All eyes will be on Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi as he bids to lead Barcelona back to the summit of Spanish football during the 2020/21 campaign. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner demanded to leave the Nou Camp following his team’s 8-2 Champions League humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich. Messi was convinced that a clause in his contract would allow him to leave on a free transfer, but Barca insisted the clause had expired. La Liga ruled in their favour and Messi agreed to stay at the club to avoid a vicious court battle.
It is easy to see why La Liga fought tooth and nail to keep the diminutive forward in Spain. Its status as the world’s top league took a battering when Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus in 2018. Gareth Bale has gone backwards, Eden Hazard has failed to live up to expectations and Joao Felix still looks a little raw, leaving Messi as the only genuine superstar in the league.
La Liga did not have a single representative in the Champions League semi-finals last term, sparking talk of the balance of power shifting to England, Italy, Germany and even France. Yet Messi will remain a Barca player in 2020/21, and that might just prevent Real Madrid from cruising to the title with several weeks to spare.
The likes of Atletico Madrid and Sevilla also look strong, while the relegation battle should be wide open, so we can expect an exhilarating blend of drama, excitement and intrigue in Spain this season. Read on to learn more about the different outright odds that betting sites are offering on the action, and for a detailed preview of all the leading teams.
Who won La Liga in 2019/20?
Real Madrid won La Liga after finishing five points clear of rivals Real Madrid in 2019/20. It was their first title since the 2016/17 season. Karim Benzema was superb in front of goal, the defence stayed strong and Zinedine Zidane displayed great tactical acumen to get Los Blancos over the line.
How does Covid-19 affect La Liga’s season?
Games will be played behind closed doors in empty stadiums until further notice as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The substitutes are spread out in the stands, and face masks abound, while regular coronavirus testing measures are in place for the players.
Will the 2020/21 La Liga season have spectators?
Fans have not been allowed to watch live games in Spain since the 2019/20 season resumed in June. That will continue into the 2020/21 campaign. La Liga had hoped for spectators to return at a reduced capacity in September, but a rise in coronavirus infections has scuppered those plans.
How much do La Liga winners get?
Real Madrid received around €68 million for winning La Liga last season. Part of the prize money is fixed, and another part is determined by variables outlined in the royal decree for the centralised sale of TV rights.
2020/21 La Liga Season Outright Odds
Real Madrid have been installed as the odds-on favourites to successfully defend their crown in 2020/21. Los Blancos have not won back-to-back titles since Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy fired them to glory in 2008, but they head into the new campaign in formidable form.
Barcelona are understandably underdogs in the bookmakers’ La Liga winner odds following a tumultuous summer. Atletico Madrid and Sevilla have the quality to turn it into a four-horsed race, so it should prove to be a fascinating season.
We have scoured the best La Liga betting sites and compiled the best outright odds on the division. You can bet on the winner, on a team securing a top four finish or on a team finishing top of the pile without Barcelona and Real Madrid. We can also expect to see odds on the relegation battle published as the season develops.
|Team||Winner Odds||Top Four Finish Odds|
La Liga - last season
La Liga TV & Streaming Guide
Movistar and Orange TV have the rights to broadcast La Liga games in the Spanish market. In the UK, Premier Sports is the home of live coverage of the Spanish top flight. It can be accessed via Sky and Virgin Media, and streamed on a variety of devices. BeIN Sports has the exclusive rights to broadcast La Liga games in the United States and Canada. If you subscribe, you can watch the action on your TV or via the BeIN Sports Connect app.
La Liga 2020-21 Season Preview
Will Real Madrid Retain Their Crown?
Zinedine Zidane has worked wonders at Real Madrid since replacing Rafa Benitez as manager in January 2016. He led them to Champions League glory within five months of taking the reigns, and he then won La Liga and the Champions League in his first full season in charge.
Los Blancos were crowned champions of Europe for the third time in a row in May 2018, but Zidane then stunned the club by resigning in the wake of the decision to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. Real Madrid endured a torrid campaign in his absence. New manager Julen Lopetegui, was swiftly sacked, and replacement Santiago Solari only lasted a few months, so Real Madrid begged Zidane to return.
He agreed, and Los Blancos backed him to the hilt in last summer’s transfer window. They spent a record breaking €305 million to bolster their squad with the likes of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo.
