Barcelona have started their tilt at the La Liga title in great fashion, but are their odds the right Futures bet to place on winning the title with Real Madrid scoring aplenty? Our tipster holds the answer.
Before placing your Futures pick on La Liga, understand that Spain’s top flight hasn’t quite gone to plan with seven games on the board. Barcelona aren’t conceding, Real Madrid have lost twice already, Atletico are drawing too many and Celta Vigo clinging on in sixth.
Let’s start with Barcelona’s chance of winning the league title (10/11). Their record so far is almost perfect. Still yet to concede a single goal, they have won six, drawn one and scored 19. The draw was at Malaga, when they failed to muster a shot on target for the first time since 2003/04. Messi and Neymar are already going at almost a goal a game (Messi is just under with six in seven) and of course a certain Luis Suarez is still to come!
Real Madrid (6/5) were most pundits’ pick pre-season because of the strength in depth, but balance has been the problem so far. They are starting to motor now. Since the loss to Atletico, they have won four on the trot, with an aggregate score of 20-3, including three Cristiano Ronaldo hat-tricks and a total of 11 goals in four matches!
Reigning champions Atletico are the rank outsiders of the three top dogs, available to back at 25/1 soccer odds. The last time a team broke the big two’s dominance was in 2003/4 when Valencia won La Liga, they followed it up with a seventh place finish the next time out. I’m not saying Atleti will drop that far, but it’s tough to repeat such an amazing feat, especially when you probably haven’t quite replaced like-for-like with Mandzukic coming in for Costa. The Croatian scored 10 fewer goals last season and as with all new players you have to build in the settling-in factor.
At the other end Diego Simeone has moved to replace the very impressive 1m 99cm (6ft 5) Thibaut Courtois with 1m 86cm (6ft 1in) Slovenian stopper Jan Oblek. I know size isn’t everything when we’re talking about between the sheets, but we’re talking something more serious here … clean sheets.
There’s no stopping the three I’ve already mentioned. Atletico, Barcelona & Real Madrid will be in the top three (not in that order). Fourth is tricky this year, I’m a little torn between Valencia & Sevilla. Both impressed last season and should do so again. Valencia are edging it at the moment with that 3-1 win over Atletico. They drew in the only head to head this season, so it is very tight. Both have fine squads, but I think there are two areas that do separate the sides. One is the stability of the head coach situation and the other is the odds. Unai Emery is one of Europe’s most highly rated managers at Sevilla. Since he left Valencia in 2012, the club has had seven managers, so who knows what will happen next. Given the fine line between the two sides and that potential instability, Sevilla have to be the bet for a top four finish at 5/2 at BookMaker.
You have Cordoba, Elche, Deportivo and Levante in the betting to go down before you get to my pick: Eibar who are 9/4. They have started reasonably well, but haven’t really played anyone yet. They have lost twice, won twice and drawn three, but the thing that will cause them trouble is the lack of goals up front. Admittedly they scored three in the draw with Levante, but they are in the bottom half for shots on goal and have conceded the fifth highest shots on their goal. There are worse teams in La Liga, Cordoba, Deportiva being the main two, but because of Eibar’s decent start, we’re getting inflated odds on them to be relegated, so they are my soccer pick.