And La Liga, for the Spaniards. ITV4 are showing Barcelona tonight.
Winner: Barcelona have won the title in eight of the last 11 years and did so by 11 points last season; Now they have added Frenkie De Jong into midfield and Antoine Greizemann into their forward line. Both of those transfers were made with an eye on the Champions League but they had the league won a long way out last year and with Lionel Messi still leading the charge they set a truly imposing standard and even 8/13 looks very fair. Real Madrid were 19 points behind last season and whilst the return of Zinedine Zidane is good news for them, there other signs are not positive. Eden Hazard is a brilliant player and Luka Jovic should score plenty but Zidane will be handicapping himself if he does not use James Rodriguez or Gareth Bale and Madrid’s defending is also a significant issue that needs to be overcome. Atletico Madrid have changed half their team, Griezmann, the defenders Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez, Juanfran and Filipe Luis, and Rodri too, but also bringing in Joao Felix, Kieran Trippier, Mario Hermoso, Hector Herrera and Marcos Llorente. Don’t forget that Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata are still there.
Advice: 13 pts Barcelona (8/13 SkyBet, Bet365)
Best Of The Rest: Valencia were fourth last season but joint second in the league table for the second half of the season and then won the Copa Del Rey too, winning the final 2-1 against Barcelona. Marcelino is settled there and they have signed well to bring in Jasper Cliessen and Maxi Gomez amongst Denis Cheryshev.
Advice: 5 pts Valencia Top 4 Finish (6/4 general)
Relegation: The 10/11 on Real Mallorca looks to be a fair price given that they were 18 points behind the winners in the Segunda Division and the step up in class will be a big issue for them too. That could also be the case for Granada, second last year in the same division.
Advice: 3 pts Mallorca (10/11 Betfred), 2 pts Granada (7/5 Hills)
Top Goalscorer: Only one place to shoot here for with Lionel Messi surely set to take another golden boot – he’s won it for the last three seasons. Karim Benezema and Luis Suarez were joint second with 21, but the Real Madrid man might be the better each/way bet – the arrival of Antoine Greizemann could mean the goals are shared around. Diego Costa is set to miss the opener with a thigh complaint but he was firing them in on the US tour and with a full season he could wreak havoc, and that might include goals too.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Karim Benezema (16/1 general), 1 pt each/way Diego Costa (33/1 Bet365)