Dec 24, 2011

I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone who supported this service in 2011! May everyone have a happy and joyful time, along with their family, friends and loved ones.

Dec 20, 2011

LDU Quito - El Nacional

Ecuador Serie A, Third place play-off

Last match of the year in South America, and while most teams are already either celebrating a successful season, either already on holiday making plans for 2012, LDU and El Nacional will fight their final battle for the Libertadores qualification. LDU comes after a very long season, and unfortunately for them, without much success, having not won the league title, while also losing in the Sudamericana final, against a superb U de Chile. So that means that this match is the 'make-or-break' moment of the year. They either win this, or they are out of the 2012 Libertadores, and of course, that is not an option for them. El Nacional reached the 4th spot in the aggregate table in extremis, having finished just with 2 points more than Barcelona. Still, they deserve that spot, as they have played well and consistently throughout the year. They come into this match with a 2-1 advantage from the first leg, but in that match LDU played with a 90% reserve team, due to their Sudamericana finals. But now, in the last match before the holidays, they will use the best they have, and will go for the win from the first minute of the match. It won't be a walk in the park, but LDU is the better team here, they are fully focused and determined to save their season, and also, they have won their last 7 matches against El Nacional, when playing in Casa Blanca. GL!

LDU (-1 AH) @ 1.96, 4/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Dec 19, 2011

Sol de America - Cerro Porteno

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Last round, everything will be settled today, and unfortunately for Cerro, they are not the favorites to win the title. They have to win their match first, but will also have to hope Olimpia fails to beat Rubio Nu. And I expect it to be difficult for Olimpia. Rubio Nu is also fighting to qualify for the Copa Sudamericana, for the first time in their history, and since they only need a draw to do so, they will battle hard to get that one point. Also, all throughout the week, there have been rumors that Cerro's president promised 200k $ for Rubio is they manage to hold Olimpia. So I expect a hard fought match there. And in this case, Cerro has it simple: score early, and wait for the good news. They did the same thing last week, with General Caballero, and it was a great match, with plenty of goals. Sol de America plays for nothing at the moment, so their minds could well be on holiday already, but even if they play focused, Cerro should be way too much for them. GL!

Cerro (-0.75 AH) @ 1.68, 3/10
Result: 2-2, LOST

Dec 18, 2011

Santos - Barcelona

FIFA Club World Cup, Final

Ever since this competition began, I had planned a bet on goals, and I was sure about this bet until a couple of days ago. Villa and Alexis's injuries should be quite a blow for Barcelona and it's offensive scheme, so now I'm really scared of this bet, especially since the value is long gone (over 3 @ 1.81 - which were the opening odds at Sbo - would have been a solid bet, but over 3.5 @ 1.97 now is a long way from being takeable). So the handicap looks better and better. Santos's defense was pretty tragic most of the times against Kashiwa, but only after Santos stopped attacking with a comfortable lead, and the Japanese had no other choice but to go all-in attack. The Brazilians are more than capable to score against Barcelona, as the long-shots are probably the best idea against the Spanish giants, and they showed they have some real skills when it comes to this (all 3 goals against Kashiwa were superb, and came from outside the area). And Valdes is not a top-class keeper that can consistently save his team. Counters are also looking good for Santos. And I don't expect Barcelona to look for a trashing here, so if they take the lead, they'll probably settle for their careful and boring passing game. The Libertadores champions shouldn't lose by more than 2 goals, and maybe they could even make a little surprise, since 2 years ago Estudiantes were pretty close to wining this trophy, also in front of Barcelona. GL!

Santos (+1.75 AH) @ 1.85, 3/10
Result: 0-4, LOST

Dec 14, 2011

Kashiwa - Santos

FIFA Club World Cup, Semi-final

Great value here (despite of the odds dropping quite a bit since the market opened), as these odds are way above the limit, and under my calculations, anything above 1.40 for the Brazilians is pure value. Kashiwa pulled-off a great performance in this tournament, entering it as host club, and reaching the semi-finals. They may have also had some luck, as in the play-off they faced Auckland City and in the quarters faced a 'sleeping' Monterrey (really poor match from the Mexicans, as they could have easily lost the match in regular time - Kashiwa dominated much of the match), but despite their qualification, they also showed a lot of vulnerability. Both Auckland and Monterrey had a couple of chances to score, but only their lack of class prevented them from hurting the Japanese. And if there's one thing that Santos has, that's class, a lot more than Kashiwa. Plenty of talent and experience in their squad, and if we are to name a few players, we don't need to look very far: team-captain Edu Dracena, Elano and Renteria, all of them with European experience, and, of course, young super-talents Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso. And pretty much all of Santos's squad is at least one class above the Japanese squad. We'll probably see a full strength team tomorrow on the field (nothing confirmed, but there's no reason to risk a potential final with Barcelona by sending a weak team), and with such a low handicap I think it's worth to stake a bit more. GL!

Santos (-0.75 AH) @ 2.08, 5/10
Result: 1-3, WON

Dec 11, 2011

Sportivo Luqueno - Libertad

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

The league championship from Paraguay is entering into it's last minutes in 2011, and with 2 rounds remaining, we have 3 teams fighting for the title. Libertad is in the most uncomfortable position of all the 3, as they are on 3rd place, 2 points behind leaders Olimpia, and 1 point behind Cerro Porteno. They were the leaders until last week, but the 0-1 defeat against Cerro diminished their chances. Anyway, they have all to fight for, as the diference is small, and Olimpia has a slightly more difficult schedule then them. And this should be their main focus, as if Cerro wins the title, Libertad enters Copa Libertadores only if they finish better than Olimpia in the aggregate standings (currently 5 points behind). Luqueno is in a deep crysis, having not won a single match from the last 11 they played. Even so, they are pretty much saved from relegation, and the only way they could drop would be for General Caballero to win both their remaining matches, or for 3 Febrero to do the same in order to force a play-out. But since that is pretty much science-fiction, Luqueno comes into this match without high hopes and expectations, and they should be thrown aside easily by Libertad. GL!

Libertad (-1 AH) @ 1.94, 3/10
Result: 0-0, LOST

Kashiwa - Monterrey

FIFA Club World Cup

Two mainly over-ish teams will meet today, so I'm honestly a bit surprised to see such a low line (was expecting something like 2.75). Monterrey, like all mexican teams, plays technical and offensive football, and are usually looking to score, instead of preserving the score. After their Champions League victory, they seemed to disconnect from the league, that is why there weren't any notable performances this season (only 12th place in Apertura), but they still provided some entertaining football, having the 4th best attack in the league, but also the 7th worst defense. Kashiwa plays pretty much the same style, although in their first match against Auckland they chose to keep the 2-0 advantage. Anyway, they had some dangerous offensive surges in the first half, but in the second half, when they decided to sit back and protect their lead, Auckland had a couple of runs that could have made some damage if the level of finishing would have been better. With Monterrey's class being far above Auckland's, I'm expecting them to take their chances, and I believe we should see a nice and exciting match. GL!

Over 2.25 goals @ 1.90, 4/10
Result: 1-1, HALF-LOST

Dec 5, 2011

Union Comercio - Universitario

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Last round in Peru, and there are still some teams that are fighting for something. Union Comercio is one of them, as they are still hoping to reach the last place that qualifies to the Copa Sudamericana for 2012. That is why they will be sending the best they have tonight, in order to secure the 3 points, and hope that Inti Gas wonțt win their game (as Inti Gas has one point more than them). Therefore, expect a full team, with high motivation. On the other side of the pitch, we will have a very troubled Universitario, that suffered a lot this season, although they have managed to avoid relegation in extremis last week, after their 2-2 draw with Cesar Vallejo. And since they no longer have an objective to play for, the coach has decided to give his key players an early holiday, and will take on this match with a mixed team of reserves and youth players. From U's main players, Vitti, Ruidiaz, Morel, Llontop and others didn't even make the trip. Their away form also gives them little hope (not a single win, and only 1 goal scored), so I think the points will go to the team that actually needs them. GL!

Comercio (-0.75 AH) @ 1.85, 4/10
Result: 3-2, HALF-WON

Dec 4, 2011

Danubio - Bella Vista

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Last round also in Uruguay, and here we should see a lot of emotions, as 3 teams are fighting for the title. Penarol is the current leader, but since they have already finished their matches in the Apertura, now they just have to wait and pray. Nacional don't depend on anybody but themselves, and with a win tonight they will be the champions, but Liverpool has the ability to ruin their party. That leaves only Danubio. They need to win and to hope for a Nacional-slump, so I still give them some pretty nice chances to finish this tournament on the first place. Their solid home form (undefeated) plays in their favor, and knowing that first of all they need to win in order to hope for something, they should go on the pitch at full strength and with high determination, especially since they are playing against the last placed team in the league. Even if Nacional takes an early lead, Danubio shouldn't throw their arms in surrender, as they also have the aggregate table to think about, and if they want to play an international tournament in 2012 they need to make as much points as possible. The handicap can be a bit risky, but since Danubio's win shouldn't be under question, they are fully capable of taking at least a 2-0 win. GL!

