A new Liga MX season is upon us, and after clinching a record-breaking 13th league title, Club América is the oddsmakers’ favorite to claim the 2019 Liga MX Clausura title. Sportsbook has Las Águilas as +400 favorites followed by Tigres UANL +450 and Monterrey +500. Last season’s runner-up Cruz Azul (+650) and Toluca (+750) round out the top five teams on the oddsboard.
It’s no surprise that the oddsmakers have Club América as favorites to win back-to-back titles. Las Águilas will go into this tournament with a squad virtually unchanged from the one that won the 2018 Liga MX Apertura title.
Obviously, their preseason has been cut short after last season’s run to the final, and in that regard, it may take Las Águilas some time to get up to speed with the rest of the league. But as ever, where Club América is dangerous is in the Liguilla. If they manage to once again finish in the top eight, it would be foolish not to take the defending champions seriously.
It is worth noting, however, that winning back-to-back titles is a rare occurrence in Liga MX. In fact, it has only happened twice in the modern era of Liga MX. The first time it happened was in 2004 with the Pumas UNAM team, and the feat was later repeated by Club León in 2014.
Title contenders from Monterrey
The last decade in Liga MX has been largely successful when it comes to Monterrey teams. In the case of Tigres, prior to last year the Felinos had won a league title in each of the last three years. As of today, the oddsmakers have Tigres narrowly behind Club América on the oddsboard, and given the talent available in the squad, you can see why.
That said, the argument can be made that Tigres have been in decline for some time now. They are an aging squad from defense to attack, and last year was proof that they might be taken a little too seriously by the oddsmakers.
While Tigres may be in search of fresh blood, Monterrey has made some of the most promising signings of the offseason. In particular, los Rayados acquired Argentine international Maximiliano Meza from Club Atlético Independiente. Meza adds more talent to an already insanely stacked Monterrey team. Last season, their tournament was marred by major injuries, and that will definitely be a concern coming into the new year. But if Rayados manage to stay healthy and keep their best starting XI in shape, there is no denying this team has the potential to finish among the top three in the regular season and fight for the title.
Could we be in store for a surprise?
Liga MX is no stranger to surprises, and there is a pretty good chance this season that we see a team outside the top five on the oddsboard lift the title. One of those teams that could cause havoc this season is Pachuca. Los Tuzos were something of a work-in-progress in the 2018 Apertura, and now after six months at the helm, coach Pako Ayestaran has built a team that can challenge the best in Liga MX. Currently, los Tuzos are at +1400 to win the title.
Elsewhere, Chivas Guadalajara are barely good enough to be among the top 10 at +1600. Though Chivas are a club in crisis at the moment following their disastrous Club World Cup campaign, you can never count out the Rojiblancos. Chivas are the second-winningest team in Mexico for a reason, and despite not finishing in the top eight last season, they did manage to show some glimpses under coach Jose Saturnino Cardozo. Sometimes in Mexico it is all about getting into the playoffs. If Chivas manages to get some momentum late in the season, they definitely have the history to back up a potential run to the title.