How To Bet On La Liga
Betting on La Liga presents challenges to even the most experienced football bettor. Broadly regarded as the world's top football league, it is also one of the world's most lopsided in terms of competitive balance. Our detailed La Liga betting guide will show you how to approach the top division in Spanish football, and enhance your chances of making money betting on La Liga this season.
Betting On La Liga: An Introduction
The top flight of Spanish football has always been well regarded but the number of football fans who follow the division, which is also known as the Primera Division, has been steadily growing year on year.
As with the other major European leagues, La Liga is massive when it comes to football betting. Each week there are hundreds and hundreds of match markets to bet on while the biggest bookmakers also have a healthy collection of outright betting markets each offering a potential route to profit.
This guide will give you a deeper insight into La Liga whilst highlighting the various betting options available to you and, crucially, provide you with the information and strategies to hopefully make the most of your new found knowledge.
2016/17 La Liga Dates
The 2016/17 La Liga season will begin August 19th 2016 and run through May 21st 2017.
- How La Liga Works
- History Of La Liga
- La Liga Odds Explained
- How To Bet On La Liga And Win
- La Liga Betting Statistics
- Betting On La Liga Online
- La Liga Live Streaming
- La Liga Betting Tips
1. How La Liga Works
In total, 20 teams compete in La Liga every season. In theory, they are all fighting for a chance to win the title but in reality only a small number of teams have a genuine chance of ending the season at the top of the table.
La Liga Champions
Barcelona and Real Madrid are the perennial favourites for Spanish league glory but in recent years Atletico Madrid have emerged as La Liga’s third team. In the 2016/17 season those three will once again compete for the title which is simply awarded to the team who win the most points after each playing 38 La Liga fixtures – three points are awarded for a win and one for a draw.
In the case of teams who are tied on points La Liga uses the following criteria in order to classify teams:
- head-to-head points
- head-to-head goal difference
- goal difference
- goals scored
- fair-play points.
In the unlikely event that teams still cannot be separated there is a playoff.
You have to go back 13 years for the last time that a team other than Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid finished the season top of the Spanish Primera Division table. If you want a quick demonstration of the dominance of the top three teams in Spanish football currently you only need to look at the Primera odds where every other team is at least priced at odds of 101.00.
La Liga European Qualification
Thankfully for the other teams, there is more than just the league title to challenge for in Spain. Each season, the top three teams in La Liga are guaranteed a place in the group stage of the Champions League while the team who finish fourth are given the chance to qualify for European football’s elite tournament via the playoff round.
Real Madrid are the current Champions League holders but as Sevilla have shown, Spanish teams are also very capable of winning the Europa League. The team who finish fifth in La Liga get a chance to follow in Sevilla’s footsteps with a guaranteed spot in the Europa League group stage while the sixth placed team are entered into the third round of qualifying.
La Liga Relegation
La Liga is top of a pretty vast pyramid of Spanish football. In theory, every team in Spain has the ability to play in La Liga by winning promotion to the top flight. Each year the three teams who finish at the bottom of La Liga are relegated into the renamed La Liga 2 (previously known as the Segunda Division). The three teams who amass the fewest points are replaced by three teams from La Liga 2 which in turn has its own relegation into the Segunda Division B. With so much to play for at both ends of the table, Primera results are always important and wins are hard to come by.
There is an incredible amount to play for, for all La Liga teams but there are also some highly sought-after individual awards. With some of the best attacking players in the world plying their trade in La Liga, the top goalscorer award tends to be competitive while at the other end of the field, goalkeepers try to win the Zamora Trophy which is awarded to the goalkeeper with the least goals-to-game ratio.
La Liga Upcoming Fixtures
Current La Liga Table
2. History Of La Liga
The 2016/17 season will be the 86th in La Liga history. Over that time 60 teams have competed in the division but there have only been nine La Liga winners. That list includes Real Madrid who have a record 32 titles and Barcelona who have triumphed 24 times. Other Spanish Primera Division winners include Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Deportivo de La Coruna.
The presence of some of European football’s strongest sides has led to La Liga being officially the best league in Europe according to the official UEFA league coefficient rankings. That is a remarkable achievement given the league’s fairly humble beginnings.
