Our man in Spain, Phil Kitromilides, believes that a much-weakened Malaga side will lose by at least a couple of goals on Saturday night
In short, nobody quite knows what to expect from these two outfits, and while Valencia still have the capacity to fight for what looks like a very open fourth spot, Malaga could possibly be an outisde bet to struggle against relegation.
The Andalusians are certainly outsiders for Saturday night's match with Bet365 pricing them at 5/1 (6.00) while Valencia are offered at 53/100 (1.53).
This should be an entertaining encounter and on paper along with Sevilla v Atletico on Sunday is arguably the most attractive match of the opening weekend.
Quite why both this and the aformentioned fixture in Seville then have been scheduled for 11pm kicks off local time is beyond the comprehension of many, but there should at least be a decent opening night crowd at Mestalla.
Despite the loss of Soldado, Valencia have by far the superior squad, and one can understand why they are odds on favorites to overcome a Malaga side who they thrashed 5-1 in their last meeting back in April.
Not only have Malaga lost Isco, but they are without the combatitive guile of Jeremy Toulouan and the threatening width of Joaquin who have departed for Monaco and Fiorentina respectively.
The are considerably weaker and as such should be opposed in the market.
Initially backing Valencia to score over 1.5 goals looks like a good option but the price of 61/100 (1.61) is somewhat unattractive.
Instead, backing Valencia with a -1 handicap at 19/20 (1.95) is infinitely more appealling.
This bet paid out 10 times in Valencia's games at home last season and against a Malaga side who look like they could struggle this year, it has every chance of doing so again.
|Valencia to -1 goal handicap at 19/20 (1.95) 1 point stake with Bet365|
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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV Presenter in Madrid