La Liga: Title hopefuls, top goalscorers & relegation candidates

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The 2017-18 La Liga campaign kicks off this weekend and we are excited, folks – very excited, indeed.

Can Real Madrid successfully defend their title? Can Barcelona cope with Neymar’s departure and challenge their great rivals once again? And can Atletico Madrid stay in touching distance?

Ahead of the opening round of fixtures, we’ll try to impart as much wisdom as possible, while searching for the best value the markets have to offer.

Title Contenders:

Real Madrid and Barcelona head into the campaign as joint-favourites at 10/11. That doesn’t seem to reflect the current state of events considering the summer both clubs have had.

Los Merengues laid down a marker in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barca last weekend with a 3-1 win at the Camp Nou.

Having already won the European Super Cup, its domestic equivalent looks done and dusted, too.
Zinedine Zidane’s squad looks in imperious shape.

How successful their season is will depend mostly on how he manages the ageing Cristiano Ronaldo, but they are worth your money at 10/11.

Barca, on the other hand, look a little out-of-sorts. The Catalonian giants have lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain and with presidential problems creating strife in the stands, all hopes will fall, once more, on Lionel Messi.

Atletico Madrid, though, are definitely worth backing at the quoted 25/1 considering they were less-than-half that price this time last season.

Diego Simeone has hung around for another season and has also been able to keep a hold of French superstar, Antoine Griezmann.

Of the other sides worthy of backing, Sevilla are the pick of the bunch at 150/1. Eduardo Berizzo has been a savvy appointment, while the incoming signings have a look of familiar quality.

Top Goalscorer

Much like every other year, it’s going to come down to a battle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, most likely.

With Neymar’s departure, Barca will be depending on Messi even more than usual, so the 11/10 odds are justified.

Ronaldo probably won’t play as many games as he did in his late twenties, but, at 15/8, there’s value there considering he still takes the majority of the set-pieces.

Of the others in the betting, Antoine Griezmann at 20/1 looks outstanding value. At 26, the France international is entering his prime and will be looking for a big season.

Luis Suarez at 9/4 looks worthy of a pop but considering he’ll not be on spot-kick duty this season and we’d advise a swerve on that price.

Relegation candidates:

Girona and Getafe are the two hot favourites to go straight back down to the Segunda Division but we really like the look of the former.

They’re Even Money to stay up and with a handful of the famed Man City youngsters out there on loan, they may well have enough in the tank come May.

Looking at their summer transfer deals and Getafe, too, look decent value to beat the drop.

Francisco Portillo and Djene look like decent purchases, whilst they will be relying on Amath Ndiaye to provide the goals after his £2m move from Atletico.

Leganes look like they could be in trouble, though. The Madrid-based outfit did well to escape last season but second-season syndrome could hit the capital club hard.

At 4/7 to stay up, it’s worth a lay.

Click here for the latest La Liga odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.