Latest La Liga Odds and Analysis – Can Atletico Madrid Win the 2020/21 Title?
It is no secret that Real Madrid and Barcelona have completely dominated Spanish soccer for the best part of two decades. Between them, the Classico rivals have claimed 15 of the last 16 La Liga titles, with Atletico Madrid briefly halting the hegemony in 2013/14.
But could we see a new La Liga champion this season?
With the Catalans languishing in mid-table and Los Blancos struggling for form, many believe that the door is open for a different winner in 2020/21.
Atletico currently leads the way, although Real Sociedad and Villarreal have both staked their claim during the early stages of the campaign. Sevilla is also in the mix, while even newly-promoted Cadiz is ahead of Barca right now.
Join me as I take a look at the latest La Liga title odds before discussing what exactly is going wrong for Real Madrid and Barcelona at the moment. I also assess the prospects of Atletico, Sociedad, Villarreal, and more.
Latest 2020/21 La Liga Title Odds
Let’s begin by checking out the bookmakers’ latest La Liga title odds. Make sure you shop around at the best betting sites and get the top prices.
For the first time in a long time, Atletico Marid (2.05) is currently the bookies’ favorite to win the La Liga title. Diego Simeone’s side has made an unbeaten start to the season, conceding just two goals in ten games.
Despite sitting six points shy of their cross-city rivals, Real Madrid (3.25) isn’t too far behind on the odds list, although there is a noticeable jump to Barcelona (5.00), with the Catalans already 12 points off the pace.
Real Sociedad (13.00) is only trailing Atletico by one point, while Sevilla (34.00) is ten points behind Atletico. Villarreal (41.00) may only be five points shy of the frontrunner, but the bookmakers clearly don’t think the Yellow Submarine will go the distance.
What’s Going on With Real Madrid and Barcelona?
Spain’s big two have each had their fair share of rough patches over the years, yet they have rarely dipped at the same time. However, it feels like Real Madrid and Barcelona are both in a bit of a mess right now.
Barcelona Looks Lost Under Koeman
When does a bad start become a bad season?
Well, Barca has already played ten matches this term; that’s over a quarter of the campaign gone. Having taken just 11 points from a possible 30, the Catalans find themselves all the way down in ninth place.
Following a below-par start, I think it’s fair to say that Ronald Koeman’s men are now enduring a poor season.
After kicking off the campaign with high-scoring victories over Villarreal and Celta Vigo, it appeared to be business as usual for Barcelona. But since then, two draws and four losses have seen the club plummet down the table.
Defeats to Getafe, Real Madrid and Atletico were bad enough, but last weekend’s loss to La Liga newcomers Cadiz is inexcusable.
Even Lionel Messi seems to be struggling. Four goals and two assists in ten games is a decent record for most players. But by his own high standards, Messi has underperformed so far this term.
Granted, Barca has been blighted by injuries throughout 2020/21. Ansu Fati and Gerard Pique aren’t expected to return to action for at least a couple of months, while Sergi Roberto and Ousmane Dembele are also sidelined. But Barcelona’s squad should be deep enough to cope.
With the well-documented off-field distractions continuing to have a negative impact on the club, it is difficult to see what Koeman can do to turn things around.
Under-Pressure Real Madrid Must Improve
It could be argued that Real Madrid’s recent qualification for the Champions League knockout stages has saved Zinedine Zidane’s job – at least for the time being. If the Frenchman had failed to guide his side to the Round of 16, I would not have been surprised if he was sacked.
Los Blancos started the season with five wins from their opening seven outings. Interestingly, Cadiz got the better of the defending champions at that time, although there was no immediate need for panic at that point.
But having lost to Valencia and Alaves in their previous four matches, the pressure is now well and truly on Zidane.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that scoring goals is Real Madrid’s biggest issue. Karim Benzema is the club’s leading scorer in La Liga this term, with four goals in nine appearances. But with forward duo Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic injured, the team’s overreliance on Benzema is a cause for concern.
At the other end of the pitch, Thibaut Courtois has struggled to keep the ball out of his net in recent weeks, conceding in six of his side’s last seven games.
I wouldn’t say that Real Madrid is in as much turmoil as Barcelona, yet Los Blancos’ hopes of defending their La Liga crown are seemingly diminishing as the campaign unfolds.
Will Atletico Madrid End the Big Two’s Dominance?
It felt like Atletico lost their way last season. Los Colchoneros still managed to clinch third place, but they ended up finishing 12 points shy of second-place Barcelona and a mammoth 17 points behind Real Madrid.
However, following an almost unstoppable start to the 2020/21 campaign, Simeone’s side suddenly looks like the best team in Spain.
Under the Argentine head coach, Atleti has always had a solid backline. Yet this season, Simeone’s men have taken their defensive game to another level. Remarkably, the team has only conceded two goals in their opening ten matches, with goalkeeper Jan Oblak keeping eight clean sheets along the way.
