Nov 19, 2010

LDU Quito - Independiente

Copa Sudamericana

This bet was probably expected and predictable, but if there is one team that I fully trust at home in South America, than that team is definitely Liga de Quito. Won't start talking too much about them, as we all know the drill: very solid team, plays like a monster at home, big advantage in the high altitude, reigning champ of Sudamericana and Recopa. There are a few players doubtful for them, but all of them are having very big chances of being match-fit, so I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing them fielding their best line-up. Independiente's attitude has changed ever since El Turco Mohamed took over the team, but that surely won't be enough for them to take points in Ecuador. And if we compare them to Newell's, they are in an inferior position. Newell's are a very solid and compact team, and can strike deadly on the counter attack. But their biggest strength is their defensive discipline. A thing that Independiente lacks, as they can be opened much easier by a rampant LDU team. And despite their good result at Tolima (2-2), they had a much more complicated match in the return-leg, as the Colombians put a lot of pressure on them. The same thing will probably happen in Quito too, but LDU are obviously a class better than Deportes Tolima, and as I already said, the high altitude will prove to be an even bigger problem for Independiente. I'm expecting more than the 1-0 win recorded against Newell's last week. GL!

LDU (-1 AH) @ 1.86, 5/10
Result: 3-2, VOID

Nov 17, 2010

South Africa - USA

International Friendly Match

This match is quickly becoming a public bet, and odds will surely drop some more before the kick-off. The USA are sending over a very weak and inexperienced squad, as from the 18-man team that will travel to Africa, only 9 players have more than 23 years, and only 5 of them have played more than 10 matches for the national team. Coach Bradley already said that he wants to use this match as a practice, in order to test some new players, and even though probably they will put in a good effort, they just lack the depth and experience to make some problems here. The Africans have called upon a much more serious squad, and we can see some big names in their rooster: Pienaar, Gaxa, Parker, etc. Definitely not some world class players, but certainly more than enough for the young American team. I'm also expecting more commitment from the hosts, so a small bet on them should surely be tried. Small stakes however, as this is still just a friendly match. GL!

South Africa (-0.25 AH) @ 1.96, 3/10
Result: 0-1, LOST

Nov 15, 2010

Independiente - Olimpo

Argentina Primera Division, Apertura

I going to keep going with the trend here, as I think another under is on the cards. Independiente will use a second team, in order to keep their regulars fresh between the 2 Sudamericana matches, as this week they played at home against Tolima, while next week they will have to make a journey to the height of Quito. So, the only sensible thing to do here is to rest all the players they can, since they have stated loud and clear that the Apertura doesn't interest them, and all their guns are pointed towards Copa Sudamericana, which leads to next year's Libertadores. Only the regular goalkeeper will be used, and that's a big plus for them, as he comes after some nice performances. Even with a second squad, I'm pretty confident they won't lose, as Olimpo simply lacks any value and class to remain in Primera, and to win away at some of the league's bigger names. They lack ideas and finishing, and also their defensive line is pretty much clueless. But Independiente with this line-up can't hope for too much either, as in the previous games where they used reserves (at All Boys and San Lorenzo), they pretty much lacked any depth in offense, despite scoring in both matches (against Boys they scored after a free-kick, while against San Lorenzo the goal came after a huge fault in attack). They will still control this match, and will probably manage to win it in the end, but can't see them past a 1-0, because it will be hard to break the crowded defense that Olimpo will probably field. GL!

under 2 goals @ 2.12, 3/10
Result: 1-1, VOID

Nov 14, 2010

Leon de Huanuco - Alianza Atletico

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

I have decided previously not to play on Leon anymore, when they are at home, due to the huge handicap lines and the laughable odds. But today something is different, and I can't explain why the line is just at -1, and with average odds around 1.90. Today's opponents, Alianza Atletico, are indeed in desperate need of points, but so was Cienciano last match, and Leon gave them no gifts, despite the match finishing 0-0. Leon dominated the entire match, put constant pressure on their defense, and missed some huge opportunities. But I don't think they will do that 2 times in a row, and besides, while Cienciano wasn't affected by the high altitude of Huanuco, Alianza's player should feel it fully. Leon will miss two players due to suspensions, but their key players are all fit and ready to play (here I am talking about the guys who have a huge merit for Leon's position: Rodas and Perea). And even with a loss today, corroborated with a Cienciano win, Alianza shouldn't despair (despite dropping to a place that relegates), because they should get more if they focus on their last 3 games (two of them consecutive at home against unmotivated Juan Aurich and Sport Huancayo, and the decider from Cienciano). Leon seals their play-off place if they win today, or if Cesar Vallejo loses, so I'm sure they'll go for the win. Small-medium stakes though, as Cesar Vallejo finishes the match before they start, and if they lose Leon could celebrate a bit too much. GL!

Leon (-1 AH) @ 1.90, 4/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Deportivo Cuenca - Macara

Ecuador Primera Division, Segunda Fase

Deportivo Cuenca is playing the cards that has left, as they aim either for a 3rd place in the aggregate standings, either for a 1st place finish in the Second Phase, allowing them to fight for the title with Emelec. But either way, with a win today they will be in a win-win situation, as their direct rivals in the tables, Barcelona in the aggregate and LDU in the Second Phase, are facing each other. So, assuming Cuenca gets the 3 points against Macara, they will either move to 1 point of LDU for the final, either tie Barcelona on points for the 3rd spot in the general. As, I said, they can only win after this round. They are also in a small slump of form, as they have 2 consecutive lost matches, the only ones in their last 10, so they need to snap out of it as soon as possible, if they are to hold some realistic chances of qualifying to Libertadores. And today's opponent should suit them perfectly. Macara are last in the general standings, 5 points behind the first team above the red line, and with only 3 games remaining, it appears they have taken a bow and given up the fight. That is why their coach has decided to test some youngsters for the next season, and took some players from the youth team, 2 defenders (19 and 20 years), and 2 midfielders (18 and 19 years). That also shows some lack of ambition for the remaining matches, so I guess an easy win for Cuenca should be expected here. GL!

Deportivo Cuenca (-1.25 AH) @ 2.02, 3/10
Result: 0-2, LOST

Sport Boys - Sport Huancayo

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

Sport Boys lost some easy points last round, at home against Alianza Atletico, conceding the equalizer in the last seconds of play, the last action. So now they need to get them back, and end their relegation issues once and for all. Three points today and they will at least keep the 7 points difference ahead of Cienciano, and with only 3 rounds remaining after this weekend, they will be as good as saved. Last match wasn't a bad one at all for them, as besides those 2 goals scored they also missed a couple of easy chances, and I'm expecting some better concentration and composure in front of the goal today. The coach already said this match has to be won, practiced some finishing moves in training and tried to get his players in focus. Huancayo is fighting for nothing, despite still having some mathematical chances of reaching a place for next year's Copa Sudamericana... their realistic chances are below 1%. So, an unmotivated team, with the dreadful away form, where they only managed to win a single game, should be a sure victim here against a pretty much equal team, that is fighting to avoid relegation. Head-to-head this season is 2-1 for Boys, winning one in Huancayo's altitude, and recording another easy 3-1 home win. I'm expecting something similar today. GL!

Sport Boys (-0.75 AH) @ 1.75, 4/10
Result: 0-2, LOST