Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix, second right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side’s second goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Atletico Madrid at the Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)
- Atletico Madrid’s lead stands at five points over hard-charging Barcelona and Real Madrid, with the Colchoneros holding a game in-hand entering the final few months of the La Liga season
- Atleti clashes with Real in a critical edition of the Madrid Derby on Sunday (10:15 am ET) in the match of the round, while Barcelona will expect nothing less than three points from its visit to Osasuna on Saturday (3:00 pm)
- Get all the odds and best bets for La Liga Matchday 26 in Spain’s La Liga below
All eyes will be on the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday, as Real Madrid will try to edge closer to its league-leading hosts Atletico on La Liga Matchday 26.
Los Blancos ‘ disappointing 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad last weekend snapped a four-game winning run, while Atleti’s spotty recent form (2-2-1) has opened the door for the rest of Spain’s power trio and somewhat rekindled the title race.
Atleti is still -195 to win La Liga (DraftKings), but Barça (+275) and Real (+550) are both still seen as outside shots entering this crucial weekend.
At the other end of the table, Cadiz hosts Eibar on Saturday (12:30 pm) in a match with heavy relegation battle overtones. Both are winless in their last seven, and at +250 and +150 to be relegated respectively are in very real danger of going down this season.
La Liga Matchday 26 Odds
|Valencia vs Villarreal||+290||+220||+106|
|Valladolid vs Getafe||+200||+180||+180|
|Elche vs Sevilla||+600||+250||-167|
|Cadiz vs Eibar||+220||+210||+140|
|Osasuna vs Barcelona||+460||+325||-177|
|Huesca vs Celta Vigo||+190||+225||+148|
|Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid||+160||+230||+175|
|Real Sociedad vs Levante||-195||+310||+575|
|Athletic Bilbao vs Granada||-180||+310||+480|
|Real Betis vs Alaves||-134||+215||+460|
All odds taken Mar 4 at DraftKings
Cadiz vs Eibar Prediction
To say it’s been a difficult first few months of 2021 would be an understatement for both Cadiz (6-7-12) and Eibar (4-10-11), who have each slid further toward the relegation zone over the winless last couple weeks.
Cadiz took the league by storm early on, racing to a 4-2-2 record and spawning hopes of a comfortable mid-table finish before crashing back down to earth; since a 2-0 win at Eibar back on October 30, Alvaro Cervera’s side is 2-5-10 — and has not kept a clean sheet in nine matches since the calendar turned to 2021.
Eibar is competitive in virtually every game it plays, but has won just once since November 30 (1-6-7) — and Jose Luis Mendilibar’s squad is gearing up for its first relegation battle since 2015-16.
The ‘Both Teams to Score (BTTS)’ bet appears to be undervalued, as three of Eibar’s last four (and six of eight) matches have seen it hit and Cadiz’s home matches against bottom-half sides have seen BTTS hit a little over 50-percent of the time.
Pick: BTTS (+117)
Osasuna vs Barcelona Prediction
With wins in three of its last four, Osasuna (7-7-11) has propelled itself out of the relegation conversation — for now — ahead of Saturday’s visit from Barcelona (16-5-4).
One very clear trend with Jagoba Arrasate’s Rojillos: Clean sheets for and against. Whether shutting out the likes of Alaves (1-0) and Levante (1-0) or getting shut out by Sevilla (0-2) or Real Betis (0-1), Osasuna’s matches often feature a zero.
Barça’s away form is also excellent, with seven-straight league wins away from the Camp Nou — including three clean sheets in the last four for Ronald Koeman’s side.
Given Osasuna’s propensity for clean sheets on one side or another and Barça’s away form, consider Barcelona to ‘Win to Nil’ just as Sevilla did on February 23 at El Sadar.
Pick: Barcelona to Win to Nil (+195)
Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid Prediction
The Madrid Derby is here with about as much importance as it could possibly hold: Atleti (18-4-2) has seen its once-massive lead slimmed down to a two-result spread, with Real (16-5-4) and Barcelona hard-charging.
Zidane’s Blancos are in a better run of form, with a 4-1-0 record in their last five, while Sunday’s hosts have had to fight tooth and nail for a 2-2-1 mark in their last five.
Recent head-to-head history is a mixed bag between the two, with three Real Madrid wins in 2020 offset by a number of draws and a narrow Atletico edge in 2018 and 2019.
It’s truly a collision of two of the best teams in Spain: Atleti is La Liga’s best home team (9-2-1), while Real is the second-best away side (8-4-1).
Time and again during the Simeone reign, Atleti has dug deep in this type of situation — on a mediocre run of form, against a big-time opponent — and found a result. Expect the hosts to do so again this weekend.
Pick: Atleti Draw No Bet -DNB (-113)
Carlos Verde is a sports media professional, with writing featured in a number of outlets, including the Epoch Times, Ottawa Life Magazine and Where is Football. He also served as a broadcast commentator for the United Soccer League’s Ottawa Fury FC.