Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid are tearing it up in the La Liga title race, after a relatively poor start. Our tipster is looking for value odds in the top four and relegation betting and he's confident he's found some with his free picks.
My pre-season assertion that Real Madrid would be most motivated to win La Liga after their Atletico rivals scooped the big prize seems to be coming true after a wobbly start.
Admittedly they’re only two points ahead of Barcelona, but look at the goal difference! They have a plus 31 compared to Messi and Co’s plus 20. This is going to be the difference this season as Ronaldo and Co showed in El Classico winning 3-1. Obviously a lot can change during a season, but Madrid have such strength in depth and they are now fitting together so well (after problems initially) whoever plays up front just grasps the game and scores goals. So far Ronaldo has 18 league goals, Benzema has six, Bale five and Rodriguez four.
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The four favourites to finish in the leading quartet in La Liga are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia and all are odds-on. But I’m dropping down to the fifth favourites Sevilla for my pick in this market. La Liga write Michael Lintorn has been impressed by Unai Emery’s work in doing a similar job to Ronald Koeman at Southampton in that he has survived a fire sale to construct a team I think can book a place in the Champions League.
“Last summer Sevilla sold Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, Gary Medel, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Luis Alberto, Jose Campana, Antonio Luna, Emir Spahic and Cala in one transfer window. As with the Saints, a sudden spiral from top half to drop zone was predicted, yet the presence of one of La Liga's finest coaches and inspired signings such as Carlos Bacca who has seven goals to his name already, Vitolo, Kevin Gameiro, Daniel Carrico, Stephane Mbia and Beto exposed those forecasts as foolish. Emery is a specialist in both qualifying for the Champions League and tailoring a team to survive the loss of star players
The 42-year-old - who you forget is so young due to how much he has achieved - guided Valencia to three straight third-place finishes between 2009 and 2012, building on a near miss in his first full campaign similar to the one overseen at Sevilla last term.” With Sevilla four points off Real Madrid, you can back them at 15/8 to finish in the big four.
My formula for soccer picks and selecting teams to drop down in any league is to look at the goals and it is even more effective in La Liga. In the last four seasons at least two of the relegated three have been in the bottom three for goal difference. With so many high scoring teams, if you can’t score at least two a game, you’re going to struggle.
This season after 11 games, the three worst goal differences belong to Levante, Elche and Granada with Cordoba one goal better off than them. Now Cordoba haven’t won a single game yet, so I’m happy to flip them with Granada and pick Levante (11/10) Elche (6/4) and Cordoba (2/5).
Anyone wondering about Real Sociedad with former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes the new man at the helm, I think he will take them up the table. Their two wins, in a poor start, have come against Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, so plainly their players are good enough to finish in the top ten despite the meagre points total at the time of writing.
My favourite free pick: Levante to be relegated at 11/10.