Granada v Barcelona
After a shaky start to the seasons Granada have started to pick up the pace. They’re now unbeaten in six matches as they look to distance themselves from the drop. They’ll be frustrated they couldn’t pick up more than a point away to Elche last time out considering they had a man advantage for almost the entire second half, though three consecutive home wins for the first time since October 2020 should give them confidence, especially seeing as the latest was over champions Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona are yet to build any serious momentum under Xavi, with a W4-D2-L1 record under their former midfielder in the league. A 1-0 win over Mallorca last time out was impressive considering how depleted their squad is, and five away games without defeat will give them confidence here. However, they’ve only won back-to-back league games once this season, and with Granada’s home form, we’re wary of backing the away win at such a short price, and the double chance on the hosts looks the way to go considering the Catalans’ list of absentees.
GRANADA DRAW NO BET
Real Madrid v Valencia
Sevilla look to be the only side that can challenge Los Blancos this season, with a 13 point gap having been opened up between Madrid and third placed Betis. That is largely down to their eight match winning run from the end of October to mid December, though the form of W1-D1-L1 since then will give Valencia some hope.
Valencia have a balanced W3-D3-L3 record on the road this season, but when taking into account quality of opposition that becomes very unbalanced. Indeed, they’ve lost all three such games against sides currently in the top-five in the table and despite scoring in each, they conceded 10 goals over that trio of matches.
Los Murciélagos haven’t won away at Madrid since March 2008, though only five of the 13 league outings in that time saw Madrid win by more than a single strike, while six of Real’s last nine league wins this season have also come by a single strike, leaving the handicap a very good option for the visitors.
VALENCIA +1.5 HANDICAP
Villarreal v Atletico
Villarreal have now won four consecutive league outings for the first time since January 2016 when they achieved a six game winning streak. The most games saw them run out 5-0 victors over Levante, a result which came off the back of a 5-2 win over Alaves so they've certainly got momentum on their side on home soil.
Atletico look to have thrown away their title defence and now sit 14 points of city rivals Real Madrid, and it seems as though top four is all they’ll be fighting for this season. They managed to get 2022 off to a strong start with a 2-0 win over Rayo Vallecano, though that was on home soil and Los Rojiblancos have now lost three consecutive away outings for the first time in nearly a decade.
Having the hosts as underdogs based on current form is a surprise, and considering the last six league meetings here have Villarreal leading the head-to-heads W3-D1-L2, they’re certainly worth backing at the prices.
VILLARREAL TO WIN