La Liga Matchday 16 Odds & Preview: Villareal Forward to Meet Real Madrid

First Games of 2023

Atletico Take on Barcelona in Action-Packed Matchweek

Real Madrid and Barcelona entered 2023 level on points and the La Liga title race should continue to be a big story all season long. Both Spanish giants face tough tests this weekend as Real Madrid head to Villarreal and Barcelona face Atletico Madrid. With their 2-0 win over Elche, Atletico reentered the top four in their quest for an 11th straight Champions League appearance. We’ll cover the biggest matches of the week as we review the La Liga Matchday 16 odds.

Games of the Week:

Villareal vs Real Madrid

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Substitute defender Juan Foyth’s 88th minute header powered Villareal to a 2-1 win over Valencia. The Yellow Submarine will try to make it three wins in a row on Saturday when they take on Real Madrid. Last Friday, Real’s Karim Benzema returned to make his first La Liga appearance since October. He scored two late goals as Los Blancos shutout Real Valladolid, 2-0. Thibaut Courtois also made some excellent saves for Real Madrid.

Ahead of Saturday’s match, Real Madrid are ½-goal favorites but at longer than even odds. Los Blancos come in at +110 ATS and moneyline odds. Meanwhile, Villarreal sit at -130 La Liga Matchday 16 odds to cover and +220 odds to win the match. Both meetings between the two sides finished in scoreless draws last season. Another draw shows +280 odds and it’d be the fourth in the last five fixtures.

Midweek, both Villarreal and Real Madrid progressed to the Copa Del Rey round of 16. However, both Courtois and defender Dani Carvajal missed the match due to injury. Their statuses are worth monitoring heading into Saturday. Courtois, in particular, would be a huge loss and Andriy Lunin would be in line to replace him. For Villarreal, midfielder Gio Lo Celso is still working his way back from a hamstring injury. Midfielder Francis Coquelin also has a knock and is questionable for Villarreal. With how low-scoring Villarreal vs. Real Madrid fixtures have been lately, under three goals shows -115 odds.

Rayo Vallecano vs Real Betis

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Quietly, Rayo Vallecano have put together the longest unbeaten run in the La Liga. There were nervy moments at the end of their 2-2 draw at Girona but Andoni Iraola’s side held on. Iraola has done an excellent job this season as Rayo are currently in eighth place. They’ve already defeated Real Madrid this season and will face a tough test vs. Real Betis on Sunday. Betis limped into the World Cup break, though, and have managed just one goal in their last three La Liga contests.

The defending Copa del Rey champions also only have two days of rest in between their matches at Ibiza and at Rayo Vallecano. As a result, they enter the match as ½-goal underdogs but sit at -140 odds to cover the spread. This is one of the most intriguing matches on the La Liga schedule this weekend as Rayo can leapfrog Betis in the standings with a win. Rayo show +120 ATS and moneyline odds but lost 2-0 to Gijon in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday. Betis are +245 underdogs but haven’t lost to Rayo since 2014. They’re unbeaten in the last nine meetings in all competitions, which includes five draws. A tie displays +220 odds for this match as well.

Sergio Camello is a player to watch for Rayo as the 21-year old striker has scored three goals and added three assists this season. Meanwhile, Betis’s Borja Iglesias is joint-second in La Liga with eight goals so far. Betis have only conceded 12 goals so far this season and have the third-best defensive record in the league. However, defender Luiz Felipe is out due to a suspension. Still, over two goals sits at -145 odds for this match.

Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona

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By far the most-anticipated match of the week is Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona. It’s an excellent option for those wanting to bet on La Liga games. Barça enter the match in first place in the league, while Atletico are in fourth. Atletico could do their rivals Real Madrid a solid here if they can pull off a win. Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata all looked dangerous for Atletico vs. Elche last Thursday. Meanwhile, Barcelona could only muster a draw vs. local rivals Espanyol. Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski’s three-game suspension was postponed which means he was able to play. He had some good chances but couldn’t get on the scoresheet.

Lewandowski may be able to play in this match as well but his suspension status is worth monitoring. He’s La Liga’s leading scorer, with 13 goals, and is a crucial cog in the Barcelona offensive. Regardless, Barça are ½-goal favorites at +120 ATS and moneyline odds. Atletico have won the last two meetings at the Metropolitano Stadium. They come in at -140 odds to cover the spread and win or draw this match. However, they’re +220 underdogs to come away with three points, according to the La Liga Matchday 16 odds.

“Atletico have just the 13th-best record at home this season, at 3-2-2. Barcelona are 6-1 on the road and they certainly have what it takes to dominate the midfield battle here.”

Draws have occurred in two of the last five meetings and another is priced at +250 odds here. Both teams will be missing defenders due to red card suspensions. Barcelona left back Jordi Alba and Atletico center back Mario Hermoso will both serve their suspensions Sunday. Strangely, Atletico have just the 13th-best record at home this season, at 3-2-2. Barcelona are 6-1 on the road and they certainly have what it takes to dominate the midfield battle here.

The trio of Pedri, Gavi and Frenkie de Jong helped Barcelona keep 78 percent possession vs. Espanyol. Bettors are expecting a fair number of goals here, with over 2½ goals priced at -115 odds.
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