they’ll only have two days’ rest between their Europa League match vs Napoli on Thursday and La Liga fixture at Valencia on Sunday.
It’s a busy week for defending champion Atletico Madrid, which takes on Levante at home on Wednesday and heads to Pamplona for a match vs. Osasuna on Saturday.
Atleti’s defense has been all over the place as they’ve conceded nine goals in the last three matches. They defeated Getafe 4-3 over the weekend and are level on points with Barcelona for fourth, but they haven’t exactly been one of the more trustworthy recent soccer picks. Over 2½ goals when they take on last-place Levante is a solid bet.
Basque Derby and Elsewhere
Real Sociedad have now kept six shutouts in a row in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last five La Liga matches. Meanwhile, their rivals, Athletic Bilbao, gave up three goals to Mallorca on Monday in a 3-2 loss.
Bilbao are having a good season, especially in cup competitions, but are winless vs Sociedad in the last five meetings. Their match Sunday, in Bilbao, is listed as a pick’em in the sportsbook and a draw at +185 doesn’t look too bad.
Seventh-place Villarreal have climbed the table in recent weeks and managed a draw vs Real Madrid last weekend. At even odds to defeat Granada on the road, I think Villarreal are a decent pick.
Rayo Vallecano were in fourth place earlier in the season but have been handed shutout losses in their last three matches. They’re now in 11th and head on the road to face an Elche side that has won three of its last five. This one’s a toss-up.