While it is great to see the best teams in Europe return to action, it is more than a little surreal to see them playing in empty stadiums. Some teams are using cardboard cutouts to replace fans, while others are piping in crowd noise to try and improve the viewing experience, but it still looks and feels more than a little weird. It may be some time yet before we get to go to the games in person, but for now, it’s just great to be able to watch and wager on the top domestic European Leagues, which includes La Liga, which returned to play last week. Perhaps one of the strangest sights has been seeing Real Madrid play their home games at their training ground while the San Bernabeu undergoes renovations that began during the pandemic. They will be back there again on Thursday afternoon, when they will host Valencia in what looks to be a tough one. Valencia are still in the hunt for a European spot next season, while Real Madrid are playing catch-up to Barcelona at the top of the table. Madrid are in as favorites here, with the goal total set at 3.
When: Thursday, June 18 at 4 PM EST
Where: Alfredo di Stefano Stadium, Madrid
La Liga Odds: Get the Latest Odds at YouWager.lv
Why bet on Real Madrid
Real Madrid were one of the few teams who were probably a little happy that the lockdown of La Liga came when it did. They were in a poor run of form and had several players out through injury at that time. They returned to action with a 3-1 win over Eibar that was like a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde show. Madrid stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first half before taking their foot off the gas in the second. With Barcelona now having won both of their games since coming back, Madrid are now 5 points back of the leaders, with this match serving as their game in hand. Real Madrid have yet to lose at home this season, going 10-4-0, while scoring 30 goals and surrendering 10, which is a solid home record.
Why bet on Valencia
Including this one, Valencia has 10 games remaining in which to make one big push for one of the 6 available European spots up for grabs in La Liga. It is, of course, Champions League play that they will be chasing, but it’s all about taking things one step at a time at the moment. Valencia are currently in 7th with a total of 43 points, which leaves them just 3 points back of a Europa League place and 4 back of the Champions League places. They did not help their cause with their first game back, drawing 1-1 at home against Levante. They also tied 1-1 with Madrid in the earlier league meeting this season, but they lost 3-1 to Real in the Super Cup. On the road, Valencia are 3-3-7, scoring 15 and giving up 27.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
While Real Madrid strolled to a comfortable win in their first game back, they were not entirely convincing in doing so. I think this one will be closer than many expect.
Real Madrid 2 Valencia 1