Levante vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s lead at the top of the La Liga standings is down to just one point after their 2-2 draw against Celta Vigo. That draw ended Los Blancos’ impressive run of five wins on the bounce in the league.
But the La Liga leaders have a great opportunity to get back to winning ways right away as they take on a struggling Levante side that has lost five of their last six matches.
The La Liga 2020 betting odds have Real priced as big favourites to pick up all three points. But with a couple of big matches looming on the horizon, Real better not overlook their hosts, who are desperate for a win.
Levante in a slump
Levante are in the midst of a major slump. The Valencia-based side’s recent La Liga 2020 results have seen them lose four of their last five matches.
They faced some tough opponents during that stretch, including Sevilla in the cup as well as Barcelona and sixth-placed Villarreal away from home. However, they also lost 2-0 away to a mediocre Osasuna side, which wasn’t a great result.
Levante’s lone win during that stretch was a 2-0 victory at home over second from bottom Leganes. Ruben Rochina gave them the lead and Roger Marti scored his team-leading 10th goal to secure the points.
Levante have been disastrous away from home this season; their 10 away defeats are tied for the most with bottom club Mallorca. However, they have been much more competitive in front of their home fans. They’ve won four of their last six games at the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia, which includes a stunning 3-1 win over Barcelona back in November.
Marti has certainly enjoyed playing at home; he’s scored eight of his 10 La Liga goals this season at home, including six in the last four matches alone.
However, he faces a tough task going up against Real Madrid, who have the stingiest defence in the entire league with just 16 goals conceded in 24 matches.
Real Madrid getting ready for crucial stretch
Real Madrid bounced back well from their shock defeat to Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey as they thrashed Osasuna 4-1 away from home. Isco and Sergio Ramos scored in the first half and substitutes Lucas Vazquez and Luke Jovic both struck late to seal the win.
However, they were not nearly as clinical in their draw against Celta Vigo. Only four out of their 15 shots were on target, one of which was a penalty that Ramos scored.
Eden Hazard made his much-awaited return to the Real line-up in that Celta match. He showed flashes of his old self but is still a bit off the pace after a long injury layoff.
Real are about to enter a crucial stretch over the next few days. After their match at Levante, they will host recently banned Manchester City for the first leg of their round of 16 Champions League tie in midweek. And just a few days later is the second El Clasico against Barcelona, which could potentially be a title-deciding match.
With those two massive games coming up, it will be interesting to see manager Zinedine Zidane’s line-up selection against Levante. He might decide to rest top striker Karim Benzema, who last scored in their derby win over Atletico, and hand a start to Luka Jovic.
The young Serbian striker has not made a big impact in his debut season at the Bernabeu. His goal against Osasuna was just his second in 14 appearances for Real.
Young Brazilians Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, who scored in their loss to Sociedad, could also be in line to start.
Unsurprisingly, Real Madrid have had a lot of success in recent meetings against Levante. In their 25 meetings since 2004, they have won 18 to Levante’s four, with three draws.
Although, Levante have been much more competitive in the last few games. Real just barely got by Levante in their first meeting this season, which was a 3-2 win at the Bernabeu. A Karim Benzema brace helped Real jump to a 3-0 first-half lead, and Levante fought back with two goals in the second.
But Levante did beat Real at the Bernabeu back in 2018 and prior to that, held Real to back-to-back draws.
|Levante vs Real Madrid||Under 3.50 Goals @ 1.75|
|February 23, 04:00 (GMT+8)|
The SBOTOP odds have Real Madrid priced as sizable 1.46 favourites to grab all three points. Levante are 6.40 to score a huge upset, while a draw is 4.40.
But the over-under appears to be a more interesting bet than the 1X2 market for this match. I like the under 3.50 goals bet, in particular.
Despite shipping six goals in their last two home games, Real’s defence is still the best in the league and should return to form against a middling Levante attack.
On the other side, I see Zidane making some changes ahead of their Champions League clash against City, which will likely see their attack take a bit of a hit.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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