Benfica v Porto: Shared points in Lisbon
Benfica v Porto is available on Betfair Live Video on Sunday night and it's up to Jamie Pacheco to talk you through it all ahead of Portuguese football's biggest clash.
"Considering the three previous matches were all draws and that last one should have been as well, the draw is the best option here again. But it’s worth pushing the boat out a bit. Rather than taking the straight 11/5 on the stalemate, you can get 11/4 on the Draw and Under 2.5 goals."
Benfica v Porto
Sunday October 7, 17:30
Available on Betfair Live Video
Decent start to the season for the Eagles
Benfica kept faith with Rui Vitoria when many were calling for his head after a poor 2017/18 season. Up to now, the powers-that-be have been somewhat rewarded for their loyalty.
Six league games have yielded four wins and two draws, one against Sporting Lisbon in August and one last Wednesday where they conceded a 90th minute goal away at Chaves. It leaves them third in the league table on 14 points, with Porto one place and point ahead of them and Braga top with an 100% record.
In the Champions League they lost at home to Bayern Munich which is perfectly understandable but hit back to beat AEK Athens 3-2 on Tuesday, in Athens.
They do however need to work on two bad habits. They were 2-1 up before conceding against Chaves and 3-0 up in Athens before conceding two; they were under the pump for the last few minutes. Maybe that's because of their other bad habit: in both matches they had a player sent off.
Aboubakar injury a big blow
If Benfica's season has beena solid 7/10 so far, Porto's has been about 8.5/10. The one blotch being a 3-2 reverse at home to Guimaraes when they were 2-0 up.
Thy won all their other league matches and have made a very positive start in the Champions League with a very respectable 1-1 draw at Schalke in Week 1 being followed up by a 1-0 win at the Estadio do Dragao against Galatasaray.
Veteran keeper Iker Casillas had an excellent game and the winner was scored by Moussa Marega. He dedicated his goal to injured fellow striker Vincent Aboubakar who will be out injured for months now after tearing his knee ligament on Friday; that's a big loss. His physical presence and goals have been a big asset to Porto over the years.
A reminder that this match is available on Betfair's Live Video service. It should be a good one so tune in from 17:30 on Sunday. But who's the value?
Benfica shouldn't be 13/10. Porto have started the season slightly better, have a stronger squad and are playing a superior brand of football. And despite being far less experienced, you could argue that Porto's Sergio Conceicao is the better manager.
And there's certainly nothing about Benfica's recent record against Porto that suggests they should be that sort of price. You'd have to go back eight matches to December 2014 for the last time they beat them. Last year there was heartbreak for the Lisbon side when Mexican star Hector Herrera struck late to win the game 1-0 and pretty much wrap up the title.
Recalling that the three previous matches were all draws and that last one should have been as well, the draw is the best option here again. But it's worth pushing the boat out a bit. Rather than taking the straight 11/5 on the stalemate, you can get 11/4 on the Draw and Under 2.5 goals.
Considering that those three draws were 1-1, 1-1 and 0-0 and that only once in the last eight has this fixture had over 2.5 goals and that looks like a good way of securing a slightly bigger price.
The absence of Aboubakar could really hurt Porto here. He's their top scorer in the league with four goals. Next best is Yacine Brahimi, arguably the classiest player on the pitch, who has two. Brahimi is 15/2 to be first goalscorer and 13/5 to score anytime. Last year's hero Herrera is 9/1. He also scored against Benfica back in February 2016 and has already netted this season.
For Benfica their big star Jonas is just starting to approach reasonable fitness levels. He got 20 minutes last week and was an unused substitute in Athens. But it's far too early for him to get a start so the quote of Evens on him scoring is far too short.
Haris Sefarovic is likely to lead the attack in his absence. He made a brilliant start to the season last time out with seven goals from his first eight appearances for club and country before running out of steam. But he has two goals for club and one for country this term and 5/2 on the hosts' main striker getting a goal on Sunday night is a fair price.
But if you're going with a goalscorer, you should go with the hosts' Rafa. After a slow start to life at Benfica he's finally getting regular starts and scoring goals. He has three from five league appearances and scored both in that draw at Chaves. Playing on the left side of the front three, you'd think he'll have a decent chance at one stage or another. And following the rationale that this could be low on goals, you might as well take the 10/1 that he's first goalscorer than the 4/1 that he scores anytime.