Barcelona have been in the spotlight this summer, acquiring Robert Lewandowski and several other high-profile players, yet it’s their Clasico rivals Real Madrid who are the preseason title favourites for the 2022-23 La Liga campaign.
Los Blancos are looking to defend their title, while Girona, Almeria and Real Valladolid return to the top flight after earning promotion from the Segunda Division.
What can we expect from La Liga this season? We’ve taken a look at the pre-season betting markets and picked out the best bets.
Winner: Real Madrid
Real Madrid won La Liga at a canter last season and their squad has only got stronger this summer, despite missing out on Kylian Mbappe.
Antonio Rudiger is an important figure at the heart of defence, while Aurelien Tchouameni provides another option in midfield and provides competition for the veteran duo of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
Barcelona improved under Xavi, but they are in disarray off the field and remain a work-in-progress on it. Atletico are not the same force they were a few years ago.
This is Real’s title to lose, and there’s value backing them at 5/4.
Top Goalscorer: Karim Benzema
The Golden Boot race is all about Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski beat Benzema to the European Golden Shoe in 2021-22, but the Frenchman finished the season on a remarkable run, including seven goals across four matches against Chelsea and Manchester City in the Champions League.
While Benzema couldn’t be more comfortable playing under Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, Lewandowski might need to settle in to playing in a new league with new teammates. The Polish international also cooled off slightly towards the end of last season, scoring just five in his last 11 matches.
Most bookies have the pair at the same price to win the Pichichi Trophy – Benzema is the better value of the two.
Jens Jonsson, Carlos Akapo, Varazdat Haroyan and Salvi Sanchez, who all appeared in at least 17 league matches last season, have departed Cadiz this summer.
Moves have been made to reinforce the squad, but there’s no question Los Piratas are among the weakest squads in La Liga heading into 2022-23.
Cadiz finished just one point above relegated Granada last term, and only Getafe and Alves scored fewer goals. There remains a considerable dependence on the veteran Alvaro Negredo for goals.
Avoiding relegation is a big ask for this Cadiz team as currently constructed, particularly with the strength of newly promoted Almeria.
Top Four Finish: Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad were top of the table at the start of November in 2021-22. A slump through the winter months ultimately derailed their season, but Los Txuri-Urdin were on top-four form from March onwards.
Imanol Alguacil’s team finished sixth, but were fifth by expected goal difference, comfortably ahead of fifth-place Real Betis and fourth-place Sevilla.
Attacking talent has been added in the summer window in Brais Mendez, teenage striker Mohamed-Ali Cho and speedster Takefusa Kubo. Goal-scoring was their greatest weakness last season, and moves have been made to address that.
It’s bound to be a fierce battle for that final top four berth alongside the big three, but Real Sociedad are the pick of the betting at 9/2.
All odds are subject to change