One criticism of Simeone’s Atletico is that they haven’t scored enough goals in recent years, but they have addressed that problem of late. Indeed, only Real Sociedad has netted more La Liga goals than Atleti this term.
Atletico Madrid in La Liga This Season :— AZR Organization (@AzrOrganization) December 7, 2020
— TABLE TOPPERS With Two Games in Hand. ???
— Best Defense in Europe's Top Five Leagues. ⛔
— The Only UNBEATEN Team in La Liga. ?
Luis Suarez's Atletico is 12 POINTS Ahead of His Former Club – FC Barcelona. ? pic.twitter.com/O4C02WxbKL
After taking a while to settle in Madrid, Joao Felix is now beginning to fulfill his true potential. The Portuguese starlet has notched up five goals and three assists in Spain’s top tier this season, including back-to-back doubles against Osasuna and Cadiz.
Luis Suarez (five goals, one assist) has enjoyed a revival following his move from Barcelona, while Marcos Llorente (four goals, two assists) is developing into one of the league’s standout players.
During Simeone’s eight full seasons at the club, Atletico hasn’t finished any lower than third. The 50-year-old secured the title back in 2013/14 before sealing consecutive runner-up finishes in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
After winning eight and drawing two of their ten league games this term, I believe Los Colchoneros are in a pole position to triumph this time around, especially with Real Madrid and Barcelona straggling behind.
If Simeone’s men can get the better of Zidane’s side in the upcoming Madrid Derby on Matchday 12, they will send out a huge statement to their title rivals.
Can Anyone Else Challenge for the 2020/21 La Liga Title?
Behind Atletico, Real Madrid, and Barcelona, there are three obvious outsiders. Let’s take a look at the other teams in contention for the La Liga title this season.
Real Sociedad Will Be Quietly Confident
A six-game winning streak saw Real Sociedad fly to the top of the table on Matchday 10. Successive draws have since seen Imanol’s men drop to second, although they have only lost one of their 12 outings this season.
Sure, Atletico may have two games in hand over the Basques, but there is no denying that La Real deserves to be among the early frontrunners.
Many believed that Sociedad would struggle to cope without Martin Odegaard this term. The Norwegian returned to Real Madrid following a hugely successful loan spell in San Sebastian, leaving a gaping hole in the team.
However, the arrival of former Manchester City star David Silva has helped to soften the blow, while captain Mikel Oyarzabal (seven goals, two assists) has stepped up in Odegaard’s absence.
La Real has only ever claimed two La Liga triumphs, going back-to-back in 1980/81 and 1981/82. With Spain’s big two stuttering, I can see Imanol’s men having a big say in the outcome of this season’s title race.
Sevilla Needs to Avoid Defeats
Sevilla’s sole La Liga success came all the way back in 1945/46. Third-place finishes in 2006/07 and 2008/09 are the best the club has achieved since then, but that could change this term.
Fresh from sealing yet another Europa League crown, Los Nervionenses are understandably eager to carry their continental form onto the domestic stage. Having said that, only six teams in the league have lost more games than Sevilla this season.
A three-game losing streak at the end of October left Julen Lopetegui’s men hovering just above the relegation zone, yet they managed to bounce back with three straight victories. It goes without saying that Sevilla will need to establish some consistency soon.
Still, despite sitting five points behind third-place Villarreal, the bookies seem to be favoring Los Nervionenses over Villarreal at this stage.
Villarreal’s Title Search Goes On
With just one defeat to their name this term, Unai Emery’s men find themselves third in the table – five points shy of Atletico. But judging by their recent efforts, it is likely to be difficult for the club to keep pace in the title race.
The Yellow Submarine may have only lost once, but six draws – only bottom club Huesca has drawn more – have prevented the team from challenging the top two.
It is also worth pointing out that Emery’s men have struggled for goals recently. Gerard Moreno (six goals, one assist) and Paco Alcacer (five goals, two assists) have been consistent performers, yet their team-mates have failed to chip in on a regular basis.
Villarreal has never won La Liga, with a runner-up finish in 2007/08, the club’s highest final ranking. The team has certainly improved under Emery, but I can’t see them causing the frontrunners too many problems.
As things stand, the 2020/21 La Liga title is Atletico’s to lose. Having picked up 26 points from a possible 30 this term, Simeone’s men could find themselves even further in front if they win their games in hand.
Saturday’s Madrid Derby has the potential to be a major turning point in the season. If Real can win on Matchday 12, Zidane’s men will be right back in the mix. But if Los Colchoneros win, they will open up an almost unassailable lead over their rivals.
Right now, Sociedad and Villarreal are enjoying their time in the limelight. It’s great to have some added competition at the top, although I can’t see them staying there for long.
If Real Madrid and Barcelona continue to falter, Atletico should get their hands on the trophy.
If you enjoy wagering on La Liga and other leagues from across the world, why not check out our soccer picks section?