If Rayo Vallecano is to secure one of the two Europa League spots, it needs to step up its efforts and collect more points away from home. For the time being, the team has to focus on winning the home fixture against Espanyol and put an end to the string of mediocre results that saw them sink in February.

Match: Rayo Vallecano vs Espanyol

Bet: Under 2.5 goals

Odds: Pinnacle Sports 1.93

The visitors were not so long ago worried about the possibility of playing in the second league in 2014, but now the specter of relegation is no longer looming. Espanyol lost just twice in the last ten games and the only teams that defeated them were Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, with both of them having home pitch advantage. What helped them secure so many points in 2013 is the rock solid defensive and it is this asset that the visitors will count on this afternoon when they travel to Estadio de Rayo Vallecano.

For the hosts the main priority is putting an end to their lengthy slide and with three important players still missing, Rayo Vallecano is hard pressed to reignite its offensive. Their home record against Espanyol is far from impressive and the fact that they have scored just one goal in the last three games is equally worrisome. Coach Jemez would love to field a more offensive team, but with Leo Baptistao being the only striker who actually scores goals lately, he will probably stick to its 4-5-1 starting formation.

BetPal Tip:

Bookmakers tend to favor Rayo Vallecano to win this afternoon, but appearances can be deceiving and punters are advised to refrain from backing the hosts at full stakes. A small size bet might work, but the best choice is to bet on less than 2.5 goals to be scored with Pinnacle Sports, at decent odds of 1.93.