Danubio (-1.25 AH) @ 1.93, 3/10
Result: 4-1, WON

Dec 1, 2011

U de Chile - Vasco da Gama

Copa Sudamericana, Semi-final

I was on the over in the first leg too, and even though the match ended as 1-1, the bet was right, as the flow was very good, and there were a lot of missed goal-chances. So I'm going to repeat that bet. Vasco needs to attack from the start, in order to take back the away goal that U de Chile got in the first game. The Brazilians are going for this match full strength, with all their players, showing that they really want this title. And with their attack working great most of the times, I'm confident they will get at least a goal. From there, it will all be up to U de Chile to decide the game. They have been compared to Barcelona, and indeed, they're style of play is very good. Always going for goals, always looking to get the ball forward... so don't expect them to sit back and wait, despite the slight advantage they have due to their away goal. And also, Vasco's defensive line is far from being solid, so a couple of fast and well placed balls will really prove troublesome. I'm expecting a very entertaining match, and this time I think we'll see goals, as revenge for the missed chances from last weeks. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.96, 4/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Cerro Porteno - 3 de Febrero

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Huge match for both teams tonight. A couple of weeks ago, 3 de Febrero were already dead and buried, and no one gave them much chances of pulling off a miracle. But now, following a very encouraging run, they are hoping again. They took 7 points from the last possible 9 (could've made a clean sweep of 9/9, but received a late equalizer from Sol), including an emphatic 7-3 victory as visitors, at General Caballero, and a 2-1 win against powerhouse Libertad. They are playing with a new found self-belief, and I'm sure they'll fight until the last minute, especially since they need to make at least 6 points more than Luqueno (12 still available). Cerro Porteno also can't afford any wrong turns, as they are in the middle of a fierce battle for the title, and a win tonight could even see them take the lead of the championship (or at least they will keep the 2 points distance to current leaders Libertad). And for them, taking the title is the only option they have to qualify for the 2012 Libertadores. A loss here would not only destroy their chances for the title, but could also put their qualification to Sudamericana at risk. They should also receive an offensive boost, as playmaker Jonathan Fabbro is expected to play from the beginning. Both teams have been free-scoring lately, and with both of them expected to give their best, I'm counting on quite a nice match here.

over 2.75 goals @ 1.88, 3/10
Result: 3-0, HALF-WON

Nov 30, 2011

Rubio Nu - General Caballero

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Odds went up for this match, without too much explanations, thus giving us what I see as some very nice value on the home team. The lines is now -0.75, and for that we have better odds than the original -1. Both teams are still fighting for something, although objectively speaking only Rubio Nu has some real chances of achieving something. They are currently sitting in the last place that qualifies to Copa Sudamericana, and if they want to keep it, they need to win here, as Guarani is just 2 points behind them. Morale should be high after last weekend's surprise win at Nacional, and they also have a domination of Caballero, having won all 3 of their matches this year. General Caballero is trying hard to avoid relegation, but nothing seems to be going their way. They are last in the promedio standings, and from my calculations they would need to win 3 of the last 4 matches in order to remain in the division (assuming Luqueno also loses all of their matches), but with their current form (lost 4 of their last 5 games, including a shocking 3-7 loss at home to 3 de Febrero), I doubt there is much they can do. GL!

Rubio (-0.75 AH) @ 2.12, 3/10
Abandoned in 42nd minute due to crowd violence, VOID

Nov 28, 2011

Juan Aurich - Cobresol

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Juan Aurich may have secured their place in the final, but are still fighting, as they want the top spot, which will give them the small advantage of having to play the second leg of the final in Chiclayo. And they also want to remain in-form until the final, so they will use almost all of their best players tonight, and they should also be quite motivated to take the win, as Alianza has a tough away game against a relegation candidate, so the top spot is pretty much possible for Aurich. What's more, they will also receive an indirect helping hand from their opponents, as Cobresol will reportedly use reserves, and a lot of players from the second team, due to some debts and internal problems, for which the players from the main team have decided not to play tonight. Neither will the head coach be a part of the match. So against a Cobresol team that is knee-deep in problems, and with a very wak line-up, I expect a full strength Aurich to have little problems, and take an easy win. GL!

Juan Aurich (-1.25 AH) @ 1.90, 3/10
Result: 2-1, HALF-LOST

Universitario - Cesar Vallejo

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

With only 2 rounds remaining in the Peruvian league, everything is pretty much up for grabs. And who would have though that Universitario would have to play a relegation derby against Cesar Vallejo? Las Cremas lost 5 points off the pitch, which saw them fall down the table, only 3 points above the relegation zone, having to fight for their lives in the last rounds, but those problems now seem to have passed. The players signed the papers, despite not getting paid yet, and have sworn to do all they can to save the club from relegation. Universitario will field their best players, everyone is ready to go, and they will also count on the public's support to get out of this situation, as all the tickets available for this match have been sold-out. A win here would seal their presence in next year's league. Cesar Vallejo are on a relegation place, but unlike Universitario, they are there on their own merit, losing all the points on the field. They are in very poor form, especially away from home, where they have only won 2 games, in addition to a draw, and have lost the last 8 games played as visitors. Universitario has been solid at home so far, have a better squad, and there will be no questioning of their motivation, so I just can't see them failing to win tonight. GL!

Universitario (-1 AH) @ 1.89, 4/10
Result: 2-2, LOST

Nov 24, 2011

Vasco da Gama - U de Chile

Copa Sudamericana, Semi-finals

Probably the best, and the most offensive teams in the competition will face each other in Brazil, in what promises to be a cracking match. Vasco's coach Borges used reserve teams in the first legs so far, but those matches were played away from home. Not this time though, and Borges will send a full strength team, in order to try and clinch the qualification, so maybe he could rest a few players in the second leg. Diego Souza will miss the match for the Brazilians, but they have plenty of fire-power in their team, so I doubt that his absence should be an issue. Meanwhile, U de Chile is probably playing the best football in this edition of Copa Sudamericana, and many have compared their play to Barcelona. 14 goals scored, in 8 matches looks pretty nice, and gives us hopes for a goal-fest for this match, especially if we pair those numbers with Vasco's 17 goals scored in 6 games. The Chileans have rested their key players during the weekend, so they should all be fit, and I'm counting on their usual strategy of attacking, and trying to out-score their oponents. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.94, 4/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Emelec - El Nacional

Ecuador Primera Division, Segunda Etapa

Emelec and El Nacional rarely dissapoint when it comes to overs, as they are probably the most offensive teams in the league, so I'm trying to keep up with this trend, and go for goals again. Emelec has the most goals scored at home, while El Nacional have the most goals scored away, so that sets this match up nicely, especially since both of the teams need and want the win. Emelec may have lost all chances to win the title without having to play a final, so the only objective left for them is to try and finish first in the aggregate table, thus giving them the chance to play the second leg of the final at home. Still a very tough task, as they are 6 points behind Deportivo, but I'm sure they'll do their best, and will keep playing offensive as always. Meanwhile, El Nacional needs all the points they can get, if they are to remain in the 4th place, which gives them the chance to enter the play-off for Copa Libertadores, and with Barcelona lurking close by, any point lost could be fatal. Anangono has recovered and should start today's match, and that's good news for their offense. They already said they are coming to Emelec to win the 3 points, so I'm expecting a nice and thrilling match, with - hopefully - several goals. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.80, 3/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Nov 20, 2011

Sporting Cristal - Univ San Martin

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

A lot at stake in this match, as with just 3 rounds remaining, San Martin and Cristal are playing their entire season. Both teams had a rather poor start of the season, but both of them recovered well, and now are in the race for a continental cup, with nice chances of succeeding. San Martin will seal their Copa Sudamericana ticket with a win tonight, but more importantly, they will still have some remote chances of going to Libertadores. Meanwhile, Sporting Cristal could tie Inti Gas on points with a win, for the last place that leads to Sudamericana. And besides this, they will be also able to breathe easily, securing their place in the top division for next year (they are currently only 4 points from the relegation zone, and a defeat today could complicate their situation). Both teams are in good form, scoring plenty of goals, and none of them should be happy with a draw. The main offensive players are set to start (Advincula and Alva for Cristal, Arriola and Alemanno for San Martin), so we should be in for a few goals. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 2.01, 3/10
Result: 0-3, WON

Manta - LDU Quito

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

The hectic schedule is starting all over again for LDU, following their qualification to the semi-finals of the Copa Sudamericana, as in the next 10 days they will have to play the two legs against Velez Sarsfield, taking their total to 7 matches in almost 2 weeks. So, with the focus of the team obviously going to the continental cup, as the league is pretty much over for them, coach Bauza will once again rest some of his regulars. Several players from those who played in Asuncion on Thursday will be given a rest day today, so we'll have a half-powered LDU side. The biggest hit will probably be taken by the offensive line, as Acosta and Bieler will be responsible with scoring the goals, and they both aren't in their best form. Manta will have a good shit of remaining in the first division if they take some points here, as a win will send them 8 points clear of the relegation zone. Full team is expected for them, and I expect a solid match from Manta, especially since they haven't lost any of their last 4 home games against LDU. GL!

Manta (+0.5 AH) @ 1.94, 3/10
Result: 0-0, WON

Nov 16, 2011

Ecuador - Peru

CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers

Ecuador is set as a pretty big favorite for this match, and if anyone is wondering why... well, I have no idea. They aren't impressive, they haven't improved recently, and don't let their recent good form fool you. Beating Costa Rica and Jamaica is some friendlies doesn't mean too much, especially if they play in Ecuador, while their 2-0 win over Venezuela in the qualifiers also has little meaning, since La Vinotinto used mainly a second squad for that match. The high altitude from Quito could be their only advantage, but I suppose Peru knows how to counter that threat. Besides the obvious improvement for the Peruvians (including here a fantastic Copa America campaign, where they took 3rd place), they also had close to a week to prepare this match, since they had a bye during the weekend. And most of that time was spent in Arequipa (2300 meters of altitude), in order to get the players used with the altitude, and the training reports are encouraging. 'The Fantastic Four' are expected to start this match (Guerrero, Pizarro, Farfan and Vargas), and I'm sure they'll put up a decent fight. This +1 handicap is crazy in my opinion, and gives us breathing space even in case of an unlikely home win. GL!

