Real Madrid’s miracle Champions League turnaround brought huge relief in the Spanish capital on Tuesday, but it also gave hope to punters who back Los Blancos to recover from the wreckage of their woeful La Liga start to win the title.
Odds of 2/1 will lengthen further if there are more slip-ups in the vein of Real’s 0-1 defeat at Sevilla on Saturday. Yet there is plenty of reason to believe that Madrid can rein Barcelona in from their eight-point head start.
Some 34 matches remain to be played this season, which is clearly enough time to turn things around even against the formidable Catalans. Real gained ten points more than Barcelona over the final 34 matches of last season’s Primera Division, a repeat of which would see them edge to a defence of their crown.
Despite their shocking start, a side that dropped just three points from a possible 69 at the end of their last campaign are clearly capable of putting a win or two together.
Barcelona’s 4-1 win at Getafe made them 2/5 on title favourites and was in many ways the most impressive showing of their campaign to date. Tito Vilanova is very much in his honeymoon period as coach though, and how he copes with tougher challenges ahead is still likely to settle the league title’s fate.
The bookies were impressed enough by Sevilla’s win over Real to slash their odds of a top-four finish to 7/4 from 5/2. A sturdy midfield and the constant attacking menace of Jesus Navas gives them a decent foundation in a season where top class names are in short supply outside of the two favourites.
They will be tough to beat at this rate but Valencia and Malaga both seem to have a little more flair and are worth backing at 4/5 and 14/5 respectively. The latter looks particular attractive after Malaga arrived in the Champions League in style with a 3-0 win at Zenit St. Petersburg.
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