Spanish La Liga: Outright Preview

Spanish La Liga: Outright Preview and betting tips

The Spanish La Liga kicks off this weekend and the outright betting is dominated by the three big guns: league champions Barcelona, UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid and UEFA Europa League champions Atletico Madrid.

Let’s take a look at this year’s contenders and see which of the big guns stand a realistic chance of being crowned Spanish champions.



To Win Outright:
Barcelona 17/20
Real Madrid 15/10
Atletico Madrid 10/1

The Contenders

Barcelona – 15/20

Barcelona ran away with the league last season, dominating from matchday 1 all the way till the second to last game (matchday 37). The Catalans tasted their first league defeat under coach Ernesto Valverde on matchday 37 after he rested some key players for a friendly match against Mamelodi Sundowns. The defeat denied them the opportunity of being ‘Invincible’ and the first ever team to finish the season unbeaten. 

Barcelona have lost one of their best ever players, club captain Andres Iniesta to Japanese club Vissel Kobe. However, they made some major signings to make up for the loss, signing Chilean star Arturo Vidal and Brazilian winger Malcom. 

The Catalans are once again the most obvious choice to win the league but they are quite held by the bookmakers in the betting market. For me, odds of 15/20 aren’t worth the nine-month campaign wait and I’m sure that their priority this season will be the UEFA Champions League.

Real Madrid – 16/10

Real Madrid finished third last season with 79 points and losing six games in the process. Los Blancos will start the new season without their record scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sold to Italian champions Juventus after the World Cup. The Portuguese star scored 44 goals in all competitions last season, the only player to have scored more was Lionel Messi. Real Madrid will also be without coach, Zinedine Zidane, arguably their most successful manager ever. 

Former Spanish national team coach Julen Lopetegui was appointed as Zidane’s replacement days before the start of the World Cup, which cost him his job as Spain’s head coach. Lopetegui comes with a very good record after managing Spain’s U19, U20, U21 and first team – managing a total of 52 games, losing just once. He is famous for bringing out the best in youngsters, so the likes of 18-year-old Vinicius Jr, Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio might be the shining stars for Real Madrid this season.

The club has been linked with several players as Ronaldo’s replacement with big names like Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Robert Lewandowski, Eden Hazard and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe. It seems unlikely that the club will sign any of those players so they’ve looked internally and Welsh Captain Gareth Bale is the chosen one to take Ronaldo’s place.

The question remains, can Real Madrid cope after losing arguably their best ever player and best ever manager? 

Atletico Madrid – 9/1

Atletico Madrid are wrongly priced at 10/1 after finishing second last season whilst playing in the Europa League, which they went on to win. Winning the Europa League which is mostly played on Thursday’s and finishing second in the league is a bit of a strain for the players. 
They kept most of their stars from last season and added a few new players, most notable are French star Thomas Lemar and Portuguese winger Gelson Martins. 

Atletico are no small team and they have proved it over the years by reaching European finals and constantly being serious contenders for the league. Coach Diego Simeone will be looking to achieve what he did in the 2013/14 season where he won the league and made it to the Champions League final.

At 9/1, Atletico are well worth a punt, considering the fact that they won’t be playing any Thursday night games this season. Real Madrid will be without Zidane and Ronaldo which makes it a two-horse race for me. 

Verdict: Atletico Madrid 9/1
Though Barcelona are the obvious pick after winning the league with ease last season, they are not worth being backed at those odds. Atletico Madrid are at a decent price, plus they have a greater chance of challenging the Catalans as winning the Europa League will bring confidence in the Madrid camp and we all know once you taste silverware you want more.

Written by Banele Pikwa