The decline of Barcelona has left the Spanish league title wide open and several teams are closely matched in the struggle to win the most fascinating La Liga season for years.
|La Liga Winners|
Who do Bettors Favor?
The league table indicates a volatile situation in the race for the title, but bettors looking for the best soccer betting sites are taking a different view. Real Madrid are heavily favored in La Liga betting markets, with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla rated as the main challengers.
Betting on La Liga
Soccer fans checking out the current league table may experience a sense of disorientation. For a start, none of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid are on top. And where are Barca? To find the Catalan giants you have to scan down to mid-table. With a total of 17 points from 12 games, Barcelona are currently ninth in La Liga and there’s no immediate sign of an improvement.
When Barcelona are out of contention, that usually means Real Madrid are a lock for the title, but like their bitter rivals, they’ve had to change course, replacing Zinedine Zidane with Carlo Ancelotti before the season began, and they haven’t hit top form yet. They remain strong candidates for the title, but there’s zero value in their price. Assuming that Real Sociedad won’t keep up their extraordinary start, that leaves Sevilla or Atletico Madrid as serious contenders.
Atletico are the obvious choice, but the reigning champions have been stuttering so far, drawing five of their first twelve games, and their over-reliance on the aging Luis Suarez leaves them vulnerable. So at bigger odds, Sevilla looks a better option. Their league position has to be tempered by the fact that they are yet to play any of the big three, but they have been admirably consistent, but they are an improving team, with a talented coach who has something to prove, and this could be their time.
La Liga Futures Market Challengers
A Sevilla league title would be a major surprise, but this has all the hallmarks of being an unusual season, and with doubts hanging over the big three teams, could we have a shock on the scale of Leicester City’s 2015/16 English Premier League win?
Real Sociedad are the leading candidate if you’re looking at the really high-priced contenders, after a storming start that has taken them to the top of the table. An opening day defeat to Barcelona was the last time they suffered a loss in any competition this season and they are clearly a team on the up. Yet their squad is surely too light to be able to sustain a league title challenge, and the same goes for Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao, who also have defensive and goal-scoring problems respectively.
La Liga Relegation Betting
At the opposite end of the table, the relegation battle is already starting to take shape, but sportsbooks and bettors remain uncertain about how to handicap it.
Levante and Getafe are already five points adrift but bettors remain bullish about Getafe’s chances of survival, rating them as only fifth favorites to go down. I’m not sure that they are quite that safe. After finishing in 15th last season, the club took a big gamble with a major overhaul of the playing squad over the summer and so far, that has not paid off.
Seven defeats and a draw were enough to see off Michel, but new head coach Quique Sanchez Flores hasn’t improved matters, and their inability to score goals makes them vulnerable. This has all the makings of a nightmare season for the club and they look a good bet for the drop at these odds.
The other team that could find themselves entangled in a relegation struggle are the newly promoted Mallorca. They are currently in a relatively safe position in 13th, but worryingly for Mallorca fans, they’ve won just three games so far, and have recorded a string of draws, most recently against potential relegation rivals Cadiz and Elche, and only two teams in the bottom half have conceded more goals.
Golden Boot for La Liga
In such an unpredictable season, the business of finding the top scorer becomes much trickier than usual, so even though Karim Benzema has a three-goal cushion over his nearest rival, he isn’t worth backing at short odds, particularly given the fact that teammate Vinicius Junior is grabbing his share of goals.
Suarez is an obvious alternative, but there’s not much juice in his price, either, considering his age and susceptibility to injury, and Memphis Depay looks a more interesting option. His goals have been the sole highlight of the season so far for Barcelona and although he is four goals off the pace, if Barcelona start to recover from their slump, he is likely to have plenty of chances to boost his tally.