Sergio Arribas to stay on a high
Real Madrid can return to winning ways
Benítez's Celta to get needed home win
It would be fair to say neither of these sides have had their dream start to the season. After winning the Europa League in May, Sevilla look like a team locked in a permanent struggle to replicate their European form in La Liga.
They're good on the big occasions, and relish being the underdog, but taking care of business week-to-week is a problem. Just one win in their last nine league games says as much.
Almería, meanwhile, are turning out to be one of the most polarising teams in 2023-24 so far. They're rock bottom of La Liga, haven't won a game, haven't kept a clean sheet, and yet their performances haven't been entirely negative.
Where certain moments and timing of events in games have gone against them, their capacity to generate chances and respond has actually been quite positive.
Indeed, only Real Madrid and Barcelona have both had more shots and a higher xG total than Almería so far, with Vicente Moreno's side racking up 94 shots across their six games (for 10.2 xG).
In a game between two teams that feel unpredictable in their current states, I'll opt for a goalscorer tip in this one. Sergio Arribas was Almería's star signing of the summer, and his reputation as a jewel of Real Madrid's youth setup hasn't hampered him.
He's netted four goals already in La Liga, while only Robert Lewandowski (4.6) has racked up a higher non-penalty xG than Arribas (3.1). With his quality as a shooter from all ranges, I'll take the youngster to score anytime here at 18/5.
Remember when Real Madrid lost consecutive games in La Liga? It was quite a while ago. Not since May 2019 have they been beaten in back-to-back league games.
Indeed, during Carlo Ancelotti's current spell, Real Madrid have won all eight of the matches that have come directly after a loss in La Liga. They don't stay wounded for long.
Sunday night's defeat at crosstown rivals Atlético isn't sitting well with anyone, and the desire to respond immediately will be big - unfortunately for Las Palmas.
Carlo Ancelotti explained the 3-1 defeat through a lack of defensive concentration, calling the three goals they conceded "photocopies" of each other. And when they get a reminder as stark as this, that renewed attention to detail usually comes out in devastating fashion on the other side.
Beyond the fact that a wounded Real Madrid is usually a conquering entity no matter the opponent, Las Palmas have been a peculiar side so far. Their six games have produced only six total goals, scoring twice and conceding four, yet they're not a team associated with a lack of action or football.
The fact that García Pimienta's side currently have the joint-best defensive record in La Liga is through their capacity to defend with the ball, rather than being sturdy in the most orthodox sense of defending.
They've averaged 59% possession so far, third only to Barcelona and Real Madrid. But as García Pimienta has said on numerous occasions, Las Palmas are a team who suffer when they don't have the ball.
On their trip to the Bernabéu, they will encounter a team who can take the ball from them, and fuel it with the sense of revenge after the events of the weekend. I'll take Real Madrid to lead at half time and full time at 7/101.70.
Celta Vigo haven't won at home this season and Alavés haven't won away, but I expect that fact to change following Thursday's game. In the case of the home side, Celta can certainly be filed under the teams whose performances have been better than what their results suggest.
They've been minutes away from getting results against both Real Madrid and Barcelona so far, and defeat against Mallorca in their last home game was courtesy of the ultimate smash and grab.
Put plainly for Rafa Benítez, this is a game he needs to be winning if he's to retain confidence. Even with promising performances along the way, their position in 18th is lagging some way behind the pre-season expectations for the side, and where they really ought to be.
For the Celta boss - who usually adapts his team's level of ambition depending on the opponent - he will have to have promoted Alavés down as an opponent to beat, rather than taking a more conservative approach.
On the part of Alavés, Luis García Plaza might well arrive with the opposite line of thinking. He's a realist who has already told his team to expect to lose plenty of games this season, and to be prepared to respond on the occasions when they do get beaten.
With all six of their points coming on home soil at Mendizorroza so far, it perhaps goes without saying that they're a team whose bid to stay in La Liga will largely be driven by their home games. And so, a point on the road would be welcome for them.
Put plainly, even with both sides picking up zero points in both scenarios, Celta have been better at home than Alavés have been away on the balance of performance levels.
Benítez's side have been right about on a par with their opponents on xG across their three home matches, and lost out in the last two to goals conceded within the final 10 minutes of play, having otherwise been very competitive in both.
Celta's first home win of the season can't come soon enough, and in a time of need against an opponent they should really aspire to take the game to, I'm looking to Iago Aspas for the inspiration. I'll take Celta Vigo to win with a goal or assist for Aspas at 6/52.20.