Barcelona looked to be headed toward a La Liga title after adding Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay in the transfer window and securing Lionel Messi to a long-term contract. However, the league’s economic structure voided Messi’s deal, sending the Argentine from Spain to Paris Saint-Germain. With the superstar gone, it appears both Madrid clubs will be in a battle to win the title this season. Here’s a look at La Liga odds for the 2021-22 seasons courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Real Madrid (+110)
No club is happier about Messi’s departure than Real Madrid. The club lost Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, but added David Alaba to secure the back line. Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Luka Modric and Casemiro form a great core for Real Madrid, but the youth movement will be important this season under Carlo Ancelotti. Brazilians Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr. continue to make strides while Martin Odegaard and Luka Jovic should see more playing time.
This is the best squad on paper, especially with Thibaut Courtois in goal. Real Madrid should be great at preventing goals and Benzema has shown enough skill to consistently score. Real Madrid will hope to avoid a repeat of last season, where the club failed to win a single trophy. The La Liga title is a real possibility.
The other contenders
This is not where the Catalan club wanted to be entering the domestic season. Messi’s departure creates a massive void on the pitch and in the seats. Long-time fans have lost their icon. The club appears to have lost its soul. However, there’s still a season ahead and a domestic title to compete for.
Barcelona still has a lot of young talent on the roster. Frenkie de Jong, USMNT’s Serginio Dest and Ansu Fati form an intriguing trio to join the likes of Aguero, Depay, Antoine Griezmann and Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Veterans Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique will also be instrumental in Barcelona’s path to a title this season. Messi’s departure opens up an opportunity for other players to step up. The question is whether anyone can take over the mantle successfully.
Atletico Madrid (+275)
The defending league champions are back to third in preseason odds, but this is where Atletico is happy to be. Manager Diego Simeone remains one of the best in the world, even if his style of play receives intense criticism from fans and pundits. Joao Felix is one of the most exciting young players in the league and Luis Suarez proved he still has a lot more left in the tank.
Kieran Trippier, Yannick Carrasco, Angel Correa, Hector Herrera and Koke form a solid core for Madrid’s other club. Jan Oblak is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Thomas Lemar and Rodrigo de Paul are ascending talents who could break out this season. This is a deep, talented, under-the-radar squad who won La Liga last season. +275 looks to like great value.
You can consider Sevilla to be the “Arsenal of La Liga”, seemingly destined to finish fourth behind the league’s three biggest clubs. The six-time Europa League winners have only lifted the domestic league title once, but remain a threat to break into the top three.
Youssef En-Nesyri returns as the team’s top goalscorer, but the big addition is Erik Lamela from Tottenham Hotspur. Alejandro Gomez will be a factor in the attack and Ivan Rakitic still has some good football left. Suso and Marcos Acuna are other names to watch.
Best bet to win league: Atletico Madrid (+275)
There’s + odds on every team here, but why not take the defending league champions? Barcelona is going to take time adjusting to life without Messi and Real Madrid is susceptible to offensive droughts. Simeone’s team is talented and flying under the radar despite winning the league. Atletico did lose Alvaro Morata and Moussa Dembele, but still returns a vast majority of its championship squad. There’s no reason to pick against this team.
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