|AthBil (-114) @ pinnacle|
10* Athletic Bilbao (1:00 ET): Two La Liga sides desperate for a win - albeit for different reasons - clash midweek as Athletic Bilbao hosts Real Valladolid. Bilbao is fresh off a surprise 2-1 victory over table leaders Atletico Madrid. While Atletico has been in a recent slump, Bilbao gladly took the three points as it ended an ugly winless run that spanned eight straight across all competitions. Still though, Bilbao sits in 10th in the table, with a +7 YTD goal differential, and can surpass two teams with another win on Wednesday. I feel this is a fairly underrated La Liga side, one that deserves to finish higher in the table.
Meanwhile, Real Valladolid continues to feel the heat of relegation as they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Cadiz over the weekend. Their winless run has now hit six and they now sit in 18th place, which would mean they are out of the Spanish top flight for next season. However, only one point separates them from safety, so you have to figure they’ll come into today properly motivated. Problem is there’s nothing in Valladolid’s recent form to suggest they are in line to pick up a win here. They have just two road wins the entire season and only one win of any kind in their previous 15 fixtures.
Furthermore, Bilbao have been tough on their home turf this season. They are unbeaten in their last seven here and have failed to score only once. The last time Valladolid picked up an away victory over Bilbao was the 2003-04 season! While Bilbao had been winless in eight straight fixtures prior to the last time out, it is also true that they are unbeaten in the last six here in La Liga as they played to five consecutive draws before beating Atletico 2-1. They are “due” for another win as they try and get back in striking distance of Europa League qualification. They’ve also got revenge for a 2-1 loss in the reverse fixture back in November. 10* Athletic Bilbao
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