No more Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the biggest news in Spanish La Liga heading to the new season. A big loss to Real Madrid and good news for the other hopefuls, such as reigning champions Barcelona. Once again La Liga is most likely to be decided between the two rivals, with others only playing second fiddle in the hunt for the title.
Atletico Madrid has been able to keep their competitive squad intact, while Valencia, Sevilla and Villarreal complete the top six most likely to squabble over positions justifying continental competition for next season. The challengers have grown stronger and perhaps this is the season both of the giants are brushed aside?
Accuscore’s supercomputer has simulated the whole La Liga season 2018/2019 to give you the answer to the question and indicate the most likely outcome after all the 380 games are played. Here’s how the simulations play out:
Analysis and predictions
All quiet in the western front, at least at the top of the table. Barcelona has kept their place on top and look like the biggest favorites after Real Madrid will have to do without Ronaldo, who is yet to be replaced. Time and options are running out for Real, but there might be some unexpected splashes before the transfer window closes. Barcelona is starting the season for the first time in 15 years without midfield maestro Andres Iniesta, but they have more than adequate cover from within – not to mention excellent additions of Arturo Vidal, Arthur and Malcom to bolster their midfield and attacking options. Barcelona is the clear favorite to win the title, but that clarity is reflected well in the odds: Barcelona will win the league with ~55% probability, while current odds on offer indicate a bit more than 57%.
Attractive options for the outright winner bets can be found right behind Barcelona. While Real Madrid is in a whole new situation with new manager and no Ronaldo, their squad is already world class and likely to get better still. Gareth Bale is now injury free, Marco Asensio and Isco are ready for a bigger role with Luka Modric and Casemiro running the show in the middle. Real is only barely behind Barcelona at the moment and they make for an excellent value pick to win the league: odds of 2.60 indicate some 38% winning probability, which is just a tad lower than the simulations predict.
Atletico Madrid and Valencia are the challengers and likely to complete the top four. Neither of the teams is able to properly challenge Real or Barca, so the outright bets are off. However, Valencia is a tiny bit ahead of Atletico Madrid in the simulations and their odds for top-4 finish seem very intriguing. Fourth place last year, only three points behind Real and six behind Atletico, has given Valencia confidence and they’ve strengthened the squad where it was needed. It’s hard to imagine any of the other challengers beating Valencia to the third or fourth place and Valencia’s odds of 3.00 for top four finish provide excellent value.
At the bottom of the table the newly promoted teams Huesca, Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano are likely to struggle against the last season’s survivors Levante and Leganes. In Accuscore simulations the trio is likely to make an instant return to second tier, while odds indicate the same with only a tiny exception in Levante more probable than Vallecano. It is, however, Vallecano offering any value in relegation odds, with marginally overpriced odds of 3.25. It is going to be a hard fought battle down the table, but Vallecano is currently behind the last season’s La Liga teams.
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