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Betting: Valverde's Barcelona early favourites to retake La Liga title from Real Madrid

9:00 AM GMT 31/05/2017
Sergio Busquets Andres Iniesta Barcelona Alaves Copa del Rey 27052017
Real Madrid will be aiming to defend their title but Barcelona will be hot on their heels, as we take an early look at the prices for next season

With a new man in charge and almost certainly a number of new players, Barcelona have been installed as the marginal favorites to win next season's La Liga title. Ernesto Valverde arrives at the Camp Nou with an excellent reputation as a coach, although this without doubt is the biggest job of his career by some distance.

While last season was a truly disappointing one for the Catalans it is worth remembering that they finished just three points behind eventual champions Real Madrid, with Barca simply lacking a bit of consistency when it really mattered.

There is little doubt that they possess the best forward line in the divsion if not the world, while their defence conceded fewer goals that Madrid last season, meaning that it is perhaps the middle of the park which needs revamping. 

With a couple of shrewd signings, Barca will feel in pole position to regain the title, and Paddy Power offer them at 10/11 (1.91) to end the season top of the table. 

Real Madrid are fractionally behind them at evens (2.00) and in truth it is difficult to split the two giants of Spanish football. Unquestionably what helped Los Blancos get over the finish line this season was the strength in depth of their squad with manager Zinedine Zidane effectively have two different starting elevens which he rotated home and away.

It may well be the best 24-man squad ever assembled in La Liga, although this summer it might be dismantled.

There have been suggestions that players like Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez will seek their futures elsewhere, and a lot will depend on who is brought in, if the squad loses some of its important members. 

As always in Spain, there is a big jump to third place in the betting, with Atletico Madrid offered at 20/1 (21.00) and Los Rojiblancos will be looking forward to another season under Diego Simeone.

The Argentine coach has brought unprecedented success to the side and has confirmed he will stay with Atleti and continue to build. Whether or not their star man Antoine Griezmann is still there come September remains to be seen, with the Frenchman said to be closing in on a move away from the Spanish capital. 

Elsewhere in the betting, Sevilla are offered at 55/1 (56.00) and the Andalusians were very much in the title race until the final few months of the season when they trailed off badly. Manager Jorge Sampaoli has left to coach Argentina and Sevilla are looking for someone to replace the explosive South American. 

Villarreal, for their part, are offered at 60/1 (61.00) while Valencia have appointed former Villarreal boss Marcelino to help them restore their place among the division's elite with Los Che priced at 275/1 (276.00).