With Athletic in flying form at home, Phil Kitromilides can see another comfortable win for the Basques tonight and is advising an even money betLast week's first leg provided Betis with a brief respite from the seemingly relentless cycle of disappointment that their season has hitherto developed into, with the 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao their only home victory since October.
The verdiblancos are now seven points adrift from safety at the bottom of the La Liga table after a catastrophic 2-1 home defeat to Osasuna at the weekend, and while progession in the Copa del Rey may be a crumb of comfort, resolving their ominous league position remains their priority.
Things are looking infinitely rosier for Athletic who consolidated fourth place in the table with a 6-1 demolition of Almeria at the weekend (the first time the Basques have hit six in the league for 17 years) and with home advantage Ernesto Valverde's men are rightly favorites with Paddy Power at 1/3 (1.33) for the win. Betis meanwhile are offered at 8/1 (9.00) with the draw available at 7/2 (4.50).
It is extremely tough to envisage the Andalusians inflicting a first ever defeat at the New San Mames stadium upon Athletic.
The side from Bilbao have drawn only two of the 11 competitive fixtures played at their new home, winning all other matches including each of the last five.
Barcelona's solitary league defeat of the season came at the hands of Athletic in Bilbao, and the Basques are certainly brimming with confidence.
They need to win by two goals having lost the first leg 1-0 and backing them to do just that with a -1 goal handicap at evens (2.00) looks a great option.
Betis' beleaguered defence have shipped 20 goals in their last six away La Liga games including five at Real Sociedad on a recent trip to the Basque Country, and against an in-form Athletic there is every chance of them conceding a few more this evening.
|Athletic Bilbao to win with a -1 goal handicap at evens (2.00) 2.0pt stake with Paddy Power|
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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV presenter in Madrid