Peru (+1 AH) @ 1.80, 4/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Nov 10, 2011

Vasco da Gama - Universitario

Copa Sudamericana, Quarter-finals

Lost a bit of value for this bet, but I decided it's better to wait until the mast minute for the latest news. And apparently that was a good thing, as today I just found out that Vasco's coach has decided to use his best players, unlike a few days ago, when there were speculations that he'll use a reserve team again. But no, he wants both the Brasileiro and the Sudamericana, and it's expected that we'll see the same team that played against Santos in the weekend. Juninho, Diego Souza and other top players are therefore expected to start, and I'm counting on Vasco to start pressing early on, as they have a 2-goal deficit to overturn, and the extra-time surely doesn't feature in their plans, due to their packed schedule. Universitario will also use their best squad, after resting a few key players during the weekend, and although they'll probably sit back and try to defend, they can create some real havoc on the counters. Fano and Ruidiaz are very fast strikers, and they had a bit of fun with the Brazilian defense in the first leg. Surely it won't be that easy tonight, but they have good chances to score (in the previous round, Vasco won 8-3 with Aurora, with the Bolivians scoring 2 goals while being a man down), and we should be seeing at least 3 goals here. GL!

over 2.75 goals @ 1.90, 4/10
Result: 5-2, WON

Nov 7, 2011

Libertad - Guarani

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

A small bet on the underdog here. This is a big opportunity for Guarani to get back into race for the top positions, despite currently sitting 10 points behind the leaders. Libertad is in the middle of their quarter-final duties in Copa Sudamericana, and their minimum 0-1 loss in Quito leaves them with some solid chances to turn that result around. But, after a great effort and great determination from the players in the high altitude from Ecuador, plus the road there and back, they may have emptied their gas tanks, that is why the coach will field an alternative team. It is not yet certain how many regulars will be rested, but don't expect much from those that will play, as fatigue will surely leave a mark on them. For Guarani this should be a wake-up call, as they have been performing below expectations recently, so a match against Libertad should give them the determination to gain some credibility. The handicap line is nice, also covers us in case of a draw, so it should be worth a few units. GL!

Guarani (+0.25 AH) @ 2.02, 3/10
Result: 3-2, LOST

Juan Aurich - Cienciano

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Juan Aurich has a great chance to secure their place in the league's final, as a win here would at least keep the difference (if Huancayo and Leon also win their matches) to 7 points, and it would be practically impossible to lose that advantage in the last 3 rounds. And their home form has been superb this season, being still undefeated, winning 10 of their 13 matches played in Chiclayo. Cienciano are hopeful of a Copa Sudamericana qualification, but their recent form (only won 2 of their last 10 games, one of them being against the youth team of Universitario), and their away form (2-3-8 as visitors) don't give them much hope for this clash. Even more, they will have two important missing, that are likely to provide a huge blow. First of all, veteran striker and symbol of the team, Ibarra, is injured, while coach Jurado also won't be present on the bench, due to some spinal problems. Head to head also favors Aurich, winning 4 games at home, from 6 played, so I don't see them missing this opportunity. GL!

Juan Aurich (-1.25 AH) @ 2.04, 3/10
Result: 5-0, WON

Nov 6, 2011

Sport Huancayo - Sport Boys

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Last 4 rounds in the Peruvian championship, and things are far from being settled, as we have 3 teams fighting to reach the finals, 4 teams for the last Libertadores spot, and another 4 teams hoping for a Sudamericana place. First up, we have Sport Huancayo, who could theoretically still take the 2nd place. But on a more realistic note, their objective right now is to reach the 3rd place, that will take them straight to the Copa Libertadores, from which they are 1 point behind. So winning their next match is a must, if they want to keep fighting all the way to the wire. No injuries or suspensions for them, so their best line-up is expected, including their in-form offensive players: Avila and Sotil. Sport Boys can pretty much relax for the remaining rounds. They are 6 points ahead of the relegation zone, and it is highly unlikely that Alianza Atletico will win all their 3 matches in order to put pressure on them. So, being 99% safe, and with slim chances to reach Copa Sudamericana, despite being just 4 points behind the last qualifier spot, they are playing for nothing here. With a not so great away record, and with a high altitude in Huancayo, Boys shouldn't pose many problems here. GL!

Huancayo (-1 AH) @ 1.75, 4/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Cerro Porteno - Nacional

Paraguay Primera Division

Nacional will have some squad problems for this derby. 18 players have traveled to Iran on Monday, and around 11-12 of them are from the first squad. They had a contract signed for a mini-tour in Iran, and the Federation refused to postpone this match, so they'll have to take on Cerro Porteno with what they have. Of course, some of their most used players have been left in Paraguay, but at least 5 changes are expected, compared to their usual line-up. And things could get even worse in case of an injury, or in the second half, because almost all the players from the bench are youngsters. And even their form is shaky, having lost their last 2 matches, against General Caballero and Sol de America (two of the lower teams of the league), thus giving Cerro Porteno a chance to tie them for the top league position. El Ciclon comes in good form, 2 consecutive victories, and undefeated for almost a month. Also, they are playing very nice football, scoring 14 goals in the last 5 games. For tonight, a solid line-up is expected, with their offensive weapons ready to go: dos Santos, Bareiro and Nanni (who comes from a suspension), and I expect them to be too much for a decimated Nacional. GL!

Cerro Porteno (-0.25 AH) @ 1.97, 5/10
Result: 1-3, LOST

Nov 5, 2011

Universitario - Inti Gas

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

All the talk about Universitario's financial crisis, administrative problems, their participation in Copa Sudamericana, and the fact that they will use a mixed squad for his match, gave us very sweet odds on them. But, let's take them one at a time. The financial crisis is real, but this week they received some money, and managed to pay a part of the debts towards the players. Not much, but enough to convince them to sign the Syndicate's papers, so now they play the points on the field (unlike their previous 2 matches, where they lost the points even before playing the match). Their Copa Sudamericana campaign could be a problem here, as indeed they will rest some key players, but it is not yet certain how many. But since they are really starting to be threatened by relegation (only 4 points in front of the 'red zone'), and encouraged by the fact that the players also agreed to sign those papers so they can avoid relegation, I'm expecting a pretty decent line-up, that won't be a sure victim. Especially since Inti Gas have lost 8 of their 13 away games, and have the worst defense as visitors, receiving 34 goals. The referee could also have an impact here, as I doubt it will be in anyone's interest to see Universitario relegating. GL!

Universitario (-0.5 AH) @ 2.14, 3/10
Result: 0-0, LOST

Nov 4, 2011

LDU Quito - Libertad

Copa Sudamericana, Quarter-finals

I'm going early with this bet, as odds already started to drop heavily, and will most likely continue to do so. The quarter-finals of the Copa Sudamericana presents us a few surprise teams, and one of them is Libertad Asuncion, who pulled off a great win and qualification against Sao Paulo. But now they have an even harder task, as they have odds against them. First, they have to face LDU Quito, a strong cup opponent, who is always a threat in the continental competitions, especially at home, as they have a huge advantage in the high altitude from Quito. Secondly, Libertad could also feel some heavy legs, as they played 4 matches in the last 10 days, and the coach had little chances to rotate his squad, as Libertad is also fighting for the national title. So, a run of many games, combined with the jet-lag and the effects of the altitude, don't look to good for the Paraguayans. LDU had a slightly easier schedule, and their excellent home form in the continental competitions give them the edge here. No important injuries for any of them, and I'm confident LDU will head into the second leg with an advantage. GL!

LDU (-1 AH) @ 1.89, 4/10
Result: 1-0, VOID

Nov 3, 2011

Universitario - Vasco da Gama

Copa Sudamericana, Quarter-finals

With only 6 rounds remaining in the Brasileiro championship, Vasco is still hanging on to their top spot. But after their last 0-0 draw, Corinthians tied them on points, with Botafogo also lurking close by, so obviously, the focus for everyone at the team goes to the local league. That is why they have decided to send only 3 of their regulars to play in tonight's match: goalkeeper Prass, defender Conserva and midfielder Diego Souza. All the others are left in Brazil, including star player Juninho Pernambucano, so the rest of the places on the pitch will be taken by reserves and maybe even a few youngsters. Universitario has ended it's national campaign, as it doesn't look likely they will score other points in the remaining rounds, due to some debts they have with the Players' Syndicate. All the players are well rested, as the weekend match from Cuzco was played by the reserves/youngsters, so they should be well prepared for the Brazilians. Universitario put in some good performances to knock-out Godoy Cruz in the previous round, and they should again have the edge here, against a second-string Brazilian team, that is also probably thinking more about their weekend clash with Santos. GL!

