La Liga Matchday 16 Preview: Can Real Sociedad Upset Real Madrid?

Written By Tyler Everett on December 3, 2021

La Liga Matchday 16 looks like a solid follow-up to Matchday 15, when Real Madrid-Sevilla lived up to the hype and Barcelona wore down Villarreal on the road.

This week, the headliner is Real Sociedad-Real Madrid, which should tell us a ton about the home team. Real Sociedad was in first place not long ago, but has captured just 5 of 12 possible points from their last four matches. A loss to first-place Los Blancos would potentially have Real Sociedad outside the top 4 if the season ended after Matchday 16, so no pressure!

La Liga Matchday 16 Preview

Fortunately for fans of Spanish soccer, there are good match-ups beyond Real Sociedad-Real Madrid, as Sevilla takes on Villarreal in a battle of two clubs that are still alive (for now) in the Champions League.

The other game to watch is Barcelona-Real Betis, a clash between the seventh-place and fifth-place teams in La Liga. Surprisingly, it’s Barcelona that’s in seventh, looking up at Real Betis, which visits Camp Nou on Saturday.

  • Sevilla (+100) vs. Villarreal (+300) Saturday, 8 a.m. Eastern
  • Barcelona (-215) vs. Real Betis (+550) Saturday, 10:15 a.m.
  • Atlético Madrid (-310) vs. Mallorca (+900) Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
  • Real Sociedad (+230) vs. Real Madrid (+120) Saturday, 3 p.m.

La Liga Matchday 16 Odds & Ends

Sevilla-Villarreal

While Villarreal have played well enough in the Champions League that they only need a draw on Wednesday against Atalanta to reach the round of 16, their form in La Liga has been … well, their record of 3-7-4 says it all, doesn’t it? Villarreal has struggled to do anything in domestic play besides scrape out draws — though I admit that seven in 14 games is impressive, even if that’s not exactly what they’re shooting for.

Sevilla is coming off a tough loss to Real Madrid in which they scored first and had more shots on target (5, to Real Madrid’s 4), but fell victim to an incredible goal from Vinicius in the 87th. Prior to the loss to RM, Sevilla turned in its best effort of Champions League group play, so they’re in form. At home, I like Sevilla (+100) on Saturday.

Barcelona-Real Betis

Real Betis has a solid record of 8-3-4. But a closer look reveals a significant gap between them and the favorites (and even Villarreal) in La Liga. Against Real Madrid (August 28), Villarreal (October 3), Atleti (October 31) and Sevilla (November 7), Real Betis has allowed eight goals and scored 0.

So no, I don’t like their chances this weekend in Barcelona. As long as the Catalans don’t get caught looking ahead to the massive test (beatdown??) that awaits them in Germany this week, when they close UCL group play at Bayern Munich, they should handle this one and add three more points under Xavi. Taking Barca on the money line won’t produce much of a payout, so I recommend Half Time/Full Time Barcelona/Barcelona (+115). Given Real Betis has been shut out in all four of its losses, if you like Barcelona here, then Barcelona Win to Zero (+155) makes a lot of sense, too.

Real Sociedad-Real Madrid

Schedule-wise, Real Sociedad — playing at home against a team coming off two tough matches — couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to pull the upset.

Real Madrid has not lost since October 3, and they enter this match-up with wins in 9 of their last 10, including their last seven in a row. But I’m going to zag here and make the case for Real Sociedad tripping up Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.

As we mentioned above, Real Madrid had some issues with Sevilla last week, as it was lucky to be down just 1-0 when Karim Benzema equalized in the 32nd. By the numbers – Athletic Club had an xG advantage of 1.9-1.7 on Wednesday – Real Madrid should feel lucky to have won that one. They’re also not terribly well-rested given the short turnaround from Wednesday evening in Madrid to Saturday in the Basque country. My final “red flag” regarding a team as hot as Real Madrid? Watch how they’ve defended set pieces their last couple games and tell me you feel good about it.

I say all that to say that I’m (kinda) in on Real Sociedad, at least enough to recommend the Double Chance (Real Sociedad or Draw) (-145).

WHERE TO BET LA LIGA IN THE US

In the US, you can legally bet on soccer in more than two dozen states. You can bet online in some states, but only in-person betting is allowed in most of them.

DraftKings Sportsbook is available in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

FanDuel Sportsbook is available in Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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