Betis and the home pitch (dis)advantage

betisAll it takes is to check out the recent results of Betis Sevilla, a team that used to dominate opponents when having home pitch advantage to realize that something is terribly wrong. The Spanish team has overextended, and its efforts of advancing in the European competitions while winning games in the domestic championship are backfiring. Even though the season has just begun, Betis is finding it difficult to keep up with the mounting pressure and recent results are disappointing to say the least.

They drew the only game played in Europa League against the worst team in their group and won a single game in Primera Division in more than a month. It would be easy to blame these results on the numerous injuries that Betis had to cope with, but the truth is that pretty much the same players were sidelined each game. They did just fine in the first month after the championship resumed, but somehow found it impossible to take advantage of those games played at home.

This is why punters should pay attention to this game Betis plays against Elche, an opponent of a different caliber but much more ambitious and organized. The small team is trying to avoid relegation and spend another season in the Spanish top flight and so far they are doing a great job. Nine points in eight games is hardly a remarkable performance, but given the fact that they played against Real Madrid and Real Sociedad, these results are above expectations.

Speaking of which, they were eventually defeated by the multiple Spanish champions, but Real Madrid had to settle for a narrow margin victory. Elche plays a defensive football with a backline made of five players and a single striker, Coro being the one preferred by coach Escriba for the job. They will stick to the same starting formation tonight when they travel to Sevilla and would gladly settle for a draw if the hosts presented them with such an opportunity.

Bookmakers are clearly overpricing Elche and expect Betis to return to his winning ways, even though there are no clear indicators that this would happen anytime soon. Until they return to fitness and can assemble the best 11 for home games, the fans are more likely to turn against them than to support Betis regardless of outcome. A safer way to tackle this match is by backing the visitors to cover a wider spread and a +1 handicap could also come in handy.