Battle of the Dark Horses
Each and every season, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid are the favorites to win the La Liga title. What does usually change are the teams considered dark horses. We’ve three for the 2022-23 campaign: Villarreal, Sevilla, and Real Betis.
Villarreal and Betis have met expectations, as both are currently in the top five. On the other hand, Sevilla has had a rough start. Nevertheless, a victory against the Yellow Submarine could boost Los Rojiblancos to the top 10. They currently sit in sixteenth place, but I can assure you they’re much better than that, so much so that I dare to consider them a tempting online gambling underdog, especially at +390.
This game starts at 10:15 a.m. (ET), while Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid begins at 3:00 p.m.
Villarreal: Looking for Balance
Two seasons ago, manager Unai Emery led Villarreal to win the UEFA Europa League title. This season, they’re competing in the Conference League. However, what they really want is to return to the Champions League, for which they need to finish in the top four of La Liga.
Playing two such demanding tournaments at the same time isn’t easy, but the Yellow Submarine has what it takes. Last Thursday, they visited Hapoel Beer Sheva and won 2-1. Jose Morales and Alejandro Baena were the scorers. That result allowed them to take the top spot of Group C.
Regarding La Liga, they conceded and lost for the first time last Sunday against Real Betis (1-0). Rodrigo Sanchez scored the lone goal in the second half. No other team has allowed fewer goals than the Yellow Submarine, and only Real Madrid and Barcelona have scored more with 15; Villarreal has scored nine.
The fact that they’re offering a -135 price in the sportsbook to win straight up despite Gerard Moreno and Juan Foyth not being available shows how good this team is.
Sevilla: On the Rise?
Last season, Sevilla fought bravely against the powerhouses, enough to qualify for the UCL. This season, Los Rojiblancos have had a rocky start, but it looks like they’re finally starting to see the light.
Midweek, they visited Copenhagen and drew 0-0. However, Los Rojiblancos deserved better luck after winning possession with 63 percent and finishing with 11 shots in total, four more than the home side. Plus, they had lost 4-0 to Manchester City in their debut, so a draw on the road could be seen as a good deal.
Domestically, they got their first season victory after defeating Espanyol in a thriller. At the 45-minute mark, Los Rojiblancos were up 3-0 thanks to Erik Lamela and Jose Carmona, who scored twice. However, less than 20 minutes into the second half, the score was 3-2. Los Rojiblancos ended up suffering more than expected but managed to hold on. The problem is that Lamela was sent off, meaning he can’t play on Sunday.
“The second yellow for Lamela was a shame, he was putting in a top performance, and he’s an important player for us because we haven’t got a lot of alternatives in that position who are in perfect shape,” explained manager Julen Lopetegui after the game.
He’s not wrong, Lamela will be missed more than Moreno, but this could be the opportunity that Rafa Mir was waiting for.
Villarreal vs Sevilla Head-to-Head
- Previous Matches: 50
- Villarreal Victories: 13 (61 goals)
- Sevilla Victories: 22 (72 goals)
- Draws: 15
Last season, Villarreal couldn’t defeat Sevilla. First, Los Rojiblancos fulfilled their role as betting online favorites by winning 1-0 at home, thanks to an early goal by Lucas Ocampos. Later, they drew 1-1 in a match with a thrilling ending. Giovani Lo Celso scored the opener for the Yellow Submarine in the 86th minute, while Jules Kounde scored the equalizer four minutes later.
Sevilla defeated Villarreal for the last time, on the road, in the 2017-18 season. Plus, you can expect goals as these two haven’t drawn 0-0 in their last seven encounters.
Villarreal vs Sevilla Match Information
- Date: Sunday, September 18th
- Time: 10:15 a.m. ET
- Location: Estadio Ciutat de Valencia, Valencia
- Villarreal vs Sevilla Live Stream: fubo.tv
Villarreal vs Sevilla Betting Lines
Villarreal vs Sevilla Prediction
Villarreal not only won their last four home games but also averaged 3.75 goals per match. Six different players have scored; that’s why they haven’t missed Moreno so much. That being said, my recommendation is to include the over in your soccer picks. Lamela is out, but Sevilla will still put up a good fight led by Isco Alarcon, enough to score as well.
Score Prediction: Villarreal 2, Sevilla 1