Hello and welcome! As you lads might know tonight the Portuguese league returns. Yes, I know, most of you don't give a damn. But then again, football is football and right now we are probably even excited about marble races, so let's give it a try, shall we?
So, to start up with here are the matches for today and tomorrow:
Portimonense x Gil Vicente - 7pm UK Famalicao x Porto - 9.15pm UK
Maritimo x Vitoria FC - 6pm UK Benfica x Tondela - 7.15pm UK Vitoria SC x Sporting CP - 9.15pm UK
Santa Clara x SC Braga - 7pm UK Aves x B SAD - 9.15pm UK
Boavista x Moreirense - 9.15pm UK
If you want to jump to the end, check out the Liga NOS table at the moment
and also some interesting curiosities about it.
P.S.: NOS is the sponsorship, it's a big TV/Internet provider, but they will stop being the sponsor in 2021/22.
Now a small sum up of each teams current status, hopes and expectations. 1. PORTO
Porto had quite a recovery after being 7 points down on the title race, as they won to Benfica at home and saw Benfica losing against Braga and drawing against Moreirense. Then again, they could have further their lead if they hadn't dropped points against Rio Ave, but they let that one slide. + STRONG POINTS
Porto's defense Alex Telles and goalkeeper Marchesin mostly, have been their best assets. Although Telles is not available for Famalicao, but if he comes back with the usual pinpoint crossing accuracy they might have gather some victories with the usual Sergio Conceicao goals: set pieces! Players to watch: Diogo Leite, Fabio Silva, Fabio Vieira, Vitor Ferreira (young blood from the UEFA Youth League victorious team) - WEAK POINTS
Well, you might have figured through my nickname that I am not the biggest Sergio fan. He is not very well known to make a proper use of the youth academy and his tactics are neither productive or attractive to watch. Porto does not have the best attack or defense (Benfica holds both) and has just lost Marcano on an injury that will sideline him for 3 months. The option is to finally let Diogo Leite shine, but might be too much pressure on the youngster. Added to that, add games against Braga and Sporting to a heavy calendar and they are sure to lose some points on the way. BENFICA
They are one point behind Porto, but due to the injuries of their direct rival, they might have an edge. Plus they do not have such a difficult calendar, besides trips to face Rio Ave and hosting Sporting on last matchday. + STRONG POINTS
They got the best defense and attack in the league. That said, they also can rely on players that can finish with ease, like Carlos Vinicius, Rafa Silva, Pizzi, while Porto's attackers are all quite clumsy in front of goal. Players to watch: Vinicius, Florentino Luis, Ferro. - Weak Points
Benfica has a strong squad but the insistence in having Seferovic upfront has brought quite some nightmares to Benfica fans, as the Swiss is not very sharp in front of goal. He has only 2 goals this season in Liga NOS (10 games) and averages 1.6 shots on goal. If Bruno Lage strategy goes through bringing Seferovic in times of need, he might be shooting blanks once again.
Verdict on the title hopes: I would say Benfica will have the edge if Porto's defense crumbles under the absence of Marcano. Pepe is 37 and is injured often, so they will have to rely on Mbemba and Leite, a duo who is unexperienced and might cost points.
The other teams: SC BRAGA
Currently in 3rd place, 4 points ahead of Sporting, they have not lost a single game since December. Their manager Ruben Amorim arrived and left undefeated, winning to Porto, Benfica, and Sporting on the way. Sadly though, jealous Sporting down there scooped him for €10M (either the best or worst deal ever?). The new coach Custodio is not a strange face as he coached their youth squads and will likely keep the tactics and routines of Amorim, so trust in Braga to keep their 3rd place (their most challenging match will be on last day against Porto).
Players to look for: Palhinha, Trincão, Paulinho, Abel Ruiz. SPORTING CP
The loss of Bruno Fernandes to United in January impacted the team immensely , as they have already accounted 2 losses since then. Then the president had the brilliant idea of spending some of the cash he just got on a shiny new coach, only for corona to come up and ruin his spotlight. Well, Amorim might not have enough eggs to make omelets and Sporting should not go further than the 4th place, as they are struggling to find a player who can bring the creativity that Bruno once did. Sporar, the striker they signed in January, does seem like a good asset as a player with the same characteristics of Bas Dost.
