The best bets from the third week of the new La Liga season.
Valencia v Atletico – Saturday
The first hour of Atletico’s season saw a dull, negative brand of football but after going down to 10 men at Girona, Diego Simeone had no choice but to be positive and in the 120 minutes they’ve spent on the pitch since they’ve scored seven times. Their transfer embargo this summer has meant the Argentine has had to put his faith in youth – the average age of his side in their 5-1 thumping of Las Palmas was just 24 – which could lead to a more attacking, dynamic style. They visit Valencia who have started the season well, backing up an opening home victory with an impressive 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu. Last term 13 of their 19 home games saw at least three goals, including seven of 10 against top-half finishers, and so we’ll back Over 2.5 goals, as has been the case in five of the last eight meetings between these two.
Tip: Over 2.5
Valencia v Atletico Madrid [Total Goals Over/Under]
Deportivo v Real Sociedad – Sunday
Real Sociedad have gotten off to a flying start, netting three times in consecutive victories to sit at the top of the pile at this early stage. Eusebio Sacristan has forged a well-drilled yet slick side and their top-six finish was no fluke last season. Bar Yuri Berchiche, who went to PSG, they’ve held onto their stars and look as if they can build on last term. It’s been a tougher start for Deportivo who only managed a draw at new boys Levante, despite holding a two-goal lead, this after an expected home defeat to Real Madrid. They’ve finished in the bottom-half in their last five seasons in La Liga and Sociedad’s record at such opposition last year was W8-D1-L1. Depor also lost half of their eight home fixtures against top-half sides excluding Real and Barca last term and we think Sociedad look good value for all three points here.
Tip: Real Sociedad
Deportivo La Coruna v Real Sociedad
Villarreal v Real Betis – Sunday
It’s been an underwhelming start to the season for Villarreal who have yet to score – losing at new boys Levante first up and then finding themselves three down at half-time at Real Sociedad. Real Betis, meanwhile, have started much brighter, beating Celta Vigo last weekend and putting up a decent display in a 2-0 defeat the Nou Camp. However, they’ve now lost 14 of their last 20 away games, losing each of their last nine against top-half finishers excluding Barca and Real, though many have been narrow defeats with six of these seeing fewer than three strikes. The Yellow Submarine have gone W23-D4-L3 hosting bottom-half sides in the last three seasons but their poor start to the season and Betis’ improvement puts us off backing the hosts at odds-on. Instead, 60% of these games had under 2.5 goals and with Villarreal’s attack yet to start firing, ‘unders’ looks a solid shout.
Tip: Under 2.5
Villarreal v Real Betis [Total Goals Over/Under]