La Liga 2020/21 Title Winners Prediction, Odds and Picks

La Liga Title Winners

  • Atletico Madrid top the table as the business end of the season approaches
  • Real Madrid and Barcelona remain in the mix but both are outsiders
  • No other team is likely to challenge the big three for the championship crown

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La Liga Title Odds

Odds taken 1 March, 2021 from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Atletico Madrid-182
Real Madrid+400
Real Sociedad+50000
Real Betis+100000

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La Liga Title Predictions and Picks

Real Madrid were the pre-season favorites to lift the trophy in 2020/21, available at -155 with DraftKings Sportsbook before the action got underway. Things have not gone to plan for the defending champions, though, with the odds on Zinedine Zidane’s side triumphing having drifted to +400.

The odds on a victorious Barcelona campaign have also lengthened, from +175 back in September to +325 today. That is because Atletico Madrid have taken control of the title race, largely because they have demonstrated more consistency than either of the big two. At a generous price of -182, it is worth backing Diego Simeone’s men to end the season in first place.

How to Watch La Liga

La Liga Information
What2020/21 La Liga season
WhenNow – 23 May 2021
How to WatchbeIN Sports

Atletico Madrid Have Evolved and Are More Reliable Than Others

At +1100 Atletico were the third-favorites to win the title last summer, a position they have grown used to in recent years. Simeone’s side won the league in 2014 and have finished second on two occasions since then, but they are invariably behind Real Madrid and Barcelona in the betting markets at the beginning of each campaign. It is a testament to the job Simeone and his players have done so far this term that, with 14 rounds of games remaining, it is Atletico who are sitting pretty at the summit of the standings.

Atletico have long had a reputation for defensive solidity, and it will come as no surprise to seasoned La Liga watchers that they have conceded fewer goals than any other team in the division this term.

Opponents have breached Atletico’s backline just 16 times in their 24 matches to date, with the table-toppers having kept clean sheets in exactly half of those fixtures. They have not been as resolute recently with just one shut-out in their last eight outings, but Atletico remains the best-organized team in La Liga.

Crucially, that has not come at the expense of their attacking output. Atletico have scored 47 goals, a tally bettered by only Barcelona. The key figure in that regard has been Luis Suarez, who joined the club from Barca last summer. The Uruguay international might be 34 years old but his appetite for scoring goals is undiminished. Suarez has struck 16 times in La Liga this term, and he is a key reason why Atletico have a five-point lead at the start of March.

Barcelona Have Probably Given Themselves Too Much to Do

To say last summer was turbulent for Barcelona would be an understatement. The club sacked their manager, Quique Setien, after a historic 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, before becoming engaged in a battle to keep Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou. The Argentina international did indeed stay put, but he made it clear that the lack of a transfer was against his wishes.

Amid such an atmosphere it was always going to be difficult for Barcelona to start the season quickly; new manager Ronald Koeman had his work cut out from day one. Barcelona duly lost four, drew two and won only four of their first 10 games, leaving them down in ninth place at the start of December.

They have rallied since then, and are unbeaten since the 2-1 loss to Cadiz that saw them slip into mid-table. Messi has regained his focus and, despite being in the autumn years of his career, reminded everyone that he is still one of the best players in the world. Barcelona’s league form in 2021 has been particularly impressive, with Koeman’s side having taken 28 points from a possible 30.

Barcelona looks best placed to catch Atletico if Simeone’s side slip up, but they might have given themselves too much to do. Koeman deserves credit for getting them back in the race, and victories in upcoming games against Atletico and Real Madrid would give them a chance. As things stand, though, it looks as if Barcelona’s poor start will cost them a shot at the title.

Injuries and Inconsistency Damage Real Madrid’s Hopes of Glory

As mentioned above, Real Madrid was the bookmakers’ favorite to win La Liga this term after their triumph in 2019/20. Zinedine Zidane’s side will draw optimism from the nature of their success last time out, which came courtesy of a 10-game winning run that propelled them from second to first towards the end of the season. Madrid fans will hope for a similar outcome as the business end of the current campaign approaches.

However, Draft Kings’ odds of +400 on a Madrid title triumph seem accurate. The champions have simply been too inconsistent this term. They have beaten both of their title rivals, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, relatively comfortably, but have also lost home games to Alaves, Cadiz, and Levante. A week after hammering Huesca 4-1, they were beaten by the same scoreline by a struggling Valencia.

Injuries have not helped, with Zidane currently missing several key players. There is no doubt that Madrid’s title defense has been disappointing, though, and while nothing can be ruled out after that incredible winning sequence at the end of last season, it will be difficult for Madrid to finish on top of the pile this time around.

Sevilla were fourth-favorites last summer and are fourth-favorites right now, albeit with lengthened odds of +4000 compared to +3000 six months ago. Ten points adrift of Atletico, it would take an extraordinary effort for Julen Lopetegui’s charges to win the league from here. Neither Real Sociedad, Granada, Real Betis nor Villarreal has a realistic chance.

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Greg Lea

Expert on Soccer

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts.

Email: [email protected]