La Liga Preview: Ronaldo can give Bielsa one in the eye

Lionel Messi has scored at least twice in 15/26 Liga appearances
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Tobias Gourlay rounds-up the best bets from all of this week's televised Spanish football...

"Real Madrid have scored 16 times in four games at the Bernabeu"

Back Any Unquoted Correct Score @ [2.6]

Barcelona v Real Zaragoza
Saturday 19:00
(Live on Sky Sports 4)
Barcelona [1.1] Real Zaragoza [40.0] draw [15.0]

Opta's gone deep to unearth evidence that there is no way Zaragoza are winning this one: the Aragonese haven't won at the Camp Nou since 1965/66.

And here are a couple of bits of history with less dust on them: this is Barca's best ever start to a season; if they win on Saturday, they will have beaten Zaragoza in nine straight Liga games for the first time.

From our own vaults, there's a Lionel Messi stat: he has scored a brace or more in 15/26 league appearances since the middle of February. That form says you've got a value bet at anything beyond [1.8].

This week he goes up against a defence that hasn't kept a clean sheet all season. Manolo Jimenez's Zaragoza conceded three at home to Deportivo last weekend and four at Real Madrid a fortnight ago. The old Sevilla defender might have some ideas about toughening them up at the back, but he shouldn't go too far: los Blanquillos are eleventh after 11 games and that would be a highly acceptable finishing position next year.

Barcelona's defence is not rock solid either - keeping clean sheets in only 2/8 at the Camp Nou this season - but Zaragoza's failure to score in 3/4 on the road raises a concern about Both Teams to Score.

Tito Vilanova's men have been more prolific away from home and that's when Any Unquoted most appeals in the Correct Score market. But is there a touch of value about even money for Barca to score at least four? After all, Zaragoza are going to be without both of their first-choice and one of their second-choice full-backs.

Just don't forget the Atomic Flea. Against Zaragoza, he's scored at least once in 6/8.

Recommended Bet
Back Lionel Messi To Score 2 Goals or More @ [1.8] or more

Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao
Saturday 21:00
(Live on Sky Sports 4)
Real [1.17] Athletic [23.0] draw [9.6]

Cristiano Ronaldo saw red - not in that way - a week ago and missed Portugal's midweek friendly. He is expected to be fit to start this match, however, and that alone should turn the Lions of Bilbao into simpering pussycats. CR7 has scored eight times in five previous appearances against them.

Athletic have lost 12/12 away to the Big Two in the last six seasons. At the Bernabeu, it's 12 defeats in 13. The results from their last three visits: 4-1, 5-1, 5-1.

A recent upturn in results means Marcelo Bielsa's hide is on ice, but his team is depleted by suspensions for this game. The total score from Real's last four at home is 16-1 and they are overpriced to maintain that fearsome average on Saturday night.

Recommended Bet
Back Any Unquoted Correct Score @ [2.6]

Granada v Atletico Madrid
Sunday 18:45
(Live on Sky Sports 3)
Granada [5.6] Atletico [1.77] draw [3.8]

Atletico Madrid have driven a Radamel Falcao-shaped wedge between the Big Two: three points behind Barcelona, they are five points ahead of city rivals Real.

Disregard an outlying 4-2 win at Betis in September, however, and Diego Simeone's men have scored only three times in four away matches. A fortnight ago, Falcao was isolated and Valencia beat them 2-0 at the Mestalla.

Simeone's full away record is W7-D6-L4 and that too suggests los Colchoneros should not be odds-on.

Recommended Bet
Lay Atletico Madrid @ [1.77]

Sevilla v Real Betis
Sunday 20:30
(Live on Sky Sports 3)
Sevilla [1.73] Betis [5.8] draw [3.95]

Sevilla beat Real Madrid 1-0 at home in September. Next time out they lost 3-2 to Barcelona. These divergent results reflect a wider inconsistency among the performances of Michel's men this season.

If there was a market for it, we'd like Albert Botia to get booked for a seventh time in eight games. As there's not, well, Sevilla have lost four of their last six Liga games and we're prepared to put a small stake on their cross-town rivals.

Betis are unbeaten in four Andalusian derbies with Sevilla, taking all three points from each of their last two trips to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. So far this season they have won 3/5 on the road, scoring regularly enough (twice a game, on average) to trouble their hosts.

Recommended Bet
Back Real Betis @ [5.8]

Real Sociedad v Rayo Vallecano
Monday 20:30
(Live on Sky Sports Xtra)
Sociedad [1.82] Rayo [5.1] draw [3.9]

There are some ugly contrasts between these two: there has not been a first-half goal at Inoeta this season, but Rayo's five away matches have seen 11 goals before the break.

Sociedad's last four home games have stayed Under 2.5 Goals; all five of Rayo's road games have broken that barrier.

Rayo's defence is leakier than ever - a record 25 goals conceded in the first 11 rounds of the season - but Sociedad have been shut out in each of their last two at Inoeta.

What to bet on? Rayo to win the Bookings Match Bet, of course. They've earned a league-high 45 yellow cards so far this term.

Recommended Bet

Back Rayo Vallecano Bookings Match Bet @ [1.8]

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