The Copa del Rey – Spain’s national knockout football competition – was founded in 1903 but it was not until 1929 that plans for a national league finally came together. Ten teams took part in that first season of La Liga which was won by Barcelona.
La Liga continued to grow but had to be suspended in 1936 due to the Spanish civil war. There were league campaigns held in the Republican area of Spain but the national division did not start again in earnest until the 1939/40 season.
Real Madrid and Barcelona Dominance
There were multiple winners of La Liga title in the early years but it did not take long for Barcelona and, in particular, Real Madrid to begin dominating. The reasons for their domination have filled books but suffice it to say some of the best players and managers in the world began playing for the two Spanish giants in the 1940s, a trend which has continued ever since.
La Liga’s ever increasing strength is made clear by the fact that the two Spanish Primera Division top scorers in history currently play in the league. Before the start of the 2016/17 season Lionel Messi had scored 312 goals while Cristiano Ronaldo is some way behind on 260 (Ronaldo does have the better goals-to-game ratio however). Andoni Zubizarreta holds the record for La Liga appearances with a huge 622 while no outfield player has made more appearances than Raúl with 550.
La Liga Champions
|Club||Titles||Runners Up||Last Title|
|Deportivo La Coruna||1||5||1999/2000|
3. La Liga Odds Explained
Given the popularity of Spanish football you will never go wanting when it comes to La Liga betting odds during the course of the season. All of the major bookmakers price up a host of markets. These include outright markets which run over the course of a season and in-play markets offered for each game.
La Liga Match Markets
There are dozens of football bet types on offer for each La Liga match played over the course of the 380 game season. The most popular of these betting markets include:
- Match Result 1X2: Selecting the result (Home win, Draw, Away win) at the end of 90 minutes plus added time.
- Asian Handicap: Selecting the winner with each competing team carrying a goals handicap.
- Goal Total Over/Under: Selecting either over or under a specified number of goals.
For a comprehensive list and detailed descriptions of football bet types, please read our How To Bet On Football - Football Bets Explained guide.
La Liga Winner Odds
When it comes to La Liga outright winner odds you realistically have a choice of three teams. Everybody who follows football struggled to understand and believe Leicester City’s 2015/16 Premier League win but it would be even more of a shock if the 2016/17 champion of La Liga was not either Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid. That is borne out by the selection of La Liga outright winner odds.
Below we can see an example of La Liga Winner odds, with odds listed at Paddy Power prior to the start of the 2016/17 La Liga season.
Defending champions, Barcelona, are the odds on favourites to win the title once again across the board with Real Madrid second favourites. The bookies feel that it will be tough even for Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid to win the title. When you consider that the fourth favourites for the Premier League can be backed at odds of 7.50 and La Liga's fourth favourites Sevilla are at odds of 101.00 heading into the season, you see just how much of a dominance those top three teams have.
That does not mean that the La Liga odds outright selections offer no value. There were a number of ups and downs during the 2015/16 season when the title race went down to the very final day of the season. Those three may be head and shoulders above the rest of the division but over the course of a season they are very competitive against each other in terms of major honours.
Spanish La Liga winner odds for Barcelona may not look incredibly appealing before the start of the season but you have to remember that the bookies keep the outright market open all season long. As we’ve seen above, it took Barcelona right until the end of the season to secure the title. It looks clear that only three teams will be part of the title race but each of them will have good spells and bad spells.
That means you should keep on top of the news and Spanish Primera Division fixtures. Injuries, suspensions, off field issues and tough runs of games will all have an effect on the prices available to you. The take home message from this is that the odds will fluctuate so don’t be put off by short initial La Liga odds winner selections.
La Liga Winner 'Without Big 3' Odds
Given the competitive imbalance in Spanish football, bookmakers know they have to offer a range of Spanish league odds to keep punters interested. The variety of options available to you means you can be quite clever with your La Liga outright betting. For example, some bookmakers will price up a ‘Winner Without the Top 3’ market. Effectively, you are betting on which team will finish highest on the table, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid eliminated from consideration.
Below are an example of La Liga 'Without Big 3' odds, with odds listed by Coral before kickoff of the 2016/17 La Liga campaign.
