Malaga - Athletic Bilbao Betting Preview: Back goals either side of the break at La Rosaleda

The Basques are the favorites but may have their mind on other matters and our man in Spain Phil Kitromilides believes that could mean goals being scored in both halves
Athletic Bilbao's season opener at Malaga comes ahead of one of the biggest games in the Basques' recent history.

The second leg of their Champions League qualifier agaist Napoli on Wednesday night at San Mames could see them qualify for Europe's premier club competition for the first time in two decades.

They could be forgiven therefore for perhaps prioritising the continental clash ahead of their trip to the Costa del Sol to face Malaga.

The side from Bilbao however are the favorites with Paddy Power offering them at 7/5 (2.40) while the hosts can be backed at 19/10 (2.90) and the draw is offered at 9/4 (3.25).

Last season Athletic were not overly inspiring on the road winning just seven of their 19 away matches, although one of those victories came at La Rosaleda, as the Basques scored late on to win 2-1 at Malaga.

Yet as mentioned previously Ernesto Valverde's side have a massive game on Wednesday and there is every chance that somehow they might save themselves a little for that clash.

Malaga won three of their last four matches at home last season and in Javi Gracia they have a young manager who wants his side to play dynamic football.

As a result of that the price of 4/5 (1.80) for a goal to be scored in each half looks practically unmissable given the
nature of both sides.

Athletic always have goals in them yet may be slightly vulnerable given their European endeavors, while Malaga will be hoping to make a high tempo start meaning that a goal in both halves looks like an extremely solid bet.

Furthermoe the statistics back up this selection as it paid out in 23 of Athletic's league games last season including the corresponding fixture at La Rosaleda so punters can hopefully profit from history repeating itself on Saturday afternoon.

A goal to be scored in each half at 4/5 (1.80) for a 2.5pt stake with Paddy Power

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV presenter in Madrid