La Liga Betting: Betis can make life tough for wavering Real Madrid backline

Zinedine Zidane's side could struggle to keep Betis quiet
Zinedine Zidane's side could struggle to keep Betis quiet
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Jack Lang expects the big two in Spain to win this weekend, but Zinedine Zidane's side might have to work for their points...

"Sergio Ramos came to the rescue in Italy, but Zinedine Zidane will be aware that a significant improvement will be required if Madrid are to retain the trophy this term"

Deportivo La Coruña v Barcelona
Sunday, 15:15
Live on Sky Sports 2

Heartrate monitors of Europe, unite! Barcelona are back in action after the most flabbergasting, dramatic, adjective-exhausting comeback that most of us can remember.

It was a match that defied explanation. Barça, it could be argued, were not even at their very best. Yet such was Paris Saint-Germain's mental fragility, the Catalans were able to produce a late flurry of goals, stunning fans around the world - and, you suspect, a good few punters who had sided with the French side.

There will be a comedown this weekend; there's no way the adrenaline levels could remain at the level they reached at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. The question for Deportivo La Coruña is whether that will be enough to give them a fighting chance against a team that has now scored 17 goals in three matches.

The Galicians have improved markedly since the arrival of Pepe Mel in the dugout, scraping together five points from three games and looking far more street-smart than they had under Gaizka Garitano. This weekend, though, they have a few selection issues: top scorer Florin Andone and utility man Pedro Mosquera are suspended, while Sidnei and Gael Kakuta are doubts.

Luis Enrique might be tempted to rotate, but the fact that Barça have a full week off after this probably makes widespread changes unlikely. The Blaugrana are unbeaten in 13 matches against Depor and won 8-0 at the Riazor last term, and with confidence sky-high, they could breeze past their hosts.

Recommended Bet
Back Barcelona/Barcelona HT/FT at [1.73]

Real Madrid v Real Betis
Sunday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports 1

For 50 minutes or so, Real Madrid were second best to Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo. Maurizio Sarri's side had ample motivation to attack, of course, having lost the first leg of their Champions League tie 3-1, but Madrid's approach - whether intentionally or not - invited them on, daring them to make a game of it.

Not for the first time, it was Sergio Ramos who came to the rescue, popping up with a goal from nothing and then adding a second to settle the nerves. But Zinedine Zidane will be well aware that a significant improvement will be required if Los Blancos are to retain the trophy this term.

There's no Gareth Bale this weekend - he is still suspended for his shove on Las Palmas' Jonathan Viera - and it would be little surprise if Zidane opted to shuffle his pack a little. Isco, Álvaro Morata and Marco Asensio have all made a solid case for more game time in recent weeks.

Betis are ticking along reasonably enough and have claimed four points from their last two away games - a big improvement considering they had lost the six prior to that. Víctor Sánchez's charges usually set up in a fairly conservative shape, but their attacking returns have also picked up recently: they've scored in five of the last six, including in games against Barcelona and Sevilla.

Madrid are [1.14] favourites here. Given that their defending has been fairly ropey of late (nine goals conceded in their last five), the best play is backing the home win with both teams to score.

Recommended Bet
Back Real Madrid to win and both teams to score at 6/4

Osasuna v Eibar
Monday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports 2 and Betfair Live Video

We noted last week that Eibar rarely ruffle the feathers of the big guns, and it was little surprise to see them well beaten by Real Madrid. But they did earn us a winner by getting on the scoresheet and there's good reason to side with them again in the Monday night game.

The reasoning is pretty simple: Osasuna are terrible. Los Rojillos have lost six on the spin, conceding an incredible 21 goals in that sequence. With all their relegation rivals picking up points, you're more likely to see a whole fleet of flying pigs than they are to escape the drop.

Their only win of the season did come against Eibar, but that was early in the season and there's a world of quality between the sides now. The visitors have been excellent against the teams in the bottom half recently, picking up wins Sporting Gijón, Deportivo, Valencia, Granada and Málaga. Crucially, they scored three times or more in each of those wins, so we're confident they'll bag at least a couple against a brittle backline.

Recommended Bet
Back Eibar to score twice or more at evens (2pts)

Jack Lang's La Liga P/L, 2016/17

Staked: 47pts
Returned: 40.22pts
P/L: -6.78pts

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