There are a number of reasons why the fight to finish in fourth place tends to be a close run thing. La Liga teams know that their chances of overturning the established order are slim so there is a real sense of achievement finishing fourth. There’s also a potential Champions League place on the line. The likes of Sevilla, Valencia, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao will all feel they’ve got a chance of finishing in fourth so the ‘Winner Without Big 3’ market is an attractive option.
La Liga Top 4 Finish Odds
A number of bookmakers also offer La Liga Top 4 odds. As has typically been the case in recent seasons, each of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are listed at short odds to feature in the top 4 places once again come season's end.
Below are an example of La Liga top 4 finish odds, with odds posted by bet365 before the beginning of the 2016/17 La Liga campaign.
While it may seem a sure thing to bet on either of the La Liga big 3 to finish in the top four places by season's end, it's generally not considered wise to wrap up large sums of you bankroll for a nine month investment with minimal return if successful. So if you are going to bet on this market, consider the clubs who are set to outperform market expectations rather than clubs who are widely anticipated to feature.
La Liga Relegation Odds
A place in La Liga is highly coveted and teams will do all they can to cling on to a place amongst Spanish football’s elite. Therefore, La Liga relegation markets tend to be competitive and offer you yet another way to making some profit from your Spanish outright betting.
Below are an example of La Liga relegation odds, with prices posted by Winner Sport prior to the commencement of the 2016/17 La Liga season.
La Liga relegation tends to be a competitive market. Heading into the 2016/17 season, we can see that six teams are listed at odds of 5.00 or below. As with all other La Liga outright markets, relegation betting provides you with the ability to bet throughout the season. Punters who do their homework, analyse upcoming fixture schedules and are up to do with the latest La Liga injury and suspension news, can look to profit from La Liga relegation betting.
Relegation battles in particular can be very topsy turvy. Arguably they are even more affected by a run of tough fixtures and results. Form and confidence can change quickly and it is always worth keeping an eye on the additions to squads in the January transfer window and any managerial changes. Teams who look as though they are dead and buried can often go on a good run to wrestle their way away from trouble.
La Liga Top Goalscorer Odds
Away from the team markets there are some very interesting betting options concerning players. Of these options the bookies will always take most bets on who will be the La Liga top goalscorer.
Ronaldo and Messi are the two best players in the world so will be the favourites to be La Liga top scorers but they are not the only world class strikers in La Liga. Luis Suarez and Neymar score for fun at Barcelona while Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann is another viable option.
Above are an example of La Liga top goalscorer odds, with odds listed at bet365 before the start of the 2016/17 La Liga season.
La Liga Top Goalscorers
|1997/1998||Christian Vieri||Atletico Madrid||24|
|1999/2000||Salva Ballesta||Racing Santander||27|
|2001/2002||Diego Tristan||Deportivo La Coruna||20|
|2002/2003||Roy Maakay||Deportivo La Coruna||29|
|2006/2007||Ruud van Nistelrooy||Real Madrid||25|
|2008/2009||Diego Forlan||Atletico Madrid||32|
|2010/2011||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||40|
|2013/2014||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||31|
|2014/2015||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||48|
4. How To Bet On La Liga And Win
As with betting on any football leagues or tournament, betting on La Liga requires discipline and the consistent application of betting fandamentals. If you're seriously wanting to make money betting on La Liga, there are a number of things you can do to enhance your chances of turning a profit come season's end. These apply to football betting regardless of the league, tournament, division or betting market your are betting into. The most important of these include:
- Bet only when there is value
- Specialise in certain markets
- Apply a consistent staking method
- Keep detailed records of your bets
- Have accounts with multiple bookmakers
To learn more about the basics of profitable football betting, please read our How To Bet On Football And Win guide.
Conduct Regular Research And Analysis
During the course of La Liga season you are unlikely to find Barcelona and Real Madrid to win at home at anything other than very short odds. They are both simply expected to roll over the majority of teams that come to visit both the Camp Nou and Bernabeu. However, each season there are big upsets when teams pull off a shock result at big odds.
For example, given the big prices you can find on away teams it’s often worth having a speculative bet on Barcelona and/or Real Madrid not to win the game after they’ve faced a tough Champions League tie or have had to travel a long distance. It's this kind of analysis that will help you find betting value through the La Liga season.