Universitario DNB @ 1.96, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Nov 2, 2011

Santa Fe - Velez

Copa Sudamericana, Quarter-finals

I'm expecting some goals here, so this line obviously seems rather low. Velez doesn't seem like the most offensive team in Argentina, and that is true, but they come into this match on a nice goal-scoring form, as they have scored at least a goal in their last 9 matches (althoough in those 9 games they scored only 11 goals), but the fact is that they are scoring. And since they took their best players to Bogota (full strenght line-up is expected), I don't expect them to go down so easily, especially since they can do a lot of damage on counter-attacks. However, I'm expecting Santa Fe to be in a commanding position for this match, helped also by the altitude, and they can score the 2 goals needed for the void all by themselves. Especially since they enjoy being giant-killers, and for that we only need to look at their previous match, when they trashed Botafogo with 4-1. They should also be well rested, as they had a full week to prepare for this match, and know that a narrow 1-0 lead probably won't be enough for the second-leg. GL!

over 2 goals @ 1.80, 3/10
Result: 1-1, VOID

Oct 31, 2011

Emelec - LDU Loja

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Great improvement for Emelec since the start of the second stage. If at the beginning they were barely getting points, had a funny defense, and everybody was criticising Carrasco's super-offensive tactics, now they have 6 victories in their last 10 matches, and are still hopeful of catching up with the leader Deportivo Quito. Not to get carried away, of course, as they are 8 points behind the leaders, and only a miracle would see them win the league title without having to play the final. However, they will take each match one at a time, trying to further improve their play. Today, an offensive trio is once again expected, with Iza, Franco and Vignieri responsible with the goals. Loja will play the remaining matches for fun, as they are safe from relegation, but also far away from any International qualifying place. So, without pressure, I expect them to make some entertaining matches. They are usually good on counter-attacks, and that should prove helpful against Emelec, a team that leaves plenty of spaces behind when attacking. In their 3 previous matches of the season, there were 12 goals scored, and average of 4 per match, so I'm going on goals here. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.84, 3/10
Result: 4-1, WON

Oct 27, 2011

El Nacional - Manta

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

El Nacional will probably the remaining matches of the season without the pressure of an objective. They have a good position in both the Segunda Etapa and the Aggregate tables, but not good enough to challenge for honors at the end of the season (10 points behind LDU in the aggregate table, so hoping to catch the Libertadores spot from them is pretty far fetched). That is why they can take on their matches with ease, and focus on the show, not on the points. And for tonight, 3 forwards are announced in the starting line-up: Kaviedes, Preciado and Anangono (team's top scorer, 3rd place in the goalscoring standings). And with El Nacional having one of the most efficient offenses in the league (22 goals scored so far, second only to Deportivo Quito), but also one of the most fragile defenses (22 conceded, 3rd worst defense), I'm counting on some goals here. Manta should also come out to play, as their league position isn't great (just 4 points above the relegation zone), and they probably know that going to El Nacional to defend a 0-0 is suicide. They haven't score a single goal as visitors yet, but this could be their chance, and I like this bet more than the handicap on El Nacional. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.73, 3/10
Result: 0-1, LOST

Oct 23, 2011

Deportivo Quito - Emelec

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Big chances that this match will berepeated once more in December, as Emelec is already qualified for the final, and Deportivo are in a solid position to qualify also. Of course, there are many rounds left, with many points in play, and Deportivo showed they aren't unbeatable (only won 1 game from the last 5), as they lost earlier in the week at LDU, 0-1. Emelec had their ups and downs this season, but lately they seem to have found some form and confidence, as they have 3 wins in a row. However, I expect them to take on this match in anticipation for the final (probably as they took on their 3 previous matches ), so I'm assuming another low-scoring game will take place. In support of this, we can look at their matches from earlier this season, as all 3 of them finished 0-0 (which is kind of a paradox, as these are the temas with the best attacks in the league). Also, from their last 10 mutual matches, only one had more than 2 goals, while 7 of them had just one goal, or none. Don't think we'll be seeing many goals this time either, so let's try an under once more in an Ecuadorian derby. GL!

under 2.25 goals @ 1.90, 3/10
Result: 2-0, HALF-WON

Sport Huancayo - Union Comercio

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Sport Huancayo is another team hopeful of taking the 3rd place, and maybe even reach Juan Aurich, for a place in the final, since they are only 6 points behind them. Last weeks win over Leon provided a massive boost for Huancayo, as they now have Leon in sight, being just 1 point behind them, but to really have chances of reaching them, they must make use of their greatest weapon: their home ground. 7 games won, from 12 played, won their last 3 home matches (including 2 high profile victories with Universitario and Leon), and are one of the most offensive teams when playing at the high altitude of Huancayo. Union Comercio look safe at the moment, 8 points ahead of the relegation zone. However, their dreadful away form should be a worry for them, as they are still without a single win as visitors, and nder this circumstances, I just don't see them snatching their first victory on such a difficult ground as the one from Huancayo. GL!

Huancayo (-1.25 AH) @ 2.13, 3/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Oct 22, 2011

Leon de Huanuco - Melgar

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

The Peruvian league is entering it's final stage, and with only 6 matches left, the big guns needto start performing if they are to achieve their objectives. Leon sufferend an important set-bac last week, when they lost 0-1 in Huancayo, but nothing is lost. Juan Aurich also lost, so the 5 points difference still remains, that's why Leon must win tonight, also to keep their grasp on the 3rd place that leads to the Libertadores play-off. Leon's home form so far this season puts them in a good position for this match, as they have won 9 of their 12 matches played in Huanuco, and while Melgar has also showed some nice performances as visitors, they shouldn't pose many problems here. They are still mathematically fighting to avoid relegation, but they seem to have a cosy advantage of 8 points, so they shouldn't worry too much. Moreover, they will play with 2 youngsters today, in order to achieve the minimum minutes for the U20 players, that the legue requires. GL!

Leon (-1 AH) @ 1.72, 4/10
Result: 1-0, VOID

Oct 18, 2011

Alianza Atletico - Universitario

Peru Primera Division

Odds dropped quite a bit, so there isn't the value that was at the hour of the odds opening, but I like this bet even at this price. Universitario also has to play in Copa Sudamericana three days later, so it really comes as a surprise that they were scheduled to play their league game on Monday. And since they decided to focus their efforts on the Copa, they will rest several key players for this match, including: defender Galliquio, midfielder Rainer Torres, or playmaker Vitti. Therefore, we'll have an even weaker Universitario team, than what we are used to normally, and even so, their away record is nothing to be proud about for a team of their caliber: without a win playing as visitors this season, and with just 1 goal scored. And I'm sure that with a mixed team, and playing on an artificial pitch, they won't have it easy now. Alianza should be giving their all tonight, as it is one of their last chances to remain in the top division next season. Currently on the last place, 3 points against Las Cremas would be like an oxygen mask for them, as they would tie Cesar Vallejo on points, and keep their hopes alive for the last 6 rounds of the season. GL!

Alianza Atletico DNB @ 1.70, 3/10
Result: 0-0, VOID

Oct 16, 2011

Sport Huancayo - Leon de Huanuco

Peru Primera Division

This will be a match played at high altitude, but also with high expectations, as for both team, this could be the match that makes or breaks their season. After a rough start, Leon de Huanuco recovered very well, and now are sitting on the 3rd place. And after Juan Aurich's defeat last night, Leon have a great chance to close the gap, and hope to play the second consecutive final, in their 2-years history in Primera. And it would be a remarcable achievement for them. So, with a win here, they would come to just 2 points behind Juan Aurich, while also pretty much securing their 3rd spot (that qualifies to Libertadores), as they will have7 points ahead of their followers. On the other hand, Huancayo is on a Sudamericana position, and would like to consolidate it, but also, with 3 points here, they would be just 1 point behind the Libertadores place that Leon is currently occupying. So, a must win for both. And these matches at altitude are usually quite entertaining, with lots of goals, because home teams are playing offensive, and with the visitors not affected by the air, they can respond accordingly. So, with Huancayo having the second best attack in the league, and Leon having the 5th one, but also with quite fragile defenses for both of them, I expect to see a nice match here, hopefully with lots of goals. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.05, 3/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Emelec - Olmedo

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

The Ecuadorian league starts again after 2 weeks of international break, so let's see if some teams managed to make some improvements during this time. Emelec were hoping to win this second stage as well, and thus to be crowned champions without the need of playing a final, but a pretty much irregular campaign destroyed their plans, as they now sit 10 points behind leaders Deportivo Quito, and with the recent form of the leaders, the idea of catching up with them is just a dream. However, the pressure on Emelec's coach is still present, and he'll need all the wins he can, if he wants to keep some chances to stay in Guayaquil in 2012 as well. And so far, their home record seems to be on his side: from the 6 matches played, Emelec remain undefeated while acting as hosts, with 4 wins, and an incredible 13 goals scored, with just 1 conceded. So no complaints there. Meanwhile, Olmedo as visitors are at the other end: they're offensive futility is even bigger when travelling, scoring only 2 goals in 6 games, while conceding 7. Carrasco said he managed to correct some of Emelec's errors during this break, and I'm only giving him credit because he is playing at home (and their home form is backing his words). So, I'm expecting a win for Emelec here, with a minimum difference giving us a void, but I expect a bigger win. GL!

Emelec (-1 AH) @ 1.86, 4/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Oct 9, 2011

Nacional Montevideo - Rentistas

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

The winning team does not change, and Gallardo appears to be an adept of this saying, as he prepared the same first 11 as in their last match, the 3-0 win over Cerrito. Even the substitutes will be the same tonight. This will be the first time this season when Gallardo will go with the same line-up, and that is normally good news, meaning that the coach is satisfied with the team's performance. With 10 points behind the leaders Penarol, the title race is as good as over for Nacional, but they still have to play and win for several reasons, mainly not to lose too much ground in the aggregate tables (which decides the qualifiers for the continental competitions) and to give Gallardo some breathing space, as he came under criticism lately. Rentistas are really a team to beat, especially if you have the quality players that Nacional has. Just 2 wins in 8 matches, and only 3 goals scored... really says a lot about the, especially about their offensive powers, and this is the main thing that took my mind off the over bet. Nacional only has 3 wins so far, but they are a very offensive team, having the second best attack in the league, with 16 goals scored. Today I expect them to score a couple of goals again, as Rentistas don't have what it takes to withhold for too long. GL!

