Real Madrid vs. Rayo Vallecano
As the vastly superior side and the home team in this meeting, Los Blancos have understandably been listed at 17/100 to get the win.
Rayo comes in holding a 23/2 (+1150) price for a shock victory at the Bernabeu, with a draw quoted at 21/5 (+420) on the soccer odds.
All eyes were on Real Madrid's Champions League showdown with Manchester United on Wednesday and rightly so. These are arguably the two biggest clubs in the world and both sides are overloaded with quality.
In the first leg tie, held in Madrid, Real looked on as Danny Welbeck put the visitors ahead. However, Cristiano Ronaldo responded soon after, scoring on a beautiful header to even up the honors.
Despite a number of chances, United's David De Gea was in terrific form in goal and ended up preserving the 1-1 draw. Now we'll head to Old Trafford, where Ronaldo and company will aim to secure advancement to the next round of the competition.
We're focusing on Real's play in competitions because they've been having a horrible time in La Liga this term. Third place would be considered a success for a majority of teams, but not for one as talented as Los Blancos.
Heading into the weekend, Real is four points behind second-place Atletico and a whopping 16 off the pace of Barcelona.
Rayo has been off since last weekend's fantastic 2-1 home win over Atletico Madrid. A dream start put the hosts in control.
Lass' goal in the third minute was exactly what the doctor ordered, and when Leo found the back of the net in the thirty-second minute, the Estadio Teresa Rivero was rocking. From there Rayo was able to preserve the three points, despite Falcao's extremely late consolation goal.
It was the perfect way for Rayo to respond after a hard-to-take 2-1 away loss Sevilla. Now they find themselves in sixth place, right alongside Valencia at 37 points and two back of Malaga.
Piti leads the team with 10 league goals on the year, while Leo has come through with seven goals and five assists so far. Look for those two to be at the heart of whatever Rayo creates going forward.
It's going to be tough to get anything out of this match though, considering Rayo has almost double as many losses as wins away from home this season. They're also sporting a poor minus-11 goal differential.
La Liga Pick
Despite Real's overall struggles in the league this season, they have been downright unstoppable at home throughout.
In 11 La Liga matches at the Bernabeu, Los Blancos have won nine times and drawn twice, while scoring 36 goals and surrendering only nine.
To boot, Real has already beaten Rayo once this season and that came away from home. Ronaldo converted from the penalty spot to put the visitors in cruise control after an early goal from Karim Benzema. Rayo did create their fair share of chances, but Mourinho's defense was disciplined in the back and held on.
This weekend we can't find it in ourselves to recommend anything other than a straightforward three points for Real once again. They've got the world-class talent and have been ridiculously prolific at home.
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