Real Madrid confirmed their place in the Champions League quarter-finals in midweek with a 3-1 and 6-2 aggregate success over Napoli. But it’s fair to say Tuesday night’s match – nor the two-legged tie – were especially comfortable for Las Palmas.

Zinedine Zidane’s charges weren’t hugely impressive and appeared rattled by the ferocity of the Italians’ pressing in the first-half. Two Sergio Ramos headers in quick succession transformed the game early in the final 45 minutes but once again Real had found themselves playing catch-up after losing early goals.

Madrid have now been behind in four of their last five outings and on three occasions by at least two goals. However, the European champions have comeback to collect W3-D1-L1 in those five fixtures and have now netted in each of their past 48 encounters.

Flat-track bullies

This weekend Los Blancos must do without the suspended Gareth Bale but Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema should return to La Liga duty as the capital club bid to enhance a frighteningly strong record when hosting bottom-half teams at the Bernebeu.

Las Palmas’ recent 3-3 draw here was only the second occasion in 57 that Real had failed to take maximum points against bottom-half dweller since 2011/12. So we should fully expect the hot pre-match favourites to deliver the goods when Real Betis arrive on Sunday night.

Goals on the agenda

However, it may pay to attack the goals market with Over 3.5 Goals looking a little generous at odds of 1.80 here. The hosts have only managed to keep their sheets clean twice in their past 14 matches – conceding 10 goals in five games – whilst shutting out only five of 20 opposition sides at the Bernebeu this season.

Rafael Varane remains absent for Zidane at the back but further forward Madrid continue to score goals by the bucket-load with eight of their last 12 encounters against La Liga opposition since the Clasico seeing Los Blancos blast at least three goals.

Indeed, 10 of Real’s last 11 in domestic action have featured at least three goals with six of those contests producing four or more goals. Considering Betis have gotten on the scoresheet in all bar four of their most recent 15 outings, we should expect the visitors to play their part.

Betis can play their part

Since Gus Poyet left the club, the visitors have looked a lot stronger in attacking areas and although the Greens have succeeded just once in eight – losing eight of 12 away days – they boast an almost fully fit squad with Joaquin, Dani Ceballos and Ruben Castro all ready to play their part in the final third offensive.

Since 2011/12 Betis have lost all nine trips to Barcelona or Real Madrid, averaging almost four goals per-game against in that same sample. However, the visitors have only fired blanks in two of those encounters, adding further clout to the assumption that goals will be on the agenda in Madrid.

Asian  Handicap Recommendation: Over 3.5 Goals at 1.80

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @MarkOHaire

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