In this article, we take a closer look at the title contenders vying for that top spot and provide you with our pick of the best outright bets on Europe’s biggest soccer leagues. From the usual suspects to surprise outsiders, who should you bet on this year?
Arguably the most interesting title battle in Europe’s top five leagues this season will be in Germany. Borussia Dortmund threw away the crown last year despite holding a nine-point lead over Bayern Munich at one point, and although many pundits suggested that was their one and only chance, this summer’s transfer activity says otherwise.
Lucien Favre’s side have strengthened well over the summer, welcoming Mats Hummels back to central defence in an attempt to prevent another collapse in the second half of the season (Dortmund conceded 24 goals in the final 14 Bundesliga games of 2018/19).
The club have also done well to secure the services of Thorgan Hazard, Nico Schulz, and Julian Brandt, while 18-goal Paco Alcacar has joined permanently. Dortmund are stronger than they were this time last year – and Bayern might just be weaker.
Bayern Munich have lost Arjen Robben, Frank Ribery, and James Rodriguez, who scored 17 league goals between them last year. The era of Robben and Ribery could be psychologically tough to move beyond, particularly without either player being replaced so far this summer.
Bayern may have strengthened in defence, but that was never their problem: theirs remains an ageing and under-stocked attack, with struggling manager Niko Kovac is still in charge. Crisis is just around the corner.
Back Dortmund to win the title at 5.00
English Premier League
Last season’s extraordinary Premier League title race between Manchester City and Liverpool is unlikely to be repeated. Jurgen Klopp’s side rode their luck at times last year (according to xG data collected by understat.com they won as many as 13 ‘unexpected’ points) in keeping up with City, while Pep Guardiola’s team managed 98 points without Kevin de Bruyne for most of the campaign.
Liverpool won’t be able to match their 97-point haul, particularly given they have not strengthened at all this summer, plus City have everything in place to break their own 100 point record: De Bruyne is back, Rodri adds a new dimension to midfield, and summer international football has not affected their squad – whereas Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino were all playing competitively in July.
The only slither of hope for Liverpool is that Vincent Kompany’s departure will leave a hole in the dressing room, but Guardiola’s fastidiousness means there is little chance his players will need motivation to equal a Premier League record of three titles in a row. Besides, winning points should be even easier this season given that our team by team EPL preview highlights how Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal are all in bad shape.
Back Manchester City to win the title at 1.42
We may finally get a to-the-wire title challenge in La Liga this season. Barcelona and Real Madrid have dramatically strengthened over the summer, meaning Spanish football could be set for an assault on the Champions League.
Zinedine Zidane’s surprise return to Real promised big spending and Florentino Perez has certainly delivered. Eden Hazard is so far the most eye-catching, not least because the Belgian is greatly admired by Zidane and will therefore become the linchpin of the Real side, but Rodrygo, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao, and Luka Jovic all bring qualities that Real have been lacking in recent years. The club finally looks stable… which is why their pursuit of Neymar, who has caused more harm than good in Paris, is so puzzling.
Barcelona, also supposedly distracted by Neymar’s availability, have brought Antoine Griezmann to the club to partner Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack. Equally significant is the arrival of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, who with Arthur can revive an ageing Barca central midfield. Ernesto Valverde’s side were underwhelming in 2018/19, but those two players alone should inject composure and direction. It looks as though Barcelona and Real Madrid will both surpass the 90-point mark this year.
Back Real Madrid to win the title at 2.53
Juventus’s dominance of Serie A shows no sign of ending. They have won each of the last eight Scudetto’s and, having finished 11 points above second-place Napoli in 2018/19, will no doubt make it nine in a row following a huge upheaval over the summer.
Juve fans have long felt that Max Allegri’s negative playing style was holding them back, which is why Maurizio Sarri’s appointment is such an exciting one: he will play quick, attractive possession football in Turin, with Cristiano Ronaldo already told by the ex-Chelsea manager that he will be given total freedom in Sarri’s 4-3-3 system. Eden Hazard excelled from the left in 2018/19, and Ronaldo could similarly explode into life following a strong – though unspectacular – debut year in Italy.
Ronaldo will be joined by Aaron Ramsey, a player Sarri greatly admires for the box-to-box role, and more notably Matthijs de Ligt. The young centre-back is superb on the ball, making him well-suited to Sarri’s tactics.
If any club can stop them winning Serie A, it is Inter Milan, managed by another ex-Chelsea coach Antonio Conte. Inter are aggressively pursuing Romelu Lukaku and appear intent on spending big this summer to challenge at the top. They should certainly be able to finish second given it’s been an underwhelming summer for Caro Ancelotti’s Napoli.
Back Juventus to win the title at 1.45
Sadly no club in Ligue 1 is ready to challenge Paris Saint-Germain. Lille finished second last season despite amassing just 75 points from 38 games, highlighting the absence of anything like a second super-club in French football.
Lyon should be attempting to close the gap with PSG, but that seems impossible given their risky appointment of Sylvinho as the new head coach. The former Arsenal left-back has never managed a senior club and has no links whatsoever with French football. What’s more, Nabil Fekir has left for Sevilla, Tanguy Ndombele has gone to Spurs, and Ferland Mendy was poached by Real Madrid, gutting the Lyon squad at this crucial juncture.
PSG will win the title at a canter, then, despite Neymar’s very public attempts to manufacture a move abroad. They have been savvy in the market so far, replacing Adrien Rabiot with Ander Herrera on a free transfer and buying Idrissa Gueye from Everton, while Abdou Diallo from Dortmund eases the pain of missing out on De Ligt. However, the big signings are yet to come, and should Neymar leave then PSG will bolster with one or two superstars.
Back PSG to win the title at 1.12
With only one week to go until the 2019/20 soccer season officially begins, there is no better time to start exploring the range of bitcoin betting markets available to you at Cloudbet. Head over to our sportsbook and place your soccer bets today.