The best professional soccer league in the world is back in action this week when La Liga kicks off its 2018-19 campaign. While Barcelona and Real Madrid are the two favorites to win the league, two other teams are looking to upset the applecart and bring more parity to Spanish soccer. Atletico Madrid and Valencia finished second and fourth in the La Liga standings last year, and both teams made significant improvements to their roster this offseason with the influx of Champions League money. They will square off in the La Liga Game of the Week on Monday night.
Don't miss the Spanish La Liga action from the Mestalla in Valencia, Spain at 2 p.m. ET on Monday, August 20, 2018. Catch every moment of the match live on beIN Sports.
Spanish La Liga Betting at BookMaker.eu
Atletico Madrid +150
Valencia CF +198
Atletico Madrid are on the road, but they are the favorites in this one. On Wednesday, they were able to knock off city rivals Real Madrid for the UEFA Super Cup, and that victory sent a message to the other teams in Spain.
In that match, Diego Costa was fantastic. He opened the scoring in the very first minute with a goal that embodies all that he is. Costa headed a deep ball over the defense, outraced his defender to get to the ball first, ran to the end line and hammered a ball over Keylor Navas’ shoulder from an impossible angle to put Atletico up 1-0.
After Real Madrid pulled ahead 2-1 midway through the second half, Costa made his mark once more. He was able to get open after a deep run and notched a brace in order to get the match to extra time. From there, Atletico notched two goals and claimed the UEFA Super Cup, with Costa setting up the clinching fourth goal.
New Faces, New Places
This summer, Valencia got quite a bit stronger by taking players from some of the top clubs in Europe. Although right back Joao Cancelo signed a big deal with Juventus, the Bats were able to use the extra funds to bring in more talent. Valencia signed center midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, center back Mouctar Diakhaby, right back Cristiano Piccini, and center midfielder Daniel Wass this offseason. Forward Michy Batshuayi came over on a loan, and the club is excited to see him in action too.
Atletico spent a great deal of money in order to challenge for La Liga and the Champions League this offseason. The biggest, and most exciting, signing was that of winger Thomas Lemar, who should add some flair and creativity. This club wasn’t content to stop there though, picking up midfielder Rodri, forward Nikola Kalinic, right back Santiago Aras, and goalkeeper Antonio Adan.
Player to Watch
Kevin Gameiro has to be the one to highlight here. The forward just made the move from Atletico to Valencia earlier this week, and that will mean a lot of familiarity between he and his old team. Gameiro was unable to become a full-time starter at Atletico, and he is hoping a change of scenery will do him some good. He will likely team up with Batshuayi up top, and Valencia are hoping there is some chemistry there.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
Atletico Madrid are a serious threat to win La Liga this year. Diego Simone’s team was fantastic in defense last season and boast a fantastic goalkeeper in Jan Oblak. Keeping Antoine Griezmann was a coup too, as he was considered likely to head to Barcelona this offseason. That gives this team a formidable pair of attackers in Griezmann and Costa, and they will be complemented by Lemar. I think that will be the impetus behind a convincing win for Atletico Madrid away from home.
Spanish La Liga Odds: Atletico Madrid 2, Valencia 0
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