Don't expect the big La Liga clubs to be good value. Because they aren't. Over the last five seasons, if you had bet £10 on every home club in Barcelona's 95 La Liga away matches, you would have walked away with a profit of over £75, a return of just under 8% on your total investment.
La Liga Matchup Analyser
If you're a total football stats nerd, the La Liga matcup analyser is your dream come true. Simply select the season and the two competing clubs that you want to compare and matchup data across a range of statistical categories will be available to you instantly.
If you're keen to enhance your La Liga betting analysis, here are our top sites for La Liga statistics:
Football Betting Calculator Spreadsheet
To help you keep track of your La Liga betting this season, we've developed the bettingexpert Football Betting Spreadsheet. It's free and easy to use. Easily keep track of each bet, the odds, the bookmaker you bet with and your overall profit and loss. .
2016/17 La Liga Fixtures Excel Spreadsheet
You can also download the complete 2016/17 La Liga fixture list in excel spreadsheet format. Download it now.
5. La Liga Betting Statistics
How many goals are scored on average in a La Liga match? How often do both teams score? How often do La Liga matches end without a goal scored? Let's now turn our attention to La Liga betting stats, comparing data from Spain's top flight with nine other popular European football leagues in matches played over the last five seasons, from the start of the 2011/2012 season to the conclusion of the 2015/2016 season.
Please note that these stats should be used as preliminary analysis for your La Liga betting and as a guide for league by league tendencies.
6.1 What Is Home Field Advantage Worth In La Liga?
So let's begin with the subject of home field advantage. The table below shows the home and away win percentages for teams across ten of the best European football leagues the last five seasons.
As we can see, La Liga had the highest winning percentage for home teams the last five seasons, with home clubs winning just under 48% of matches played, well above the ten league average of just over 45%.
|League||Home Win %||Draw %||Away Win %|
|Spanish La Liga||47.9%||23.5%||28.6%|
|Belgian Pro League||46.5%||25.0%||28.5%|
|English Premier League||44.5%||25.2%||30.3%|
|French Ligue Un||45.1%||27.4%||27.5%|
|Italian Serie A||45.2%||27.0%||27.8%|
|Russian Premier League||43.8%||26.5%||29.7%|
Over the last five seasons, home teams in La Liga earned on average 1.67 competition points per match, compared to 1.09 points for each away team.
Across the ten leagues, home clubs earned on average 1.61 points per matched while away clubs earned an average of 1.14 points.
But what has home field advantage been worth in La Liga in terms of a goal advantage? The table below shows the average goals scored for both home and away clubs across ten leagues over last five seasons.
|League||Home Goals||Away Goals||Home Advantage|
|Spanish La Liga||1.63||1.13||+0.50|
|Belgian Pro League||1.62||1.22||+0.40|
|English Premier League||1.54||1.19||+0.35|
|French Ligue Un||1.44||1.07||+0.37|
|Italian Serie A||1.50||1.14||+0.36|
|Russian Premier League||1.39||1.08||+0.31|
As we should have expected based on home and away win percentages, La Liga has had the highest home field advantage in terms of goals scored over the last five seasons, at +0.5 goals per match, 0.13 goals greater than the ten league average.
This translates to a full 1.00 goal swing between an average La Liga club playing at home and that same La Liga club playing away.
The table below shows the average differential between a La Liga club's home goal difference and their away goal difference in matches played over the last five seasons. For example, Barcelona were on average a +1.38 goal better team at home as opposed to away over the last five La Liga seasons. This was by far the greatest differential between home and away performance in La Liga during this span. At the other end of the spectrum, Deportivo were only a +0.42 goal better club when playing at home as opposed to playing away through 114 La Liga matches played the last five seasons.
6.2 How Often Are La Liga Matches Drawn At Halftime?
So how often were matches drawn at halftime in La Liga the last five seasons . Below we can see the Home, Away and Drawn match halftime result percentages the last five seasons..
|League||Home Win %||Draw %||Away Win %|
|Spanish La Liga||37.4%||40.0%||22.6%|
|Belgian Pro League||34.4%||42.6%||23.0%|
|English Premier League||34.0%||42.3%||23.7%|
|French Ligue Un||34.2%||43.9%||21.9%|
|Italian Serie A||34.5%||43.7%||21.8%|
|Russian Premier League||34.5%||42.3%||23.2%|
La Liga saw by far the highest rate of home teams leading at halftime across the last five seasons, with 37.4% of home clubs holding a lead going into the halftime break.
