La Liga Game of the Week Preview – Real Betis vs. Atletico Madrid

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

By Jonathan Willis
Atletico Madrid vs. Real Betis

We’re more than halfway through the La Liga season, and Atletico Madrid have lost just one time. In most leagues that would mean first place in the table, but Atletico are in Spanish football and they have to deal with giants Barcelona. However, they have themselves to blame too. Atletico have settled

for draws way too often, finishing tied 8 times in 21 matches. They will be looking to secure all three points against Real Betis this Sunday in a bid to close the gap on Barca.

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Real Betis vs. Atletico Madrid

  • Date and Time: February 3, 2019, 10:15 a.m. ET
  • Location: Estadio Benito Villamarin, Sevilla, Spain
  • US Television Coverage: beIN Sports
  • Betting Line: Atletico Madrid PK and -0.5, O/U 2

Recent Form

Real Betis had a pretty nice finish in 2017-18 and qualified for the Europa League. They are looking for more of the same this year, but they are in eighth place with an 8-5-8 record. Betis were in the top six for quite a while, yet they have fallen off with the start of 2019. They have lost three of their last four matches, and defeats at the hands of mid table Athletic Bilbao and bottom of the table SD Huesca have pushed them outside the top seven. Betis were fortunate to get their one win too, needing a penalty kick conversion deep into extra time to beat Girona 3-2.

Through 14 matches, Atletico had as many draws as wins or losses, and the inability to get the full three points kept them from really challenging Barcelona when the reigning champions were struggling. However, since that point, they have grabbed six wins in their last seven matches. The offense is scoring enough with an average of two goals per game, and the defense has been extraordinary. Atletico have posted a clean sheet in five of their last seven matches.

Soccer Sports Betting

Key Absences

Four players may be sidelined for Betis here. Midfielders Javi Garcia and Joaquin are each questionable due to knocks picked up last week, and forward Cristian Tello is questionable with a strained hamstring. Defender Junior Firpo has had some issues with his hamstring, yet he is considered probable. Atletico won’t have at least three players for this match. Forward Diego Costa is out for another two weeks after a broken bone in his foot first sidelined him in early December, and defender Stefan Savic is going to miss another three weeks due to a strained hamstring. Midfielder Koke is expected back from a hamstring injury of his own next week, and there are a number of questionable players. Center back Diego Godin and midfielder Vitolo are both questionable because of thigh injuries, while forwards Kevin Gameiro and Alvaro Morata, and defender Filipe Luis are anywhere from questionable to probable.

Matchup to Watch

Most of Betis’ goals have come from their midfield this season. Sergio Canales and Giovani Lo Celso have five goals apiece, and they have led from back to front. Their proclivity to move forward gives them the bulk of possession in many matches, but it plays into Atletico’s hands. Atletico are great at holding up midfielders on the attack, and they are great on the counter. When these two teams met for the first time back in October, Betis held the ball for 64 percent of the match, but they couldn’t get a shot on goal and Atletico eventually succeeded on the counter in a 1-0 win.

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Spanish La Liga Free Picks

This is a bad match-up for Betis. Even though Madrid are dealing with numerous injuries, they will stall out Betis’ midfielders when they try to push and punish in odd-man situations.

Spanish La Liga Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2, Real Betis 0

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