La Liga Betting: Real Madrid vs. Espanyol

Nila Amerova

Thursday, May 15, 2014 3:31 PM GMT

Real Madrid and Espanyol collide on the final day of La Liga betting with no title implications whatsoever on the line for the hosts. Indeed Real’s main concern now is the Champions League Final. So what can we expect from Los Blancos in their domestic curtain closer.

Real Madrid bow out of title race
Real Madrid officially bowed out of the title race last week after they were stunned by Celta de Vigo 2-0 on the road, but the wheels started to come undone much earlier. On the back of consecutive draws to Valencia and Rayo Vallecano in weeks 35 and 36, Real Madrid were relegated into the long shot realm for the title. At the time, ahead of week 37 La Liga betting, sportsbooks deemed it to be the exclusive province of either Atletico Madrid or Barcelona.

Muscled out of the conversation so, it would seem Los Blancos got the hint. Perhaps following those costly stalemates Carlos Ancelotti and Co. decided that any attempt to overcome the deficit could come at the expense of their Champions League title bid and they wanted to avoid that. Perhaps protecting Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale for the premier European final could have been their main concern and, therefore, they chose not to risk it. Indeed neither featured in Celta’s shocking 2-0 victory over Real. 

Unquestionably, Real had leaked too many points and fallen too far behind in the title race. But they still had a mathematical shot at the title, especially when both Atletico and Barcelona have been reluctant to runaway with the title down the stretch. Atletico are 1-1-1 in their last three matches while Barcelona are 1-2-0 in their last three.

In any event, Real Madrid have tapped out and the title race is over for them. So what we have before us is essentially a pointless match for Real Madrid on the final day. They are 26-6-5 on the season with 84 points, which puts them five points behind Atletico and two points behind Barcelona.

Real Madrid seem to have accepted their third place finish on the season – certainly, they won’t finish lower as Athletic Club are 15 points adrift in fourth place. Only second place is up for grabs, but that rests heavily on a Barcelona defeat on the final day together with a win over Espanyol.

If Real were indeed reluctant to risk much against Celta de Vigo because of their Champions League date with Atletico Madrid, it would be counterproductive to all of a sudden decide to muster up effort in their last match. No?

Granted their curtain closer is at the Bernabéu and their fans deserve something to cheer about since they’ve thrown in the towel on the La Liga title, but if it comes at a devastating price such as an injury to either of their precious, shiny baubles Ronaldo or Bale or (beggars belief) to both, which would correlate to a Champions League disaster, they won’t be thankful.

Espanyol are hovering in mid-table obscurity where they will remain when all is said and done in the nation’s capital on the final day. There’s no incentive to win this match unless laying claim to bragging rights is an incentive that propels them; that is, simply getting a “W” against a club that is one of the leading standards in Spanish football is held a prize in itself.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":289985, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Soccer Betting Verdict: What we have before us is a match that to all intents and purposes is meaningless. Therefore, it’s hard to assess what motivation if any either side will bring to the Bernabéu.

If we take a page from sportsbooks and punters alike, the balance tips towards a winning performance by Los Blancos. Real Madrid are the hot favourites at -275 to win outright across sportsbooks. They are also the popular soccer pick according to betting trends, despite their recent wobbles and hiccups.

This overwhelming leaning can be supported by Espanyol’s recent road form, which consists of six defeats in their last nine outings, including a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in Copa del Rey action back in January. It can also be supported by Espanyol’s overall road form this season, which stands at 4-4-10 and consists of 17 goals scored and 26 conceded over 18 fixtures. The upshot: Espanyol are the quintessential long shots at +700 soccer odds to win outright.

If Carlo Ancelotti fields a second-tier side for this clash however then it’s anybody’s game really. At which point, Espanyol to win outright at +700 or the draw at +375 would be worth a tickle. For the cautious optimist, a combination of both those results is available in the double chance market at +225 at Bet365.

For our money we’re backing Real to win outright against Espanyol at the Bernabéu because a) they have home edge, b) they’ll want to give their fans something to cheer about for the debacle that was their bid for the La Liga title and c) they’ll want to show they have some edge and momentum going into the Champions League Final.

Soccer Free Picks: Real Madrid to win outright at -275