La Liga, also known as the Primera Division, is the top flight of elite level Spanish football, equivalent to the Premier League, Bundesliga or Serie A. Though the Premier League leads the way in terms of betting, the best players still play in Spain.
All of the best bookmakers we recommend will offer you the latest odds and prices for football betting.
For example, Bet365’s main soccer hub will show you any matches currently being played which you can live bet on. Its innovative system will populate a live betting market based on current events and even show you live and up-to-date stats from the fixture including the score, number of corners or yellow/red cards.
BetVictor’s football page displays a number of coupons for upcoming events including ‘Next Matches’ or ‘Both Teams To Score’, as well as outright markets for a specific team to win their domestic league or who will win the Champions League.
These are just two examples of sites that offer football betting odds and prices, but every operator we have listed will have similar, if not identical, features in this regard.
There are 20 teams that compete against each other in a round-robin format over a 38-game season, playing each other once at home and once away. Each team is awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw and no points for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, and the champion of La Liga is the team that has amassed the most points at the end of the season.
If there’s a tie between two clubs, the champion is determined by using the goal difference for the two matches those clubs have played against each other (known as the ‘head to head’ record). If there are more than two clubs which have finished on the same points, the champion of La Liga is determined by head-to-head points, head-to-head goal difference and finally total goal difference.
The teams that finish in the top four positions automatically qualify for the following season’s Champions League competition. The teams that finish in fourth and fifth place automatically qualify for the Europa League competition. If the winner of the Copa del Rey (Spanish domestic cup competition) also finishes in the top five in La Liga, then the team that has finished sixth in La Liga will qualify for the Europa League – at the 2nd Qualifying Round stage.
A system of promotion and relegation exists between La Liga and the Segunda (Second) División. The three lowest placed teams in La Liga are relegated to the Segunda División, and the top two teams from the Segunda División are promoted to La Liga, with an additional club promoted after a series of play-offs involving the third, fourth, fifth and sixth-placed clubs.
Owing to the TV deals struck by La Liga executives, we often find that matches are spread right across the weekend, beginning on Friday evening and finishing on Monday evening, with the majority of matches taking place during Saturday and Sunday.
There are a huge variety of bets available on a pre-match and match-to-match basis such as:
Keep Your Discipline
The golden rule of gambling in general is that you should only wager what you can afford to lose – this applies to football betting too. Just like the players on the pitch, you need to keep your discipline and not lose your head when things are not going your way.
If you're on a bad run it can be very tempting to start placing big bets in order to win back the money you've lost (known as the Martingale System), but this strategy rarely works out and is more likely to lead to even bigger losses.
Chasing losses is one of the most common mistakes that amateur bettors make – and one that the bookmakers make a lot of money from. It's far better to be patient and build up your funds again gradually through smaller, safer bets.
Do Your Research
Like anything, it takes time and effort to achieve regular success in football betting. While recreational gamblers might get lucky now and again with long shots, it's research and knowledge that separates amateurs from professionals.
Bookmakers have a huge wealth of resources and stats at their disposal nowadays, so you need to arm yourself by watching matches and reading up on form and team news if you want to beat them. The more you know about what you're betting on, the more likely you are to make the right prediction.
It's also helpful to use any specialist knowledge you might have. The bookies tend to be very savvy when it comes to the major leagues, but they can sometimes be a little negligent when it comes to lower or more obscure leagues. If you follow a team that plays in one of these leagues, or you have a lot of knowledge about a particular foreign league, you may be able to use this knowledge to your advantage.
Keep a Record
Very few punters keep records of their betting, but if you're betting regularly with lots of different bookmakers it's advisable to do so. Keeping a record of your betting activity can help you to keep track of how much you're winning and losing, and also identify which types of bets you're having more success with.
If you have online accounts with bookmakers, they will show you your betting history, which you can easily keep track of in a simple spreadsheet. Following these tips will give you the best odds in your football betting.
You may go through bad runs and lose along the way, but with time, research and sound judgement, you can enjoy long-term success.
Many football fans now like to wait for a La Liga match to kick-off before placing bets on the action. The advantage of doing this is being able to gauge the pattern of play and whether a particular side is dominating the match before deciding which way to bet.
Top bookmaker will offer In-Play betting on Europa League matches and several of the markets on offer are the same as you’ll find pre-event. The 1X2 market will be available until/unless one team goes a few goals ahead, while you can also expect to find markets such as Next Team to Score, Over / Under Cards, Over / Under Goals and Next Player to Score.
Given how rarely Real Madrid and Barcelona generally lose in La Liga, the odds for a home win for either of these sides are always a very short price. That said, there have been occasions when complacency has got the better of Los Blancos and the Blaugrana, and it’s worth conducting your own research as to what times in the season these surprise results generally occur.
If you’re looking for value from the top teams, which can’t often be found, the La Liga games that come on the weekend directly after an away Champions League match are worth taking a look at.
The further in advance of these games you can place your bets, the better chance of you achieving value.
First Scorer I One of the most popular football betting markets is the 'first scorer' market, where a prospective punter can place a bet on the team and player he thinks is going to score first in the match. The odds are better for the 'first scorer' market because there is a chance that any one of 22 players (plus oncoming substitutes) could be the first to score.
Half Time/Full I Time Another popular football betting market is the half-time/full-time market, where you can place money on one team being ahead at half time and the other at full time, or vice versa. Alternatively, the backer can gamble that one team will be ahead at both half and full time, or that it will be a draw at half-time and one of the teams will go on to win at full-time. Lastly, the punter can bet that the score will be a draw both midway through and at the end of the game.
Both Teams to Score I Similarly, it is now possible to bet on 'both teams to score'. This is pretty self-explanatory, in that a punter is again given a list of matches and asked to pick games in which he thinks both teams will score.
Check out best betting sites for welcome bonus and offers.
"I have wealth of experience covering a multitude of sports across some of the world's leading outlets, specialising in betting across football, NFL and golf."