Michael Lintorn says not to trust the early indicators at Benfica and AC Milan, and advises on how to profit in-play from that stance ...
"Three of Benfica and Sporting Lisbon's four matches this season had a goal before half time (twice within 25 minutes) only to settle under."
Back over 2.5 goals at 2.466/4 with a view to Cashing Out following an early strike
Tottenham v Liverpool
Live on Sky Sports 1
Match Odds: Tottenham 2.8415/8, Liverpool 2.6813/8, The Draw 3.613/5
With the exception of their stroll past QPR last week, every one of Mauricio Pochettino's games in charge of Tottenham has seen a second-half goal bias. The first with West Ham was goalless until a 90th-minute winner, their trip to AEL Limassol was 1-0 to the hosts at the break until Spurs fired back with two in the final 17 minutes, and the deadlock wasn't broken until the 45th minute in the return.
A similar pattern emerged in his Southampton side's clashes with Liverpool last season. The one at Anfield was 0-0 until the 53rd minute and the St Mary's showdown saw two of its three goals scored in the 58th minute or beyond. With Liverpool's visit to Man City fitting a similar profile, there should be mileage in either an over 3.5 goals lay-to-back at 2.8615/8 or investing in over 2.5 goals at bigger odds than the current 1.758/11 at half time.
AC Milan v Lazio
Live on BT Sport 1
Match Odds: AC Milan 2.0811/10, Lazio 4.1, The Draw 3.45
Every ingredient exists for a minor upset at San Siro on Serie A's opening day. AC Milan haven't won their first fixture in any of the past three seasons, losing the most recent two, while Lazio have enjoyed a week-one victory in four of the last six years. Additionally, Lazio have been defeated in just one of their previous five meetings with the side being managed by Pippo Inzaghi for the first time.
However, whether you prefer to back Lazio - current price 4.1 - or lay the hosts - presently a 2.111/10 endeavour - the likelihood is that you will find better odds if you wait until half time. The Rossoneri weren't behind at the interval in any of their prior three curtain-raisers despite the disappointing end results, while they struck first in both collisions with Lazio last term without winning either.
Benfica v Sporting Lisbon
Live on BT Sport 2
Match Odds: Benfica 1.9110/11, Sporting Lisbon 4.84/1, The Draw 3.65
The first Lisbon derby of the new campaign between 2013/14's top two sees both perceived to be in a weakened position. Benfica lost Jan Oblak, Ezequiel Garay, Guilherme Siqueira and Lazar Markovic over the summer among others, while Sporting surrendered coach Leonardo Jardim to Monaco and sold Eric Dier and Marcos Rojo, yet the neighbours boast six and four points from an available six.
The exploitable trend from each's initial two encounters is that they all delivered under 2.5 goals after promising more. Three of the four matches had a goal before half time (twice within 25 minutes) only to settle under, while a state of stalemate was observed for 27 minutes or less in their three 2013/14 derbies. Therefore, the advice is to back over 2.5 goals at 2.466/4 with a view to Cashing Out following an early strike.