Porto should win the most important match of the season so far and there's a stand-out scoreline to put your money on at a lovely price, says Jamie Pacheco...
"Benfica have managed to score in every single league match to date and the hosts’ defence isn’t so strong that you’d fancy them to keep Jonas and co out entirely. A 2-1 home win is 9.08/1 on the Exchange."
Porto v Benfica
Friday December 1, 20:30
Conceicao feeling right at home
Porto are top of the table and in an 18-team league where the Big 3 rarely drop points against anyone other than each other, their two-point lead over Sporting Lisbon and three-point lead over Benfica is a significant one, even at this stage of the season.
Former player Sergio Conceicao has taken to managing this club like a duck to water. His no-nonsense, headstrong and at times deliberately confrontational management style is exactly what the Porto fans want from their Manager.
With seven points from their first five Champions League matches and sitting in second place in the Group, they're in a decent position to make it to the last 16. No small feat given they're in one of the toughest groups alongside Besiktas, Leipzig and Monaco.
Amongst their key players of the season so far are powerful Portuguese holding midfielder Danilo, ever-reliable skipper Hector Herrera, tricky winger Yacine Brahimi and strikers Vincent Aboubakar and Moussa Marega.
Who has fallen out of favour however is the great Iker Casillas, who was dropped a few weeks ago and hasn't returned. Jesus Corona misses out after being sent off last weekend in a surprise 1-1 draw at Aves.
Vitoria under pressure
By Benfica's standards, the season has been a minor disaster so far. They've lost all five of their Champions League games so can't even keep on enjoying a European experience in the Europa League.
As hinted already, 29 points from 12 matches would be seen as a very strong start in most leagues but this isn't most leagues. Defeat here and the fans would start calling for the Manager Rui Vitoria's head because their points deficit would be deemed too much to be able to defend their league title.
AS I've mentioned in previous previews here at betting.betfair, the team is still recovering from the losses of Ederson (Manchester City), Viktor Lindelof (Manchester United) and Nelson Semedo (Barcelona) in defence while none of the new signings in attack have really caught the eye. So it's been left to the old faces like Jonas, Eduardo Salvio and Luisao to carry the team.
Hosts should be too strong
It's very, very rare that Porto loses a home match against one of their major rivals. Benfica have managed just one win their last 11 attempts in the league, a 2-0 win in December 2014.
Very often the big Portuguese teams adopt a safety-first approach and unless it's a must-win match towards the end of the season, both sides are happy to take a draw, move on and hope their rivals slip up somewhere along the line. But then again, this isn't most seasons.
Porto look a far better side than Benfica in just about every department, including the all-important confidence department. You can take Porto at 1.865/6 to win the game in the knowledge they probably will but we can do better than that.
A stand-out scoreline
Benfica have managed to score in every single league match to date and the hosts' defence isn't so strong that you'd fancy them to keep Jonas and co out entirely. A 2-1 home win is 15/2 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Three of the last five fixtures between these two in Porto have been Porto wins by a single goal (2-1 twice, 1-0 once) and that looks about right here too with our preference going for the former.
Benfica have managed to score in every single league match to date and the hosts' defence isn't so strong that you'd fancy them to keep Jonas and co out entirely. A 2-1 home win is 9.08/1 on the Exchange.
Aboubakar (nine) and Marega (eight) have been in good goalscoring form in the league while Brahimi has four. But their prices aren't really worth getting excited about and you're unlikely to get much better than 2.56/4 on either of them on the Exchange.
So go with Benfica's talisman Jonas at 23/10 on the Sportsbook. He may have been carrying niggles all season but that hasn't stopped him from scoring a remarkable 15 goals in 12 games on the domestic front. The team is set up to create chances for him and surprise, surprise he's also their penalty-taker. And a fine one at that.
Benfica may well lose this match but their main man looks a decent bet to improve on his already brilliant goals tally.
1pt Back Porto to win 2-1 @ 9.08/1
1pt Back Jonas to score anytime @ 23/10