We’ve already seen the Bundesliga make its triumphant return to play after the COVID-19 hiatus and now it’s time for Spain’s La Liga to return as action kicks off on Thursday, June 11, with El Gran Derbi.
Yes, Sevilla hosts Real Betis as -115 favorites in one of Spain’s biggest rivalry games and you couldn’t really pick a better game to get La Liga back underway. This is a match that normally provides goals and beautiful play, but the real star of the show is the fans.
Upon its return, watching the Bundesliga was equal parts glorious and awkward. Football was back, but without the lifeblood of the experience. Without the Sevilla fan base – a more passionate one, you may not find – in attendance for the first game back, the silence will be deafening.
One thing we learned from the Bundesliga is that home-field advantage has been minimal, if not non-existent, since the return. In 46 games, home teams have won just 10 times while losing 22 and drawing 14 times.
What will be in store for La Liga? Well, we’ll soon find out as Spain’s top flight returns this week.
In the same fashion I did for the Bundesliga prior to its return, I’m going to break down the best and worst bets in La Liga before the hiatus.
Before diving in, if you’re new to betting soccer, make sure you read our page on how to bet soccer and don’t forget to check out the latest in La Liga futures odds as we’ve got a nice race at the Sportsbookween Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Most Profitable ML Bet: Levante (+$1421.97)
Levante scored wins as big underdogs against Barcelona (+855), Real Madrid (+600) and Real Sociedad (+465) to earn their place as the most profitable moneyline bet in La Liga so far this season.
Currently 13th in the table with 33 points, Granotas were certainly a fun team to watch prior to the hiatus and it all culminated in that 1-0 win over Real Madrid back on February 22 as a Morales golazo cashed the +600 for Levante bettors.
Levante also has the fewest draws in La Liga (three). They do try to score goals (32) as they have scored more than the likes of Atletico Madrid (31) and Bilbao (29), which makes their games rather entertaining in a league where a lot of sides line up in a 4-4-2 to mimic what Diego Simeone has done with Atletico.
Levante is in a spot to score another big moneyline upset on Friday as they get back to action on the road against rival Valencia as a +330 dog. Tread lightly, however. Levante hasn’t beaten Valencia in the league since the 2015-16 season, although both teams to score bets have cashed in five straight and the OVER in four straight.
Costliest ML Bet: Espanyol (-$1388.27)
Espanyol advanced to the knockout stages of this season’s Europa League but they are in peril of being relegated and have a herculean task as play resumes if they wish to avoid it.
With just four wins, they’ve been the costliest moneyline wager in the league with fellow relegation candidate Leganes really the only club in the same neighborhood.
Rubi, last season’s manager, left for greener pastures at Real Betis and the impact has been major. No team has conceded more goals (46) and only Leganes and Celta Vigo have scored fewer than Espanyol’s 23 goals.
Espanyol resumes their miserable campaign at home against Alaves and are currently +120 with the visitors +255 and the draw +200 in the three-way moneyline. For those wondering, the reverse fixture was 0-0 all the way back in August.
Maybe the break will be good for them and they can turn things around in the last 11 games, but this is a team to avoid until they prove otherwise.
Best OVER Record: Real Sociedad: 14-7-2 O/U
I’ve praised Real Sociedad a lot this season and for good reason. This team plays rather beautiful football and while they’ve proven to be appointment viewing, they are also a target for bettors looking for goals.
This is the third-highest scoring team in La Liga with 45 goals, just four behind Real Madrid and 14 more than Simeone’s Atletico Madrid. Perhaps most impressive is that Sociedad is the youngest team in the league.
Among this impressive stable of youth are some of the continent’s brightest young players. Martin Ødegaard (21) is the dynamic playmaker, Mikel Oyarzabal (23) is the do-it-all winger, Mikel Merino (23) is the defensive-minded midfield linchpin and Alexander Isak (20) is the pacey striker who began to play his best before COVID-19 halted play.
Sociedad had won four of five games before play stopped, with the only loss a 1-0 defeat at Camp Nou, and this side will continue to target a Champions League spot.
Currently fourth on 46 points, La Real pick things up against Osasuna in Sunday’s Matchday 28 finale.
Best UNDER Record: Atletico Madrid: 6-13-8 O/U
If you’re familiar, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Atletico is the epitome of a team with a “defense-first” philosophy and has been since Simeone took over as manager.
While it certainly hasn’t been the best season under Simeone, Atletico still boasts a staunch defense with just 21 goals conceded in 27 games. Only Real Madrid has conceded fewer with 19. But with just 31 goals scored, Atletico has the second fewest of anyone in the top half of the table, only ahead of Athletic Bilbao’s 29.
Let’s not forget: before the football stopped, Atletico eliminated defending champion Liverpool from the Champions League with a dramatic 3-2 win at Anfield in the second leg.
With no Champions League to worry about, for now at least, maybe Atletico can climb up the table. They sit sixth but are just two points back of Sevilla for third.
Best ATS Record: Granada (17-9-1 ATS)
Promoted Granada has had a pretty damn good season, to be fair. Currently in ninth on 38 points and looking like a lock to stay up in La Liga for 2020-21, they actually started the season on an absolute tear, winning six, drawing two and losing two in the Sportsbook 10 games.
Furthermore, they entered the hiatus on a decent run of form as well with three wins, two draws and one loss in six games.
So far this season, they’ve beaten Barcelona 2-0 and Real Betis 1-0 as a couple of pretty decent feathers in their cap.
With a balanced 33 goals scored and 32 goals conceded, they deserve their position in the top half of the table and their xG/xGA is pretty balanced as well.
When play resumes, Granada opens at home against a stingy Getafe side with spread markets at a pick, +0.5.
Worst ATS Record: Espanyol (7-15-5 ATS)
Oh look. It’s our pal Espanyol again.
Considering Espanyol is also the costliest moneyline wager, not a ton to add here.
This side easily owns the worst goal differential in the league at -23 but their xGA of 38.71 shows that maybe they’ve been a little hard done by.
Still, as I said above, probably a team you want to avoid or play against until something starts going their way.