La Liga Matchday 25 Preview
Leaders Barcelona Head to Bilbao
Title Slipping Away from Real Madrid
With a second straight draw, Real Madrid fell even further behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. It now looks quite unlikely Real will defend their title. There are still 14 matches to play but Barcelona have a nine-point lead and can focus almost completely on La Liga. This weekend Athletic Club host Barcelona and Real Madrid face Espanyol. Let’s take a look at these matches and others from La Liga Matchday 25.
Matches of the Week:
Fourth-placed Real Sociedad head on the road to Mallorca on Sunday. Sociedad have disappointed over the last couple of weeks, with a loss to Valencia and draw vs Cadiz. Before the Mallorca match, Sociedad take on AS Roma in the Europa League on Thursday. Mallorca, who are in 10th place in the La Liga standings, could benefit from Sociedad having just two days of rest. However, Sociedad have dominated Mallorca in recent seasons.
Real Sociedad have won each of the last seven meetings between the two sides and outscored Mallorca 12-0 in the process. A Real Sociedad clean sheet could be a popular bet and it shows +130 odds for the match. Regardless, this match is listed as a pick’em. The Txuri-Urdin sit at -150 odds to cover and Mallorca come in at +130 ATS odds. Mallorca have lost each of their last two matches but have compiled a respectable 6-2-4 record at home this season. They display +240 odds to get a seventh home win this season, on Sunday.
Concerningly, Real Sociedad have been shutout in four of their last six La Liga matches. Still, they’re +145 favorites and have relished this fixture in recent years. Mallorca’s chances have taken a hit in this match due to forward Vedat Muriqi’s suspension. The Kosovar forward has scored 10 of Mallorca’s 21 La Liga goals this season. In a match of two of La Liga’s best defenses, under two goals are priced at -135 odds. Punters can also take a draw at +190 odds.
In one of the most traditional rivalries in Spanish soccer, Athletic Club host Barcelona on Sunday. Both clubs have participated in every season of La Liga and are the two most successful teams in the history of the Copa del Rey. Following a tough end to February, Barcelona have bounced back.
They defeated Real Madrid 1-0 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals and downed Valencia 1-0 on Sunday. With Ronald Araujo suspended and Pedri and Ousmane Dembele out, this could be a tough game for Barcelona.
The La Liga Matchday 25 odds give Barcelona less than a 50 percent implied chance to win the match. As ½-goal favorites, Barcelona come into Sunday’s match at +120 ATS and moneyline odds. Bilbao will also be missing a player due to suspension, as Oihan Sancet picked up a red card in the scoreless draw at Rayo Vallecano.
Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon has also missed the last few matches with an achilles injury. Still, the hosts show -140 ATS and +245 moneyline odds. Bilbao have had success vs. Barcelona in cup competitions over the last few years. However, they haven’t defeated Barcelona in La Liga since 2019.
Three of the last four La Liga meetings have finished in 4-0 wins for Barcelona, including the reverse fixture. However, Robert Lewandowski has a knock and Barcelona have struggled to score in recent games. In any case, over two goals display -145 odds for the match. These teams drew 1-1 at the San Mames last season and another deadlock sits at +230 odds.
Two teams on the outside of the Champions League picture looking in face off on Sunday. Sixth-placed Villarreal host fifth-placed Real Betis on Sunday after their Thursday UEFA matches. Villarreal head to Anderlecht in the Conference League, while Real Betis face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Europa League.
Following both teams’ European fixtures, Villarreal are ½-goal favorites for Sunday’s match. The Yellow Submarine comes in at -110 ATS and moneyline odds. Should they win, it’ll be their third straight in La Liga. Jose Luis Morales will also look to get on the scoresheet for a third straight match.
Over the last five meetings, both teams have won twice and the other match finished in a draw. A draw is priced at +270 odds but a Real Betis win could potentially put them in the top four. Betis, who defeated Villarreal 1-0 in the reverse fixture, are +300 underdogs though.
Betis could be missing two key midfielders as Sergio Canales is day-to-day and William Carvalho is suspended. Betis +½ also shows -110 odds but Villarreal have been one of the best home teams in the league this season.
At 7-1-3 at home, only Real Madrid and Barcelona have picked up more home points than Villarreal in La Liga. Each of the last three matches between the sides have finished with two goals or fewer but both over and under 2½ display -110 La Liga Matchday 25 odds. Real Betis alone have averaged over two goals per game in their last five matches.
Other Top-Four Matches
Espanyol last won at the Santiago Bernabeu all the way back in 1996. Real Madrid should be more than motivated to extend that streak after consecutive draws in La Liga. After scoring 44 goals in 46 competitive matches last season, Karim Benzema has not been at his best this season for Real.
There is speculation that Los Blancos will sign a big-name center forward in the Summer to stop their reliance on the Ballon d’Or winner. Benzema is 35 years old and has had multiple injuries this season but is still Real’s top scorer.
Real, who have won just two of their last five La Liga matches, are 1½-goal favorites for Saturday’s match. They come in at -140 odds to cover the spread and -430 odds to sweep the season series vs. Espanyol. In their last meeting, Real Madrid got a 3-1 win as Benzema scored a double.
Under three goals displays a -120 price for this one, though. Espanyol are coming off a 2-1 road loss to Valladolid but have only lost four of their 12 road games this season. The Barcelona area club have also picked up draws vs. Atletico Madrid and Barcelona this season. A draw shows a +550 price for this match, though.
Espanyol +1½ also comes in at just +120 odds and they’re +1100 road underdogs. The visitors’ main goal-scoring threat is Joselu, who has 11 goals this season. That’s more than any other player in La Liga not named Benzema or Robert Lewandowski. Former Barcelona man Martin Braithwaite has also gotten on the scoresheet three times in the last two matches for Espanyol.
Atletico Madrid smashed Sevilla 6-1 last weekend. Memphis Depay made the most of his first start for Atletico as he scored a double. Alvaro Morata also found the net twice as a substitute. Diego Simeone’s side are unbeaten in their last eight La Liga matches and head to Girona next Monday.
Girona have been one of the highest-scoring teams in La Liga over the past few weeks, with 11 goals in their last three matches. They’ve also conceded seven goals during that time and Monday’s contest could be a shootout as well. Over two goals display -140 odds in an intriguing match.
Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann tops the assist charts in the La Liga stats, with eight. Prior to Atletico’s six-goal outburst, they hadn’t scored two goals in a La Liga match since January, though. The visitors are ½-goal favorites and sit at +115 ATS and moneyline odds. Atletico won the reverse fixture 2-1 but five of the seven meetings since 2017 have finished in draws. Another draw comes in at +220 odds here. Meanwhile, Girona sit at -135 odds to cover and get at least a point on Monday.
Girona have one of the better home records in the league, at 6-3-3. They’re +270 underdogs but with the goalscoring form they’re in, it wouldn’t be shocking if they get all three points here. Both Atletico and Girona have scored 38 goals this season and only Real Madrid and Barcelona have scored more in La Liga. Midfielder Yangel Herrera is also close to making a return for the home side. Still, Atletico’s defense has been excellent lately and conceded just three goals in their last five matches.Follow us on Twitter