Players to watch: Jovane Cabral, Sporar, Big Dick Wendel RIO AVE
Probably the best surprise of the league so far, Rio Ave have been playing very attractive football, under the command of former Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal. They haven't lost a game since 14 of January and if they stick to 5th place they might sneak into Europa League. They have less goals conceded than Sporting and SC Braga. Matches against Benfica and SC Braga probably will be the highest worries.
Players to watch: Taremi, Lucas Piazon (remember him?), Borevkovic Vitoria SC
To start with it's Vitoria Sport Club, not Vitoria Guimaraes. Don't trigger a vimaranense! Vitoria are 6th and close to the desired 5th place, but they got a difficult calendar ahead with matches against Porto, Benfica and Sporting. They sold Tapsoba in January and that might impact their defense, although they won 4 of their last 5 games (the only defeat was against Porto).
Players to watch: Sacko, Marcus Edwards, João Carlos Teixeira (will this kid finally bloom? Wait he is 27 already, wtf!!) Famalicao
Back in October I posted here an article about the Famalicao phenomenon
. Well, they are still making an impressive campaign but the hype quickly faded away as they conceded defeats to their closest rivals, being thumped by Benfica and Porto. For a newly promoted team 7th place is still a feat, but they got the top 3 on their calendar so an Europa League place seems too far out the horizon for now. Jorge Mendes will have to wait for this child to grow older.
Players to watch: Neuhen Perez, Gustavo Assunção, Toni Martinez Moreirense
They haven't been as strong as last season, when they finished 6th under Ivo Vieira. However they haven't lost a game since January. They have already faced Benfica (1x1 draw), but they will have matches against the other 3 teams in the top 4..
Players to watch: Fabio Abreu, Patricio Rodriguez, Pedro Nuno Santa Clara
- The only team from Azores in the league, has gone through some extra sporting issues, but they have a complicated calendar with matches against 5 of the top 6. They haven't won any of their last 3 games, so they might drop some positions. They should be safe from relegation by now, though.
Players to watch: Lincoln, Osama Rashid, Fabio Cardoso. Gil Vicente
Guided by the veteran coach Vitor Pereira, the team from Barcelos has already played the top 3, so they got an easier calendar ahead. They have only lost one game in the last 5 matches (0-1 against Benfica) and they got a better attack than the opponents below (25 goals).
Players to watch: Lourency, Lima, Kraev. Boavista
They were a serious case of success in the beginning of the season, being mostly unbeaten. However, somehow they went through a managerial change (even though their coach Lito Vidigal had 18 points in 14 points) and since the appointment of Daniel Ramos they have struggled. They have 3 losses in the last 5 games and they might risk being relegation threatened if they don't get their shit together.
Players to watch: Helton Leite (GK), Heriberto Tavares, Marlon Vitoria FC
The other Vitoria, this one is called Futebol Clube but is from Setubal, south from Lisbon. They are coached by Spanish manager Julio Velasquez. They got only 2 points in the last month, but if it serves as consolation one of those points was against Benfica. Also, they already played the top 3 teams, so the calendar is on their favor. Don't fuck up sadinos!
Players to watch: Mirko Antonucci (remember this guy Roma fans?), Tofol Montiel, Brian Mansilla Belenenses SAD
Well, this is the only team who probably does not mind playing under closed doors, as this is the only way they can equal their opponents on fans. If you haven't heard about the Belenenses division interesting read here
Anyway, they ere doing fine before the interruption and didn't lose any of the last 4 games. They have to face Porto and Braga still, but they should be safe from relegation (even though I wouldn't mind they dropped).
