Jan 15, 2011

Panama - Belize

Copa Centroamericana

This bet is based purely on quality difference. Panama might not be a great team, even for CONCACAF standards, but they are at least one class above Belize in terms of class. Even at club level, Panama has better performances than teams from Belize, and their player are also better. Moreover, they have a few players in this tournament that are playing abroad, in some pretty strong leagues (compared to their local leagues): defender and captain Felipe Baloy (plays in Mexico for Santos Laguna), midfielder Gabriel Gomez (plays in Cyprus), strikers Blas Perez (Club Leon from Mexico) and Luis Renteria (Universitario from Peru), plus a few other players that are active in the Colombian league. They also managed some good results in 2010, beating some higher profile teams, like Venezuela (2-1) and Peru (1-0). Belize's players belong mostly to the local league, which is among the poorest of the CONCACAF, with only a few players acting abroad, in leagues like Honduras. Their recent record isn't encouraging at all, losing 2-4 to Guatemala and 1-4 to El Salvador, in the 2009 edition of this tournament. I see a clear advantage for Panama here, and I'm expecting several goals tonight. GL!

over 3 goals @ 2.00, 3/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Jan 12, 2011

Independiente - San Lorenzo

Argentina Copa de Oro - Torneo de Verano

The first of the Summer Tournaments starts tonight, in Mar de Plata, and will see Independiente and San Lorenzo dispute the final of Copa de Oro. Even though it is just a friendly game, these matches have gained enough history to be held in high regard from most teams and their supporters, so it shouldn't be treated as just a regular preparation game. Neither of the teams will field a full force squad tonight, opting to try some less used players. Independiente will use a mixed team, but since they have won the Copa Sudamericana in 2010, they made a lot of rotations in the league. Therefore, all the players they will use tonight have already played a more or less important role in Apertura. They have played together, have some matches in their back, and I'm sure everyone will try to impress, in order to be taken into account for their Copa Libertadores campaign (which starts at the end of the month), and the Clausura. Meanwhile, San Lorenzo will also use an alternative squad, but it is reported that 6 or 7 players will be youngsters, from the lower divisions of the club. They will surely try to impress, and should be happy with the opportunity, but they shouldn't have too many chances in front of a more experienced and more solid team of Independiente. Odds are very good for the DNB, and I trust El Rojo to take this Copa de Oro. GL!

Independiente DNB @ 2.17, 4/10
Result: 2-3, LOST

Jan 10, 2011

Deportivo Saprissa - San Carlos

Costa Rica Primera Division, Verano

Saprissa needs to make a strong start in this Torneo de Verano of the first league, if they want people to forget the shameful performance from last competition. They are the best team, overall, from Costa Rica, and last competition's 11th place certainly does not give them any favors. They could have the excuse that they were also playing in the Champions League, but even so, their finishing position was the poorest in quite a while, so they'll have to impress this season. And me, personally, I consider them title favorites. Meanwhile, San Carlos pretty much has the same squad as in 2010, with which they managed to reach the final of Torneo Invierno, and the quarter-finals of Torneo Verano, after being close to relegation at the end of 2009. They opted for continuity, but this could seriously backfire on them, as they made only a few transfers. And for today's game, they have more than half the team unavailable: defenders Arriola and Mora, as well as midfielder Montoya are all suspended, while midfielder Gustavo Perez, offensive midfielder Russell and striker Kenneth Vargas. 6 players, and all of them are important pieces of San Carlos's puzzle. So, with so many absences for the visitors, as well as a traditionally poor record on the road (especially at Saprissa, where they won 1 and drew 1 in 16 matches, played over the last 10 years), plus the positive reaction that I expect from Saprissa, this should most likely go down as a clear victory for El Monstruo Morado. GL!

Deportivo Saprissa (-0.75) @ 1.73, 5/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Jan 9, 2011

Cruz Azul - Estudiantes Tecos

Football, Mexico Primera Division, Clausura

Cruz Azul are still known as the 'Almost team', as they somehow manage to drown at the end of the road (usually in a final) after a great run until then. Apertura 2008, Clausura 2008 and 2009, CONCACAF Champions League 2010... in all of these competitions, they failed in the Final. Last year, in the Apertura 2010 was the same story. They topped the league table after the regular season, and were showing great football, scoring a lot of goals and being very pleasant to watch. But the same mental breakdown happened in the play-offs, as they surprisingly lost in the quarter finals against Pumas. So they have to start all over again in this Clausura. The good thing is that they kept Meza as a coach. He really worked wonders with the team, and they improved a lot with him at the helm. So now, he can continue his work, and I'm sure that in 2011 we'll see the same impressive Cruz Azul as last year. They have also kept all of their important players, so if they beat their mental problems, this could be their year. Tecos were awful in Apertura, finishing the league second from bottom, with the most dreadful defense (36 goals conceded in 17 matches). They tried to strengthen their squad during the break, but they only focused on the midfield and offense, leaving the defense just as wide open as last year. They also have a new coach, so maybe there will be some positive effect in the squad. Wanted to take the handicap on Cruz Azul, but this being the first match of the year, Tecos might surprise a bit. Still, 2-3 goals for Cruz Azul should be a lock, and the odds for over 2.5 are good enough to be taken. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.93, 3/10
Result: 4-1, WON