Soccer Picks: Villarreal vs. Real Sociedad

Nila Amerova

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 4:53 PM GMT

Villarreal and Real Sociedad are set to collide in a top six battle in La Liga at the weekend. Here’s a primer on this much-anticipated tilt complete with highlighted soccer picks for your consideration. 

Top six battle promises to be a cracking match

Sixth placed Villarreal host fifth placed Real Sociedad in what should be a cracking match in Spanish top flight with plenty angles for profit. Sportsbooks however are cornering it firmly in the home side’s camp. Do they have it right?

Villarreal are installed as the hot -110 favourites to win outright at Bet365 when they host Real Sociedad. Odds that are somewhat underscored by a convincing performance in the last lap, a 5-2 routing of Rayo Vallecano by Villarreal that saw them snap a two-game losing streak.

However, with Rayo Vallecano mired in the relegation quagmire, it wasn’t billed a tough matchup for Villarreal to begin with. Nonetheless, it was a brilliant showcase of offensive firepower by the visitors with Nigerian striker Ikechukwu Uche scoring a hat-trick and climbing to seventh in La Liga’s top scorers list, and French striker Jérémy Perbet scoring a brace and notching an assist as well.

On the back of the victory Villarreal improved to an overall 9-4-5 record and 31 points. More importantly, the win augurs well for Villarreal as they prepare for a decidedly tougher matchup against Real Sociedad, on a 9-5-4 record and 32 points – just a point ahead in the table.

It should send them into the match with confidence, measurably optimistic about gaining a positive result against Real Sociedad, who have been on a tear in La Liga since a 5-1 defeat to Real Madrid on November 9, winning five on the trot – 4-3 over Celta de Vigo, 2-1 over Espanyol, 5-1 over Real Betis, 3-1 over Granada and, most impressively, 2-0 over Athletic Club (ranked fourth ahead of week 19 La Liga action).

That the humiliating defeat to Real Madrid didn’t shake them is a credit to their tenacity and intention towards a Top Four finish this season, which is a soccer pick priced at +225 at Bet365, just a smidgen ahead of Villarreal at +275 for a top four finish.

Curiously, though, sportsbooks aren’t buying what Real Sociedad is selling, listing them at rather long +300 soccer odds to win outright. Heck, even the draw is priced conspicuously large at +250 at Bet365.

Real Sociedad’s road form might go some way towards explaining this negative stance as they are just 3-3-3 this season on their travels with 12 goals netted and 16 conceded. That said they have shown distinct improvement of late with a 3-1-1 mark in their last five road games.

It’s also worthwhile to note that the hosts don’t exactly loom threatening either. Fact is they have been a much better road team so far than a home team. At home, Villarreal are 4-3-2 while on the road they are 5-1-3.

What’s more, they haven’t won a home La Liga game since October 27 when they beat Valencia 4-1. They’ve gone 0-2-2 in their last four, a run of form that includes defeats to both Getafe and Sevilla and draws to both Atletico Madrid and Malaga. Making even worse reading is their lack of offense during that stretch: they couldn’t muster up more than a goal in their last four.

Soccer Betting Verdict: Still think sportsbooks have it right and Villarreal deserve to be the hot favourites in this match? In our opinion, the resounding answer is no. Home advantage and the importance of this matchup towards the table’s hierarchy can’t be ignored but neither can Real Sociedad’s current form that is gaining momentum with each passing week. Five straight wins is nothing to scoff at and so with Real Sociedad trading at a whopping +300 to win outright they are our value soccer pick recommendation for this matchup.

Soccer Free Picks: Real Sociedad at +300 to win outright

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