Players to watch: Koffi (GK), Cassierra, Marco Matias (where are my Sheffield Wednesday fans at?) and Cafu Phete (for the South Africans out there!). Tondela
This is a mystery for me, as this team always struggles but ends up being saved at last call. You know, like Sunderland years ago (so I guess when Tondela finally drops dark times wait for them: Tondela Until I Die?). They are coached by Spaniard Natxo Gonzalez and they had a pretty good season start being 6th, now dropping until 14th. They failed to win a game in the last 5 matches and they got the top 4 all in their calendar. Stay strong Tondela fans, hold up your buttcheeks together.
Players to watch: Claudio Ramos (GK - seriously, how is this guy still not in a better team?), Jhon Murillo (FIFA legend), Fahd Moufi. Maritimo
Edging close to the relegation zone is Maritimo, who somehow has the player with most successful take ons on all the league (Zainadine Jr), yet seem to be struggling anyway. 3 defeats in a row in their last 3 matches with games in hand against 5 of the top 6 will test the team from Madeira. Won't be surprised if they get back to Segunda Liga.
Players to watch: Zainadine Junior (again, how is this guy not in a better team?), Daizen Maeda, Xadas (what happened to you mate?) Paços de Ferreira
After 14 rounds on the relegation zone they finally saw the light to get out of the hole. Paços future might be positive as they got 6 points out of the last 5 games and they played Benfica already. A match against Portimonense who is just below might be a decider on who gets down and who stays up.
Players to watch: Pedrinho, Tanque, Eustaquio (Canadian international!) Portimonense
If you were expecting to see two teams from Algarve in the league next season and see some more Primeira Liga games while you are on Spring Break on Portimao... it might not happen. Farense did get promoted, but their counterpart Portimonense are edging by a thread. They got 5 points in the last 4 months so future seems dark.
Players to watch: Jackson Martinez (he is likely to retire after this season), Mohanad Ali, Koki Anzai, Marlos Moreno (wonder where this guy had been?) Aves
Well finally, if you thought Portimonense was doomed to drop, well what can we say about bottom placed Aves? Not only they are dead last, they also have some problems leaving due to owing them salaries. Their calendar contemplates matches against Porto, Benfica and Braga, so betting on them to drop seems like easy money. And thinking that not so long ago this team won the Portuguese Cup!
Players to watch: Mehrdad Mohammadi, Adam Dźwigała.
That's it lads. If you want to give some support and read further in depth on the league return click here
Wish you some good games and might the odds be in your favor. Also fuck you Sergio Conceiçao!
At the time of writing, Beijing Renhe - Henan Jianye just kicked off, with the away side being the heavy favourites with avg. odds of 1.50 (Source)
. Now, I could explain in 3-4 paragraphs why these odds are odd by just comparing the teams, but to summarize the important part: Henan Jianye is garbage and Beijing Renhe is slightly less garbage.
So what is the problem? The odds for this game opened at 2.56 - 3.51 - 2.73 (1X2, Pinnacle odds), not going into details I would say this is fairly priced, midtable garbage team vs 2nd to bottom garbage team; it could go both ways.
Prematch, the odds had changed to 5.83 - 4.37 - 1.50. In a "clean" competition it would probably mean that something big happened; injuries, point deduction, maybe even no supporters. However, in this match nothing of that kind happened.
Then what is going on here? Let's start with some background:
- Henan's Korean coach Chang Woe-Ryong got fired after the 1-4 defeat to Shandong Luneng. If it was justified to fire him is not for me to decide, but anyone can make a case for his dismissal. The results weren't good nor was the quality of play showing any signs of progression.
- Technically, Beijing Renhe and Hebei CFFC are out of the running for continental football (only top 4 qualify). Their relegation worries are also not that big, especially since the meltdown extraordinaire at Tianjin Quanjian.
Why Hebei? Well, that is where I got suspicious. The first match for new coach Wang Baoshan was the homegame Henan - Hebei. The away side, coached by the Premier League's finest Chris Coleman, struggled for a long time but had been getting decent results as of recent. However, their goal of qualifying for the ACL is long, long gone. Opening odds were 3.35 - 3.56 - 2.17 (Source, Pinnacle odds)
. Pretty logical right? Relegation side out of form vs slightly more in-form mid table team, nothing shady here.
