The prospect of playing in the Champions League playoffs is not intimidating for Malaga, but in order to get that far, they first need to consolidate their fourth place. Losing points at home to Athletic Bilbao would jeopardize this goal, especially now when Valencia is only two points behind them.
Match: Malaga vs Athletic Bilbao
Bet: Malaga to win
Odds: Pinnacle Sports 2.10
With two teams within striking distance, Malaga needs to secure all three points tonight and their home records suggest that they are capable of defeating Athletic Bilbao. The hosts have lost only two games this year, both to leading Barcelona and none of their injured players are of critical importance for coach Pellegrini. Isco and Saviola are both fit to play and with a combined 14 goals, these two players should single-handedly destabilize the visitor’s defense.
Athletic Bilbao has won just one game this year and has conceded an average of two goals per match, which explains why they prefer to use a defensive formation away from home. Following the 4-0 hammering by Espanyol, the visitors will send forward a single striker and it comes as no surprise that goal getter Aduriz will feel in this position. Despite being their most prolific scorer, he would have a hard time finding breaches in an airlock tight defense, especially with two players guarding him all the time.
The odds are surprisingly high for a home win, and the only explanation for why Pinnacle Sports is so generous tonight is that Malaga has a difficult fixture next week. Important as it is, the Champions League clash with Porto will not divert their attention from this domestic league game with Bilbao, so punters shouldn’t hesitate to back the hosts at full stakes.