La Liga’s best teams have returned from the Middle East to resume the domestic season, and there are some big games on the horizon. We take a deeper dive into those with our La Liga Matchday 22 picks.
Real Madrid beat Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao en route to lifting the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia last weekend. They’re back in Spain to resume their title bid. Madrid sit just five points up on in-form Sevilla, so they need to beat Elche on Sunday.
Here are my top betting picks and predictions for the La Liga Matchday 22 schedule (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
La Liga Matchday 22 Picks
Sevilla vs. Celta Vigo (-145) ★★★
Rayo draw no bet vs. Athletic Bilbao (-110) ★★★
Barcelona -1 Asian handicap vs. Alavés (+100) ★★★
La Liga Matchday 22 Predictions
This week could make or break Sevilla’s title challenge.
They take on Valencia at the Mestalla on Wednesday night, followed by a home clash with Celta Vigo on Saturday. If they win both games, it could propel the club forward for the remainder of the campaign, but dropping points would prove very costly. Sevilla are five points behind Real Madrid but have a game in hand. Third-place Real Betis are 10 points behind Sevilla, so Julen Lopetegui’s men look like the only team capable of preventing Real Madrid from lifting the trophy.
Sevilla have won their last three games against Celta Vigo. They’re also unbeaten at home this season, with eight wins and two draws from 10 games, and they should edge this one.
Rayo draw no bet (-110)
Rayo Vallecano also have a magnificent home record this season. They similarly have eight wins and two draws from 10 matches at Estadio de Vallecas, and they own a superior goal difference than Sevilla, leaving them as the league’s best home team. Unfortunately, their away form is truly poor and has prevented the newly promoted club from mounting a title challenge.
Athletic Bilbao have just one win on the road all season and are unlikely to become the first team to beat Rayo at Estadio de Vallecas. They create plenty of chances, but their finishing is terrible. Bilbao have an expected goals tally of 31.24 this season, but they’ve scored only 20 times in 21 games.
Barcelona -1 Asian handicap (+100)
Barcelona played well in their narrow Spanish Super Cup semifinal defeat to Madrid last week. It finished 2-2 after 90 minutes, but Los Blancos grabbed the winner in extra time.
It was encouraging, though, for Barca, who are starting to get key players back from injury. They’re on a long unbeaten streak in La Liga and should win this game. Alavés are winless in their last eight matches and appear bereft of confidence right now.
La Liga Matchday 22 Quick Picks
La Liga Matchday 22 picks made 1/18/2022 at 6:27 a.m. ET.