Nacional (-1.5 AH) @ 1.84, 3/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Oct 8, 2011

Penarol - Fenix

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Well, it's a pretty rare moment to see Penarol playing at home and being priced around 1.50, so let's try to make a profit out of this. For the moment, there appears to be no squad problems for Penarol, as the few doubtful players seem to have recovered well. And with no players called-up for the national team, Penarol is expected to repeat the same line-up that played against River Plate, 2 rounds ago, in a match they won with 4-0 (River was the league leader at the time). And besides that match, Penarol has found some great form recently, being undefeated so far in the championship, with 3 consecutive wins. Fenix has been going through some ups and downs recently, as after winning 1-0 away at Defensor Sporting they failed to win any of their following 3 matches, losing at home to Cerro, 0-3, before drawing with Racing and Wanderers. Penarol's form and overall superior quality should see them through this match, as I expect another easy win for the Carboneros. GL!

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

Oct 6, 2011

Aurora - Vasco da Gama

Copa Sudamericana

This bet comes a little late, as the odds dropped pretty heavily, and most of the value is gone, but I still think it's goon enough to try it, for some lower stakes, of course. Vasco's first priority is to win the Brazilian championship, and all their focus will go in that direction. Everything else, including this Copa Sudamericana, is a secondary objective. That is why they have sent a minimal squad to Bolivia (just 15 players), with the players being mostly reserves and a couple of youngsters. The altitude should also affect them, as Brazilians and Argentinians are the teams that are most affected, since they never play at heights in the local league. Aurora seems to be in very good form, as they have 4 consecutive wins at home, 3 in the league, plus a 5-2 whooping of Nacional Asuncion (another team that has difficulties at high altitude) in the previous round of Sudamericana. Aurora also had the weekend off, so the players' fitness should be ok, and with the help provided by the altitude in Cochabamba, they shouldn't lose this game against the fringe players of Vasco. GL!

Aurora DNB @ 1.92, 3/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Oct 2, 2011

Rentistas - Penarol

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Penarol comes after a week full of happiness, as they celebrated 120 years of existence, but all of that could be useless unless they deliver a solid performance tonight, to end a grandiose week in their existence. Recently, they have shown that regardless of who the coach is, the team is working just as well. They are undefeated in this championship, and the transition from Aguirre to Gregorio Perez only cost the team a draw, followed by 2 consecutive wins, against former front runners of the league: Danubio and River. Rentistas have only won 2 matches so far, and for tonight, even though they are considered to be the home team, the match will be played on Estadio Centenario (Penarol's home ground), so that advantage fades away. They usually keep the scoreline low, but they played mostly against mid-low teams, the only real tests being the matches against Defensor and Danubio, both lost 0-1. However, Penarol should be better than that, and I expect several goals, to end their festive week in high fashion. GL!

Penarol (-1.5 AH) @ 2.05, 3/10
Result: 0-3, WON

Deportivo Quito - LDU Quito

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Big derby tonight in Quito, and I'm going to again follow the trend of the low scoring Clasicos. As I've said many times before, it is a custom in Ecuador that 95% of the derbies end with very few goals, and usually with draws. And the clash between the two powerhouses from Quito is no different. In their last 10 direct meeting, only one of them had more than two goals (6 of them actually had only one or none), and 5 of those 10 games ended in draws. So it's pretty clear that neither team wants to lose, and that is slightly more important than trying to win. Deportivo Quito is the undefeated leader of this second stage, so a draw would suit them perfectly, as they are 4 points ahead of Barcelona, with 2 games in hand, both of them with LDU (and 2 draws in those matches would see them 6 points clear, which should be ok for them). From the 10 games played so far, Deportivo has only conceded in one of them, the 2-2 draw with Imbabura, otherwise they have kept a clean sheet in every other match. LDU had a lot of ups and downs, and are pretty far away from the top position, but they are still in the race for Copa Sudamericana, and that could save the year for them. Deportivo is well rested, as they had 2 weeks off, while LDU played a mid-week match in Sudamericana, but both teams are expected to use their best squad tonight. I'm going with history here, and putting my money on the under, but a draw could also be tried. GL!

under 2.25 goals @ 1.72, 3/10
Result: 1-1, HALF-WON

Emelec - Independiente

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

The Ecuadorian league is entering it's last quarter, so now it's really time to make or break.And Emelec isn't going very well at the moment, so they need to find some form before season's final. The last couple of weeks have give Carrasco one slap in the face after another. In addition to being knocked-out from the Copa Sudamericana by Olimpia Asuncion (match in which the fans asked the coach to leave), they followed that disapointment with a huge, shamefull result, as Independiente pulverized them with an unbelivable 5-0. But since the format of this league is mirror-like, Emelec now has the chance to take it's vengeance on Independiente, after only one week. All the players look focused, and everybody at the club is vowing to avenge last week's humiliation. And this is also probably Carrasco's last chance to remain at the helm of the club, as after the fans, the directors also seem to be losing confidence in him. 3 defenders will be left out of the squad, by technical decision: Quinonez, Quiroz and Edison Mendez. Meanwhile, Independiente will have to do without central defender Ayovi (suspended), while the other central defender, Mustafa, is doubtful. Before last week, Independiente has never won with Emelec, and I seriously doubt that will happen again soon. Emelec will be out looking for blood, and since their home form is very good (3-2-0, goal difference of 11-1), I'm quite confident they'll wash the shame with a solid performance. GL!

Emelec (-0.75 AH) @ 1.86, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Sep 29, 2011

Isidro Metapan - Colorado Rapids

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Terrible run of form for the Rapids, as they have a dreadful series of 8 consecutive matches without a win in all competitions, and are now in danger to miss the play-offs in the MLS. Since in the Champions league they already have very slim chances of progressing, they have chosen to focus all their energies on the domestic league. And that translates into the fact that a lot of their regular first-team players have been left behind in the USA, with only a few of them and a bunch of reserves/youngsters making the trip to El Salvador. So it pretty much looks like the Colorado Rapids are throwing in the towel for the Champions League season. Isidro Metapan are not a great name in the Central America area, but they are a solid home team, proof of that being their excellent 2-0 win over Santos Laguna. 3 points in this match will take them to a total of 9 points, which should 99% percent be enough to clinch the qualification, so expect a determined performance from them, especially since the opponent is one they should be beating comfortably. Odds moved a bit, but there is still a lot of value in this bet. GL!

Metapan (-0.25 AH) @ 1.97, 4/10
Result: 1-3, LOST

Sep 28, 2011

Monterrey - Herediano

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Despite a relatively easy group, this should be a capital match for Monterrey. After their 2 losses (the shock 0-1 home loss with the Sounders, and the 0-1 loss at Comunicaciones), the Mexicans are left to sweat in these last 2 rounds of the group stage. Even with a win tonight, if Comunicaciones to the expected and also beat Seattle, everything will go down to the wire in the last round. But untill then, one thing is certain for Monterrey: they must win tonight. And if we look at the first leg match, this shouldn't be a problem at all. They won 5-0 in Costa Rica, despite using a pretty much second team, with only a few regulars on the field. For tonight, the expected line-up looks much better, as Humberto Suazo and Aldo de Nigris expected to command the Mexican attack, with Neri Cardozo also expected to start from the first minute. Other than them, Monterreu won't be using their best squad, they never do, but we'll see quite a few regulars on the pitch. Herediano is pretty much out of the competition, although still with mathematical chances following their last week surprise win in Seattle. However, the quality difference is huge in Monterrey's favor, they've already beaten Herediano 5-0 with a mixed squad, and are forced to record 3 points tonight. So I expect them to take the match serious, and win by at least a couple of goals. GL!

Monterrey (-1.75 AH) @ 1.82, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Sep 26, 2011

Nacional - Olimpia

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Both teams are coming after mid-week Copa Sudamericana matches, but with opposed feelings. Olimpia managed a win in Ecuador, 2-1 with Emelec, passing through to the next round, while Nacional are out after being trashed by Aurora in the heights of Bolivia. So morale should be different for these teams, but Nacional should still have a small advantage here, as they can now fully focus on the domestic tournament. With Olimpia, things are a bit more complicated, as they have to take on this match between 2 Sudamericana matches (will play the first leg of the quarter-finals next week), and coach Pelusso has already announced he will be making some changes for this derby, in order to keep his players fresh. No official line-up has yet been announced, but it is expected that at least 5 regulars will be out, leaving Olimpia with a much weakened team. So they shouldn't be set as favorites here, definitely. Nacional is a strong team, current champions, and with Sudamericana out of the way, they can now focus on defending their title, and I'm quite confident they won't lose tonight. GL!