Real Madrid ended up finishing five points clear of Barcelona to clinch the title, but the new arrivals barely made an impact. Instead the heroes of the campaign were a bunch of long-serving stalwarts: forward Karim Benzema, who scored 21 league goals; captain Sergio Ramos, who marshalled a surprisingly solid defence alongside Raphael Varane; tireless midfielder Casemiro, who has been a revelation over the past few years; and Zidane himself, who rotated his squad impeccably.
Real Madrid were neck-and-neck with Barcelona when La Liga resumed in June following a lengthy hiatus due to Covid-19. They then embarked on a 10-game winning streak to clinch the title. Betting on Real Madrid to win and under 4.5 goals each week earned savvy punters a fortune in the closing stages of the campaign. We will have regular La Liga betting tips throughout the 2020/21 season, featuring predictions, previews and odds picks from the leading tipsters, and we will be sure to highlight any lucrative betting opportunities.
Zidane’s men have not lost to domestic opposition since February, so it is easy to see why they are the -150 favourites to win the title yet again. They have not made any notable signings this summer, but they have a strong and settled squad, and they are widely expected to capitalise upon the disarray at Barcelona by seizing another title. With Zidane at the helm, it would take a brave punter to bet against them.
Can Lionel Messi Lead Barcelona Back to the Top?
Lionel Messi was reportedly desperate to push through a move to Man City this summer. He believed that linking up with Pep Guardiola would help win add to his tally of six Ballon d’Or titles, and he thought the club would allow him to leave for free due to a clause in his contract. Barca said the clause expired in June, but Messi argued that it should still be valid, as the season was significantly delayed due to the coronavirus crisis.
Barcelona dug their heels in, and the situation threatened to turn nasty, so Messi backed down. He still loves the club, and does not want to face them in court. The upshot is that he will remain a Barcelona player this season, but it remains to be seen whether the disgruntled star will bleed for the cause.
Messi had very clear reasons for wanting to leave the Nou Camp. The club has been in terminal decline for the past few years. It spends 70% of its income on player wages, and most of its stars are over the hill. Xavi and Andres Iniesta were not properly replaced, and Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba are fading forces.
Manager Quique Setien was sacked after their 8-2 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich, and replacement Ronald Koeman has already ruffled feathers since joining the club. He began his tenure by showing Luis Suarez the door, and he upset Messi in their first meeting.
Barcelona have put the entire squad up for sale apart from four players – goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, defender Clement Lenglet, midfielder Frenkie De Jong, and Messi. That does not inspire much confidence in the troops.
Barca’s weakest area has been the midfield, and they have now brought in Miralem Pjanic to play alongside De Jong. Georginio Wijnaldum is a key transfer target, and Philippe Coutinho may be given a second chance, despite scoring twice against them in that 8-2 defeat while on loan at Bayern. Ousmane Dembele could finally live up to his potential, while Ansu Fati looks like an exciting prospect.
Barcelona have decent players, and Messi’s presence gives them a chance in any game, but it is hard to see them winning La Liga in 2020/21.
Will Atletico Madrid Make it a Three-Horsed Race?
Atletico Madrid secured their ninth consecutive top-three finish in La Liga after enjoying a strong unbeaten run after the restart last term. They won the title in 2013/14 under Diego Simeone, and finished second in 2017/18 and 2018/19, so you can never write them off.
You can expect Atletico to be extremely solid, disciplined and difficult to break down throughout the 2020/21 campaign. They defend as if their lives depend upon it, and they are generally ruthless in front of goal when chances present themselves.
They have already paid Chelsea more than €50 million to make Alvaro Morata’s loan move permanent this summer. Atletico have plenty of firepower, with wunderkind Joao Felix and cult hero Diego Costa vying for a starting berth.
The Atletico Madrid odds to win La Liga are attractive. William Hill is offering +900 on them pulling it off. Some punters will be tempted to go each-way on Atletico if they feel Barca will struggle. You can also consider betting on Atletico Madrid to win to nil when they play at home. Check the La Liga results and team statistics, and you will see that Atletico regularly win their home games to nil. They draw too many games on the road, which could ultimately scupper their chances of winning the title this season, but they will certainly fancy their chances of finishing above Barcelona in the La Liga tables right now.
Can Sevilla Maintain Their Upward Curve?
Sevilla were also unbeaten after the restart in June and that saw them secure a top-four finish for the first time since 2017. They then went on to beat Roma, Wolves, Man Utd and Inter Milan to clinch a record seventh Europa League title. Their 3-2 victory over Inter Milan in the final too place on August 21, giving them just a few weeks to recover before the new La Liga season begins.
