There’s Some Big Favorites In La Liga this Weekend



The three-horse race at the top of La Liga has been fun to watch as Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid are within three points of each other going in this weekend’s league matches. All three also play in the Champions League during midweek, including Barca and Atletico’s mouthwatering match on Tuesday, so this could be a huge weekend in the title race.

Villareal @ Atletico Madrid – Saturday, 10:00 AM ET

Soccer Betting Lines: Atletico -200, Villareal +550, Draw +350

Atletico has quietly taken the lead in La Liga with five straight league wins, and the goal they allowed in their 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao was their first in five games. Villareal still has something to play for as they’re in seventh on 49 points, just one behind fifth-placed Real Sociedad for the automatic Europa League spot, and they’re seven points behind fourth-placed Bilbao, so the Champions League isn’t completely out of reach. Atletico are the only team in the league who hasn’t lost at home, racking up 13 wins and three draws at the Vicente Calderon, but Villareal has seven wins and seven losses in 15 road games, so this could be a tight match. The two drew 1-1 at Villareal in November, but Atletico will be favored here. 

Real Betis @ Barcelona – Saturday, 12:00 PM ET

Soccer Betting Lines: Barcelona -2000, Real Betis +2800, Draw +1400

Betis is eight points behind Almeria and Osasuna in the relegation race, and they have nothing to lose as they head to the Nou Camp, where Barca has 14 wins and a loss, while Betis has just one win on the road. They could look to catch a tired Barca after their Champions League match, but the second-placed Catalans should still be considered the overwhelming favorites in this game as they’ve won seven straight league matches against Betis, who last beat Barca in the second leg of their 2011 Copa Del Ray at home. Betis has also won just twice at Barca since 1995.

Real Madrid @ Real Sociedad – Saturday, 2:00 PM ET

Soccer Betting Lines: Real Madrid -188, Real Sociedad +450, Draw +333

Third-placed Madrid rebounded from their loss at Sevilla with a 5-0 rout of Rayo Vallecano, powered by two goals from Gareth Bale and another from Cristiano Ronaldo, who now leads La Liga with 28 goals and has 44 goals in 40 games in all competition. He has now scored a goal in 10 straight matches and keeping Ronaldo in check will obviously be a focus of attention for Sociedad, who are six points behind Bilbao for the valuable Champions League spot after a 1-1 draw at Osasuna. Sociedad has 10 wins, three draws and two losses at home in the league this season, while Madrid has 10 wins, four draws and two losses on the road. Madrid haven’t lost to Sociedad in 13 matches dating back to 2004, including a 5-1 romp at the Bernabeu in November behind a hat trick from Ronaldo, and they’ve now scored 17 goals in their last four matches against Sociedad, who are fifth in La Liga in goals scored, but as they’ve proved in the past, they may not want to get in a shootout with Madrid’s stars.