Sevilla v Real Betis: Points shared as La Liga restarts with derby game
Dan Fitch is expecting an entertaining draw to kick off the La Liga action, when Sevilla take on Real Betis in Spain's most passionate derby.
Sevilla 1.94 v Real Betis 4.20; The Draw 3.90 Thursday 11 June, 21:00 Live on LaLigaTV and Betfair Live Video
Sevilla must improve to hold onto top four spot
La Liga returns with a game worthy of the occasion on Thursday night, when Sevilla host Real Betis in a fixture known locally as El Gran Derbi.
Sevilla's last game saw them draw 2-2 away at their Champions League qualification rivals Atletico Madrid. That result left them third in La Liga, after a decent yet unspectacular start to 2020 (P9 W3 D4 L2).
That Sevilla remain in such a lofty position, says much about the lack of consistency from those around them. With Barcelona and Real Madrid sure to qualify for the Champions League, Sevilla are competing for one of the two remaining places, with four other clubs. What could be key for Sevilla is their lack of reliance on home form, at a time when clubs are playing in empty stadiums.
Suso is the one injury doubt for Julen Lopetegui, having aggravated a knee problem in training. The on-loan midfielder looks set to join the suspended Nemanja Gudelj on the sidelines.
Betis can play with freedom
Real Betis had just pulled off an unlikely 2-1 home win against Real Madrid when the season was paused.
The scoreline was all the more unpredictable due to the prior form of Betis, who has failed to win in their previous seven games (D3 L4). Any momentum to be gained from that shock victory will now be lost in the three months that have passed, but Betis are fortunate to be in a position where they can play with a certain amount of freedom.
Currently twelfth in La Liga, Betis are eight points clear of the bottom three. Two or three wins should be enough to ensure that they're safe from relegation and with the prospect of qualifying for Europe looking equally remote, their head coach Rubi can concentrate on rebuilding some form and confidence, to take into next season.
Rubi has three players with injury issues. William Carvalho, Juanmi and Diego Lainez are all back in training after length spells out, but this game might come too soon for them.
Betis can avoid defeat
Sevilla are the 1.94favourites, with the draw at 3.90 and Real Betis out at 4.20.
You might be surprised to see a team in third available at such a large price, but there's an argument that it should be even bigger. Sevilla have been surprisingly poor at home this season, winning only six of their 13 league games at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan (D5 L2).
That sees them rank as only the twelfth best club in terms of home form (they are second in the away table). With no fans in the stadiums, it will be interesting to see whether the same pattern emerges in Spain as has done in Germany since football returned. Of 46 games in the Bundesliga, only ten have been won by the home side.
Betis have underperformed this season given the talent in their ranks, in what has been a transitional season after a lot of transfer activity last summer. They showed what they're capable of against Real Madrid and could avoid defeat here. The draw is appealing at the price, while Betis are 2.04 in the Double Chance market.
Goals looks a banker
It we're going to take a chance on Real Betis pulling off something of a minor shock, then we'd better team it up with a bet that looks nailed on.
Both teams to score is 1.78. In both teams' last six league league matches before the season was paused, five of them saw both sides find the net.