La Liga Betting: Betis to make life tricky for league leaders Barcelona

Real Betis coach Quique Setien
Quique Setien's Betis will look to keep things tight early on
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Jack Lang previews the weekend's Spanish games, all of which are available on Betfair Live Video...

"Betis tend to make tough for opponents on the road: they've conceded just three goals in five away matches. Every single one of those was goalless at the break, too"

Alavés should outclass Huesca

Alavés v Huesca
Sunday, 11:00
Live on Eleven Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video

Alavés' unbeaten run came to an end at Eibar a week ago, but there's good reason to believe they'll get up and running again when they welcome Huesca to the Mendizorroza.

That last result aside, the hosts have made an excellent start to the season; they're fourth after 11 games, just four points off the summit, which is a remarkable achievement given their resources. This column has sung the praises of Abelardo countless times over the last few months, but their improvement since he arrived at the helm last December really cannot be understated.

The Basques have lost just three of their last 17 home games, and have already sent Espanyol, Real Madrid and Villarreal home empty-handed this term. That bodes ill for newly-promoted Huesca, who have lost their last four on the road and are already starting to look like shoo-ins for the drop.

A suspension for Rubén Duarte may give Huesca a slither of encouragement, but Abelardo's men are understandable favourites. It's unlikely to be a goal fest - Alavés are not prolific scorers by any means - but we like their chances of adding three more points to their tally.

Betis can keep things tight early on

Barcelona v Real Betis
Sunday, 15:15
Live on Eleven Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video

After a couple of madcap games in recent weeks, Barcelona were probably happy enough to play out a low-key draw against Internazionale in midweek. It was hardly a result or a performance to get the juices flowing, but the Catalans remain well in command of the group, and a first goal for Malcom - hitherto a slightly underwhelming presence in the squad - was a nice little boost for both player and manager.

Thoughts now return to the league, and a fixture that Barça have dominated in recent seasons. Real Betis haven't beaten the Blaugrana in the league since 2008 and their record at the Camp Nou makes for particularly difficult reading: they've lost on their last nine visits (all competitions), by an aggregate score of 34-9.

Quique Setién's charges are having a funny old season. They scored just once in their first four games of the campaign, and while they have picked up a couple of memorable wins (1-0 in the derby with Sevilla, 2-1 away to AC Milan in the Europa League), the overall feeling is one of untapped potential. There are capable of some sublime stuff - especially when Giovani Lo Celso is in the mood - but don't produce it on a consistent enough basis.

Betis do, however, tend to make tough for opponents on the road: they've conceded just three goals in five away matches. Every single one of those was goalless at the break, too, and with Barcelona often in the habit of doing their best work in the second half of games, we like the chances of the away side making things difficult.

Aspas can make his mark

Celta Vigo v Real Madrid
Sunday, 19:45
Live on Eleven Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video

Santi Solari is still technically only caretaker manager at Real Madrid, but the last three games have done more for his cause than any job interview could. Three games, three wins, 11 goals scored and none conceded: the opposition hasn't exactly been top-rate, but the mood has been lifted. One more win this weekend and he will likely be given the gig on a permanent basis; the rules of the league dictate that temporary regimes can only last 14 days.

What has Solari changed? Not a great deal, on the face of it, but small gestures count for a lot at the Bernabéu, and his willingness to give Vinícius Júnior has gone down well - both with the fans and with his president. The Brazilian hotshot remains raw, but has already had an impact, forcing an own goal against Real Valladolid last weekend and laying on a goal against Viktoria Plzen.

Celta Vigo certainly represent Solari's biggest challenge to date. The Galicians can be a frustrating side and have struggled against Madrid in recent seasons (seven defeats in their last eight league meetings), but have the attacking tools to test any defence: Iago Aspas is playing well and Maxi Gómez can expect to start after making a big impact off the bench against Betis a week ago.

Both teams to score would normally be our angle here, but it's too short at [1.49]. Indeed, with no obvious value elsewhere, we will dip into the goalscorer market to side with Aspas. The Celta talisman has eight goals to his name already and [2.6] is a reasonable price.

Jack Lang's La Liga P/L, 2018/19

Staked: 37pts
Returned: 43.43pts
P/L: +6.43pts

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