What Does the Minus Mean in Sports Betting?

The name ‘La Liga’ might mean something slightly different to you depending on where you are in the world. However, in nearly every country, La Liga represents the top-flight of a soccer league. Formed in 1927, the premier Spanish league has consistently produced some of the best players in the world. It is also one of the most popular football leagues in Europe.

But what does the ‘La Liga’ label actually mean in terms of handicapping and betting?

The ‘La Liga’ Name Is Recognized The World Over

It is well-known that the term ‘La Liga’ is used internationally to identify the top-tier of a soccer league. This includes in Europe, where ‘La Liga’ is typically used to reference the Spanish league. In Latin America, the term ‘La Liga’ is also sometimes used to identify the Brazilian league. In Asia, particularly Japan, the term ‘La Liga’ is sometimes used to reference the Chinese Super League. (The top-tier of the Chinese league is commonly referred to as ‘J. League’ or simply ‘the League’.)

Outside of soccer, the term is also used in the same way to identify the top-flight of a boxing, golf or tennis league. It is common practice to refer to major international sporting events using the term ‘La Liga’. For example, the 2018 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia was officially sanctioned by the Augusta Golf Club as the ‘La Liga Masters’. Similarly, the 2018 PGA Championship was known as the ‘La Liga Championship’. The 2021 Cricket World Cup will be known as the ‘La Liga Cricket World Cup’.

It Is The Highest Level Of Play

While the name ‘La Liga’ might mean something different to you based on where you are, the fact that it is the highest level of play in most parts of the world makes it an extremely important designation. This is especially the case in soccer where, for the most part, the top-tier leagues are operated on an unlevel playing field. Only the very best are given a chance to prove themselves.

From a betting perspective, this is ideal as it means the strongest teams are on display throughout the entire season. This increases the likelihood of meaningful betting action throughout the year. Even when the competitions aren’t especially glamorous or popular, the quality of play is usually at least adequate enough to provide entertainment value.

To give you an idea of how important this is, consider the MLB. Their top-tier is known as the ‘American League’ and their second-tier is known as the ‘National League’. These names are not used in the same context internationally, as in Europe and Asia, where the top-tier is known as La Liga and the second-tier is called Segunda Liga. (The third-tier is typically referred to as ‘Third Division’ or simply ‘the Third League’.)

It Is The Most Prominent And Popular League In Spain

Perhaps the most prominent and popular league in Spain is the top-flight La Liga. Established in 1927, this is one of the most successful and prestigious leagues in the world. It regularly produces some of the best players – past and present – and its fans are incredibly dedicated. (For more information on La Liga, visit our dedicated soccer page.)

The popularity of La Liga among Spanish fans is exemplified by the fact that it is the only top-flight league that is still played on a home – and often away – basis. This means that the majority of games are held in front of sold-out crowds at the stadiums in each cities. It is also important to note that each team must play at least 90% of their home games in order to retain their status as a first team. This is one of the reasons why you are more likely to encounter fixtures in La Liga that feature a lot of games versus lower-profile sides. (This is also because games against the smaller clubs are typically less attractive to the top clubs, who are more likely to get paid more by international companies and the TV broadcasters who cover the league).

It Is One Of The Most Popular Leagues In Europe

Just like the Premier League, the German Bundesliga and the English Premier League, La Liga is one of the most popular leagues in Europe. Like those three leagues, the best teams in La Liga consistently attract big audiences. The 2018–19 season was no different, with the final game of the regular season attracting a World Cup-like audience of 96.3 million. The previous season’s final saw nearly 79 million audiences throughout the entire league. (This is according to comScore, a company which tracks digital audience.)

In Europe, La Liga is often considered to be on a par with the Premier League. The two leagues have historically shared a passionate following among fans and, at times, intense competitions, leading to games that draw big attendances. It is well-established that European leagues, including La Liga, now operate on shared TV channels. This further expands the audience for European leagues, as fans in one country can see games played in another. (For more information on La Liga, visit our dedicated soccer page.)

The Structure Of La Liga

For the most part, La Liga is comprised of between 20 and 24 teams. This allows for a stable competition format. The teams are split into two leagues, the top-flight and the second-tier. The top-flight consists of 12 teams, while the second-tier has 12 teams too. However, the number of teams varies from season to season according to the league’s requirements. Often times, one of the two leagues will disband and be replaced by a division comprising of the remaining teams. This is known as a ‘Promotion’ or ‘Relegation’ tournament. These tournaments are designed to provide much-needed competition, while also increasing the quality and excitement of the games. (For more information on La Liga, visit our dedicated soccer page.)

An Important Point To Keep In Mind

While we’re focusing on soccer here, it’s important to keep in mind that betting on sports is a world-wide phenomenon. The language might be different, but the rules are the same. The most prominent leagues, including La Liga, are regularly covered by mainstream sportsbooks. (For more information on sportsbooks, visit our dedicated sports betting guide).

Considering the amount of money that is now wagered every year on sports, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the rules and terminology. The more you know, the better. This can only help you in making smarter and more informed decisions when it comes to betting on sports.