Sporting Lisbon v Tottenham
Tuesday 13 September, 17:45
Live on BT Sport 4
Inconsistent start to the campaign
After a credible second-place finish in last year's Superliga that gave them direct qualification to this year's Champions League Group stages, it's been something of an inconsistent start to Sporting's season.
The problem was the start that saw them draw 3-3 at Braga (not a bad result in its own right) and go down 3-0 at rivals Porto. But worse than those was a somewhat inexplicable 2-0 home defeat to Chaves.
With Benfica on eighteen points from six games, Porto on fifteen and Sporting on just 10, they may feel that an assault on the title has already all but slipped away from them. Such is the nature of the Portuguese Superliga.
But for a team like them who is so dependent on Champions League prize money to balance the books, an excellent 3-0 win away at Eintracht Frankfurt was a huge result for them. Let's see how important those three points prove to be.
And they kicked on after that by beating Portimonense 4-0 at the weekend. Across their last two league games and that game in Frankfurt, that's now eight goals scored and none conceded, so they come into this match in good form.
Manager Ruben Amorim was apparently interviewed for the Chelsea job before Graham Potter was appointed, proof of how highly he's regarded these days.
Spurs looking good
It's been a strong start for Spurs in the league with four wins to go with two draws, one of them that famous il-tempered 2-2 stalemate at Chelsea that many feel led to Thomas Tuchel's exit from Stamford Bridge.
With Antonio Conte fully settled and having got some of the players he wanted in the transfer market, this could be a strong season for Spurs on all fronts.
Richarlison is the most eye-catching recruit for a number of reasons but Yves Bissouma will surely do a solid job for them over a busy season in the heart of midfield. Rodrigo Bentancur's physicality and positioning is an excellent foil for the all-action talents of Pierre Hojbjerg.
Ivan Perisic will need to be used sparingly at 33 but you can see why the width he provides was something Conte was desperate to secure.
They got a good 2-0 home win against Marseille with two goals from Richarlison to kick off their European campaign in style and will feel refreshed given they were due to visit the Etihad at the weekend before all matches were postponed.
Draw price holds some appeal
This is a really tough game to call. Opta remind us this is the first-ever official game between these two so head-to-head records won't be helping us here.
Sporting were good in last year's Group Stages, recovering from an early 5-1 loss to Ajax to beat Dortmund at home, hammering Besiktas home and away and edging out the Germans to make it to the Last 16 Stage. There they were soundly beaten by Manchester City, but there's no disgrace in that.
They come here in good form as we know and Amorim is a very tactically astute manager, so Conte won't necessarily be getting the better of him in that regard.
A quote of around 1.84/5 on Spurs may have seen us reaching for the lay button but at 2.0421/20 the Lilywhites look about right.
It would be a super effort from the hosts to win at 3.953/1 but if you're desperate to play this market, the draw is probably the most appealing option of the three at 3.613/5.
But, of course, we don't need to play this market at all.
'Unders' an eye-catching option
If it was goals you wanted to see last season, Sporting matches were the place for them.
Five of their six matches in the Group Stages went overs and included such score lines as 5-1 and 4-2 defeats to Ajax and scoring four against Besiktas both home and away. Five of their seven games this season have gone 'overs'.
There haven't been so many goals in Spurs' matches admittedly but this has the makings of an entertaining game and overs would be the pick in a market that can't split the two; pretty much evens the pair.
In a game with a fair few question marks about it, the Bet Builder section of the betting markets may provide the best option.
The aforementioned Richarlison had to wait four matches before finally getting a start in the Premier League but had already secured an assist by the time he did and then got another when he did finally start, against Fulham.
And when he made the first XI against Marseille, he scored both in a 2-0 win.
It's 2.01/1 he either scores or assists here and that looks very appealing.
Combine that with the over 2.5 goals we're keen on, and the double comes to 2.8615/8.