Who will win La Liga?

A La Liga season without Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time in a decade throws up lots of possibilities as far as standings go. But bookmakers’ odds suggest it will be a status quo with Barcelona lifting the Spanish title again.

Barcelona – Odds – 1.77

Barcelona were able to walk away with the 2017-18 La Liga title amassing a whopping 93 points in the process, a clear 14 over second-placed Atletico Madrid. This the Catalan giants were able to achieve even without Neymar,Jr. around. Bookmakers are expecting the Blaugrana to accumulate lesser points this time with the two Madrid rivals likely to pose a stiffer challenge in 2018-19. Barcelona have strengthened their squad considerably with 2 significant acquisitions in the form of Malcom at €42 million from Bordeaux and Arturo Vidal at €21 million over from Bayern Munich. The attack led by the incomparable Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez will have the added advantage of having a fully fit Ousmane Dembele, acquired last season from Borussia Dortmund for €105 million. In addition, the presence of Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic and Vidal in the mid-field, also doubling up as attackers, will give the title holders the goals needed to keep them above their peers.

Real Madrid – Odds – 2.50

Los Blancos will be without their talismanic scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, who alone accounted for almost a third of the side’s goals in the 2017-18 season. To top that, three-time UEFA Champions League winning manager Zinedine Zidane has called it a day at Bernabeu. For the Madrid giants, 2017-18 was one of the poorest La Liga seasons in recent times, having emerged third and 16 points behind arch-rivals Barcelona. For the new boss, Julen Lopetegui, the controversially sacked Spanish manager, the job’s cut out – regain lost La Liga glory. Even without Ronaldo, Real’s formidable forward and mid-field ranks are crowded with awesome names like Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Marco Asensio, Isco, Casemiro, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. The acquisition of one of the better goal-keepers in the world, 26-year old Belgian Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea will lend more completeness to the Los Blancos defense. Add to that, names like Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal give Los Blancos the kind of impregnability that only the best in the world can have. Real Madrid have thus all the ingredients to make them La Liga champs for 2018-19. Bookmakers are expecting the gap with Barcelona to close down to six points from last season’s 17.

Atletico Madrid – Odds – 11.00

Los Rojiblancos are the 3rd in line to take the La Liga title and they are no strangers to Spanish glory have achieved that as recently as in 2013-14. In fact, the Madrid club fared better than their famous City rivals emerging 2nd and three points ahead of them. Bookmakers’ are wagering on coach Diego Simeone’s men to slip a notch below Real Madrid in the 2018-19 season. Atletico has spent modestly this season, their only major signing being that of Thomas Lemar form Monaco for €60 million. Lemar’s advent will already strengthen a mid-field that has the likes of veterans Koke and Saul in it. In the forward space, Atletico has 2 of the best strikers in the business – Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa. The defense comprising of the seasoned Atletico war horses Diego Godín, Filipe Luís, Juanfran, Jose Gimenez and the superb Jan Oblak can be phenomenal at the best making Simeone’s one of the hardest to beat in the game. Los Rojiblancos have the wares to mount a far more serious challenge to both Barcelona and Real Madrid than the odds suggest.

Recommended Tip: Barcelona

Best Odds 1.8 @ Betway

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