Real Madrid vs. Valencia
This will be the second of three meetings between these teams in an eight-day span. They're facing off in the Copa del Rey and this domestic encounter is sandwiched in between.
As of now Madrid is trading in the Liga betting odds at 5/7 to win away from home this weekend, with a Goats win priced at 13/4 and a draw listed at 14/5. That's pretty good value on a solid Valencia outfit, especially against a team that seems to be having all sorts of problems this term.
Not only are Los Blancos 17 points adrift of Barcelona for the top spot in La Liga, they're also seven points back of Atletico for second place.
Their latest setback came last weekend in a 0-0 away draw versus Osasuna. Surprisingly enough, Jos Mourinho's men managed to come up with just nine total shots, with only one of which coming on goal. There was a distinct lack of attacking flair without Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch.
Madrid did manage to bounce back with a 2-0 win over Valencia in the first leg of their cup tie, with Ronaldo's presence certainly opening up more room for others to take advantage of. Los Blancos forced an own goal from Andres Guardado and then finished the job with a goal from French striker Karim Benzema.
While all hope is lost of winning the league, Madrid could really use a string of positive results to give them some confidence, especially since the knockout stages of the Champions League are on the horizon.
Away form suggests that may be a bit of a tricky endeavor though, as Los Blancos have four wins, two draws and four losses in ten away matches so far in this campaign.
Despite that setback in the first leg of the Copa del Rey, the Goats have been playing good football of late.
Before that loss they had reeled off four consecutive victories across all competitions, including league wins over Getafe (4-2), Granada (2-1) and Sevilla (2-0). Roberto Soldado, shocking no one, scored both goals in the win over Sevilla.
This recent surge has pushed Valencia up into seventh place in La Liga, and they're now just six points behind Real Madrid and third place. As such, we don't have to remind you how important this match really is.
With the Goats protecting their home field well, it's going to be a challenge for Madrid. Valencia has only lost one of their ten league matches inside Estadio Mestalla and have managed a very decent goal differential of plus-seven.
The contributions of Soldado cannot be overstated. He has 11 goals in 18 domestic appearances this season and has notched four goals in his past five matches. Could he make the difference this weekend?
La Liga Pick
Even in the face of Real Madrid's recent struggles, we find it hard to go against them in practically any circumstance. After all, they still have one of the best collections of elite talent that you'll find anywhere.
Maybe that recent win at the Bernabeu will give them a morale boost ahead of this trip to Valencia. Maybe not.
Whatever the case, trips to the Mestalla are always challenging and we feel this match will be back and forth throughout. Los Blancos may have the superior talent, but the Goats will have a raucous crowd behind them.
Therefore, we will be recommending a draw with our football betting tips.
Free Football Tips: Valencia 2 Real Madrid 2 (Find live odds at William Hill)