La Liga Betting: Athletic Club vs. Malaga

Nila Amerova

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 7:46 PM GMT

Wednesday, Apr. 9, 2014 7:46 PM GMT

La Liga enters week 33 and on the soccer-betting card is the clash between Athletic Club and Malaga on Monday, a pivotal clash for the hosts as they vie for a Top 4 finish. Join us as we analyse this clash and deliver our soccer-betting verdict.

Athletic Club’s Top 4 Ambitions
Athletic Club are in play for a Top 4 finish this season. Currently sat in fourth place, with a 17-8-7 record and 59 points, Athletic Club hold a six-point edge over their nearest rivals Sevilla and they are being matched at fancied -600 soccer odds to clinch the coveted berth in the table by season end.

Los Leones bounced back in week 32 La Liga betting with an away win at Levante, beating the hosts 2-1 to maintain their edge over Sevilla in the table. Form in their last five league matches is 2-2-1 with the lone defeat coming at home to current league leaders Atletico Madrid.

Home form stands at 11-3-2 and is highlighted by 35 goals scored and just 16 conceded in 16 matches played. Since the start of the second half of the season, Los Leones have gone 4-1-2 at San Mámes Barria. They’ve scored 18 goals over the span of seven games (just a smidgen over half of their total tally on the season to date), kept two clean sheets and conceded just eight goals over this stretch.

Athletic Club enter their upcoming clash with Malaga as the solid favourites at -225 to win outright at Bet365, in general a warranted price tag given their overall form this season as well as their solid home form.


Malaga’s ascent
Malaga’s season has been marred by trials and tribulations both on and off the pitch, which are widely held responsible for their steady decline in La Liga. After two consecutive seasons with a top six finish, Malaga are finding it challenging to finish in the Top 10 this season, never mind vying for a European spot. That ship has sailed.

At one point, Los Bosquerones were even fighting for top-flight survival, slipping ever so close to the brink of the relegation zone. Mid-January, ahead of their clash with Sevilla, they were down to 16th in the table (following three defeats and a draw to start the second half of the season) and desperate for a win. Their stock plummeting in direct proportion to their dire season, soccer-betting markets were offering a home win at +180 soccer odds and, understandably, few in soccer-betting circles held any hope for them. Tale told Malaga defied the odds to beat Sevilla 3-2.

When looking for pivotal moments, that victory comes to mind. Malaga didn’t exactly turn the corner then but, in hindsight, they did reach a corner, which was a much-needed step forward. Although they lost their subsequent two matches – to Real Sociedad and Almeria – Los Bosquerones eventually delivered the required results to go 4-2-2 in their subsequent eight games. A run of form that would appear to have salvaged their season, as they are seven points clear of the cut off and almost assured a return to La Liga next season. More importantly, road form (4-6-6 on the season) has perked up lately on the back of a four game undefeated run, which includes a draw and three straight wins as well as three clean sheets.

Currently sat in eleventh spot with a 10-8-14 mark and 38 points, Malaga are just two points shy of a spot in the Top 10. But Malaga are listed at the heavy disadvantage against Athletic Club. Matched at +650 to win outright on the road and at +320 to force the draw, it would seem sportsbooks expect Malaga to digress once again rather than continue their ascent.


Soccer Betting Verdict:
At face value, the soccer betting market is apt. Athletic Club boast solid form at home and they have the incentive of a European spot as motivation. All in all, they would appear to be the prudent soccer pick at -225 to win outright.

Those that are cautiously optimistic about the upset however might fancy the draw at +320. Of course, if you are buying what Malaga is selling of late, then the outright upset win at +650 is rather tempting.  There are enough positive signs from Malaga to back up a decision to go against the grain.

For our money however we’re sticking with the odds makers here and taking the home win. For better value, we would suggest the double chance market. Athletic Club boast a 6-5-5 record at home in half-time markets, suggesting that the Draw-Athletic Club result at +275 might be the savvy pick. Of course, if you are starting on the notion of the upset as your main soccer pick, then you might also fancy the Draw-Malaga result at generous +1600 soccer odds (Malaga are 4-7-5 in half-time markets on the road).

Soccer Free Picks: Athletic Club to win outright at -225

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