Pandora Hughes brings us the latest futures picks for the Spanish top flight.
A third of the season is gone and the race for La Liga is wide open. So who is looking good right now and what are the best La Liga Futures bets?
|La Liga Winner|
Who do Bettors Favor?
With only six points separating the top five, La Liga looks wide open at the moment. But fans checking out the best sportsbook sites will find a different picture. Real Madrid are big odds-on prices in the La Liga Winners market, at around 1.55. Reigning champions Atletico Madrid are quoted at anything between 3.90 and 4.50 while Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Barcelona round out the chasing pack.
Who will win La Liga?
Real Madrid are top of the table and appear to have steadied their ship after a poor run between the end of September and the end of October when they won only one of four.
That appears to have settled bettors’ minds about their title chances and Real have been backed down to short odds. On closer examination, however, that appears to be an overreaction. While the victories over Elche, Granada and Rayo Vallecano were welcome, both of the first two clubs in that list are relegation candidates and Vallecano are a thoroughly inconsistent team.
It may be overcautious, but I’d prefer to see more evidence of Real’s title form before I wagered on them at such short odds in what looks an extremely competitive season.
The reigning champions are available at bigger odds and have only lost once this season so far. Their goalscoring record is a slight concern, but they are only four points off the pace and at their current price seem a much more attractive option than their city neighbours.
Which Teams can make the Top Four?
Barcelona’s collapse has been the headline in Spanish football for several weeks now and there was a point when they were being underrated, particularly when they were losing three out of four in October.
The underlying reality is that Barcelona have a good squad, and while a title challenge is out of the question, a gradual climb up the table under new manager Xavi is certainly not. Unfortunately, bettors have already taken most of the value out of Barcelona in the Top Four market and they are now probably at the right price, so shrewd bettors may look elsewhere.
Athletic Bilbao’s goalscoring problems have reached crisis point, and they’ve managed three draws and a defeat in their most recent run of games, which doesn’t suggest they are heading in the right direction.
Of all the contenders at bigger odds, Real Betis could be worth a look. They are still leaking too many goals, but three of their four defeats have come against the top three sides, and otherwise, they have been pretty ruthless at picking up points against lesser teams. Recent clean sheets against Elche and Alaves were encouraging and continued improvement could see them sneaking into the top four.
Which Teams Will Finish in the Bottom Three?
Victories over Espanyol and Cadiz have given Getafe some hope of climbing out of trouble at the bottom of the table and while I still think there is a small amount of value in their current odds to finish in the bottom three, they don’t look a stand out wager at the moment.
Cadiz, Levante and Elche are capable of picking up the occasional win but they seem unable to string together the kind of sequence that will see them climb out of trouble. All are available at predictably short prices, however, so if you’re looking for a team at bigger odds who might get sucked into the relegation battle, Mallorca could give you a run for your money.
They started the season well, but their form in the fall has been woeful and they have won only one of their last eleven. Crucially, they have recently dropped points against Elche and Cadiz, and don’t seem to be able to buy a win at the moment.
Which Player will Win the Golden Boot?
Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior are leading the way in the goalscoring stakes, but with Real Madrid, the big favourites to win the league, this pair of Madrid players are likely to remain a short price.
Luis Suarez is in contention once again, but his ability to go through the whole season without an injury absence makes him a risky proposition, while bettors have caught on to the potential that Memphis Depay represents for an improving Barcelona. There are some interesting candidates outside the big clubs, including Raul de Tomas (Espanyol) and Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad) but no stand-out bets so it is best to watch this market and see how it unfolds over the next week or two.