The 2022-23 La Liga season begins on Friday when Osasuna hosts Sevilla at the Estadio el Sadar in Pamplona. This will be a season unlike any other given that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be taking place right in the middle of it. This means that there will be no games in La Liga from the round played on the 8-9 of November until the league resumes on New Year’s Eve.
The standard of three relegated sides being replaced by three promoted clubs in a 20-team La Liga will once again be how the 2022-23 La Liga season is played. The three clubs that dropped out of the top flight at the end of last season were Levante, Alaves, and Granada. These three will be replaced by Almeria (returning after seven years outside of the top league), Valladolid (bouncing back after just one year away from La Liga, and Girona (back following a three-year stint in the Segunda Division.
Here is a look at the teams expecting to be vying for the title/European places, and some that will be lucky to beat the drop with odds from BetXchange.
The La Liga table had a familiar look at the top at the end of the 2021-22 season. Real Madrid raced away to win by 13 points from Barcelona, while Atletico Madrid and Sevilla rounded out the Champions League places.
1 – Real Madrid – 23/20
BetXchange clearly expects a return to old form as defending champions Real Madrid and second favorites Barcelona are priced comfortably ahead of the rest of the pack.
It was a weird summer for Real – a team used to holding all the power in the transfer market – as top target Kylian Mbappe was paid like a king to stay at PSG. Getting Gareth Bale’s contract off the books was great business, as was the signing of Antonio Rudiger from Chelsea to replace the holes left by Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane last season. They are favorites for a reason.
2 – Barcelona – 13/10
No one really knows how Barca has any money, yet the Catalans again recruited over £150 million of talent to bolster their ranks. The name signing was Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, but the equations of Jules Kounde from Sevilla and Raphina from Leeds were smarter long-term decisions.
3 – Atletico Madrid – 6/1
The only other team given a sniff is Atletico – Sevilla is a massive 20/1 as fourth favorites – with Atletico having hoisted the trophy as recently as two years ago.
This team knows how to play spoiler – both in games and in a season battle – but they will be third in a two-horse race here.
Beating the Drop
Finishing second or third from the top at least guarantees a team a spot in the following season’s Champions League. Fishing second or third from the bottom, however, guaranteed a season out of the limelight and struggle to get out o the Segunda Division and back into La Liga. Here are some teams the bookies think have some serious work ahead of them this season.
1 – Girona – 12/10
The race to avoid relegation should be fascinatingwith all the teams up to eleventh favorite Celta Vigo priced at 5/1 or shorter and with no obvious, odds-on team in trouble from Day 1.
Girona has relied on loan signings to neat the drop and the most interesting of those players is 23-year-old Argentinan Valentin Castellanos from New York City FC. Castellanos has scored 32 goals in his last 49 MLS games and if Girona beat the drop he will be the main reason why.
2 – Real Valladolid – 27/20
Valladolid has plenty of La Liga experience in their squad thanks to their quick return from the second tier. That should play to their advantage. Their results in pre-season have been very good, culminating in a 0-0 draw with Lazio earlier this week. If I were to pick just one of these three to escape the relation trapdoor it would be Valladolid.
3 – Elche – 15/10
The only team in the betting top three to have played in La Liga last season is Elche. Pre-season has been a disaster – defeats by the likes of Newcastle Under 21s. Villarreal B, and Libiza – so it is hard to see this squad coming into the season with much confidence. A slow start could doom them early, with the team that finished a comfortable 13th in La Liga last term having seemingly stalled out in the transfer market having brought in just one player to date.