The Spanish La Liga might not be as renowned as the English Premier League, but many would actually argue that it is the number one powerhouse in Europe at the moment, with the UEFA’s statistics and coefficients confirming that assumption. All of that naturally converts into the number of bettors that like to have a punt on La Liga. Like the EPL, La Liga also has some very interesting subtleties that need to be taken into account when it comes to betting – and, in this article, we are going to take a look at some of the most important ones.
Betting on the Top Teams
La Liga is known for the long-standing rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, who are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best two teams on the Iberian Peninsula. The biggest difference between the two teams is how they treat the team’s composition. While Barcelona prefer home-grown players, with the club having top-notch training facilities that can bring the best out of young talents, Real Madrid do not mind buying star players from all kinds of countries, which is something that has already caused it numerous problems, as it is obviously very hard to make all those star guys gel together as a squad.
When it comes to betting on the top teams, La Liga is certainly quite safe for those who like to bet on the big favourites, as there is a huge gap between the top two and the rest of the table. Nevertheless, there are some pitfalls that one should try to avoid. One comes from the fact that both Barcelona and Real Madrid have very heavy schedules, which leads to numerous squad rotations. The second one is that you can very often see that home advantage plays an important role – at home, both outfits are keen on humiliating their opponents, while away, they are often content with a performance good enough for all three points.
The Faces of the Lesser Teams
When it comes to the lesser teams, it seems to us that they really do have various faces and that one really needs to monitor them closely to know what is going on. From time to time, a surprising contender emerges at the beginning of the season and is able to keep touch with the top two teams for quite a long time only to dip at the end of the season – take Levante in the 11/12 season as a very good example of that. This year, Atlético Madrid might have to face the very same fate.
Spain is a big country and some teams are very poor travellers – the trend is usually established throughout the season. Last year (2011), for example, Malaga found themselves at the third place in terms of home performances, but at the thirteenth place in terms of away performances. Some teams had it the other way around (Sevilla finished fifth on away points, but eleventh on home points) – and it is certainly a good idea to keep track of trends like that.
La Liga in Europe
The Spanish league gets a lot of spots in the European football, but there is one particularly interesting issue connected with that – it gets so many spots only because Barcelona and Real Madrid are so consistent in the Champions League. What this means is that you should never overestimate the other Spanish sides when it comes to their matches against other big European teams. There are a few exceptions, of course, but most Spanish squads do not have enough depth for there to be enough room for squad rotations without any dips in their overall quality. Many Spanish sides also lose their edge against teams that know how to park the bus and defend, since La Liga is a lot about the aesthetic side of football and that just doesn’t work against teams that are organized and know how to break the game up when it’s necessary to do so.
The Spanish La Liga is a tough nut to crack when it comes to betting – perhaps less so than the EPL, but definitely more so than the lesser football leagues. If you want to be able to beat it in the long term, you should probably try to focus not only on Barcelona and Real Madrid, but also on the lesser teams that do not get as much attention from the rest of the market. That is where the real gems usually lie.