Fatigue could ultimately derail Sevilla’s chances of winning the title this coming season, but you would expect them to make a flying start to proceedings. Julen Lopetegui has excelled during his time at the club, and they look strong in almost every department.
Playmaker Lucas Ocampos was magnificent last season, and Suso looks like a shrewd signing from AC Milan. Diego Carlos and Jules Koundé have formed a very solid defensive partnership, while Joan Jordan looks like a quality midfielder and Ivan Rakitic is a good addition.
Perhaps Sevilla’s only weakness is up front. Neither Luuk de Jong nor Youssef En-Nesyri has proved particularly prolific, and Wissam ben Yedder’s goals have been missed. Sevilla are unlikely to win the league without a forward that scores more goals, but Bet365 is offering -125 on them finishing in the top four, and that looks great.
Will David Silva Light Up La Liga?
The biggest signing of the summer could be Real Sociedad’s capture of Man City legend David Silva. Pep Guardiola was desperate to keep him at The Etihad, but Silva wanted to play out his final years in warmer climes. Lazio were all but certain to sign him, until Real Sociedad swooped in at the last minute.
They finished sixth last season, with loanee Martin Odegaard excelling alongside Mikel Oyarzabal and Mikel Merino in midfield. Odegaard will now go back to Real Madrid, but Silva is a vastly superior player. He will be the best player at the club, and one of the greatest players in the country, despite his age. The prospect of him playing alongside Oyarzabal, Merino and Portu is positively mouth-watering for Sociedad fans.
They boast two dangerous strikers in Willian José and Alexander Isak, while Asier Illarramendi anchors the team well, so Real Sociedad look capable of finishing fifth this season.
Where Will Valencia Finish?
Valencia endured a miserable 2019/20 season. Marcelino was inexplicably sacked as manager, just months after leading the club to Copa del Rey and a second consecutive top-four finish. They then finished ninth, with just 14 wins from 38 games, and promptly sacked Albert Celades – who took over from Marcelino – and sporting director Cesar Sanchez resigned.
This summer, Valencia have sold Rodrigo to Leeds and Ferran Torres to Man City, while Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin were allowed to join Villarreal. No new signings have been made, suggesting that Valencia will continue their descent towards mid-table mediocrity.
New manager Javi Gracia, sacked by Watford last season after presiding over a disastrous run of results, was told any of his players could be sold this summer due to financial issues caused by the pandemic. Things are looking very grim for this grand old club.
Can Unai Emery Earn Redemption at Villarreal?
Unai Emery won three consecutive Europa League titles with Sevilla before leaving Spain in 2016. He had a mixed spell at PSG and was ultimately shown the door due to the team’s failings in the Champions League, before he was appointed as Arsene Wenger’s replacement at Arsenal. Emery enjoyed a promising start in north London, but the wheels then came off in spectacular fashion and he was axed.
Now he has an opportunity to rebuild his reputation with Villarreal. They ended up fifth last term, thanks largely to the quality of their strikers, Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer.
Veteran midfielders Santi Cazorla and Bruno Soriano have now left, but Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin look like decent replacements. Emery’s main issue at Arsenal was an inability to effectively communicate with the players. That will not be an issue at Villarreal, and they could certainly challenge Real Sociedad for fifth place.
Who Will Be the Surprise Package?
Getafe missed out on Champions League qualification by a whisker as they finished fifth in 2018/19. It was a remarkable effort from such an unheralded club. They were in contention for a Champions League place once again when La Liga was suspended in March, but they fell apart after the restart. That can be attributed to their small and ageing squad. The players simply could not cope with playing such regular football in the heat of summer. They wilted and ended up eighth in the table, taking just two points from their final five games. However, they could be strong once again next term, as they will enjoy returning to a regular schedule.
Getafe are not in the Europa League, so they will play just one or two fixtures per week. They had the most cards in La Liga last term, and their combative nature could see them challenge for a European spot.
Newly promoted Granada finished seventh last season, but it will be difficult for them to match that 56-point return in 2020/21. Athletic Club are solid, but thwarted by their inability to sign players from outside of the Basque region. Eibar are minnows, despite playing attractive football, while Osasuna, Valladolid and Alavés do not set the pulses racing.
Three teams look capable of springing a surprise this season. Levante pulled off some very impressive results after the restart. They defended well, and attacked with pace, unpredictability and dynamism when they took the handbrake off.
Real Betis have spent a great deal of money on the squad in recent years, signing the likes of Nabil Fekir and Borja Iglesias, and they could finally deliver on their potential if they can sort out their defensive issues. Celta Vigo perennially seem to battle relegation, despite boasting an abundance of attacking talent, including Iago Aspas, Denis Suarez and Santi Mina. One of those teams could end up making a surge up the table.
