In this Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 file photo, Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Eibar at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain.
In this Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 file photo, Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Eibar at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain.|Joan Monfort | Associated Press
Soccer

Soccer Preview: La Liga returns Thursday, as Barcelona, Real Madrid resume title battle this weekend

La Liga is back in action on Thursday, and it is Barcelona (58 points) that leads Real Madrid (56 points) in the table with 11 matches left in the campaign.

Sean Miller

Sean Miller

After the last 15 prior seasons, there has only been one name on the La Liga trophy that has not been either Barcelona or Real Madrid.

That amazing 2013-2014 season, which saw Atlético Madrid draw with Barcelona on the final day of the season to win the title, was the lone one since 2004 that ended with some team outside of the big two with a championship.

The 2019-2020 season will be no different.

La Liga is back in action on Thursday, and it is Barcelona (58 points) that leads Real Madrid (56 points) in the table with 11 matches left in the campaign. Barcelona has won 10 of those 15 titles in the last decade and a half, while Real Madrid has four, but just two since 2008.

Right now, Parx has Barcelona as a -182 favorite to take home the title, with Real Madrid +140. Third place Sevilla, which sits 11 points behind Barcelona, is +25000, with no real shot to win the crown. It is going to come down to the big two.

But in the race for a top four UEFA Champions League place, Atlético Madrid (45 points) is a huge favorite at -305, even though it sits in sixth place, behind Sevilla (47 points, -167), Real Sociedad (46 points, +200), Getafe (46 points, +200), and Valencia (42 points, +1100).

There could be some real money to be made if Real Sociedad or Getafe can make it into the top four, something that this simulation says is a distinct possibility. It might be worth a flyer on either team at +200.

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SPAIN LA LIGA WINNER 2019/2020

FC Barcelona -182

Real Madrid +140

All other teams +25000 or higher

TOP FOUR FINISH

Atlético Madrid -305

Sevilla -167

Getafe +200

Real Sociedad +200

Valencia +1100

All other teams +10000 or higher

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