Real Madrid and Barcelona are once again dominating the Spanish soccer futures markets, but Atletico Madrid looks like a good pick in La Liga.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best-rated online sportsbooks it is no surprise to find that the markets are finding it hard to separate Real Madrid and Barcelona. The reigning champion Barcelona is priced at around +140 while Real Madrid is the favorite with bettors at +140. Atletico Madrid is regarded as the nearest challenger at +1000, while Sevilla leads the chasing pack at +3000.
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MTS La Liga Betting Briefing
Last season it was the turn of Barcelona to claim La Liga, recording its 27th La Liga success, and closing the gap on Real Madrid, which has 35 overall. Between them, the two giants of Spanish football have won around two-thirds of all Spanish league titles, and since 2005, only one other team has claimed the crown: Atletico Madrid in 2014 and 2021.
Any La Liga betting portfolio, therefore, has to start with the two biggest teams in Spain, but there have been other challengers in recent seasons. Last year, Real Sociedad finished in fourth spot, while Villarreal, Real Betis and Sevilla have all been in contention at various stages.
MTS La Liga Favorites
Barcelona was expected to mount a stronger challenge last season but few pundits expected the financially-restricted club to perform as strongly as it did, winning the league by 10 points and conceding only 20 goals in the process: a remarkable statistic.
Yet Xavi’s team is not the favorite going into this season, and there is some uncertainty over Barca’s ability to maintain those 2022/23 standards. The arrival of Ilkay Gundogan is a big plus, but the club has lost Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, and Ousmane Dembele.
Favorite Real Madrid has also lost a major star in Karim Benzema, although its purchases have been excellent. Jude Bellingham is a huge addition to the midfield, while Joselu could prove to be a very shrewd acquisition. Carlo Ancelotti has been experimenting with a midfield diamond during pre-season friendlies and there have been some initial defensive problems in the pre-season friendlies, although Ancelotti, as one of Europe’s top coaches, should be able to resolve those.
The biggest ace that Real Madrid can play, of course, is the signing of Kylian Mbappe. Not confirmed at the time of writing, that would tip the balance decisively in Real’s favor. But with bettors going heavily on both Real and Barcelona, the value could lie elsewhere.
MTS La Liga Contenders
Any check on La Liga contenders has to start with Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone’s team is the only one to have broken up the Big Two dominance in the last few seasons and remains the most likely to break into the top two this time after once again finishing third last time.
The 2022-23 season started disastrously, but the turning point came when Simeone went back to basics and the kind of football that has made this team so hard to play against for so many seasons. Antoine Griezmann finished the campaign as arguably the most impressive attacking player in La Liga, registering 16 assists as well as 15 goals, while Atletico outperformed Barcelona in the second half of the season. With Real possibly taking time to settle defensively and the defending champions looking weaker this summer, this is an ideal opportunity for Atletico to break up their dominance.
MTS La Liga Top Four
Realistically, the rest of La Liga Real is fighting for a top-four spot at best, and of those contenders, Sevilla and Real Sociedad are the shortest in the futures market.
Real Sociedad finished fourth last season after yet another remarkable campaign masterminded by Imanol Alguacil, improving on positions of 6th, 5th and 5th in the preceding three seasons. Can he guide this team to another top-four finish? It is possible, but the losses of David Silva, Asier Illarramendi and Alexander Sorloth could prove decisive.
Sevilla therefore looks the better option. The 2022/23 campaign featured three managers and a final league position of 12th, but the team was in far better shape in the second half of the campaign, eventually landing yet another Europa League title under the charismatic Jose Luis Mendilibar, who now has the head coaching job on a permanent basis.
The Sevilla squad is not on paper a match for the top three, but it is long on experience and full of confidence after the way that it finished last season, while the return of Lucas Ocampos after a spell at Ajax, is a major boost and will provide an additional attacking threat. Challenging for La Liga is unlikely, but a top-four finish is achievable for Mendilibar’s team.