Dec 11, 2010

All Boys - Godoy Cruz

Argentina Primera Division, Apertura

Last round of Apertura starts today, and we'll see in action two teams that have no further plans left for 2010. Godoy Cruz has sealed it's place in Copa Libertadores 2011, so they can afford to take it easy tonight. And they'll have a huge handicap from the beginning, as they will miss a couple of key players due to some injuries. First of all, their two top scorers are both absent (David Ramirez - 8 goals, Jairo Castillo - 6 goals), and both are in the league's top 10 goalscorers, leaving the team without main firepower. But things don't end here for them, as they will also miss two more key players, midfielder Nicolas Olmedo (16 games) and defender Zelman Garcia (17 matches), and they will leave quite some big gaps, that All Boys are likely to exploit. The newly promoted team has been amazing this Apertura, winning 7 out of 9 matches at home, being just below Velez and Estudiantes from this point of view. And they seem quite motivated to end this great year in great fashion, with another win at home, a venue where they already won against River or Estudiantes. They have a few doubts in their team, and their team won't be the best they have, but at least they will change back to the 4-3-1-2 formation (unlike in the last game against Gimnasia). At first sight, the over looked good, because All Boys will have a debutant as a central defender, but with Godoy's absences upfront, I have my doubts about them scoring. All Boys to win looks a bit better. GL!

All Boys (-0.5 AH) @ 2.15, 3/10
Result: 2-2, LOST

Dec 10, 2010

Mazembe - Pachuca

FIFA Club World Cup

Good odds for the over here, and I'll take them with some higher stakes than usual, as I see a nice opportunity for several goals. The CONCACAF and CAF champions are facing each other on Friday, and we have two pretty offensive teams. Pachuca is one of the teams from Mexico that it's worth watching, because very rarely they finish a match without both of the teams scoring (they have conceded at least 1 goal in all their matches in the Mexican league this season). So that explains why they have one of the best attacks in the league, but also one of the worst defenses. Strikers Cvitanich and Arizala (both of them in very good form) are sure to cause some damage to the African's defense, as they fit perfectly in Pachuca's fast attacking tactics, while it is a usual thing that African defenders and goalkeepers are far from trustworthy. Meanwhile, since Mazembe can't really count on their defense, they are also employing an offensive style of play, and knowing how 'well' Pachuca defends, I'm pretty sure we'll be in for another match in which both teams will score. The Mexicans should normally win this match in regular time, and the odds aren't bad, but somehow I like this bet more. 2-1 would be my call. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.06, 5/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Dec 9, 2010

Independiente - Goias

Copa Sudamericana

After a poor first leg from both teams, Goias took a probably unhoped for 2 goals advantage. Both teams were poor, Independiente failing to make any dangerous chances or putting some pressure on the hosts, while the Brazilian team scored 2 early goals and the sit back, happy with the result, despite playing with an extra man for the last half an hour, in which they decided not to press for a third goal. For the return leg, I'm expecting some things to change, as Independiente needs to attack from the start, and they are well capable of doing just that. They showed some improvements in their play ever since coach Mohamed took over the team, and they made some good matches against LDU Quito, or in the first leg against Tolima (even in the league, despite playing only with reserves, they have lost just once in the last 5 games - although they haven't won a single one of them). Goias is nothing special, and as a proof they have been relegated from the first league of Brazil. And it's traditional for Brazilian teams to face hell in Argentina, so expect a full stadium that will be against them, putting a lot of pressure. Despite the first leg loss, Independiente still have a pretty good chance of lifting the trophy, and I'm sure they'll win this game, even if it will be by a one goal margin (though I doubt it). GL!

