Is it really wise to back Real Madrid for La Liga glory at odds-on?
Quite simply, one La Liga title in the last eight seasons isn’t good enough for Real Madrid. And although they look a formidable force thus far in Spain, we’d be crazy to rule out their bitter rivals Barcelona with 26 games still left to play.
As things stand, Los Blancos have been in great form, winning nine and drawing three of their opening 12 matches, and they currently sit four points ahead of the Catalan giants.
But despite being odds-on for their first league title since the 2011-12 campaign, here are three reasons why we’re not completely convinced by Zinedine Zidane’s men just yet…
Ask us on 29 January
We’re not taking anything away from Madrid – they’ve been remarkable to watch of late.
But we’re not even halfway through the season, and that four point gap could be closed to just one when Zidane takes his side to the Camp Nou in just under two weeks.
Luis Enrique’s men know how important a fixture that is, as his side could see themselves some seven points adrift of their rivals heading into the winter break.
In other words, a win would be a mere bonus for the visitors, while it’s crucial for the home team.
By 29 January, Real will have played every side in the league, and only then will we have a clear idea of their chances of going all the way this season.
There’s a shift of power taking place
Gareth Bale’s new contract makes him the highest-paid player at the Bernabeu, and it’s clear he’s going to be the man to take the club forward as Ronaldo enters the latter stages of his career.
But the Portugal international isn’t finished just yet, and that transition period where Bale will overtake Ronaldo as the club’s most important player will take some time, and it could potentially affect performances on the pitch.
We know Ronaldo likes to be the central figure, and perhaps a suggestion that someone else is filling that role may spur the Euro 2016 winner on to produce even better performances.
But we reckon it’s more likely to have a negative impact on the overall dynamics in the squad – at least that may be the case this season.
We’ve been here before
Lets rewind exactly two years.
12 games into the La Liga campaign and after a shaky start which saw them lose two of their opening three games, Real Madrid suddenly look great value for the title, enjoying a nine-game winning streak.
They extended that run to 12 too, before a shock defeat to Valencia after the winter break cut their lead at the top of the table to just a point.
Barcelona sensed an opportunity to overtake their rivals at the top of the table.
It may have taken until early March, but eventually Enrique’s men leapfrogged Real into first-place, keeping hold of that position until the end of the season.
And that goes to show you can’t write off a team boasting talents such as Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi – certainly not in November.
Right now they’re 5/4 to win their third successive La Liga title. That’s the longest price they’ve been to date, and it may just be the best odds you’ll get on them this season.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing