Let’s look at a potential La Liga bet right now, keeping in mind that several deals will be made between now and the end of the summer transfer period (Aug. 31), and that this league is always a hard one to find any real value in for a potential 10-month long Futures wager.
Is Spanish La Liga Back to a Two-Team Race?
The European football season is just around the corner and we continue our look at the major leagues with a preview of current La Liga (Spanish Primera Division) Futures odds.
Always a two-team race and a Futures marketplace with little value because of the Dynamic Duo of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid shocked the world last year by winning La Liga and almost defeated city rivals Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final, where it ended up losing to Cristiano Ronaldo and Los Blancos in extra time.
Before Los Rojiblancos historic league championship, Valencia (2001-02 and 2003-04) was the only team that captured a Spanish Primera Division title besides giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, and this coming season will most likely revert back to that form, unless Atlético can somehow again pull a rabbit out of its hats with massive heart and some of the best fans on the continent.
But it certainly won’t be easy this season, as the defending champions have lost goalkeeper extraordinaire Thibaut Courtois and super striker Diego Costa (28 goals) who both will be playing for Chelsea in the English Premier League for this season, and for possibly many more to come. Courtois was loaned to Atlético for three seasons (2011-2014) while Costa just signed a £32 million deal with the Blues.
UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid (10/11 at Bet365) accomplished its big recent goal of becoming European kings, and, by doing so, Los Blancos may have expended a great deal of both physical and psychic energy. Star Ronaldo (31 goals) sort of hobbled through the end of the regular season and the World Cup for his native Portugal and he has to be a bit tired after so many games and so much travel over the last calendar year.
Madrid does have a absolutely stacked roster and is now rumored to be going after some other pretty big names—including Radamel Falcao and Toni Kroos—and with youngsters like Jesé (21), Álvaro Morata (21) and the electric Isco (22), Los Blancos probably deserve to be the oddsmakers favorites in Spain.
But Madrid may lose playmaker Ángel di María, and, although pretty much a backup in league play last season, Iker Casillas (Spain) did not have a good World Cup and both he and Diego López may both be on the way out with Kiko Casilla (Espanyol) and Keylor Navas (Levante) both rumored to be heading in as their replacements at Santiago Bernabéu this summer.
Where there seems to be a small betting opportunity here is with Barcelona (11/10). Despite the peaking of rivals Madrid, the emergence of gritty Atlético and the evolving Blaugrana roster likely having a bunch of new faces, Barça simply seems like the way to go in this Futures market.
Why? Besides being a bit mad that they lost out to Los Rojiblancos in La Liga (motivation), Barcelona also had a disappointing Champions League and just didn’t play as well as it probably could have with Neymar arriving for his first season at Camp Nou. So expect Barcelona to be motivated in both La Liga and Champions League. And with new manager Luis Enrique expected to inject some life into the club, there should be a new. much-needed positive feel on the team.
But where this bet should be won is in those all of those new faces previously mentioned. The Catalans have already locked down a pair of talented goalkeepers who will compete for the top spot—Marc-André ter Stegen (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad)—and it already locked up golden boy midfielder Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla) who is sure to finally get his just due. Pretty cool, huh?
Wait a minute. Barcelona is also looking like it will end up being the strange beneficiaries of Luis Suárez’s World Cup bite and may land the prolific Uruguayan—and reigning English Premier League Player of the Year—and are also linked with Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina) as well as Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain).
So, Xavi may leave, as may Dani Alves, but Barça still has this guy named Lionel Messi (28 goals) and Neymar will only improve and Alexis Sánchez (19 goals) is a beast and Andrés Iniesta is still one of the beautiful game’s best passers and the fans will expect nothing short of an immediate comeback season and this semi-rehaul was the right thing to do.
And with that healthy chip on its collective shoulders and all that talent possibly flooding in, it may be hard not to worry about Barcelona if you’re anyone on the European continent come September.
Now before we go and simply toss Atlético Madrid (14/1) out of the title quotient, let’s think about it. Nope, sorry. You can’t lose one of the world’s best goalkeepers (Courtois) along with a scorer like Costa and expect to be able to hang with behemoths Madrid and Barcelona, who will both be on their best behavior, worried to death about the other stealing their thunder this season.
La Liga has a number of teams after these Three Musketeers who can hang with almost anyone in the world in Valencia (100/1), Athletic Bilbao (150/1), Real Sociedad (200/1), Europa League champions Sevilla (250/1) and Villarreal (300/1), but the top tier in this league—probably the best on planet Earth—may have three of the best teams in the world when all is said and done next May so a Futures bet on any of the other 17 is truly just wasted money.
Much longer odds than the above seven clubs include Celta Vigo (1000/1), Málaga (1500/1), Getafe (1500/1), Deportivo de La Coruña (2000/1), Levante (2000/1), Espanyol (2000/1), Granada (2000/1), Rayo Vallecano (2500/1) and Elche (3000/1).
The three new participants in La Liga this season with their respective Bet365 Futures odds are much-maligned Eibar (5000/1), Almería (5000/1) and Cordoba (5000/1) who have about as much chance as winning the league as Adam Sandler ever does at winning an Academy Award.
Osasuna, Valladolid and Real Betis were the three clubs which were relegated from La Liga last season.
Next up on the European league Future odds preview list will be a look at Italy’s Serie A.
Free Soccer Pick: Barcelona -110