February 20, 2020

Alaves v Athletic Bilbao Match Preview – 23rd February Sunday

Alaves v Athletic Bilbao – Mendizorrotza Stadium at 13:00 GMT live at La Liga TV

Alaves’ poor away record again came back to haunt El Glorioso last weekend as the Basque boys were beaten 1-0 at relegation-haunted Mallorca. Head coach Asier Garitano was frustrated by his team’s performance after starting the fixture on the front foot before slowly losing their grip on proceedings.

Defeat was Alaves’ eighth on their travels this term so Garitano and co will be keen to return to their Mendizorrotza base for Sunday’s regional derby against out-of-form Athletic Bilbao. The hosts have W5-D4-L3 in front of their home supporters this season with all three losses arriving here against top-six teams.

El Glorioso have proven stubborn opposition in their Basque backyard too. Real Madrid, Sevilla and Villarreal escaped with victories by the narrowest of margins and Alaves’ W5-D3-L0 return against bottom-half dwellers suggests they should have the capability of outperforming their bulbous odds against Athletic.

Alaves underrated?

Alaves have been chalked up as almost 2/1 outsiders for Sunday’s showdown with punters able to support the Mendizorrotza men at 1.70 with a +0.25 Asian Handicap hurdle start, a selection that pays a half-stakes profit should the hosts secure a share of the spoils, and a full win should El Glorioso take top honours.

Garitano’s group have conceded just 0.75 goals per-game on home soil in 2019/20 and are rated only slightly behind Athletic when viewing La Liga’s ratings for Expected Goals (xG) from open play. Chuck in home advantage, plus Athletic’s poor recent run and away day blues, and there’s value in Alaves.

The visitors might be on the cusp of qualifying for the Copa del Rey final but Les Leones have toiled in league action since early December. The Bilbao club are winless in nine La Liga outings (W0-D4-L5), failing to score in four and only once notching more than a solitary strike in their worrying recent lean spell.

Athletic have racked up a paltry average of only 0.75 goals per-game on their travels, winning just once in 12 away days this season (W1-D7-L4). Gaizka Garitano’s group are generating the fewest open play chances according to xG in Spain’s top-flight and that suggests Les Leones are overvalued for this fixture.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation:  Alaves +0.25 at 1.700

Preview by: @MarkOHaire

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