La Liga preview: Real Madrid must bring Champions League form to domestic competition

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Barcelona are the defending champions after losing just one league game last season


The waiting is almost over, but the front runners remain the same. La Liga champions Barcelona and Champions League winners Real Madrid head in to the new domestic campaign as the red hot favourites for the league crown.

As always in recent seasons, there will surely be some form of outside challenge from Diego Simeone and his Atlético Madrid side. Whether they will be able to break the duopoly, as they managed earlier this decade, is another matter entirely, however.

First things first

Before you go any further, head on over to the Oddsshark website, find your favourite betting side and get your account up and running using your credit card. As a new customer and with several of Europe’s major leagues preparing to get underway, there should be several offers and promotions for you to enjoy.

Where should I be investing my money?

It is a new look Real Madrid going into this season. Gone is Cristiano Ronaldo and gone is Zinedine Zidane, arguably the two major catalysts for their recent success – how they fare without their on-field and off-field leaders will be intriguing to say the least.

Domestically, Real were disappointing last season, only managing to finish in third as they focused their efforts on the Champions League. This season, however, they are 2.50 to take the domestic crown, meaning you could potentially more than double your money should they manage to do so.

Barcelona, however, will take some overturning. Not for nothing do they go into this season as the red hot favourites to maintain their league title, at a price of just 1.75, following a hugely dominant and consistent display over the months last season.

The club have just announced the signing of Brazilian forward Malcom from Bordeaux and, alongside the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, trying to stop them looks like it will take some doing. The price for Barcelona to finish in the top four is very short at just 1.010 and it may well be worth focusing on their opening game of the season, against Alaves, in a bid to win some money.

Of course, Barcelona are the favourites to open the season with a win at 1.10, but the more specific you are in your betting, the higher those rewards will be. While it is never easy trying to predict the exact score line of any given game, a 4-0 win for Barcelona – which is not beyond the realms of possibility – is priced at 7.50, meaning a US$10 bet would mean a US$75 pay out, according to Oddsshark.

Such is Barcelona’s dominance expected to be, you can back them to be leading at both the interval and the full time whistle at a price of just 1.40. With their attack in full swing, however, we should see goals and plenty of them – over 2.5 goals is at just 1.33, while under 2.5 goals is at the much higher price of 3.40.

However, if anyone can stop either Barça or Real in their tracks over the coming months, then it is likely to be Atlético Madrid. They are the only club in the last decade to have managed to break the famous duopoly at the top of the table, although admittedly they are at a far longer than either of their rivals to take the league crown.

Atlético are at 11.00 to win La Liga this season, and there will be more than a few who will back Simeone to have the tactical acumen to pull off another miracle. After all, he has done it before.

However, if you are not confident that Atlético can overhaul Barcelona and Real at the top of the table, there are two safer bets that you can make. The first is for Simeon’s side to finish in the top four and qualify for the next edition of the UEFA Champions League, something they are priced at just 1.20 to achieve.

The second involves betting on a table that does not include Barça or Real, and the 18 remaining sides. If you think Atlético will finish as “best of the rest”, you can back them to do so at just 1.57, with Valencia at 7.00 and Sevilla at 11.00 as their closes rivals.

And Atlético start the season with a tricky trip away to Valencia. At 2.60, Atlético are the slight favourites to pick up the win, but the home side are not far behind at 2.80.

Odds to win La Liga:

Barcelona (1.75)
Real Madrid (2.50)
Atlético Madrid (11.00)