Spanish football’s elite top flight, La Liga, is undoubtedly the dominant force in European football in recent times, providing six of the last eight finalists in the Champions League, as well as six of the last nine winners.
It doesn’t stop there either, with teams from Spain also ruling the roost in Europe’s second tier tournament, the Europa League, taking four of the last six editions, highlighted by triumphs for goal happy Sevilla in 2014, ’15 and ’16.
Enthused by a domestic league bursting with quality and rivalry, Betting Directory’s Tom Lee, a regular visitor to Spain and its football grounds, takes a weekly look at the best bets on the fixture list…
It’s a case of tread carefully as we welcome La Liga back from its summer siesta, seemingly just a few sleeps since domestic champions Real Madrid swept through Cardiff to win their third European Cup in just four years in early June, demolishing Juventus 4-1 in the Millennium Stadium.
Their 12th win in Europe’s Premier competition overall, Zinedine Zidane’s team warmed up for the season with the small matter of a two-legged Clasico stroll against Barcelona this week, sweeping Ernesto Valverde’s team aside 5-1 on aggregate in the Super Cup.
If complacency was a possible issue, you might want to find a different reason to doubt the Bernabeu side.
They open up their league season with a Sunday night journey to play Deportivo La Coruna in the North West (9.15pm), an early season treat for the patrons of the Riazor.
Depor finished last season anxiously in 16th spot, with a goal difference of minus 18.
With that in mind, and with Real’s Isco flying and playing the best football of his career, and the champions already looking mean, I’m drawn to the half time odds offered by Ladbrokes.
They go 4/5 that the goal happy Madridistas will be a leading at the interval, a decent price when you consider the same firm are 3/10 about the away win overall.
Elsewhere, way down south it’s Sevilla who catch my eye in the late slot on Saturday (9.15pm), entertaining Espanyol at the Sanchez Pizjuan.
Sevilla came through a Champions League first leg qualifier in Istanbul unscathed earlier this week, emerging with an important 2-1 advantage.
That means they’re match fit and ready to go against an Espanyol side who aren’t always the greatest travellers.
They’re 4/6 for the home win.
This weekend’s best bets in La Liga:
9.15pm Sun – Deportivo v REAL MADRID – Madrid to be winning at half time @ 4/5 (Ladbrokes)