After a steady stream of festive gatherings, family photos and sun-drenched beaches, La Liga returned from the warm recesses of its winter break last week. We reach the midway point of the season this weekend, and things are really shaping up at the top of the Primera Division.
Barcelona are looking likely to retain their crown, but despite winning three more games than any other side, they only have a five-point lead at the top of the table. Atletico Madrid have only lost once all season, but they’ve failed to turn draws into wins on eight occasions, which has really hurt Diego Simeone’s side.
Real Madrid meanwhile are 10 points back from Barca, and they’ve got a lot of work to do if they’re going to bring themselves back into title contention. They’re still the focus of a specific betting market though, along with their fierce Catalan rivals, which holds plenty of interesting value.
You can bet on which team finishes highest in La Liga without Barcelona or Real Madrid as part of the reckoning. Alaves are currently a point ahead of Real Madrid in fourth, but the bookies don’t fancy them to keep up their strong form in the opening half of the season. You can get 70/1 on Alaves finishing the highest in La Liga without Barcelona or Real Madrid.
The clear favourites in the market are Atletico Madrid, who have proven pedigree for going the course and distance in the Spanish top flight. Los Rojiblancos are 2/9, which looks like a pretty safe bet. In fact, you can currently get 12/1 on Simeone’s side successfully chasing down Barca and winning the league, which could be a tempting price considering they aren’t too far back right now.
Sevilla meanwhile are out at 100/1 to win the league. They’re seven points behind Barca, and have little chance of adding to their only La Liga title success which came back in 1946. However, Los Hispalenses are 9/2 to finish highest in the table when taking Barca and Real out of the equation.
Beyond Sevilla, there’s little value in this market with any of the other teams in the division. Real Betis are nine points behind Atletico in the table, and 66/1 to finish best of the rest, but that bet would be a major punt.
As it is, the sensible money goes on Atleti, but if you fancy taking a bit of a gamble, Sevilla could be the dark horses. Pablo Machin’s side are only two points behind their fellow red and whites, and have Wissam Ben Yedder and Andre Silva regularly hitting the back of the net. There are also rumours Alvaro Morata could arrive from Chelsea to bolster their attacking options.
If Sevilla can keep their form going over the next few months, their trip to the Wanda Metropolitano in this season’s penultimate round of La Liga fixtures could be decisive in settling this betting market.