La Liga Betting: Real Betis v Real Madrid



The fastest goal in Seville derby history at the Sánchez Pizjuán started a nightmare for Real Betis that will haunt them for some time. Just 12 seconds had gone when a revitalised José Antonio Reyes capitalised on goalkeeper Adrián's error, beating the previous record of 35 seconds set by Pepe Mel, now the Betis manager. The performance of the team was lacklustre and humiliating, whilst individual mistakes were bemusing to say the least. If you struggle with José Antonio Reyes on the wing, the sight of Cristiano Ronaldo will be enough to give the Betis defence palpitations.

Real Madrid have successfully negotiated their way through the 'group of death' in the Champions League this week: the draw in Manchester was enough to qualify for the knockout stages. José Mourinho was glad that the 'big team' knocked out was City, as he joked that if it had been the other way round, "the press wouldn't have allowed me to return to Madrid."

Team news

Pepe Mel will be frustrated at having lost two of his players for differing inane reasons: centre-back Paulao is out for a month after playing on through the pain barrier in the derby and defensive midfielder Rubén Peréz misses the game following two yellow cards - the first an attempted rugby tackle on Jesus Navas, the second a handball that he embarrassingly pretended had hit him in the midriff.

Only Gonzalo Higuaín and Marcelo remain missing for Los Blancos. Mesut Özil should return to the starting eleven, having sat the midweek fixture out.

Form

Betis had been riding high until recent weeks, earning five wins in eight matches prior to two defeats on the trot. They have lost three of the four matches against other top eight sides, conceding at least four goals in the process. Over 3.5 goals is 2.05.

Five wins in a row domestically keeps Madrid in the running, waiting for their Catalan rivals to slip up. Their five goals against Athletic Bilbao could have been ten, whilst their electrifying start at the Etihad Stadium should have led to more rewards. In the opening 15 minutes they had registered seven attempts and five on target, in comparison to none from City. Madrid are 15.00 to be three up by half-time.

Recent head-to-head

In the last five meetings both sides have found net, and this is priced at 1.80. The most recent was in March, with Madrid running out 2-3 winners.

Goalscorer betting

He's notorious for starting seasons slowly, but even by his normal standards Karim Benzema's goalscoring has been at a snail's pace. The injury to Higuaín has given him the opportunity once again to prove his doubters wrong. A striker that relies on confidence, he has just two goals in the league this season and has only started four games. He caught Maicon napping to score in the week, to add to his strike against Athletic. At 3.80 he is worth backing to open the scoring.

Verdict

Real Madrid have found a rhythm domestically, whilst Real Betis have struggled against the better teams in the Primera. Pepe Mel's side need to be ready from the off or this match could be over before it's really started. With qualification for the next stage in Europe complete, Mourinho can focus his efforts on reducing the gap between his side and Barca in the lead up to Christmas. Real Madrid to win is 1.28.

Bonus bet

Two headers from Sevilla's Fazio displayed Betis's vulnerabilities in the air. Without key players in defensive positions this disorganisation could be highlighted further. Sergio Ramos scored from a header at a set-piece last week, and he is the highest scoring defender within La Liga. Another Ramos header is nicely priced at 10.00.

Score prediction: Real Betis 1-4 Real Madrid (18.00)