Betting round-up: La Liga's two-horse race
Few major leagues around the world appear more black or white than Spain's La Liga, with the title heavily favoured to come down to either Real Madrid or Barcelona
If anyone ever doubts the wisdom behind major Australian sports having a salary cap to ensure an even competition, they only need to look at the opening markets for the upcoming La Liga season in Spain.
The 20-team competition, arguably the world's most watched domestic football competition behind the English Premier League, does not even begin until August 18.
But already, reigning champions Real Madrid are odds-on to win another title.
Online bookmaker Luxbet has its opening markets up on the 2012-13 La Liga season and the lop-sided nature of the competition is truly apparent, with big-spending powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona totally dominating the market.
Between them, the two giants of Spanish football have supplied 11 of the 23 members of Spain's recently crowned Euro 2012 winners. They also have a cavalcade of imported stars and they have won every league title between them since the 2003-04 season.
In fact, just nine clubs have ever won the La Liga crown, with Real Madrid's 32 titles and Barcelona's 21 dwarfing the next best of Atletico Madrid with nine and Valencia - the last club other than Real Madrid or Barcelona to win the title - with six.
|Real Madrid, at $1.73 to win La Liga at Luxbet
||Barcelona, at $2.05 to win La Liga at Luxbet|
Real Madrid ‑ led by charismatic former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and Portuguese superstar Cristinao Ronaldo ‑ last season reclaimed the title from arch-rivals Barcelona, who had won the past three La Liga crowns.
In doing so, Real also set several records along the way, amassing a record 100 points for the season as well as scoring 121 goals and ending up with a record goal difference of plus 89.
So it is little wonder that Luxbet has opened up Real Madrid as $1.73 favourites to win the 2012-13 title, with Barcelona ‑ under new coach Tito Vilanova ‑ the only realistic challengers at $2.05.
Barcelona finished nine points behind Real Madrid last season but a staggering 30 points clear of third-placed Valencia, who along with last year's fourth-placed side in Malaga and fifth-placed and reigning Europa League champions Atletico Madrid are the only other teams under 100/1 at Luxbet to win next season's La Liga title.
All three clubs are at $67 at Luxbet to win the 2012-13 La Liga crown, truly reflecting the enormous gap between the big two in Spanish football and the rest of the competition.
As for the other 15 clubs in next season's competition, Sevilla are at $101 to win the title, while Europa League runners-ups Athletic Bilbao are at $151.
The other 13 clubs all priced at 500/1 or more, with half the clubs actually priced at 1000/1 or greater to win the title.
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