La Liga season preview: Barcelona look to extend spell of domestic dominance

By Oddsshark: Saturday, August 11th 2018 at 00:21 GMT +3 | Football

Catalan club comfortably won the crown last season, but likes of Real, Atletico and Valencia could throw a spanner in the works

There is now just a week to go until domestic competition gets back underway in the Spanish top tier. Next Friday (17 August) La Liga kicks off its latest campaign, with Barcelona starting the season as their team to beat after sauntering to the title back in May.

First things first

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Having finished fourth last season and just three points behind European champions, Valencia will be looking to kick on and offer a more sustained challenge to those at the top of the pile. The Mestalla club, however, are at a massive 101.00 to actually win the league crown – the last time they did was in the 2003/04 season – you can triple your money by backing them at just 3.00 to finish in the top four.

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Valencia kick off the new season against Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone, the club which has most consistently challenged the dominance of Barcelona and Real in recent seasons. Atletico’s biggest problems were in front of goal last season, the club only netting 58 times in 38 league matches – to put that into context Celta Vigo, who finished in 13th, scored more goals.

Simeone has however moved to appease concerns of fans by bringing in Croatian international Nikola Kalinic from AC Milan. Alongside Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann with new signing Thomas Lemar driving the midfield, Atletico could get closer to Barça than last season, where they finished 2nd and 14 points behind the champions.

However, their odds to win the league outright are still in double figures. Atletico are at 11.00 to win their first La Liga crown in half a decade, offering more than a ten-fold return on any investment.

They kick off the season away to Valencia and they go into the game as slight favourites to make a winning start to the campaign. Atletico are at 2.60 to take all three points, with Valencia only slightly higher at 2.80, according to Oddsshark.

A new era at Real Madrid

There is no Zinedine Zidane, there is no Cristiano Ronaldo, but the show must go on. Having made history by winning the Champions League for three successive seasons, the French boss decided to part on a high, while Portuguese forward Ronaldo has joined Italian league champions Juventus.

New coach Julen Lopetegui has now been given the task of making his own mark on the club and, following a disappointing domestic campaign last season, La Liga would appear a good place to start. Real finished third last term, behind rivals Barcelona and Atletico, and fans will be looking for a marked improvement over the coming months.

And you can more than double your money if you think Real can pip Barça to the domestic crown this season. The Madrid club are priced at 2.50 to win La Liga this season, meaning that a US$10 bet would lead to a US$25 pay out.

Real start the new season at home to Getafe and it is a match they should win with relative ease. Madrid are at just 1.18 to take all three points, with a comprehensive 3-0 win priced competitively at 7.00.

Barcelona remain the team to beat

Following their dominant display last season, it is little surprise to see Barcelona as the favourites to retain their league crown. The Catalan giants won the title by more than a ten-point margin, winning 28 of their 38 league encounters and losing just one.

They collected a total of 93 points and scored 99 goals. And having trimmed their squad at the end of the English transfer window, as well as adding Malcom to their attacking options, they very much remain the side to beat in Spain.

Barcelona are priced at just 1.75 to win a second league title in a row and, with Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez, that may well be a safe bet. Barça kick off their title defence at home to Alaves, and they are at just 1.10 to make a winning start to the new La Liga season.

Selected odds to win La Liga:

Barcelona (11.75)
Real Madrid (2.50)
Atletico Madrid (11.00)