Nacional DNB @ 1.95, 3/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Sep 25, 2011

Bella Vista - Nacional

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Well, once again I'm going for the over in one of Nacional's matches. They have shown very good attacking skills this season, especially last round, when they trashed Cerro Largo 4-0. Even in the Copa Sudamericana defeat to U de Chile, they managed to get to the opponents are quite often, including missing a couple of clear-cut chances. And since that match was played only for 48 minutes, the players shouldn't be too tired, and that is one of the reasons why Gallardo will most likely repeat the same line-up that played against Cerro Largo and U de Chile, meaning the same formation with 3 attackers: Viudez, Boghossian and Porto, with Recoba also expected to enter in the second half. On the other side, we'll have a Bella Vista team that didn't manage to get a single point so far, losing all of their 6 matches, and having the worst defense in the league. Should be an easy prey for Nacional's best attack of the league. Gallardo's team has to bounce back from their Sudamericana elimination, in order to ease the pressure on the coach, and Bella Vista looks like the right team to do that. This should go as an easy win for Nacional, but since I hate backing the away team with a -1 handicap, I'll choose the over, because Nacional's defense is never to be trusted. GL!

over 2.75 @ 2.04, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Universitario - Alianza Lima

Peru Primera Division

Another episode of El Superclasico of Peru, as Universitario and Alianza are trying to win the only match that really matters for their fans. The pressure is surely on La 'U', as they need to win this match for several reasons: first of all, simply because it's the biggest derby, but also because they need the points to keep hoping of a Libertadores position at the end of the season (they are currently 4 points behind the 3rd placed Leon). Alianza can take it a bit more relaxed, as they are the leaders, and have a very nice advantage in front of the tables, and for them to miss the league final would be close to impossible. But everyone will put their problems aside, and we'll probably have a very disputed match, as we always have. In the last 10 Superclasicos, only 3 of them had at least 3 goals, showing that both these teams would prefer not to lose this match, rather than win it (4 of the last 10 ended in draws). So I expect another close affair, likely with very few goals, especially since Alianza made 6 unders in their last 10 matches, while Universitario has 8 under in the last 10. Moreover, Universitario is also missing 2 of their forwards, Johan Fano and Pedro Garcia, so I seriously doubt this will be a goal-fest. My call would be on a 0-0. GL!

under 2 goals @ 1.87, 3/10
Result: 2-1, LOST

Sep 23, 2011

Motagua - Monarcas Morelia

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Very interesting situation in Group A, where the 3 big teams are all tied with 6 points, so a wrong step against lowly Motagua could prove to be a disaster for any of them. And Monarcas should know that well enough, so 3 points are a must here, since they will have a very tough game in LA, with their last match at home against Alajuelense, which isn't supposed to be a walk in the park either. Motagua are as good as knocked-out for this competition, with 0 points at the half-way stage, so they should turn their focus on the national league, where they aren't doing very well either, sitting on the last place, with just 4 points after 6 games. No word about Morelia's line-up for this match, nor the squad that will be travelling to Honduras, but I'm expecting the usual mixed squad for them, maybe a little stronger than usual, as they simply can't afford another wrong turn. Anyway, with Motagua's form in the Champions League, losing all 3 matches by at least 2 goals difference, I'm quite confident that even a second-string Monarcas team should be able to do the job. GL!

Monarcas (-0.5 AH) @ 1.86, 4/10
Result: 0-2, WON

Sep 22, 2011

Nacional Montevideo - U de Chile

Copa Sudamericana

Last week, for the first leg, I have decided to skip the over in favor of the home win, and it turned out to be a very good idea, but this time I fancy the over and I'm not passing on it again. Nacional showed a lot of improvements in the last round, and their new system with 3 forwards looked great. It's true, they did play against Cerro Largo, one of the weaker teams from the Uruguayan league, but that shouldn't minimize Nacional's merits. And Gallardo will repeat the same tactics tonight, since he needs a victory of at least 1-0 to force the tie in extra-time. The first result is dangerous for the Chileans, and U de Chile knows that very well, so I don't expect them to sit back and hope to keep the 0-0. It's not their style anyway, so I expect them to push forward, with caution of course, and get the goal that could kill the match. And they are also very dangerous on the counter attacks, and Nacional is still not impressive defensive-wise. They haven't conceded last match, but Cerro Largo put them little to none problems, which shouldn't be the case with U de Chile who have extended their winning run to 7 matches in all competitions, and to 9 in their league. I'm expecting goals here. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.97, 3/10
Result: 0-2, CANCELLED 
The match was stopped in the 52nd minute, after one of the linesman got hit by a paper roll thrown from the stands.

Sep 21, 2011

Emelec - Olimpia

Copa Sudamericana

The match from the first leg was one of the better ones I've seen lately, and it really kept me up. Fast pace, fast transition from one area to another, and even though there weren't a ton of clear-cut chances, the ball always went towards the offense, and both teams looked dangerous enough. Vladimir Marin was without a doubt the man of the match, thanks to his goals that have put Olimpia as favorites for qualification. For this re-match, both teams should be coming in equal conditions. Both have had a good rest, since their league matches were postponed, and they should repeat the line-ups from last week, since there are no new injuries or suspensions. So there's no reason to believe that this affair should be a boring one. Emelec always favors the attack, always goes forward with the ball, and this should be no exception, as they need to score at least once. Meanwhile, Olimpia can be deadly on the counter attacks, but I don't think they'll just sit and wait. They also like offensive football, and have the right players to cause some damage. So I'm expecting a similar match to the one last week, hopefully with some more goals, but I doubt we'll see less than 3. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.06, 3/10
Result: 1-2, WON

Monterrey - Comunicaciones

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Monterrey are in a very unpleasant position, therefore they need to improve and make a good performance, while also keeping the 3 points at home, if they are to keep hoping in qualifying to the next stage, and to defend their Champions League crown. Only 3rd place after 3 rounds, with just one win and 2 loses, and that's making the Monterrey fans shiver. So they need to start taking things seriously, and that is why it looks like coach Vucetich will use a team close to their regular squad, with only a couple of changes. And from what I've seen in the expected line-up, Humberto Suazo and Walter Ayovi should start tonight's match, providing massive fire-power against a Guatemalan side that is traditionally poor on the road. The Mexican team pretty much has the knife to their necks, and I can't possibly see how they would fail, as all the Mexican teams provide when they have to. Comunicaciones lost to Seattle Sounders in the first match day, 1-4, and conceded 2 of those goals when they were having numerical advantage on the field, so that really says a lot about their abilities. I expect a solid and convincing performance from Monterrey, something close to what they showed in their first round win, 5-0 at Herediano. GL!

Monterrey (-1.5 AH) @ 1.86, 4/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Sep 19, 2011

Sport Huancayo - CNI

Peru Primera Division

This is another match between 2 teams with different realities and different projects. Huancayo wants to keep summing up points in hope that they'll qualify for a continental competition, while CNI needs the points in order to hope that they'll still play in the first division next year. Sport Huancayo is a very good home team, losing just 2 of the 10 home games that they played (and those defeats came from leaders Alianza Lima, and from 'away specialists' Cobresol), but otherwise they rarely have problems in keeping the points at home, especially against lower opponents. CNI are one of the worst teams in Primera, along with Alianza Atletico, and their recent form isn't encouraging at all, losing their last 5 matches. And there is little to hope for when playing as visitors, having a 1-3-6 record for their away games. Mutual matches also greatly favor Huancayo, as besides winning as visitors earlier in the year, they have also won their previous 2 home matches, with a solid goal difference: 4-0 last year, and 3-1 in 2009. I expect something similar today, as Huancayo are more than capable of covering the handicap. GL!

Huancayo (-1.25 AH) @ 1.73, 3/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Sep 18, 2011

Nacional Montevideo - Cerro Largo

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

The tough part is pretty much over for Nacional, as they played most of the good teams in the first few rounds (leader River, ex-leader Danubio and the solid Defensor Sporting), and since now they have a series of what should be some easy match, now is the moment to see where they stand. As I've said many times before, Nacional isn't reaching it's potential under the guidance of Marcelo Gallardo, but at least they have some pleasant matches to watch, thanks to a lethal offense, but also to some -at times- laughable defense. That is why after 5 rounds, they have the 3rd best attack in the league, with 9 goals scored, but also the 4th worst defense, with 8 conceded. But I think today we can expect some improvement. Recoba won't play, and I expect that to be a blow for Nacional, but Gallardo is forcing the attack, and will field 3 strikers today: Viudez (3 goals), Boghossian (3 goals) and Porta (2 goals). Cerro Largo isn't anything special (despite being better placed than Nacional), but nowadays you don't have to be a super team to score against the Tricolores. I expect Nacional to win this game, as they have proved they can play solid football against the weaker teams (beat Racing 3-2, coming back from 0-1 despite playing with a man less), and one thing should be certain: we should see some goals. GL!

over 2.75 goals @ 1.93, 4/10
Result: 4-0, WON

Union Comercio - Cienciano

Peru Primera Division

Union Comercio are coming into this match after being trashed last week by San Martin, 1-5, so they need to sort themselves out fast, if they want to avoid getting dragged into the relegation fight. Lucky for them, they are facing a troubled opponent today, so they just need to focus and take advantage of that. Comercio have a solid form when playing at home (and today they will finally return to their home city), losing just 1 and drawing 3, in 10 home games. Even against the big teams they have been performing solidly, drawing with Alianza and Aurich, before getting 2 consecutive wins. Meanwhile, Cienciano are getting deeper and deeper in problems, as they haven't won in their last 7 matches. They are known for being poor travelers (2-2-6 on the road), but lately they can't even win a home game, where the altitude usually plays a big role and helps them a lot (lost the last 3 home games). First match between them also ended with a good result for Comercio, snatching a 2-2 in the altitude of Cuzco, for which I think they will be more than ready to take the 3 points today. Cienciano will also have some injury worries, and that's why the coach hasn't confirmed the line-up yet. Good opportunity for Union Comercio to take 3 points. GL!

