La Liga Tips – Bilbao will do better in season opener

Competitive game to kickstart season

Granada [2.94] v Athletic Bilbao [2.82]; The Draw [3.2]
Friday 11 September, 20:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

The La Liga season kicks off on Friday with a match between two sides that can be pleased with how last season went, as Granada take on Athletic Bilbao.

Of all the promoted teams in La Liga last season, Granada finished highest in seventh. It was a great achievement and one built upon some very consistent away form, with Granada unbeaten in seven games on the road (W4 D3).

Granada ended the season with a 4-0 thrashing of Bilbao, who having started the post-lockdown period in very good form, fell apart over the last couple of weeks. Their eventual position of eleventh did not reflect how competitive they were in a season that saw Bilbao reach the Copa del Rey final (which has still to be played).

For all the disparity in their final league positions, the clubs were only separated by five points last season. This should be a much more competitive contest than when the teams last met and both teams to score can be backed at [2.2].

Silva lining for wounded Sociedad

Valladolid [3.0] v Real Sociedad [2.6]; The Draw [3.3]
Sunday 13 September, 15:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

While the pausing of La Liga season seemed to work to certain teams’ advantage, the opposite was true for Real Sociedad.

They were fourth when the season was suspended, through to the Copa del Rey final and playing some very attractive football. When the season returned, they won just two of their last eleven games (D4 L5).

The departure of Martin Odegaard, who has moved back to Real Madrid from his loan, looked likely to be another blow for Sociedad, but they have made a brilliant signing to replace him. It’s hard to think of a better attacking midfielder that a club like Sociedad could have signed than David Silva and as good as Odegaard was, the former Manchester City playmaker has the quality to improve this team (though not straight away, with Silva having tested positive for Covid-19).

Valladolid finished 13th last season and having lost several first-team players over the summer, they could be weaker in the short-term at least. It’s worth taking a cautious bet on Real Sociedad in the Draw No Bet market at [1.82].

Gloomy outlook for Valencia

Valencia [2.1] v Levante [3.8]; The Draw [3.6]
Sunday 13 September, 20:00
Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video

When last season started, Valencia were the Copa del Rey holders, had qualified for the Champions League and had a popular manager in Marcelino. A year later things look very different.

Marcelino and his replacement Albert Celades have both been sacked, with the former Watford manager Javi Gracia now in charge at the Mestella. Valencia are not in Europe after a ninth placed finish last season and look considerably weaker at the time of writing, with key players having departed and not yet been replaced.

Francis Coquelin and Dani Parejo have both joined Villarreal, Ferran Torres has moved to Manchester City and Rodrigo to Leeds. Such deals have brought in a lot of money and Valencia fans are now waiting for it to be spent.

It looks like Valencia are being overrated at these odds. Levante only finished four points behind them in twelfth last season and the two sides drew 0-0 in a pre-season friendly just a couple of weeks ago. Back another draw at [3.6].