The Coronavirus crisis hit the sports world in a big way back in March as league after league began to postpone – or even cancel – their seasons. La Liga was suspended on March 23 due to the outbreak and there hasn’t been a game played since this date.
As countries in Europe began to get a handle on certain aspects of the disease, professional sport started to get closer to a return. The clubs in Spain have been back in training since the middle of May – first individually and then in groups – and the culmination of this effort is that La Liga is set to resume and play out its season starting this weekend.
The games won’t look the same as we are used to seeing them – in the beginning at least – as they will be played behind closed doors. Instead, we will see virtual fans and artificial crowd noise as TV broadcasters attempt to replicate the matchday experience to be as close as we are used to with all the limitations they currently have in place.
First Round Of Fixtures & Kick Off Times
There are plenty of games left in the La Liga season as it was one of the leagues with the most matches remianing when the virus hit. The first game will take place on June 11th and there will be a game every single day until the middle of July as part of a revised fixture list that will make the league feel almost like a World Cup competition with the frequency of the matches being played. This festival of football is not without its critic – more on that in a minute – and with temperatures soaring as we hit the Spanish summer it will be interesting to see if the players are able to keep their fitness levels up for this 11 game sprint to a finish.
The first round of fixtures in the returning league looks like this:
Thursday, June 11
- Sevilla vs Real Betis
Friday, June 12
- Granada vs Getafe
- Valencia vs Levante
Saturday, June 13
- Espanyol vs Alaves
- Celta Vigo vs Villarreal
- Leganes vs Valladolid
- Mallorca vs Barcelona
Sunday, June 14
- Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid
- Real Madrid vs Eibar
- Real Sociedad vs Osasuna
As always, be sure to check the BetXChange blog before each round – both in Spain and with the other major leagues – for match previews and tips on who to back as La Liga roars back into action.
What Is Still To Play For In The La Liga?
The majority of the league opening back up have ‘title races’ in name only as the league winner is all but confirmed. Not so much in La Lige where bitter rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid will resume their title fight in what has become one of the tightest title fights in years.
After 27 Rounds of the season, Barca is just two points ahead of Real and the two have an 11 point cushion over Sevilla. You can bet Barca at BetXChange for 0.55 to win the league and Real are 1.25 to finish the league on top. Real are the value play here, though it’s worth noting that they play after Barca in each of the first four rounds of the restart. This will potentially add pressure and could cause a slip-up.
Champions League Sports
Barca and Real will pick up two of the four Champions League spots for the 2020-2021 season bar a meltdown of the like we have never seen. The race for third and fourth, however, is far from as clear cut.
There will be five points between third (Sevilla) and seventh (Valencia) when the season restarts on Thursday. Realistically, anyone down to 10th place Athletic Bilbao who are nine points off of fourth place at the moment could make a run if their players have been keeping fit during lockdown.
Prices with BetXChange are:
- Atletico Madrid – 0.40
- Sevilla – 0.40
- Real Sociedad – 1.80
- Getafe – 1.95
- Valencia – 9.00
- Villarreal – 51.00
The drop out of La Liga at the end of the season and while it looks bleak for Espanyol on 20 points and Leganes on 23 points, the third relegation spot has a number of teams that could easily be dragged into the battle if they don’t pick up wins out of the gate.
Mallorca currently sit in the final relegation spot in 18th place with 25 points, but they are just one point behind 17th placed Celta Vigo and two points behind Eibar in 16th. Other clubs in danger of being reeled in include Valladolid (29 points) and even Alaves (32 points).
Here are the BetXChange odds for a team finishing in the bottom 3: