Terry Gibson's La Liga Betting: Benzema To Burn Bilbao & Neville's Valencia To Win This Week, Honest


Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao - Saturday 15:00 GMT

The last five home games for Real Madrid have served up an accumulative aggregate score of 29 to four in their favour. We will leave their away form to next time.

On paper, facing the Basque team should appear to be a much sterner test than the one's they have faced recently in Rayo, Real Sociedad, Depor, Sporting and Espanyol.

However, despite Athletic climbing the table recently and proving that they are a very decent outfit, the odds are firmly in favour of yet another Real Madrid home win. Here's why. Real Madrid have won the last 11 home games against Athletic in all competitions.

Since the turn of the century Athletic have won one game, back in 2005, out of the 18 matches played at The Bernabeu. It gets worse for the visitors, Real have won the other 17.

Ignoring these statistics I would say that Athletic are very capable of making life difficult for Real Madrid. They are a hardworking, well coached and physical team who have a great attitude. They have a potent striker in Aritz Aduriz who will put himself about to unsettle Ramos and Varane. However, they are without two important players and that will be crucial in the outcome of this game. Holding midfielder Mikel San Jose and the exciting Ińaki Williams are both suspended. No Marcelo for Real Madrid and still no sign of a return for Gareth Bale I'm afraid but Real will be able to cope with the loss of these two better than Athletic in terms of replacements. 

I can't finish without giving mention to the fine form of Luka Modric. The Croatian was outstanding last week against Granada, he dragged the team by the scruff of the neck to get the win and scored a memorable goal to clinch all three points. He is becoming a real talisman for Zidane and very popular with the Real Madrid fans - it has taken some time! 

Real Madrid to beat Athletic Bilbao again for me by three goals to one. Benzema is looking to score for the 7th consecutive La Liga game.

Terry’s Tips

Real Madrid 3 – 1 Athletic Bilbao 10.50

Benzema to score first 4.20

 

Valencia v Espanyol - Saturday 19:30 GMT

I don't know where to start with this game between the two worst teams statistically in La Liga.

Let's deal with the home team first. Twelve without a win tells a story that started with their last victory on the 7th of November in round 11 with a 5-1 away win at Celta Vigo. (This week is round 24!) Two games later, after a home draw with Las Palmas and an away defeat at Sevilla, Nuno lost his job. Voro took over as caretaker manager for the 1-1 draw with Barcelona and Gary Neville has now presided over nine games without success. 

When Nuno lost his job Valencia had 19 points, five behind 4th place Villarreal who had 24. Perhaps that wasn't so bad after all. Twelve games later Valencia are on 25 points and Villarreal have moved onto 45! Valencia are now just four points above relegation. It is proving to be a catastrophic season indeed. 

It's a very similar story for Espanyol who sacked their manager Sergio Gonzalez after a 1-0 defeat against Celta Vigo and replaced him with another ex-player in Romanian Constantin Galca. He won his first game in charge but he hasn't won a game since. Their current run is five defeats and two draws and they have lost the last two 6-0 away to Real Madrid and last week suffered a 5-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad. 

Trying to unravel any prediction for this game is a tough one. I think it is key to see how the Valencia fans react and to see if it is an advantage to each team regarding the venue of this game. 

Playing at home in these circumstances can be hazardous to say the least.. Get off to a good start and everyone is happy and off and flying, that is something Valencia have failed to do at all under Gary Neville. 

The Espanyol players will be relieved that they haven't got to face their fans after a humiliating performance against Real Sociedad and maybe they can play with a little less fear away from home. The first goal in this game is crucial to the mental state of both teams and first team to score wins. 

Will it be Negredo or Felipe Caicedo?

I'm going to go for Negredo and a Valencia 2-0 win purely on the fact they have better players than their opponents but I've been thinking that for a while now.

Terry’s Tip

Negredo to score and Valencia to win 2-0 20.00