Real Madrid continue their quest to catch Girona atop the La Liga table as they host Villarreal in the Spanish capital on Sunday.
Heading into this weekend, Los Blancos were sitting second in the standings, two points back of the surprise leaders who stunned Barcelona last weekend as their dream season continued. That, coupled with Madrid’s draw with Real Betis, left Girona at the summit through 16 matches.
Jude Bellingham hasn’t slowed scoring goals, but he’s got patchy help from the rest of the Madrid attack with Vinicius Jr sidelined due to injury.
Villarreal, meanwhile, sit 13th in the table amidst a crash, with just four points from their past five matches, a stretch in which they’ve shipped three goals to three of those opponents. They are also coming into this game off the back of a tough 3-2 Europa League win away to Rennes on Thursday.
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Real Madrid vs Villarreal prediction, odds
- Moneyline lean: Real Madrid (-400)
- Score prediction: Real Madrid 4-1 Villarreal
After putting three past Union Berlin in a thriller midweek, in which Carlo Ancelotti oddly deployed his first-choice starting lineup despite the match presenting no competitive stakes, Los Blancos are back in business in front of goal.
Villarreal present little in the way of defensive acumen, and Real Madrid should rack up chances in this one, looking to cash in on their opportunities and put pressure on Girona, who are home against relegation-threatened Deportivo Alaves. Anything less than a heavy Real Madrid win would be surprising for sure.
| Real Madrid
| Both teams
to score Y / N
| Over / Under
|-145 / +110
|-115 / -125
Real Madrid vs Villarreal match facts
- Date: Sunday, December 17, 2023
- Kickoff Time: 9 p.m. local (3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT)
- Location: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu (Madrid, Spain)
- Official: Jorge Figueroa Vazquez
- Last meeting: Real Madrid 2-3 Villarreal (Apr. 8, 2023 | La Liga)
Real Madrid vs Villarreal: best bet
While both teams to score is more enticing than this high bar to clear, there’s a better return on this selection and it still has a solid chance of cashing. Real Madrid may be missing Vinicius Jr, but Jude Bellingham is still in control of one of Europe’s most prolific attacking units, and Villarreal are a defensive nightmare.
Nobody in the Spanish top flight has conceded more shots this season than Villarreal, and while they managed to get away with it across an unbeaten spell through September and October, the house of cards has begun to fall apart.
While Madrid should rack up goals, Villarreal may find one or two themselves as well. The hosts have conceded just 10 goals this season in league play, but nobody in La Liga sports a higher expected goals allowed differential at +9.61, proving not only how exceptional Kepa Arrizabalaga has been in goal, but also how lucky they’ve been. Since the loss to Atletico Madrid, an incredible 10 straight opponents have undershot their expected goals across 90 minutes against Real Madrid, so their opponents do get chances.
Real Madrid vs Villarreal prop bet
- Pick: Real Madrid to score in both halves
- Odds: -145 (DraftKings)
Given how many opportunities Villarreal give up, and how many chances Real Madrid create with their pace and skill, it’s hard to imagine the visitors at the Santiago Bernabeu can keep Madrid out for even 45 minutes, let alone 90. The only conceivable way this doesn’t cash is either Madrid forget their shooting boots and can’t hit the target, or they rack up a huge early lead and take their foot off the gas.
The betting market agrees, and the value isn’t palatable, but this feels so likely that it’s even worth the depressing odds. Real Madrid to win both halves at +145 is enticing, but all it takes is one Villarreal goal — which, as stated before, is a decently probable outcome — to screw with that selection.
Real Madrid vs Villarreal live stream, TV channel
- TV Channel (English): —
- Streaming (English): ESPN+
- TV Channel (Spanish): ESPN Deportes
- Streaming (Spanish): Fubo, ESPN+, WatchESPN
Every La Liga match is available to watch in English exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States.
This match between Real Madrid and Villarreal has been selected for broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, which is available to stream on Fubo.