La Liga Matchday 8 Preview: Spain’s Top Clubs Expected To Roll

Posted By Tyler Everett on October 30, 2020

Domestically, there are not a ton of blockbuster match-ups in La Liga this weekend.

  • Real Madrid (-278) vs. Huesca (+750) on Saturday at 9 a.m.
  • Osasuna (+430) vs. Atleti (-127) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
  • Alavés (+575) vs. Barcelona (-225) on Saturday at 4 p.m.
  • Athletic Bilbao (+205) vs. Sevilla (+160) on Saturday at 11:15 a.m.

These are all about as compelling as those lines say they are. I should add, though, that Sevilla’s trip to Athletic Bilbao will be no gimme based on that line.

With no matches worth previewing in great depth, now is a good time to look at the table and the outlooks of the La Liga clubs in the Champions League.

Red-Hot Real Sociedad Atop The Table (But There’s An Asterisk)

As for the standings — which I still plan on largely ignoring until everyone has played the same number of games – Real Sociedad is in first place with 14 points and a 4-2-1 record through seven matches. Manager Imanol Alguacil’s team is rolling despite the offseason departure of Martin Odegaard, with three wins in a row — by an impressive combined score of 10-1 — over Getafe, Real Betis and Huesca. Real Sociedad is also favored in its next two, against Celta Vigo this weekend and when they take on Granada on November 8. No team in Spain has scored more than La Real’s 14 goals this season.

So, should this team be counted on to be a factor in the title race and/or the battle to finish in the top four? For now, they’re +6,600 to win the league and +275 to finish top-four, per oddsmakers. FiveThirtyEight isn’t bullish on them, either. The analytics site gives them a 4% chance to win the league and a 40% chance to finish top-four.

An interesting mix from second through fourth place

Real Sociedad is followed in the table by Real Madrid (13 points through six games), Granada (13 through six) and Villarreal (12 through seven).

Real Madrid is oddsmakers’ clear favorite to win the league (-118) after last week’s 3-1 win over Barcelona.

Despite being in fifth place on 11 points through five games, Atleti (which appears to have a bit of offense for a change, having scored 10 goals in five league games and three in two UCL matches) is third-favorite to win the league at +500. Los Rojiblancos are -670 to finish top-four.

Notably — even if the shortage of games played is a factor — Barcelona is in 12th place on seven points through five games, but is +190 to win the league and -2,500 to finish top four.

Sevilla experiencing mixed results

Their play in the Champions League has been impressive, even for believers like me. But Sevilla, in 13th on seven points through five games, is struggling domestically while balancing their European schedule. Julen Lopetegui’s team has earned just one point over its last three games, drawing Barcelona before losing to both Eibar and Granada. The offense (five goals in five games) is even worse than expected, and that’s reflected in this team’s futures odds, as they are +3,300 (fourth-favorite) to win the league, but +100 to finish top-four.

Champions League latest

Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atleti and Sevilla all had big Champions League games earlier this week.

With the exception of Real Madrid, all those teams impressed and are in good shape to advance from their UCL groups. The exact odds for each?

  • Barcelona (-835 to win Group G; top-2 odds unavailable)
  • Sevilla (+105 to win Group E; 1,115 to finish top-2)
  • Atleti (+650 to win Group A; -1,000 to finish top-2)
  • Real Madrid (the favorite, at +175, to win Group B; -167 to finish top-2). That is a *ton* of faith in them despite their rough start. More importantly, there’s an appalling lack of respect for group leader Shakhtar!!

Barcelona is atop Group G after shutting out Juventus, 2-0. Atleti got a huge three points this week, and is second behind Bayern in Group A, with Lokomotiv Moscow and RB Salzburg appearing unlikely to challenge the top two in that group. Sevilla is tied with Chelsea for the lead in Group E, and should have no trouble with FC Krasnodar next week.

Real Madrid, on the other hand is in last place (!!) in Group B, and is fortunate to even have one point. This week, Los Blancos fell behind again in a repeat of the Matchday 1 nightmare vs Shakhtar Donetsk, when they trailed 3-0 at halftime en route to a 3-2 loss. This time, facing Monchengladbach, they went down 2-0 and needed goals in the 87th and 93rd to salvage a point.

RM (1 point) is looking up at Inter Milan (2), Monchengladbach (2) and Shakhtar Donetsk (4) going into next week’s clash with Inter Milan. More to come on that pivotal match-up soon!


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