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La Liga Leaders Atletico Drop To 3rd Favourites - is There Still Value in Them to Win It?

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What Have Last weekend's Results Done To The La Liga Standings?

Following last weekend’s results in La Liga which saw Real Madrid triumph in El Classico against Barcelona thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos, whilst Atletico could only draw against Real Betis at Benito Villamarín Stadium, despite taking a fifth-minute lead through Yannick Carrasco.

These results have seen the league title race narrow up, with just two points separating Barcelona in third place to Atletico at the top of the table, with Real Madrid separating the two by a point each way. This is in stark contrast to the table at the new year, which had Diego Simeone’s side two points clear of Real with two games in hand, and 10 points clear of Barcelona having played one game less than the Catalonian club.

Real Madrid Odds: 6/4

Zinedine Zidane’s side are the outright favourites to win La Liga following their El Classico win on the weekend. This was a huge win for Los Blancos, as they have now played fulfilled all of their fixtures against Atletico and Barcelona, with their hardest fixtures left on paper being Sevilla (home), Athletic Bilbao (away) and Villarreal (home), of which you would fancy Real to win all three of them due to the quality in their squad and current form.

Real have lost once since late November which came against Levante on 30th January, winning 15 of their last 20 matches, drawing the other four. With the likes of Karim Benzema scoring 11 goals in his last 10 matches and averaging a goal every 120 minutes.

One of the main question marks about Real’s squad, however, is the gap in goals between top scorer Benzema and the rest of the squad, whilst their second top scorers are Vinicius Junior and Casemiro with six goals, however, nine other players have contributed two or more goals this season. If they are to win La Liga for the 35th time then they must find a way of keeping Benzema fit, as they have failed to win three of the four league games he has missed due to injury this campaign.

La Liga Title Odds - Real Madrid

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Real Madrid to Win La Liga @ 6/4

Barcelona Odds: 13/8

Barca are also in similar form to Real, having lost twice in their last 20 matches, however, their odds are worse than Real’s due to still having to play Atletico later on in the season in a re-arranged fixture.

The Camp Nou club have some tricky fixtures remaining on the calendar, as they have to travel away to the likes of Villarreal, Valencia and Levante, meaning that they will likely have to win seven out of their next eight fixtures, including the Atletico game if they are to stand a chance of winning the league, due to also chasing second-placed Real.

Ronald Koeman’s side have had a transformation this season, changing their system to a 5-2-3 with Holland international Frenkie de Jong dropping into centre-back alongside the likes of 21-year-old academy product Oscar Mingueza and Clement Lenglet in defence, whilst former Las Palmas midfielder Pedri has helped to dictate the play next to the experienced Sergio Busquets.

Lionel Messi will as always be a decisive factor in the odds, as the Argentinian has scored 23 and assisted eight goals in La Liga this campaign, meaning that he is the top scorer in the division. Barca are by far and away the top scorers in the league, finding the back of the net 69 times in 30 matches, 16 more times than second top scorers Real Madrid.

La Liga Title Odds - Barcelona

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Barcelona to Win La Liga @ 13/8

Atletico Madrid Odds: 2/1

On paper when excluding Atletico’s fixture against Barcelona, they have the most favourable fixtures, with the likes of Eibar, Huesca, Athletic Bilbao, Elche, Real Sociedad, Osasuna and Real Valladolid all left to play.

If Simeone’s men were to win against Barca, then they would likely go back to being the favourites to win the league, as they are very efficient as a team, having only dropped six points when leading in matches all season.

Atletico’s defence has been a decisive factor in their success this campaign, as they have won 20 out of their 30 games, the same amount as both Real and Barca, but, have only lost three matches in the league, with only Inter Milan having a better record in Europe’s top five leagues, as Antonio Conte’s side have lost just twice.

Former Barca man Luis Suarez has been their inspiration this season, scoring 19 goals in 26 La Liga matches. Other players in the squad such as Joao Felix and Moussa Dembele can step up to the plate, as the Portuguese forward has scored 10 goals in 33 matches in all competitions, whilst Dembele has played just 42 minutes in the league since his January move from Lyon, due to a series of fitness issues.

To Atleti’s advantage in terms of fixture scheduling, they are out of the Champions League and the Copa del Rey, meaning that they can have a clean run at what would be their first league title win since the 2013/14 season.

La Liga Title Odds - Atletico Madrid

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Atletico Madrid to Win La Liga @ 2/1