class=”article_teaser__2t5do”>Los Blancos and the Blaugrana lead the betting once more but could the best bet in La Liga this season be backing Unai Emery to succeed at Villarreal?
With the future of its biggest star Lionel Messi seemingly resolved for now, La Liga gets back underway on Friday evening.
The Argentine’s decision to remain at Barcelona is a boost for the image of the league but also for his team who saw themselves finish five points behind Real Madrid last season, and the Blaugrana will need Messi to be at his best if they hope to regain the title.
La Liga Outright Latest Odds
Real Madrid have only ended three of the last 12 seasons as champions but Zinedine Zidane’s side are clear favourites to retain their crown, priced at 4/6 (1.66) with bet365.
There has been minimal recruitment from Los Blancos this summer with the focus on trying to shift players and generate some income.
In fact, the only addition to the squad has been Martin Odegaard, who was recalled a year early from his loan spell with Real Sociedad after an excellent season in San Sebastian ,and the young Norwegian should improve their creative options.
Barcelona are 7/4 (2.75) with that price coming back in following Messi’s announcement that he would be staying put.
With a new manager at the helm and players like Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal on their way out, there is a clear feeling that this could be a transitional campaign for the Blaugrana.
Messi may have been forced to stay for the final year of his contract, but it remains to be seen how he performs given the circumstances.
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Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid are offered at 8/1 (9.00) which is one of their lowest ante-post prices for years, reflecting perhaps not their strength but the relative weakness of the big two in the league.
Los Colchoneros have no major additions to the squad but have retained the coveted services of manager Diego Simeone and if they can turn some of the 16 draws they had last season into victories, they could be well-placed to challenge their more illustrious rivals.
La Liga’s Dark Horses
Sevilla finished fourth last season and rounded off a fantastic campaign by claiming their sixth Europa League title.
The Andalusians have lost influential midfielder Ever Banega but will be hoping his departure will be offset by the arrival of promising Spain international Oscar Rodriguez and the return of Ivan Rakitic, who rejoined the club from Barcelona.
Sevilla’s president Pepe Castro was recently quoted as saying “why not dream about winning La Liga?” and while they remain definite outsiders, the side from the south of the country are likely to be involved in some capacity in the title race.
How long that title push can be sustained remains to be seen but their price of 25/1 (26.00) is certainly long enough to be of interest.
La Liga Tips and Predictions
There is little doubt that the side that has done the best business in Spain this summer is Villarreal.
The Yellow Submarine have brought in an experienced and successful coach in Unai Emery while also acquiring midfield duo Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin from Valencia.
Add to that the season-long loan of highly-rated Japanese international Takefusa Kubo from Real Madrid, and Villarreal look like they have assembled a squad more than capable of challenging for a top fourth berth.
The team also boast a formidable strike force with forward Gerard Moreno being the top-scoring Spaniard in La Liga last season, helping the side notch 63 strikes to make them the third-most prolific team in the division.
Last term they finished fifth and the price of 9/2 (5.50) for them to go one better and make the top four looks appealing.
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Odds correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.