Spanish Football Betting

Seville Claim Lead, but Remain Long Odds To Win

Not only are Barcelona losing hold on the Champions League. Ronaldinho and the rest have also squandered their lead of the Spanish Primera Liga table.

Plus Frank Rijkaard's side needs help from other Spanish teams to regain the lead this weekend.

Sevilla reached the top of the standings with 21 points after defeating Osasuna 2-0 and Barcelona drawing 1-1 with Deportivo La Coruna.

Juande Ramos's Sevilla team visit Santander, where Racing have attained just one win in five matches. That gives Sevilla 2.10 wagering odds compared to 2/1 for Santander.

Ramos won't get caught up in all the excitement just yet.

"This is just an oddity for now. To reach our goal we still require about 50 points," the manager said, thinking toward qualifying for the Champions League.

And that is a justifiable goal according to a survey of soccer experts in the Spanish sports newspaper Marca. Those same pundits don't necessarily believe Sevilla can pull win the title, seeing the club as "an alternative to Barcelona, but not the betting favourites."

Barcelona, meanwhile, trail Sevilla by just one point in second spot and face a tough match as they host third-placed Zaragoza, who are just one point behind Barca.

Also Barcelona used a 4-0 mid-week thrashing of Badalona in the Copa del Rey to get back on form.

Ten of a possible 12 points at home during the La Liga season make Barcelona 1.33 bet favourites. And oddsmakers aren't taking Zaragoza's chances too seriously as they are heavy underdogs at 6/1 (odds taken from Coral Bookmakers).

Zaragoza will surely have to resort to very physical marking to stop the inspiring Ronaldinho-led Barcelona attack, who have scored a league-high 20 goals while conceding just eight.

Rijkaard's men have remained on target despite their attack missing Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o and opposing defences trying to intimidate his players.

But it is their physical style that has also drawn disparagement in Spain. The daily El Pais, for example, protested: "The league has lost its beautiful football in favour of vulgarity."

One club being singled out for playing unattractive football is Real Madrid, who are fourth with 17 points ahead of their away game at Osasuna.

Prominent Spanish television commentator Julio Cesar Iglesias is appalled with Italian coach Fabio Capello's insistence of playing what Iglesias calls a 1-9-1 system, adding: "As we tried to get back to the luxurious cuisine, we ended up re-inventing the garlic soup."

And Arrigo Sacchi, Capello's predecessor as manager at AC Milan and former Real Madrid sports director, commented on Real's struggle despite their high-priced stars: "Real Madrid is like a Ferrari without gasoline."