Independiente (-0.75) @ 2.33, 4/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Dec 8, 2010

Leon de Huanuco - Universidad San Martin

Peru Primera Division, Final

Odds are a bit lower than what I expected, but I'm going to trust Leon one more time this season. Without a doubt, these two teams are the best Peruvian teams of the season, thanks to some excellent coaching and some key players (Rodas and Perea for Leon, Alemanno, Vitti and Arriola for San Martin). Full squads are expected for both teams, so let's not sit on that for too much. For Leon, this can be a memorable moment, coming straight up from the second division and winning the title, so I'm sure they are going to give more than 100%, and they will receive great support from the entire city of Huanuco, which has started some sort of holiday, especially for this final. Then, we also have the altitude. San Martin showed great play this year, winning drastically even at a lot of meters above the sea level, but all those matches were against teams from the lower half of the league: Melgar, Cienciano and Huancayo. The only match at altitude that matters here is the one played in Huanuco, where Leon took a solid 4-2 win. Not expecting a similar scoreline today, as all that Leon needs is a win, and that is also why I'm avoiding the over bet. Leon showed great football throughout the year, and certainly earned my entire confidence, and I'm giving them another shot today. GL!

Leon Huanuco @ 2.07, 3/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Gimnasia - All Boys

Argentina Primera Division, Apertura

Gimnasia keeps going from bad to worse, and it looks like a lock the fact that they will once again have to play a decider, at the end of the season, to see if they remain in the Primera Division. And, with the way they are playing, the only thing that could change that would be a direct relegation, as I honestly don't see them climbing above the play-off area any time soon. And things aren't getting any better for tonight's match, as they will miss several important players: midfielder Rinaudo and top-scorer Cordoba are absent with injuries, while defender Casco is suspended. Those absences are sure the damage Gimnasia even more, and I expect another poor match from them. All Boys are having a great campaign, and could be in with a real chance of qualifying to Copa Sudamericana at the end of the season, after spending 30 years in the lower divisions. But, despite their good performances and good play, they are still without a win in away games, so I trust them fully to try and change that tonight. They will also have a couple of absences, but overall they are much better than Gimnasia, and should be able to cope without those players, especially since their key players are up for the game. GL!

All Boys DNB @ 1.95, 3/10
Result: 3-1, LOST

Dec 5, 2010

Sporting Cristal - Jose Galvez

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

Quick and small bet on this one, moving this match in my list from a no-bet, to a small stakes home win. Jose Galvez is fighting for their lives here, and only a win can help them. Any other result condemns them to relegate to Segunda Division, as in case of a draw, they will be at most equal on points with either Cienciano or Alianza Atletico, but with a far worse goal difference. So all their cards will be played here, and they'll go all-in from the start of the match in order to find those vital 3 points. Needless to say they will be with a full squad. For Cristal, the season is over, and with a huge disappointment, as after appearing to fight for the title in the first half of the season, they slowly faded, and missed everything, even a spot for Copa Sudamericana. This will be the farewell match for coach Rivera, and in order to keep his integrity and to avoid any comments, he decided to field his best players, so as not to give Jose Galvez and unfair advantages (although this can be done with ease, even with the regulars in the field). That's why I give them the upper hand here, especially with the current odds, but the stakes will be small, as despite Cristal's full strength team, they are still fighting for nothing, and motivation is probably as low as it gets. GL!

Sporting Cristal DNB @ 1.76, 3/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Tacuarembo - Defensor Sporting

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

The odds on Defensor make me want to cry, but they are rightly set, and I'm having little doubts they will lose this one. They are on the top spot of the standings, and they need to win here in order to secure the title. Of course, they could do that even with a draw or a loss, but it looks unlikely that both Nacional and Bella Vista will fail to win their matches, especially since both of them are playing against weaker opposition. Defensor is in good form, despite their last round loss at home against Nacional (their only defeat in the last 10 games), and are a free-scoring team, putting the ball in the opposition net 28 times in 14 matches, having the best attack in the league. Tacuarembo are the worst team in the league, managing to get only 5 points, and are on a dreadful run of 8 consecutive losses, in which they have managed to score just a single goal. And it gets better: for today, Tacuarembo's coach will field a team of youngsters, grew at the club, in order to see if something good shows up for the Clausura. Those guys have played a lot of matches together in the youth divisions, but the quality gap between them and Defensor is simply huge, and I doubt they can make an instant impact against the best team in the league, which on top of it all is also in need of points. GL!