Union Comercio (-0.5 AH) @ 1.94, 4/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Sep 16, 2011

Olimpia - Emelec

Copa Sudamericana

This game smells like an over from a very long way. We have two teams with very solid offensive lines, and both of them are adepts of scoring one more than their opponents. Olimpia made 8 overs in their last 10 matches, and they have also conceded at least once in 8 of them. So they clearly have some defensive issues, a thing also highlighted last weekend, in their 1-3 defeat away at lowly Luqueno. Emelec also plays offensive minded football, thanks to their coach's mentality of 'all-in attack', and although they still haven't been playing at the expected level, they do try to score, and they also leave a lot of spaces behind, spaces that can be an advantage for Olimpia's good strikers and midfielders. Emelec has fewer overs than Olimpia, but that shouldn't matter too much, as most of the Ecuadorian teams are defensive minded when playing against the big teams, and they choose to bunk up in defense, a thing that Olimpia for sure won't do. So, I expect both teams to score, and I'd be very surprised if this bet doesn't go in. Odds are also very good. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.07, 4/10
Result: 2-1, WON

Sep 15, 2011

UNAM Pumas - Toronto FC

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Can't believe these awful odds available for a Pumas win... an average of 1.35 for a team that is taking this competition as a joke? The Pumas decided to tackle this Champions League with their youth team, and the players that took part in the previous 2 games have an average age of 20, at most. All of them are from their youth system, and even though they are promising players, the results are far from proving it. They lost at home to FC Dallas in the opening match, entering the history as the first Mexican team to lose at home against a MLS team. In their second match, they only drew 0-0 away at Tauro, despite playing with an extra-man for more than an hour. And for what it seems, the same youth players will see action tonight, as Pumas's dreadful form is also present in the local league, where they are without a win for 5 games, just got trashed 0-4 by Queretaro, and there's a very important match with Toluca coming up this weekend. Toronto has made it clear that their objective is to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so I'm pretty sure that we'll see a lot of regulars on the field tonight. They are well organized team, and I see them capable of withstanding the young Pumas assault, especially since their confidence should be sky high following their 4-2 weekend win at Columbus Crew, and since they know that a win here will pretty much seal their qualification. Odds on Pumas are very poor, so the value definitely lies with the Canadians. GL!

Toronto (+1.25 AH) @ 2.14, 4/10
Result: 4-0, LOST

Sep 14, 2011

U de Chile - Nacional

Copa Sudamericana

First instinct here was to go medium stake for the over, and the reasons for that (regarding Nacional) can be found in one of my numerous picks against them. However, reading some latest news made me change my mind, and go from the over to the home win (hope it won't be an idiotic decision). So, Nacional could find it's pace yet, coach Marcelo Gallardo seems to be powerless to change too much in the team, and they defense is especially poor, although they have shown some signs of improvements lately. They have conceded 8 goals in 5 matches (have the third worst defense in the league), and the only solid team that they played against was Defensor Sporting. The rest were usual mid-table teams. Now, with U de Chile, it should be a totally different story. They are the best team in Chile at the moment, and are in demonic form, having 7 consecutive victories in the league, having score 18 goals in those 7 matches, while conceding only 2. That is very impressive, and they are in one of their best moments of their history, so a qualification to the next round of Sudamericana will prolong the euphoria. Gallardo has been coming under heavy-fire after their last draw with Danubion, and he is also expected to rest one or two players tonight, taking my mind off the over. U de Chile can definitely win this, and I'm pretty confident they will. GL!

U de Chile (-0.5 AH) @ 1.78, 4/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Monarcas Morelia - LA Galaxy

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

I going to back a Mexican team against an MLS team again, as I simply can't believe that Monarcas will be the third team not to win against the Americans in this season. Now, it's clear that LA Galaxy are probably the best team in the MLS at the moment, and their league position says a lot about their quality. But, they did look a bit tired in their last match against the Rapids, and we all know that American teams find it hard to play 3 games in a week at the same level, and this will be the third one. Moreover, they will miss 2 of their key players, as Beckham didn't travel, and Juninho is suspended after last round's red card. And tonight they will play at altitude (Morelia is situated at nearly 2000 meters above sea level), and in a tough stadium. Monarcas went through a tough run, but lately they have shown a lot of improvement, having 4 consecutive matches without defeat, including a win at mighty Cruz Azul last weekend. Reports are giving a full squad for Monarcas tonight, with all their regulars set to start, and I believe they should have too much for the Galaxy, especially since they are pretty much forced to win here, otherwise they can put their qualifying chances in jeopardy. GL!

Monarcas @ 1.81, 3/10
Result: 2-1, WON

Sep 12, 2011

Aurora - La Paz

Bolivia Primera Division, Apertura

Clash in the Bolivian league, that promises to be entertaining and to have several goals. La Paz has been disastrous in the first 2 rounds, losing both matches, with a goal difference of 2-10. Their coach favors an offensive football, but that just didn't work so far (although they scored 2 goals in the first match, and also missed a penalty in the second). And their defense is obviously tragic, as the 10 goals haven't been conceded against the big guns of the championship (Bolivar, Oriente, etc). So again, today they are expected to play slightly offensive, as they have a complicated live in the relegation standing, and unless they start summing up points soon, they will surely fall. And Aurora wants to take advantage of this situation, that's why they will be forcing the goals with 3 strikers. They looked good in their only match played so far, at Mamore (won 2-0), and I'm sure they'll want to build on that. Last 2 matches between them also had several goals (Aurora won both this year, 3-0 and 3-2), so I hope they'll continue with this trend. GL!

over 3 goals @ 1.87, 3/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Sep 11, 2011

Racing Montevideo - Penarol

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Terrible odds for Penarol, so I'll try to take a bit of advantage on the home team. Penarol didn't really impress me so far this season. It's true they are undefeated so far in the season, but their only good match was the 3-0 win against Bella Vista. Otherwise, they won a Tanque team that was still finding it's pace, won with Defensor, but had to struggle for most of the match, and also made a draw away at Cerrito. The results are good, but the performance on the field... not so much. And this was all in the Aguirre era. The coach left on Monday for Qatar, and Gregorio has been reinstated as coach, after a long break. Has been a heavy week for Penarol, and I'm not sure if the players have already coped with the stress. Also, Gregorio had only 5 days to work with the team, and that doesn't seem like too much time to impose his tactical ideas. Racing have been dissapointing so far, without a single win, and also with an awful performance last round, when despite leading at Nacional and having an extra-man, they still managed to lose the match. However, they are bound to have a reaction soon, and they are traditionally a tough team at home for Penarol: 6 games were played in the last 10 years, with Penarol winning 2 (both with 1-0). In the recent history, Racing won the last 2 games, with 2-1, and I hope that can motivate the players and make a good match. GL!

Racing (+1 AH) @ 1.83, 3/10
Result: 2-2, WON

LDU Quito - Espoli

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

As everybody probably knows, I don't like these big handicaps, but I see a lot of value in this bet if we think that the opening odds were at an average of 1.72. So with odds bigger than 2 at the moment (in most bookies), there is defintely some value there. I don't really understand this movement in the odds, as the opening ones seemed to be quite fair. It's true that there were some internal issues in the past week, with the disciplinary problems of Miller and Luis Bolanos, who won't be taken into account for today's match, but other than that (and the probable absence of goalkeeper Dominguez), there are no other new squad problems for Liga. They will play with the regulars (despite a Sudamericana match next week), with Barcos and Bieler making the offensive double, so I expect to see some goals here. Espoli are playing tragically, despite their last win against Imbabura. And away from home, they are especially poor: in the last 10 away games, they have only won one and drew 2 other games, while from the 7 that they lost, 5 were by a difference of at least 2 goals. LDU also clearly won their last 2 direct meetings, and I think they can do it again. At these odds, this bet is surely a good shot. GL!

LDU (-1.5 AH) @ 2.06, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Independiente Jose Teran - Olmedo

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Again pretty much unexplainable odds, as I would have definitely set Olmedo as slight favorites here. Independiente has been finding it hard to sum up points, and they are only 1 point ahead of the relegation area. Surprisingly, they feel more comfortable when playing as visitors, as they are undefeated in the last 4 away games (including a shock 2-1 win at LDU), but when it comes to playing at home, where they have to attack and orchestrate the game, they look like a different team, losing 6 of their last 10 games. Due to a couple of absences in the team, coach Sevilla will again go with some youth players, like defender Ramirez, midfielder Rua and striker Sornoza, but they are yet to prove capable of playing at this level (Rua played a part in 8 matches so far, and failed to make an impact, in comparison to Samaniego - who he is replacing, who made 2 assists in 3 games). Olmedo is obviously the better team overall, are also seem to be in much better form, losing just 3 games in the second stage, and 2 of them were against the giants Barcelona and Deportivo Quito. Olmedo hasn't won at Independiente in the last years (played only 3 games), but they did record 2 draws. And with Independiente's current form, I see them capable again of snatching at least a point (although I think a win is quite likely). As I said, I see Olmedo as slight favorites here, so the line appears to be very good. GL!

Olmedo (+0.25 AH) @ 1.78, 3/10
Result: 3-0, LOST

Sep 10, 2011

Danubio - Nacional Montevideo

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Only 4 teams are still undefeated in Uruguay after 4 rounds, and 2 of them are facing each other in tonight's most attractive match. Danubio and Nacional are two of the league's 'greats', but so far, despite both being undefeated, they have pretty much opposed results, as Danubio won 1 and drew 3, while Nacional has it the other way around. And with Danubio acting as hosts today, I'll consider them slight favorites, even more so because Nacional's game is just not working right, and their defense is as bad as can be. And all of this despite their good win last week, 3-2 with River, despite playing for more than an hour with a man less. Coach Gallardo (who so far hasn't proved he has what it takes for this job) will make some changes in defense. Central defender Viera is suspended, which will provide another important blow for the team, but there will be changes in the lateral sections of the defense as well, in an attempt to solidify the second worst defense in the league. Danubio is traditionally strong at home, and I believe they can take advantage of Nacional's awful form. Anyway, the bookies made a mistake setting Nacional as favorites (I can't find a single argument for that), so the value is definitely on Danubio. GL!

