Three in a row for Barca, Atletico to finish above Real
Barcelona are the [1.62] favourites to win La Liga and it looks like a fair price. Ernesto Valverde's team won the league by an eleven point margin over second placed Atletico Madrid last season, retaining the title they'd claimed in 2017-18.
The three-peat now looks on, with Barca having made two world class additions to their squad this summer. Frenkie de Jong has been signed from Ajax and Antoine Griezmann has arrived from Atletico Madrid, creating a potentially mouthwatering attacking trident with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
While Barcelona look set to become even better than last season, the same can't yet be said of Real Madrid, despite Los Blancos indulging in some lavish spending. Eden Hazard is the headline purchase and should make an immediate impact, but other signings such as Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao, Rodrygo and Luka Jovic, are all relatively inexperienced and may take time to settle in.
The pre-season campaign has been such a mess that Zinedine Zidane will start the season under some pressure. Real have not been able to stop conceding goals, with the 7-3 drubbing by Atletico a particular low point. The [3.2] on offer for them to win the league looks fanciful.
If anyone can challenge Barcelona it will be Atletico Madrid at [16.5], despite being in a period of transition. As well as losing Griezmann, the defenders Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez, Juanfran and Filipe Luis have all gone, while midfielder Rodri has joined Manchester City.
Defensive solidity has been key to Atletico's success under Diego Simeone, but even such a famed organiser could struggle to integrate so many new players into his system. The club must hope that the 19-year old attacker Joao Felix can live up to the hype after his €126m move from Benfica.
The evidence of pre-season looks encouraging for Felix. Last season Atletico finished behind Barcelona, but ahead of third placed Real Madrid. In the Straight Tricast market on the Sportsbook, you can find attractive odds of [14.00], for the top three to finish in the same order this season.
Aspas and Jovic provide E/W value, Messi remains king
Messi easily finished as top scorer in La Liga last season and given his impeccable record, is value to retain his crown at [1.66].
The Argentine hit 34 league goals, which saw him become the top scorer in Europe for the third successive season. His closest rivals Karim Benzema ([11.0]) and teammate Luis Suarez ([7.5]), could only manage 21.
Messi could miss the start of the season with injury and the signing of Griezmann ([12.0]) may have a tactical impact, but you can't look past his pedigree. He simply delivers, season after season.
Even though Messi is in a league of his own, there are some good E/W options available. With a 1/3 odds available on a top two finish, Real Madrid's new signing Jovic is worth considering at [23.0], having hit 25 goals for Eintracht Frankfurt last season. Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas (pictured) only scored one less league goal than Benzema and Suarez in 2018-19, yet is out at [26.0].
Mallorca will go down, Granada and Valladolid could join them
Promoted Mallorca are favourites to be relegated at [1.83] and it looks a safe bet. Los Bermellones only finished fifth last season in the Segunda Division, some 18 points behind the champions Osasuna, before winning the play-offs.
Having now been promoted in two consecutive seasons via the play-offs, Mallorca have come a long way in a short period of time, but this looks a challenge too far. There has not been significant enough investment to improve the squad and the talented Vicente Moreno faces a battle to keep them up.
Granada finished second to clinch promotion, but are also expected to go straight back down at [2.3]. Osasuna are [2.5] and are likely to have a better chance of survival having romped to the title last season.
Celta Vigo and Valladolid both finished with 41 points in 2018-19, to avoid the drop by a mere four points. Valladolid are the third favourites to go down at [2.4], but Celta Vigo are out at [7.0] after making some smart purchases in the summer, including Denis Suarez.
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