Raising the stakes on survival in La Liga

While many fans of Spanish football are focused on the battle for supremacy at the top, typically contested between Barcelona and Real Madrid, there is much more to La Liga than either of those two giants. Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad are in the mix for Champions League spots, while Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano are not far behind, the latter being easily the biggest surprise package of the season so far.

For any team already on or near 30 points, the chance of challenging for European positions is certainly a thrilling prospect for their supporters. But as we delve into the bottom half of the table, the sense of enthusiasm turns into something entirely different, replaced by fear and trepidation which are fuelled by worrying results. This is the situation involving no fewer than 10 clubs at the moment.

Although poor old Elche would appear to be a lost cause this season, rooted to the bottom of La Liga with just one victory during the 2022-23 campaign, they won’t be alone in descending to the second tier of Spanish football. Two more teams will ultimately join them in the bottom three, when the season concludes and the final points are tallied. But right now, who those teams will be is anyone’s guess. In the bottom half of La Liga there is a slender difference of just 4 points, one win and a draw if we look at it another way, between Girona occupying 11th spot and Valencia at 18th position in the relegation zone. Getafe have just one point less than Valencia, and both teams could just as easily leapfrog their way to mid-table with a couple of wins. That being said, victories are something of a rare commodity for all the teams involved.

No top European league is more fiercely contested

While many observers tend to focus on title battles at the top of the table, those in the bottom half are working towards equally important objectives. Now beyond the midway point of the 2022-23 campaign, the fight for survival takes precedence over anything else. Don’t be surprised that whenever questioned at press conferences, “permanencia” is the word every manager will be uttering, heading into the final stretch of the season.

And with so many teams involved in La Liga, this promises to be one hell of a battle to avoid relegation. Indeed, none of the major leagues around Europe have so many teams directly competing to avoid the dreaded drop. The tiny margin of just four points currently marks the difference between joy and pain, setting the Spanish competition apart from its counterparts in top leagues across the continent.

Compared to elsewhere, almost half the teams in Spain’s elite division are scrapping to reach safety, which is often said to be achieved by reaching the threshold of 42 points. This time around, it seems unlikely many of the teams involve will be anywhere near that objective. And this is what makes La Liga increasingly compelling, both for neutral observers and the most ardent fans, particularly if they are wagering on the final outright standings.

But along with comparing what’s happening in Spain and across Europe, comparing the odds is just as important, according to leading experts at SBO who provide reviews and ratings covering the most reputable football betting sites. The principal concern should always be safety and security, no matter how exciting the stakes are for teams involved, even in the midst of what is a phenomenally competitive battle to avoid relegation where anything might happen.

Predicting the best chances of survival

Based upon the foregone conclusion that Elche will be going down, at least according to the oddsmakers, the two sides most considered at risk of joining them are Getafe and Cadiz. Tipsters continue to place Almeria on the slippery slope, while Espanyol and Real Valladolid are also considered to be genuine relegation candidates. Valencia sacked Gennaro Gattuso at the end of January, although results were just as bad with habitual caretaker Voro at the helm. Club legend Ruben Baraja has now been charged with leading them to safety.

Despite such narrow margins for error, Celta Vigo and Sevilla are both expected to steer themselves clear of the bottom three, based on the quality and talent of their squads. Girona seem capable of keeping themselves afloat, although results against direct rivals could prove telling in the end. Fans of all these clubs will undoubtedly be full of nerves, although for the rest of us merely observing, this chase to safety could not be any more compelling.

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