Danubio DNB @ 1.97, 3/10
Result: 1-1, VOID

Manta - Deportivo Cuenca

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

This bet might seem as a bit of a stretch, especially if we look at Manta's recent form, but I see small value over here, and I'm going for it. Manta have indeed been in poor form, winning only 4 points in this second stage, and being without a win in the last 6 matches. But that should be history now, as last week they have signed a new coach, so I'm also counting a bit on the 'new coach effect'. Then we should look at Cuenca, whom I don't see as a much better team. They have been very unstable so far, and although they manage to snatch some good results against some of the good teams (won with LDU and Emelec), they also manage to fail miserably when they are favorites for a game (drew at Olmedo, and lost at Imbabura and LDU Loja). Manta was normally a pretty strong home team, and with coach Osma I expect some improvements in the team (especially since they can't get any worse than they were). Cuenca will miss striker Govea, who is still injured. In mutual matches, we can once again see why Manta should be considered a solid home team, as they have lost only 1 of their last 8 matches played on the Jocay stadium. I see this game as 50-50, that's why I see some small value in this bet, and I'm going to take it small. GL!

Manta DNB @ 2.02, 3/10
Result: 1-1, VOID

Sep 4, 2011

Nacional Asuncion - Independiente

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Nacional entered a slight negative run of form, as they have 3 consecutive matches without a win, and there are already some voices of discontent, for which I expect a bounce back tonight. First of all, in the league, they drew at home with Cerro Porteno and lost at Sportivo Luqueno, but they were using mixed squads for those matches, so those matches can be overlooked. But, they were resting the regulars for the Sudamericana clashes, and the low level showed against Aurora (1-1 at home) was the result that sparked those negative comments. But they still are one of the best Paraguayan teams, and with a full team expected to start tonight, I trust them to turn things around, and silence those who are criticizing them. Especially since Independiente are one of the lower teams from the league. It's true that they have only lost one of the 5 matches played in the Clausura, but they also have only won one game in their last 14 games (9 of those were draws), and their recent good form came mostly against teams of similar stature (won at Cerro Porteno, and that's a big surprise, but otherwise they recorded only draws against teams like Sol de America, Luqueno, etc... including a loss at General Caballero). And keep in mind that we also have the revenge factor, as Independiente caused Nacional's biggest loss in the Apertura, trashing them 5-1. So I expect a blood-thirsty Nacional tonight, going out to strike early in the match, and they should win this comfortably. GL!
Nacional (-0.75 AH) @ 1.80, 4/10 
Result: 2-1, HALF WON

Penarol - Defensor Sporting

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Second derby of this season in the Uruguayan first league, but the first between the teams that look like serious title contenders. Both teams started the season in style, being undefeated in the first 3 rounds, and although Penarol has a 2 points advantage, Defensor has the slight 'advantage' of having already played Nacional, the other big name of Uruguay. Penarol looked good in attack, cunning, and with deadly counter-attacks (except last match, that ended 0-0, but was played on a soaked pitch), but also their defense looked vulnerable at times, despite not conceding a goal yet, and a classy goalscorer like Risso could take advantage of that. And the defensive worries will surely get bigger today, for both teams. Penarol will miss defender Alejandro Gonzalez and defensive midfielder Nicolas Freitas. Meanwhile, Defensor continues with it's run of injured players, a run that started last tournament, and is still going on now. In the last few months, there are around 6-7 serious injuries for Defensor, and all of them in the defensive section. So, coach Repetto will have to dig even deeper to find a decent defensive line, one that it's been a long time since they showed their usual security. Zalayeta and Risso are the main offensive weapons for these 2 teams, and I'm quite sure they'll try to take as much advantage as possible from these weakened defenses. I expect some goals here. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.02, 3/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Sep 2, 2011

Spain - Chile

International Friendly Match

As usual, I try to stay away from friendly matches, especially the ones played so early, when the players barely started their season, so I'm only going for this one, as it looks quite good. Was honestly expecting odds around 1.30 for Spain, so we have some small value here (if there is such a thing in friendly matches). Don't think there is a need to talk about Spain too much, as pretty much everyone agrees they are probably the best team in the world, and have the best squad in their history. They look very solid in all areas of the field, and their possession football is efficient, and enough to drive any opposition insane. Pretty much full squad for them, as all the big names are present, but if we really want to find some absences, just Puyol and Marchena are the names that jump out. Chile's defense will also miss some players (Ponce, Cereceda), and 3 of the 6 defenders are debutants. And that's pretty much the situation in all areas... Chile has some good players, that should make a good starting line-up, but once the reserves start to hit in, they could be having some problems. Alexis Sanchez is the only dangerous name in Chile's attack, but I doubt he can do too much by himself. Spain should win this, and I'm expecting something close to 3-0, so the handicap line is worth a shot. Small stakes though, as this is just a friendly match. GL!

Spain (-1 AH) @ 1.88, 3/10
Result: 3-2, VOID

Aug 28, 2011

LDU Loja - Emelec

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Liga de Loja has recently been involved in some nice matches, where we saw several goals and some nice football. So we can have some high hopes that against Emelec, we can see both teams at their offensive best. If we look at Loja's results in this second stage of the tournament, we will probably stop at the 4-2 defeat of Cuenca, as well as on  the 6-3 away win at Independiente. Loja has been showing an appetite for goals, and with their defense being rather shaky, this usually proved great entertainment. Emelec's line-up is still unknown, but I doubt Carrasco will change from his already famos offensive formation, especially since it appears to be working so well, last round beating Espoli by 4-0. Both these teams seem to be in favor of the offensive football, so I think we can be sure that we'll see some goals. Both their previous matches ended with 5 goals, Emelec winning at home 3-2, and away with 4-1, so at least 3 today should be no problem for them.

over 2.5 goals @ 2.02, 4/10
Result: 0-2, LOST

Libertad - 3 de Febrero

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Libertad seems to be in great form, as after 4 rounds of the Clausura, they are on second place, one point behind the leaders Olimpia. And that is quite impressive, especially if we look at their tough schedule, because in the first rounds, they have already played against 3 of the main runners to the title: drew at home 1-1 with Nacional, beat Olimpia 2-1 with a late goal, and last week they trashed Guarani away from home, 3-0. Good form, and good play for Libertad, as they take on 3 de Febrero, where they will surely want another victory. Meanwhile, 3 de Febrero looks set to struggle against relegation for what's left of this season, and their recent form is nothing but to worry about, as they haven't taken a single point in these first few rounds. 3 home defeats, against Tacuary, Guarani and Rubio, along a 0-4 loss at Olimpia, so the difference in quality between them and the front-runners is more than obvious. Libertad has won 8 of the last 10 home games with 3 Febrero, including some whooping 5-0 and 8-0 results in the last couple of years, so I expect them to once again be at the top of their play, and another high scoring victory is very possible. GL!

Libertad (-1.25 AH) @ 1.90, 4/10
Result: 4-1, WON

Aug 27, 2011

CA Cerro - Nacional Montevideo

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Nacional still couldn't win a match in the league, after 2 rounds, so Gallardo will have to dig deep to turn things around. However, today might not be their day again, as they face a very strong home team, with a good squad, capable of challenging for one of the high places at the end of the season. Cerro are hard to beat at home. Last year, in 15 matches played in Troccoli, they have lost only 3. And for this season, with their new and improved squad, they have won both games played, at home with Cerrito, and away at Rampla. Nacional has been looking good when attacking, but their defense is very fragile, and often allows spaces (5 goals scored and received in 2 matches). And another blow for them should be the absence of their young and talented central defender, Sebastian Coates, who left to sign with Liverpool. So a big gap in an already troubled defense. And then, we have the head-to-head, where we can see a Cerro-domination. Nacional hasn't won as visitors since 2006, with Cerro actually winning the last 3 games, with high scores (2 games ended 3-1, with the other one ending 4-1). They know how to defend their home team position, and with Nacional still without impressing, I think the points will remain on Estadio Troccoli tonight. GL!

Cerro (+0.5 AH) @ 1.72, 4/10
Result: 0-0, WON

Aug 25, 2011

Emelec - Espoli

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Going to try the over on Emelec once again. So far, Carrasco's ultra-offensive system has failed, and a lot of complaints have been heard. Emelec's directors still have faith in him, but that patience will surely start to fade away if the team doesn't work. It is well known that Carrasco is an adept of the 'all-in-attack' football, and today he'll make some changes in the team, moving from his usual 4-3-3 formation to an even more offensive 3-3-1-3. Only God knows how well will that work, points-wise, but I think we can be pretty sure we'll be seeing some goals. Espoli has one of the worst defenses in the league, and if Emelec make their charges right, they could very well suffocate their back line. And they are sure to leave some spaces behind, so Espoli can try their chances on the counter-attack. This should be an entertaining match to watch, as it's not just about the 3 points here, but also about Carrasco proving his system can be effective. A plus for Emelec should be the return to the team of Fernando Gaibor, that is expected to be the missing link between the midfield and the attack. Let's hope for a goal-fiesta. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.89, 3/10
Result: 4-0, WON