How Will the Newly Promoted Teams Fare?
A long and bleak season beckons for newly promoted Elche. They finished sixth in Segunda Division last term, winning just 16 of their 42 games, and they scraped through the playoffs to reach the top flight. They are club of limited financial means, and they have not made any notable signings in the transfer window. They could well become the whipping boys of the division.
Huesca won Segunda Division, and they have decent players like Rafa Mir, Shinji Okazaki and Jorge Pulido within their ranks, so they could battle bravely against relegation, but their prospects do not look great.
Cadiz are arguably the best placed of the three newly promoted teams to beat the drop. They finished just a point behind Huesca and they have since made some impressive forays into the transfer market. Alvaro Negredo, Alvaro Gimenez, Choco Lozano, Ivan Alejo, Jorge Pombo and Filip Malbasic have all joined the squad, giving Cadiz the potential to become the next Granada. They will be underdogs in the early weeks, so giving Cadiz a plus Asian handicap could be an interesting betting strategy. You might also consider giving Elche’s opponents an Asian handicap with sportsbooks offering that market, as they could suffer many thrashings, but make sure you use the odds comparison tool and read the football betting tips.
Who Will Finish the Season as Top Goalscorer?
The battle to win the Golden Boot looks likely to boil down to a two-horsed race between Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema. Messi was the league’s top goal scorer last season with 25, which left him four clear of Benzema in the tables. He also provided the most assists he has ever recorded in a season, showing that Messi’s powers are by no means on the wane. He remains the best player in the world, let alone La Liga, and he should tear opposition defences to shreds once again if he is motivated to succeed with Barcelona this season.
Luis Suarez is leaving La Liga, while Antoine Griezmann has not exactly hit the ground running for Barcelona. Atletico Madrid play a conservative brand of football, and Diego Simeone regularly rotates his strikers, meaning Joao Felix, Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata are unlikely to challenge. Benzema therefore looks like Messi’s only rival for the individual honour of being the highest goal scorer in the division. He led the line with aplomb for Real Madrid last season, banging in plenty of crucial match winners as Los Blancos soared to the title. Luka Jovic was unable to replace him in the team, and Benzema will probably be an ever present once again in 2020/21, unless Real Madrid sign a world-class striker. He will give Messi a run for his money, but the Argentinean forward is highly likely to top the goal scoring chart once again.
Season in brief
Previous La Liga Winners
The Spanish top flight has a long and illustrious history, with many famous winners, despite being interrupted by the civil war in the latter half of the 1930s.
And speaking of flight, did you know that Atlético Madrid won two titles as Athletic Aviación de Madrid before they changed names?
|2002/03||Real Madrid||Real Sociedad|
|2001/02||Valencia||Deportivo La Coruña|
|2000/01||Real Madrid||Deportivo La Coruña|
|1999/00||Deportivo La Coruña||Barcelona|
|1994/95||Real Madrid||Deportivo La Coruña|
|1993/94||Barcelona||Deportivo La Coruña|
|1987/88||Real Madrid||Real Sociedad|
|1983/84||Athletic Bilbao||Real Madrid|
|1982/83||Athletic Bilbao||Real Madrid|
|1980/81||Real Sociedad||Real Madrid|
|1979/80||Real Madrid||Real Sociedad|
|1978/79||Real Madrid||Sporting Gijón|
|1969/70||Atlético Madrid||Athletic Bilbao|
|1968/69||Real Madrid||Las Palmas|
|1965/66||Atlético Madrid||Real Madrid|
|1964/65||Real Madrid||Atlético Madrid|
|1962/63||Real Madrid||Atlético Madrid|
|1960/61||Real Madrid||Atlético Madrid|
|1957/58||Real Madrid||Atlético Madrid|
|1949/50||Atlético Madrid||Deportivo La Coruña|
|1940/41||Atlético Aviación||Athletic Bilbao|
|1938/39||Civil war - no winner|
|1937/38||Civil war - no winner|
|1936/37||Civil war - no winner|
|1935/36||Athletic Bilbao||Real Madrid|
|1934/35||Real Betis||Real Madrid|
|1933/34||Athletic Bilbao||Real Madrid|
|1932/33||Real Madrid||Athletic Bilbao|
|1931/32||Real Madrid||Athletic Bilbao|
|1930/31||Athletic Bilbao||Racing Santander|