Then, before kickoff, odds for Henan had dropped to an avg. of 1.57 - 4.07 - 5.47. Injuries for Hebei? Nope. Point deduction? Nope. Contract issues with players? Nope. Financial worries? Nope. Bettors finally remembered it was Sunderland Chris Coleman and not Wales Chris Coleman? Well... Maybe..
Henan, in an.. ahem.. Surprising turn of events, won the game 2-0, which was already achieved in the 11th minute.
So up till this point it is mostly facts, below I will lay out why I think this is a very possible case of matchfixing. Be warned, this is all my opinion and I do not have any facts to back it up.
- Chang Woe-Ryong got fired because Henan officials thought they could not stay up in the "legal" way. While Chang is certainly not the South-Korean Guardiola, his preferred counter-attacking tactics have gotten him various jobs at relegation-candidates and he can make any team under his control a pain in the ass to beat. The new coach, Wang Baoshan, coached Chongqing Lifan to promotion back when they were in the China League 1. He also spent some time at two other CL1 sides, without a lot of success. All three sides, especially Chongqing, can be labelled as suspicious when it comes to matchfixing activities.
- Related to Wang Baoshan, the suspicious odds movements started once Chang left. Was Chang fired because he would not cooperate in matchfixing? I don't know and he will probably not say so either.
- Henan is certainly not dead in the relegation battle. The implosions happening at both Tianjin teams and Chongqing being just two points above them, means that Henan certainly has a chance to stay up. This does require them to win games though, and that seemed to be the problem under Chang.
- However, is it really believable for a team to hire a Chinese coach with hardly any credentials to turn the tide? Dalian Yifang hired Bernd Schuster who took the team to a slightly safer haven, Chongqing improved a bit under Jordy Cruyff and last season Capello managed to keep Jiangsu Suning out of relegation issues. In fact, looking at how the teams perform vs. the expectations, I would be sure that Chinese coaches underperform by a large margin. The only "succesful" Chinese coach would be Li Xiaopeng of Shandong Luneng, who truly is doing an admirable job.
- If this is true it would be more believable as to why Henan appointed a Chinese coach just before the matchfixing started happening.
What is next? Obviously, as a bettor I would be very careful when betting on matches involving Henan from now on. Especially in games vs. opponents that have nothing to gain or lose on the table, odds for Henan might drop quite hard. If it is possible at your bookmaker, in these cases I would lay Henan's opponent (if they are the favourites) at opening odds and close your position before kick-off. Again, it is important to note that I would only do this vs. opponents that are not deep in relegation or ACL-qualification battles.
Then again, it might just be someone who bets really big on Henan thinking it is matchfixing and then all of the things I wrote above are nonsense. I'm not sure as to which one I prefer..
Anyway, I hope this helps as a warning not to take the odds at face value, especially in China.
It's one of those weekends which have a huge earning potential. Loads of great games in all the leagues around europe and many carrying great value. You just have to hope the teams you place your money on don't fuck up. submitted by
English Premier League Sunderland Vs Spurs
Spurs should be very confident going into this fixture and should get the 3 points. Before losing 3-0 to liverpool at lane spurs were unbeaten for 8 games in total. Spurs under new manager Pochettino have looked great with always improving Eriksen and in form Lamela, also new signing Eric Dier.
Sunderland haven't won a game against spurs for a long time with previous fixtures ending 5-1 and 2-1 to spurs.
Sunderland sit with 2 points from 3 games (Above ManU though) with taking a loss in previous match against QPR who are not at all good themselves.
Soldado and walker are the spurs absentees which won't be any problem.
Spurs can't afford to take anything less than 3 points from here and are very capable of beating sunderland at stadium of light.
Spurs to win @ 2.1
Also odds available on DNB spurs are great(1.5) , so you can include DNB spurs in other accumulators as well
Chelsea Vs Swansea City
Title contenders Chelsea welcome swans at stamford bridge after completely thrashing every team they have met up till now. Chelsea have looked amazing and also completing an almost impossible task of thrashing everton at goodison park in the previous game.