The only league that came close by comparison was the Eredivisie with a rate of 36%. In terms of halftime draws, La Liga saw 40% of all matches drawn at halftime with only the Eredivisie and Scottish Premiership seeing fewer halftime draws on average.
6.3 How Often Do La Liga Home Clubs Lead Halftime/Fulltime?
How often were La Liga matches drawn at both halftime and fulltime the last five seasons? How often did La Liga home teams lose after holding a halftime lead?
The data below displays the percentages for each combination of Halftime/Fulltime results. For example, H/A reflects the home team leading at halftime and the away team then leading at fulltime.
As we may have expected from our home field advantage analysis, La Liga saw by far the highest rates of home clubs leading at halftime and then going on to win the match, with just under 31% of matches played.
Only the Bundesliga came close to this mark with 28.5%, with both leagues well above the ten league average in this respect.
While home teams generally went on to win the match when holding a halftime lead, away clubs in La Liga performed to the ten league average when holding a halftime lead, going on to win 16.5% of matches played.
6.4 Who Wins When A La Liga Match Is Drawn At Halftime?
The table below shows the chances of both home and away teams winning a match when the match was tied at halftime across ten leagues the last five seasons. .
|League||Home Win %||Draw %||Away Win %|
|Spanish La Liga||38.1%||36.6%||25.3%|
|Belgian Pro League||37.9%||37.9%||24.2%|
|English Premier League||36.0%||36.8%||27.2%|
|French Ligue Un||37.9%||38.4%||23.7%|
|Italian Serie A||36.5%||39.5%||24.0%|
|Russian Premier League||33.7%||38.5%||27.8%|
Again we can see that on average La Liga home clubs perform above the ten league average, with just over 38% of home teams going on to win the match when drawn at the half, compared to the ten league average of just under 37%.
6.5 What Is The Most Common Winning Margin In La Liga?
What has been the most common winning margin the last five seasons in La Liga? The table below presents a break down of match results across our ten leagues based on fulltime winning margins.
|League||Home 3+||Home 2||Home 1||Draw||Away 1||Away 2||Away 3 +|
Eredivisie and La Liga had the greatest number of home team blowouts the last five seasons, with 13.8% of matches played ending with the home club winning by a margin of at lest three goals.
However unlike the Eredivisie, La Liga away clubs did not enjoy anything near the same level of success, with just 4.6% of matches played ending with an away club winning by a margin of three goals or greater.
6.6 How Often Do La Liga Matches End Over 2.5 Goals?
What percentage of La Liga matches see at least three goals scored and what percentage of matches saw a maximum of two goals? The table below shows the Over/Under results for ten European leagues the last five seasons.
|League||Over 1.5||Under 1.5||Over 2.5||Under 2.5||Over 3.5||Under 3.5|
La Liga matches saw at least three goals (Over 2.5) scored 52.1% of the time, a mark slightly above average across the ten leagues. La Liga was just below average when it came to the Over.1 5 goal mark, with 74.3% of matches ending with a minimum of two goals compared to the ten league average of 75.5%.
When it came to goal feasts, La Liga was only slightly above average with 30.2% of matches seeing a minimum of four goals, compared to the ten league average of 30%.
6.7 How Often Do Both Teams Score In La Liga?
Over the last five seasons, how many La Liga matches ended with both teams scoring? The table below shows the percentage of matches played that ended with either both teams scoring or either one team/neither team scoring through the last five seasons.
|League||Both Teams To Score Yes||Both Teams To Score No|
|Spanish La Liga||49.7%||50.3%|
|Belgian Pro League||54.4%||45.6%|
|English Premier League||51.3%||48.7%|
|French Ligue Un||49.7%||50.3%|
|Italian Serie A||51.0%||49.0%|
|Russian Premier League||47.0%||53.0%|
On average La Liga was below the ten team total of 51.5%, with just below 50% of matches seeing both teams score.
In fact only two leagues saw fewer matches on average end without both teams scoring the last five seasons, with the Portugal Primeira and Russian Premier League achieving lower averages.
