Real Madrid v Levante – Santiago Bernabéu at 12:00 Live at BT Sport

Real Madrid was all-conquering last season, lifting the La Liga and Champions League double as Zinedine Zidane continued his remarkable start to his management career in style. The legend of the game has now only failed to taste Copa del Rey glory since being given the gig as Los Blancos boss in January 2016.

Defending both major titles will be top of Madrid’s tasks for 2017/18 and Real will be keen to continue their record-breaking run of scoring in 72 consecutive games. Last term the capital club suffered only three defeats en-route to top spot and many pundits are predicting another strong season from Los Blancos.

However, Real have already dropped La Liga points when being held to an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Bernabéu by Valencia last time out. And although a visit from newly-promoted Levante should end in a reasonably comfortable victory, I’m happy to support the guests on the Asian Handicap line.

Les Granotes may have lost each of their last eight visits to the Bernabeu in all competitions but this might be the right time to arrive at Real’s home. So much so, backing Juan Muniz’s men with a +3.25 Asian Handicap start appeals at 1.80.

Seventeen of Madrid’s first team squad were away representing their national teams during the international break and many only arrived back in Spain on Thursday night. With a midday kick-off on Saturday, preparation and recovery time will be limited whilst Cristiano Ronaldo is also absent.

Levante’s promise

Los Blancos remain vulnerable at the back as they’ve kept just five clean sheets as hosts since the start of last season during La Liga action and with Levante buoyant after bouncing back to the top-flight at the first opportunity, this might not be the walkover win the bookmakers are expecting.

The visitors took the Segunda title last term by 14 points, suffering only eight defeat – two of which arrived in their final two games when the title was already sewn up. Their success was largely built on their defense as they kept 19 clean sheets and that organized back line could keep the score down.

A huge 16 of their 21 away days featured fewer than three goals whilst their opening results (1-1 v Villarreal, 2-2 Deportivo) and performances suggest they’re capable of mixing it with the top table of Spanish football once more.

The stats

Interestingly, only 13/30 (43%) of Real Madrid home matches under Zidane have resulted in triumphs by three goals or more at the Bernabeu. If we dig deeper, just 7/30 (23%) saw Los Blancos beat their opponents by a four-goal margin.

Considering the +3.25 handicap will see us in profit should Levante avoid a four-goal reverse, I’m happy to support the minnows with conditions against their star-studded hosts here.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Levante +3.25 at 1.710

By @MarkOHaire

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