Defensor Sporting (-1.25 AH) @ 2.07, 5/10
Result: 1-3, WON

Sport Huancayo - Juan Aurich

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

Useless match for both teams here. Their objectives are already completed (Huancayo to get a safe mid-table place), or already busted (Aurich's run for the title or at least the Copa Libertadores), so both teams will be playing just to finish their fixtures. Juan Aurich is coming after some heavy pressure after losing at home to Cienciano, with everyone accusing them of stepping aside in order to give Cienciano a helping hand. Morale isn't the best in the team, and because of that, plus the fatigue accumulated throughout the season, coach Reynoso has already accepted to give a rest to some of the most used players. No line-up available yet, so it's not sure how many reserves will play, but there will be at least 4. The good news for them is that both Manco and Montes will start up-front, so we can expect some goals from their part. Sport Huancayo is reported to send their best line-up, without having anything to fight for. Irven Avila and Miguel Mostto are expected to start in attack, and they are in very good form, top scorers of the team, so also expecting goals from them. Sport Huancayo no doubt have the upper hand here, also due to the high altitude, but I'm going for goals, as odds on home win are laughable, and the -0.75 could be easily cut to half with a 2-1, which is quite possible. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.02, 3/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Alianza Lima - Universidad San Martin

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

Both teams have finished the season in the upper part of the table, and neither one of them has the necessity to win here. Furthermore, both teams will be using alternative teams, for different reasons. San Martin will rest all of their regular players, because just like Leon, they have to play the final in just 4 days, so it's essential for them to avoid injuries or suspensions. And most of the players that are expected to play today are the ones that also played last week, losing at home to the last placed team, Total Chalaco. Not impressive... On the other hand, Alianza secured their Libertadores spot, in favor of Universitario, and with their objective clinched, they have decided to give early holidays to several key players, the ones that have been playing constantly. Therefore, players like Libman (GK), Fleitas (DF), Gonzalez (MF), Alex Sanchez (MF) and Quinteros (MF) won't take any parts in today's clash. But, besides the players already in the off-season, coach Costas has stated he will use the best available players, as he wishes to avenge that 0-4 trashing they received last time they played against San Martin. And even without those 5 players, they should still have enough quality left to dispatch San Martin's reserves/youngsters. Smaller stakes than for Sport Boys though. GL!

Alianza Lima @ 2.05, 4/10 
Result: 1-1, LOST

Colon - River

Argentina Primera Division, Apertura

I'll stick with the trend here, and go for the under again, as today, we will have two teams that are looking incapable of scoring, or creating some solid chances. Those who have watched River playing, know that only one word can describe them: boredom. They are indeed pretty solid at the back, and defend pretty well, but when it comes to go on the attack, they just lack any ideas of creativity. Most of their actions are very easy to read, and even when the ball reaches the area successfully, the finishing is just awful. And Colon's offense is just as poor, so if someone is expecting any type of excitement from this match, he should be in for a very nasty surprise. I'm expecting both teams to focus on the defense, especially now that River is out of the play-off places, and every lost match for them is likely to send them back. And with their poor form away, their aproach has to be careful, especially since they can't count on a good offensive game. Colon should take advantage of the weak River, but it won't be easy. The good thing is that they tend to sit back and defend if they open the score, so I'm not expecting more than 1 goal from them, and that is 1 goal too many than what I expect from River. With just 4 matches out of 16 finishing with more than 2 goals, I think this game goes as a good opportunity for another poor performance from both teams. GL!

under 2 goals @ 2.11, 3/10
Result: 1-2, LOST