La Liga Matchday 15 Preview: Real Madrid Hosts Sevilla, Barcelona Visits Villarreal

Written By Tyler Everett on November 26, 2021 - Last Updated on December 2, 2021

A stretch of a few weeks in a row without a big game in La Liga ends this weekend, as we get a pair of interesting matches involving Real Madrid and Barcelona.

With Los Blancos taking on third-place Sevilla and Barcelona meeting reigning Europa League champ Villarreal, we’re looking at the best slate in La Liga since October 24, when we had Barcelona-Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid-Real Sociedad on the same weekend.

In the Champions League this week, Real Madrid won their fifth in a row in all competitions, blowing out Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0. That gives La Liga one team assured of advancing to the knockout rounds, as Carlo Ancelotti’s squad sits atop Group D with 12 points.

Atleti, Barcelona, Villarreal and Sevilla all enter Matchday 6 of the Champions League with work to do. It’s possible all 4 could join RM, which would give La Liga an impressive five (!) clubs in the Round of 16. There remains a (good) chance, however, that all four get eliminated on the final matchday of group play.

Per FiveThirtyEight, Villarreal has a 54% chance to go through, Barcelona has a 40% chance and Sevilla is slightly less likely to advance (35%). Atleti (27%) has the worst shot at going through.

La Liga Matchday 15 Preview

Real Madrid suddenly looks like the clear class of the league. That’s partly due to the struggles and inconsistency of Barcelona, Atleti and, to a lesser extent, Sevilla. But it’s becoming obvious that when Real Madrid’s preferred back line of Ferland Mendy, David Alaba, Eder Militao and Dani Carvajal is in tact, these guys don’t have any holes. The biggest question around this team for the last few years – can anyone complement Karim Benzema up top?? – appears to be resolved, as Vinicius has been on fire all season.

We’ll find out a ton about this team – and its chances of winning La Liga – in the weeks ahead. Real Madrid’s upcoming schedule includes third-place Sevilla this weekend, Athletic Club on Wednesday, a trip to second-place Real Sociedad on December 4 and a home match against fourth-place Atleti on December 12.

As for Barcelona, they’ve looked much better through two games under Xavi, even if the scores haven’t reflected that – a 1-0 win over Espanyol on a PK and a 0-0 draw in the Champions League against Benfica don’t scream “instant transformation.” Still, I like what I’ve seen from the Catalans under Xavi, and they’ll get a big boost if Sergino Dest and Ousmane Dembele are fit for the trip to Villarreal this weekend.

  • Villarreal (+170) vs. Barcelona (+160) Saturday, 3 p.m. Eastern
  • Espanyol (+220) vs. Real Sociedad (+140) Sunday, 10:15 a.m.
  • Cádiz (+650) vs. Atlético Madrid (-205) Sunday, 12:30 p.m.
  • Real Madrid (-150) vs. Sevilla (+400) Sunday, 3 p.m.

La Liga Matchday 15 Odds & Ends

Villarreal-Barcelona

I’m going totally by my gut here, and I realize Barcelona has a tough test playing at Villarreal, but I think Xavi is pressing the right buttons, and the open-play goals will finally come this weekend. I ought to know better, but I’m drinking the Kool-Aid on Xavi making Barcelona a much better team. So I’m leaning toward Barcelona winning outright (+160). I also expect some back-and-forth in this one, making a Barcelona/Both Teams To Score Parlay (+310) a worthy bet.

Real Madrid-Sevilla

As I hinted at earlier, I love Real Madrid’s form right now. I also like their long-term prospects, assuming everyone stays healthy, but we’ll set that aside for now.

Sevilla is 8-4-1 domestically and hasn’t lost since October 3, but this is their first game of the year against Spain’s big three* of Real Madrid, Atleti and Barcelona. Based on Sevilla’s play in the Champions League, which had been disappointing prior to the 2-0 win over Wolfsburg this week, I don’t think they’ll pull the upset here, though I don’t think they’ll get blown out, either.

I’d take Real Madrid (-150), and I also like RM Moneyline 1st Half (+125).

*Yes, I’m aware the standings indicate those clubs are not exactly “the big three” right now.

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