The Spanish Primera Division kicks off on Friday and, if one is looking for a generously priced bet in the new season of the world’s top league, one could do a lot worse than back Atletico Madrid to be top of the ladder on New Year’s Day, an option that is trading at odds of +2800 with Bwin.
Bwin is betting that it is a three-team race for top spot in the Spanish Primera Division and one thinks that there are sufficiently good reasons to back Atletico Madrid and oppose both Barcelona and Real Madrid at their respective odds.
One will start by finding holes in both Barcelona and Real Madrid, something that is surprisingly simple to do.
Barcelona has played three competitive matches this season and its results have been far from the level that one would expect of a UEFA Champions League title holder. Barcelona had to go to extra time of the UEFA Super Cup game to get the better of Sevilla 5-4, it lost 0-4 at Athletic in the first leg of the Spanish Supercopa de Espana and it failed to win the second half at the Camp Nou that ended 1-1.
None of Barcelona’s recent signings, including Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal, is able to play for Barca until January because of the club’s transfer ban and that may result in Luis Enrique having to choose the same players all the time because the competition for places may not be all that hot.
Then there is Barcelona’s Spanish Primera Division draw to consider. Barcelona’s Spanish Primera Division opener is at Athletic on Sunday and it has to travel to Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia before the end of 2015. One would not touch Barcelona at odds of -143 with the same bookmaker to lead the Spanish Primera Division on New Year’s Day.
Real Madrid is more unattractive than Barcelona but one is not keen to back it at +100 with Bwin to be the Spanish Primera Division frontrunner on New Year’s Day, either.
The Spanish Primera Division fixture has drawn Real Madrid to visit Athletic, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla before the end of 2015, which is a softer schedule than that facing Barcelona but not as pleasant as that of its city rival.
Then there is the Rafa Benitez factor to consider. How is Real Madrid going to fare under the management of a coach who has not won a league title since 2004 and who may have difficulty handling the egos of the Meringues heavyweights, most notably Cristiano Ronaldo? One does not want to take a gamble on Real Madrid at short odds in the circumstances.
Bwin is right to list Atletico Madrid as the third favourite in the race to lead the Spanish Primera Division on New Year’s Day but its odds of +2800 are totally ridiculous.
Atletico Madrid has the best Spanish Primera Division draw of the contenders, including home games versus Athletic, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia. Using the Spanish Primera Division title odds as one’s guide, the toughest away match that Atletico Madrid will play before 2016 is Sevilla in the second round and it will get that opponent off the back of a local derby versus Malaga on Friday.
There are some good judges who think that Atletico Madrid may finish the Spanish Primera Division season above Real Madrid on the ladder. One respects their opinions – well regarded United Kingdom-based journalist Guillem Balague believes that Real could underperform if Benitez does not handle Ronaldo correctly – and one thinks that Bwin is taking a huge risk with its huge odds about Atletico.
Atletico Madrid to be top of the league on New Year’s Day
21st August 19:30 GMT
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