With the new La Liga campaign getting underway this weekend, we round up the standout fixtures for game week 1 and pick out some alternative betting tips and predictions, starting with defending champions Barcelona who kick-off their season away to Athletic Bilbao tonight.
What’s more, the La Liga curtain raiser is being broadcast live on ITV4 tonight.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona
Fri 16th Aug (KO 20:00)
Barcelona face a stern test as they kick-off their quest for a 27th La Liga title at San Mames on Friday evening, and the reigning champions will be without captain Lionel Messi after the Argentine maestro sustained a calf injury in pre-season.
Messi’s omission at least provides summer marquee signing Antoine Griezmann the opportunity to take centre stage and a fast, impactful start could be key towards the French World Cup winner settling in at the Catalan giants.
Barca have largely taken care of Bilbao in recent times with eight wins from the last ten meetings between the pair, however both of last season’s league meetings ended level including a 0-0 stalemate here.
And goals have been at a premium in the last four encounters between the teams with fewer than 2.5 scored in each. With Bilbao conceding just 15 first half goals last term, we expect this one to be especially tight in the opening stanza and backing a 0-0 half time correct score could pay dividends.
Celta Vigo vs Real Madrid
Sat 17th Aug (KO 16:00)
After a dismal 2018/19 campaign, Real Madrid will be gunning to start their new season on a high and they should be involved in a thriller when they take on Celta Vigo at Balaidos this Saturday afternoon.
This fixture always produces an abundance of goals and there have been a whopping 45 netted in the last ten meetings between the sides, including a 2-4 success for Real here last term – the third time in five seasons that Los Merengues have triumphed in Vigo with both teams scoring.
A similar outcome could well be on the cards again, as Real look stronger in attack following the marquee summer signing of Eden Hazard, yet defensively they’re still wobbling after conceding a torrent of goals in pre-season.
Celta should have goals in them too with new acquisition Santi Mina partnering the prolific Iago Aspas up front, and we like the look of Aspas to score anytime here as the diminutive forward seeks to increase his 138 goal tally for Celestes.
Valencia vs Real Sociedad
Sat 17th Aug (KO 18:00)
Valencia are our team to watch out for this season, as detailed in our La Liga 2019/20 Outright Betting Tips and Predictions, and Los Che get their campaign underway on Saturday evening against Real Sociedad at Mestalla.
Marcelino’s men have risen rapidly throughout the past two seasons and enjoyed a wonderful 2018/19 campaign, finishing 4th once again to secure Champions League football and lifting their eighth Copa Del Rey crown after beating Barcelona 2-1 at Benito Villamarin in May.
Strengthened over the summer by the arrivals of Jasper Cillessen, Maxi Gomez and Eliaquim Mangala who signed from Manchester City this week, Los Che are a formidable outfit and they should be too strong for Real Sociedad in this weekend’s opener.
They lost just twice in the league at Mestalla last term and have accrued ten points from their last four meetings against the Basque outfit, so all in all Valencia look just about the bankers of this opening weekend at a touch of odds-on. A more appealing wager though may be to back the aforementioned Maxi Gomez to score anytime and open his account for Los Che. The Uruguayan netted 31 goals in Celta colours over the last two seasons and is set to thrive with his new club this term.
Back it as a treble at 18/1!
Like the look of these picks? You can back Barcelona to be scoreless at half-time and both Iago Aspas and Maxi Gomez to get off the mark on Saturday as a treble at a very tasty 18/1!