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Odds to win La Liga: Barcelona looks to extend excellent form from last season

Andres Iniesta Barcelona La Liga Futures Odds

There is now under a week to go until La Liga – the top division of Spanish domestic football – kicks off its new campaign in earnest. Catalan giants Barcelona comfortably won the league crown last season, scoring 99 goals and collecting 93 points in the process, finishing a huge 14 points ahead of second-place Atletico Madrid.

The question remains, at least for the time being: Is there anyone out there who can catch Barcelona over the coming months? Given the way they stormed to the title last term, the likes of Madrid giants Real and Atletico will have their work cut out for them.

Who can rival Barcelona at the top of the table?

It may well be up to old rival Real Madrid to lay down the sternest challenge to the Catalan club. Real made history by winning three successive European Cups – a feat which had not previously been achieved in the modern era – but they were left seriously lacking on the domestic front last season.

Real is priced at +140 to win the La Liga crown this year, and if they are to top the pile they will certainly have to do it the hard way. Gone is the boss who led them to that historic continental treble, with former Spain manager Julen Lopetegui replacing Zinedine Zidane at the helm of the ship.

As if that were not tough enough, the club’s talisman on the pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo, has also departed for greener pastures. The Portuguese star has moved to Italian league champions Juventus, and filling the void left in the Real attack could take some doing.

The team’s offensive hopes will now likely fall on the shoulders of Welsh winger Gareth Bale. The club has brought in Brazilian teenager Vinicius Junior from Rio club Flamengo, but a period of adaptation will surely follow.

Bale is at +1000 to finish the La Liga season as top goalscorer, and he will need to relish in his new-found responsibility. Meanwhile, French striker Karim Benzema is at +2000, and if the pair hit the ground running then Los Blancos could have a real chance of domestic glory.

One team that had difficulty finding the back of the net last season was Atletico Madrid. The side led by Diego Simeone scored just 58 goals last season – just over 1.5 goals per game, which is nowhere close to enough if you want to be winning the league.

Simeone can however count on two of the most potent forces in Spanish football. Both Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann have the ability to trouble and menace opposition defences, but nonetheless Atletico remain relative outsiders at +850 to win the league title for the first time in half a decade.

Barcelona looking to pick up where they left off

Given what they achieved on the domestic front last season, it is Ernesto Valverde and his Barcelona team who remain the expected pace-setters. The defending champions are the odds-on favorites to retain their crown at just -130 and considering the way they have gone about their summer business, the smart money may well be on them once again.

Philippe Coutinho has had a few months to bed in at Camp Nou now, and compatriot Malcom has since joined from French club Bordeaux. With Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez still attackers in the world-class category, Barça has arguably the strongest front four in European club football right now.

Indeed, so strong is Barcelona’s firepower that they boast the two favorites to finish the season as top goalscorer in the league. Messi is at just -200 to win the honor, with the Uruguayan striker Suarez not far behind him at +400.

Barça will get their new season up and running at home to Alaves, and it will come as little surprise that they are the red-hot favorites to make a winning start to their latest title defence. The Catalans are at -1000 to take all three points, while their visitors are out at +1600, with a draw in the middle at +900.

Odds to win 2018-19 La Liga

Odds as of August 13 at Bovada

  • FC Barcelona -130
  • Real Madrid +140
  • Atlético Madrid +850
  • Valencia +10000
  • Sevilla +15000
  • Villarreal +20000
  • Athletic Bilbao +35000
  • Real Betis +50000
  • Real Sociedad +50000
  • Alavés +100000
  • Celta de Vigo +100000
  • Getafe +100000
  • Eibar +150000
  • Espanyol +150000
  • Girona +150000
  • Leganés +200000
  • Levante +200000
  • Rayo Vallecano +200000
  • Huesca +400000
  • Valladolid +250000

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La Liga offers some of the more intriguing storylines for the season ahead in Europe’s major leagues, with Ernesto Valverde looking to build on his early domestic success while great rivals Real Madrid look to knock them back.

Barcelona remain early favourites

Given their dominance in La Liga last term, it is hardly a shock that Barcelona come in as the favourites to retain their league crown. Barça won the title by an enormous 14 points last season, losing just one game in the process – on the very last day of the campaign.

For that reason, the Catalan giants come in to the new season at just -140 at Bovada to retain their La Liga title. In the previous season they won 28 games and came a goal short of scoring 100 – it is easy to see why Valverde’s men are at the shortest price to win the league.

Real looking to impose their own glory

They are likely to have some stiffer competition this term, however. Last season, Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid remained focused on making history in the Champions League, which they managed by beating Liverpool in the final to win their third continental crown in a row.

That, however, led to a dip in domestic form. After a slow start to the season Real could only muster a third-place finish, ending the season an enormous 17 points behind Barça, having won six fewer games and conceded 15 more goals.

All that could well change over the course of the next few months. Zidane has since left to be replaced by former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui, and he will want to hit the ground running both domestically and on the continent.

Real are at +135 to lift the league crown. And given the fact that Real and Barça have enjoyed a nigh-on duopoly on the La Liga title over the last decade or so, with a new manager at the helm of the ship there will be plenty backing them to wrest the trophy back from their closest and fiercest rivals.

Who else can fight the Real-Barça dominance?

As ever, it could well be left to Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid to try and break that duopoly at the top of the table. Atletico are the only side to win the league title besides Barcelona and Real in the last 14 years, and their defensive solidity and precise counter attacks have been a sure fire recipe for success.

Atletico finished as runners-up last season, winning more games than city rivals Real but still not getting close to Barça as the season wore on. The side’s biggest problem, however, was finding the back of the net regularly, something which will need to change.

Simeone’s men netted on just 58 occasions at a rate of just over 1.5 goals per game. To put that figure into context, Celta Vigo, who finished in 13th place, scored more goals.

Atletico’s major strength is their defensive work. The side conceded just 22 goals last term at a rate of just over 0.5 goals per game, and if they can improve in the offensive third then they will be true title contenders.

At present, Simeone’s men are at +1400 to win their second league crown in the last five years. There are indications the club are looking to be more of a goal threat, with reports of them making a loan move for Chelsea forward and recent World Cup winner Olivier Giroud.

Those offering an outside challenge

Meanwhile, the likes of Valencia and Sevilla will look to offer some outside threat, and while they may not be as close to a title challenge as Atletico they certainly boast the ability to upset the bigger boys on their day. Valencia, who started last season in excellent style but faded away to finish fourth, are at +10000.

Sevilla, who eliminated Manchester United from the UEFA Champions League last season and came close to beating Bayern, are slightly further out. They may have only finished seventh in the previous campaign but come in at +15000 to cause a major upset.

Odds to win 2018-19 La Liga

Odds as of July 23 at Bovada

  • Barcelona -140
  • Real Madrid +135
  • Atletico Madrid +1400
  • Valencia +10000
  • Sevilla +15000
  • Villarreal +20000
  • Ahtletic Bilbao +35000
  • Real Betis +50000
  • Real Sociedad +50000
  • Alaves +100000
  • Celta Vigo +100000
  • Getafe +100000
  • Eibar +150000
  • Espanyol +150000
  • Girona +150000
  • Rayo Vallecano +200000
  • Leganes +200000
  • Levante +200000
  • Huesca +500000
  • Valladolid +500000