- The entire powerhouse trio of Real Madrid (-15000), Barcelona (-15000) and Atletico Madrid (-1000) have finished comfortably inside the Top-4 since 2011-12
- Valencia (+130), Getafe (+1400) and Sevilla (+220) finished in a dead-heat for the fourth and final Champions League place during the 2018-19 season, with Valencia pipping the last two by two points
- Villareal (+800), Real Betis (+1200) decent long shot picks
The 2019-20 edition of Spain’s top division kicks off this Friday, as Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona will begin the long journey to the La Liga crown at the new San Mames stadium.
Barcelona (-175) are favored to retain their trophy, with Real Madrid (+200) and Atletico Madrid (+1000) the only realistic challengers.
It’s all well and good if the blueprint is followed and that trio once again finishes 1-2-3 in some order, but oddsmakers are offering a Top-4 finish prop worth exploring.
2019-20 La Liga Top 4 Odds
* Odds taken on 08/12/19.
Using Atletico for Parlay Plays
Thinking of a La Liga futures parlay of some kind this season?
Consider this Top-4 prop: While Barcelona and Real Madrid are too automatic to offer any value, an Atletico play at -1000 could provide added value at relatively minimal risk. Diego Simeone’s Atleti team has finished third or better in each of the last seven La Liga campaigns, and the club has managed a Top-4 finish in nine of the past 12 seasons dating back to 2007-08.
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👋¡Buenas noches, #AtléticosPorElMundo! 😊¡Gracias por vuestro apoyo, en cualquier lugar del mundo que juguemos siempre hay un atlético apoyando al equipo!😍 😎 Con ganas de empezar @LaLiga… ¿y vosotros? 🔜 ¡Nos vemos el próximo domingo en el @Wanda mMetropolitano! – 👋 Sleep well, #AtléticosAroundTheWorld! 🌃 😊 We know that no matter where we play, there’s an Atleti fan supporting us. Thanks so much for the ❤! 😎 We can’t wait for LaLiga to start… And you? 🔜 See you Sunday at the Wanda Metropolitano! 😍 – 👋 Bonne nuit #AtléticosDuMonde! Merci d’avoir été là durant toute cette présaison! 🌃😍 😎 Vivement le début de LaLiga … Vous avez hâte? 🔜 Prochain rendez-vous, dimanche au Wanda Metropolitano! #AúpaAtleti #ICC2019 #Fútbol #Atleti #Atlético #AtléticoDeMadrid #GoAtleti
It’s a well-coached team with a set identity — something its Madrid neighbors lack entering 2019-20 — and exciting playmakers in the attack.
In other words, Atleti to finish Top-4 is as safe a future bet as you can make while retaining some parlay value.
Tricky Number Four
Favored to finish fourth are the two clubs who have done so a combined four times in the past five years: Sevilla (+220) and Valencia (+130).
The former is entering a new era with Julen Lopetegui at the helm, and is a few years — and a good chunk of a player cycle — removed from the lofty heights of three-straight Europa League titles (2014-16) and its last Top-4 finish in 2016-17.
🗣️ "Managers need to be curious and pay attention all the time."
– Julen Lopetegui pic.twitter.com/IDj9kXrQwx
— The Coaches’ Voice (@CoachesVoice) August 12, 2019
The latter made an incredible second-half push last season to earn a fourth-place finish, and did some tidy business within La Liga this summer with the acquisitions of goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen from Barcelona and striker Maxi Gomez from Celta.
Valencia has also finished fourth in three of the last five seasons.
The Bilbao Effect
There is something romantic about Athletic Bilbao as a club; its Basque-only player rule, brilliant new stadium and cinderella cup runs have added to the mystique of the club in recent years.
Porque eres un león… 🦁
… y porque San Mamés es tu casa 🏠
— Athletic Club (@AthleticClub) August 12, 2019
The reality, however, is Athletic has only finished in the Top-4 once (2013-14) in this century and is vastly overpriced at +550.
Its foundational players are all still there — the club enjoys better roster continuity than most — with the likes of Iñaki Williams, Mikel San Jose and captain Iker Muniain all still turning out for Athletic.
The problem is that core has struggled to 16th- and 8th-place finishes in the last two years, and the lack of hard-hitting additions due to the club’s restrictive transfer policy makes it difficult to see Athletic leapfrogging the likes of Sevilla and Valencia and pushing for a Top-4 spot.
Real Betis: Play or Stay Away?
Sevilla-based club Real Betis are another one of those teams that pulls at the heartstrings, with fantastic support and a beautifully-renovated stadium.
The last decade has seen Betis relegated twice, but the club has also earned credible sixth and seventh-place finishes in La Liga in that timeframe.
The Verdiblancos slumped to a tenth-place finish last term, and have not finished in the Top-4 since 2004-05, but have a squad capable of competing for European places; veterans Joaquin and Andres Guardado have experienced pretty much every peak and valley in La Liga, while the addition of Nabil Fekir from Lyon should help them creatively after losing Lo Celso to Spurs.
It’s risky, but at +1200 might be a value play.
Take Valencia (+130), because manager Marcelino is into his third season of the project at La Mestalla and the club added more than it subtracted this summer. The club has also finished fourth in two seasons running.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.