6.8 How Often Do La Liga Matches End Scoreless?
What percentage of La Liga matches ended without at least single goal scored across the last five seasons? The table below shows both first goal percentages for both home and away clubs plus the overall rate of scoreless matches.
|League||Home Scores First||Away Scores First||Match Ends Scoreless|
During the last five seasons of play, 7.6% of La Liga matches went goalless, a mark slightly above the ten league average of 7.5%. During the same time span, only five leagues saw higher rates of scoreless matches.
While La Liga clubs enjoyed the highest home field advantage the last five seasons, those same home clubs were ranked fourth in terms of scoring the first goal in a match.
6. Betting On La Liga Online
To get the most out of your La Liga betting it is important that you chose the right online bookmakers to open accounts with. To help you make the correct decision, consider the following criteria.
It is incredibly annoying when you do the research on a La Liga game and pick out a brilliant bet only to find that your bookmakers does not offer that market. Therefore, make sure to choose bookmakers with a comprehensive selection of both outright and in-play La Liga markets. You should also consider the value offered by the bookmaker. If you feel your knowledge gives you the edge over a particular bookie you want to be rightly rewarded for it. So, don’t do your betting with a firm who offer poor odds on La Liga. Getting the most value is one reason why it is sensible to have accounts with a variety of bookmakers.
Finally, take into consideration any special offers that the bookmakers are offering around La Liga. Some bookies will have new customer offers that you can utilise to give your La Liga betting a boost while other give their customers the chance to participate in regular enhanced odds or money back promotions over the course of a season.
To revise, when it comes to selecting an online bookmaker for La Liga betting there are a number things to consider. The most important of these are:
- The bookmaker's reputation and media profile.
- The diversity of La Liga betting markets available.
- La Liga In-Play betting markets and Cash Out available.
- La Liga betting odds and bookmaker commissions.
- Mobile betting on La Liga matches.
- Welcome Bonus and La Liga promotional offers.
To learn more about selecting the bookmaker best suited to La Liga betting, please consult our Football Bookmakers guide.
To read detailed reviews of over 50 online bookmakers, please visit our Bookmaker Reviews listing.
And for all the latest La Liga free bets and promotions available, please visit our Free Bets listing.
7. La Liga Live Streaming
The sheer amount of action and talent in La Liga makes it a highly entertaining league to watch. What could be better for a football fan than seeing Ronaldo or Messi in full flow?
Sky Sports has been the home of live La Liga action on UK TV for a while now and just last season they renegotiated a deal to ensure that they would continue to broadcast Spanish football for the next three years. As well as being able to watch a wide selection of matches, Sky present weekly highlights shows so you can keep up to date with the action even if you were unable to watch it live.
Which Bookmakers Live Stream La Liga Matches?
We can confirm that for the 2016/17 season, bet365, Ladbrokes and Betfair will offer live streaming of La Liga matches direct from their websites for all UK based customers. If you are outside of the UK, please check broadcast details with your preferred bookmaker. In most instances, so long as you are not based in Spain, you should be able to watch La Liga matchs live vis each of these bookmakers.
Note that Betfair also offers live streaming of La Liga 2 matches.
To access their live streams you must first register and then have either a funded account or have placed a bet on the site within the 24 hours prior to the match you want to watch.
To learn more, please read our guide to accessing bookmaker live streams.
8. La Liga Betting Tips
There are dozens of tipsters at bettingexpert posting expert La Liga betting tips, previews and predictions each week of the Spanish football season. We expect the same for the 2016/17 La Liga campaign. La Liga is one of the most popular leagues at bettingexpert, and will no doubt continue to be so this season.
Is every La Liga tipster at bettingexpert profitable? No. But what makes bettingexpert different to football tipster sites is your ability to check which tipsters have produced long term profits and which have been long term losers. Every La Liga tipster's record is available for your analysis, so you can select those you feel most confident in following in 2016/17.
Best La Liga Tipsters 2015/16
Below are our top La Liga tipsters from the 2015/16 season. Which of these expert La Liga tipsters will be profitable once again in this season?
For the latest tips, please visit our La Liga Betting Tips page.
To learn more about betting tips, please read our guide to following betting tips.