No fresh injury concerns for chelsea, though swans sit with a perfect score themselves they are not going to get a single point from this fixture. Sorry gylfi.
Also Chelsea would like to confirm 3 points in this game before making the trip to etihad to face man city in the next fixture.
Chelsea to win @1.28
Liverpool Vs Aston Villa
Liverpool after amazingly beating spurs at lane 3-0, now face Aston Villa at anfield.
Skretl and sturridge are injured for liverpool and benteke is the long time absentee for villa.
Absence of sturridge is not going to be a problem as they now have Mario Balotelli who will be eager to open his scoring.
Liverpool is a much better team than aston villa and should very well beat aston villa in this high scoring match.
Fun Fact - Liverpool have failed to beat villa at anfield for 3 years. last one being a 2-2 draw. But this is going to change this year.
Liverpool to win @ 1.3
Southampton Vs Newcastle
Southampton play a very impressive pressing game and despite losing many star players, they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Jay rodriguez is the only absentee in southampton squad and de jong and ryan taylor are for newcastle.
Southampton were brilliant in the game against liverpool despite losing 2-1 whereas newcastle is in a very bad position, not having won a single game in EPL.
In Past meetings, saints won 2-0 and 4-0 in this fixture.
Southampton to win @ 1.75
Stoke City Vs Leicester City
Stoke welcome leicester at their home.
Stoke have done an impossible job of beating man city at etihad and thus making us all lose money.
They entertain newly promoted side leicester who have also done a pretty good job of earning some points from tough games.
No injury concerns for stoke and you can go for a straight win for stoke here but if leicester scores a goal anyhow don't expect stoke to do the hard work of scoring again. So be careful and opt for a DNB here as both of these teams are very much satisfied with a draw.
West Brom Vs Everton - Avoiding this match because of lot of injuries in the everton squad including lukaku and eto'o.
Arsenal Vs Man City
This is the game to watch this weekend with Arsenal welcoming title contenders Man City to their home.
I would advice avoid betting on this match because there are plenty of much predictable matches this weekend where the money can be earned easily without taking huge risk.
Still i will say what i think.
Arsenal except that great comeback to get a draw when they were 2 down at goodison park haven't had a convincing game in which they have played well.
They are still playing way below their caliber and have been under par in most of the games whereas man city except that 1-0 loss to stoke have looked quite furious and ready to win the title again.
Walcott and giroud are absent for arsenal whereas jovetic and fernando are the absentees for city.
This fixture have been very opposite of high scoring which everyone would expect, with every one of them ending with less than 3 goals for a long time.
All in all, i think manchester city is the better team and will surely like to bounce back from the disappointing loss and take 3 points home before the next match with chelsea which can be very crucial in deciding the title winner this season.
Bundesliga Bayern Munich Vs Stuttgart
German giants Bayern Munich play Stuttgart at their home.
Stuttgart is no match match for bayern and to make it even worse they are in a very bad form losing to a newly promoted side Koln at their home.
But this all shows in the odds awarded for this match. Use it in your accumulators.
Bayern Munich -1
Dortmund Vs Freiburg
Injury ridden Dortmund face perennial bottom dweller Freiburg.
The starting of the season has not been convincing from dortmund's perspective plus now they are missing Reus, Blaszyzkowski, Immobile which is going to be a great loss.
They have saved Kagawa from ManU and now he can go back to playing and will start at injured reus's position.
Striker Karim Guede of freiburg is still serving suspension for the red card he got in 1st match.
Still Dortmund should be good enough to beat freiburg at their home.
Spurs , Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern munich @ 4.23
DNB Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern Munich,
Bayer Leverkusen @ 3.7
Sorry for the leverkusen typo, their match was on friday, i meant to write Borussia Dortmund
Chelsea, Bayern Munich, DNB Spurs, DNB Stoke @ 3.16
Best of luck!!!!
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