Soccer Picks: Villarreal vs. Malaga La Liga Tips & Odds

Nila Amerova

Thursday, November 28, 2013 1:42 PM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 1:42 PM GMT

La Liga week 15 kicks off on Friday with two clashes, one of which features fourth-placed Villarreal playing host to Malaga. With odds in full swing, here’s a breakdown of this clash and choice free picks to consider.

Betting on the winner

Villarreal and Malaga clash in Spain’s Primera Division, in what sportsbooks are slating as a rather lopsided affair. The hosts are listed as the hot favourites at -188 while the visitors are tipped at staggering +500 soccer odds to mastermind the upset. The draw ringing in at a large +300 completes the overwhelming one-sided outlook before us. So the obvious question that begs an answer: do the bookies have it right or can Malaga turn the odds in their favour?

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Villarreal are currently in fourth place in the league, courtesy of an 8-3-3 record and 27 points. Despite their lofty standing they are well behind the leading triplet in Spain – 13 points behind pace-setting Barcelona (on 40 points) and 7 points adrift of Real Madrid in third place.

Nonetheless they’ve sunk their teeth into fourth place, reluctant to let it go after three straight games unbeaten including the 3-0 win over Levante in the last turn around the league that maintained their one-point edge over Athletic Club.

In four of their last five games, they scored at least once and twice they kept a clean sheet. And lest you be thinking they’ve had an easy schedule of it, they haven’t. On the contrary, they’ve come up against some decent middleweights in Valencia, Levante and Elche as well as credible title threat in Atletico Madrid – a side they managed to hold to a 1-1 draw in fact.

Given what we’ve seen from Villarreal over the course of the early season there is no question about their value or meriting favourable odds against Malaga. They are one of the best teams in La Liga right now, if not exactly at the level of the elite trio of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, they are certainly a cut above Malaga. And surely they’ll show their worth and fortitude when they take on Malaga on Friday.

Malaga by contrast have stuttered out of the gates. Somewhat surprisingly so as their last two seasons in La Liga saw them finish a commendable fourth (2011-12) and sixth (2012-13).  How quickly things can deteriorate.

Currently they are 14th in the table following a 3-4-7 mark in 14 laps, a run of form that includes back-to-back defeats to Granada and Athletic Club in the last two rounds. Making matters worse is the fact that they can’t seem to buy a road win no matter how hard they try – they are winless on the road so far this season (0-4-3) and their last five road games amount to: LDLDD. The poor reading doesn’t stop there however as three of the five saw them come and go with nary a whisper of a goal.

Soccer Betting Verdict: Betting on the winner in this clash is as straightforward as it can get in sports betting, at least in our opinion. It’s obvious that Villarreal with home ground advantage will be tough to beat. Moreover, they have the on paper edge in every aspect of the game. So we are recommending Villarreal at -188 as the value soccer pick.

Of course, Villarreal cannot take anything for granted, not the least Malaga’s poor form. Malaga’s life in top-flight is at risk as they hover just above the danger zone, too close for comfort some might say. The desperation for points and determination to seek redemption after back-to-back defeats in theory could prove a catalyst towards better results. However that notion is based on too much supposition and not enough facts. The most pertinent of those are: Malaga have yet to win on the road this season. It’s hard to imagine they would at the expense of Villarreal and bookmakers long odds of +500 to win outright.

So to recap, we’re plumping down to a Villarreal win and favouring the Over 2.5 at -125 given Malaga’s shortfalls on defence. For our value soccer pick we recommend Villarreal to win both halves, which is trading at a tempting +120 at Bet365.

Soccer Free Picks: Villarreal at -188 to win outright; Over 2.5 -125

Bonus Soccer Picks: Villarreal to win both halves at +120
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