Can Atletico Madrid Shock Again?

For several seasons Barcelona and Real Madrid had a stranglehold on the La Liga title before Atletico Madrid pulled off the shocker and won the crown last season. However, they lost some key players and Barca and Real may be better with their off-season additions.

The La Liga race is a three team one according to oddsmakers with Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid all having solid odds while all the other clubs are seen as major long shots.

Real Madrid (5/6) won the Champions League last season and are the betting favorites to win La Liga this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo did not have a great World Cup, but new MF Toni Kroos did playing for champion Germany and he was the big off-season acquisition. The team is stacked up front with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema and while the defense is good GK Iker Casillas must stay healthy to be the anchor of the defense and forget his terrible World Cup showing.

Barcelona (11/10) made a big splash in the off-season signing the Luis Suarez. The striker is suspended for the first several matches after his third biting incident and while he obviously has issues his talent cannot be denied. He will team up with Neymar and Lionel Messi, who each scored four goals in for their squads in the World Cup, to give Barca an attack that may be scary.

Atletico Madrid (10/1) did win the league title last season, but had to make some cost-cutting moves for this one. Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois are all gone and Costa’s loss is a big one. However, they did sign former Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic, who must have a good season leading the attack.

Athletic Bilbao may be a solid dark horse and they finished in the top four last season to nail down an automatic Champions League bid. They have a solid all around squad that may be much the same this season with the exception of Ander Herrera, who left to join Manchester United.

Here are the La Liga betting futures as of July 25th at Bet365.

Real Madrid 5/6
Barcelona 11/10
Atletico Madrid 10/1
Valencia 125/1
Athletic Bilbao 150/1
Seville 175/1
Real Sociedad 200/1
Villarreal 225/1
Celta Vigo 750/1
Malaga 750/1
Rayo Vallecano 750/1
Levante 750/1
Getafe 750/1
Espanyol 750/1
Elche 1000/1
Deportivo La Coruna 1000/1
Eibar 1000/1
Cordoba 1000/1
Granada 1000/1
Almeria 1000/1