Mar 4, 2011

LDU Quito - Independiente

Copa Libertadores

The odds on LDU finally rose a bit, and now they look much more try-able than before. As I wrote about it last week, Independiente is reversing the strategy that saw them win last year's Copa Sudamericana. This time, he is saving his regulars for the Argentinian league, while making rotations in the squad for Libertadores. They were in a bad relegation position last week, and their last defeat against River put them even more in danger. This strategy helped worked for them with Penarol, but I doubt it will work again in Quito, at altitude, and against a team that comes after a series of good results. They come after 3 consecutive wins, and no one is thinking of losing the 3 points today, mainly because of 2 reasons: LDU lost in the first match, at Godoy, and another fail tonight will put them in a big risk of not qualifying in the next stage; then, there is the revenge factor, as Independiente knocked them out of last year's Copa Sudamericana. Then, LDU made a good match at home, putting themselves ahead 3-0, but a few good minutes from Independiente, and a few defensive mistakes saw the Argentinians turning the score, losing by a narrow 2-3, which was enough to see them in the next phase. For tonight, coach Bauza throws everything he has in the battle, and the important news is that striker Barcos is fit to start the match, as well as defender Caicedo, who recovered from an injury. They should win the match, quite easily I would say, and with the current odds is worth a try in my opinion. GL!

LDU (-1 AH) @ 1.88, 4/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Gremio Porto Alegre - Leon de Huanuco

Copa Libertadores

Joke odds on the Brazilians for this match, and at first sight I was tempted by the handicap on the Peruvians. But, I honestly don't expect Leon to score, as they have proved in all of their matches this year that they have troubles scoring. They played 8 games in 2011 (including friendlies), and they only managed to score 5 goals, never managing more than 1 in a single match, showing just how much they miss their players from 2010, especially their main attacking force, Rodas and Perea. However, defensively they seemed ok, both with reserves and with regulars, and this could also be an explanation for their lack of goals, the coach changing the style of play to a more defensive one, since they can't count on Rodas's skills up-front. And I'm expecting the same defensive approach tonight as well, as going to attack on Gremio's field is pretty much suicidal. The Brazilians are of course better, but not to be made 1.20 favorites. They had a lot of work to do with Oriente Petrolero in their first match, and the Bolivians could have entered with a 0-0 at HT, if it wasn't for a made-up penalty. They should score and win, of course, but they could have some problems in doing that. Oriente's defense was pretty lame, so they were sliced open a few times, while Leon looks much more stable. The under looks like the better choice here, because I don't see Leon scoring, and Gremio should win with a maximum of 3-0, although that's far-fetched... 1-0 or 2-0 look like the most probable scenarios. GL!

under 3.25 goals @ 1.81, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Mar 3, 2011

San Luis - Once Caldas

Copa Libertadores

Another over bet that I like. San Luis is in poor form, having not won for 5 consecutive matches, and are in poor positions both in the league and in Libertadores, although in the international Cup they are slightly worse, with 2 loses, making tonight's clash crucial for them. A loss, and they're out, so an offensive formation is expected, with Arroyo and Wilmer Aguirre (top scorer of Clausura) in the attack. San Luis can play some nice football at times, but they can also be very retarded, that's why they are alternating goal-fests with boring 0-0 matches. Once Caldas looks much better, although they also desperately need a win in Mexico, after losing they're opener at home against San Martin, and only drawing with Libertad. They are also preparing a super-offensive team, with 3 forwards: the well-known Wason Renteria (made his debut for Once last weekend, scoring 2 goals), the team/league top scorer Dayro Moreno, and the young and talented Carlos Carbonero (who also scored during the weekend). So, with both teams facing an abrupt end of the competition, and with both of them trying to secure some points that allows them to keep hoping, I think we're in for some goals again. GL!

over 2 goals @ 1.70, 4/10
Result: 1-1, VOID

Nacional Montevideo - Argentinos Juniors

Copa Libertadores

Nacional Montevideo had a bad start this year, in both competitions, as after failing to win their first two league matches, they also lost 0-2 in Mexico, for Copa Libertadores, in a match that they could have lost even 5-0, so bad was their defense. But they slowly found a bit of rhythm, and are on the end of two consecutive matches without defeat, a solid 0-0 draw in Libertadores at Fluminense, and their first win in the league on the weekend. Happy with their defensive display, coach Cararasco is again trying to put a bit more emphasis on their offense, trying to break their lack of goals. 3 forwards are expect in the formation for tonight, and an attempt to return to Carrasco's famous tiqui-tiqui, where all the balls go forward, as soon as possible. Argentinos Juniors are often one of those rare overish teams in Argentina, and at least 2 goals were scored in 9 of their last 10 matches, 5 of them actually ending with over 2.5, but the lines are always lower when Argentinian teams are involved. Their only 0-0 came against Independiente, in a classy 'snooze-fest', but the ones to blame for that are Independiente, as they play like crap, and don't let their opponents play either. Argentinos already have 5 goals score in 2 matches of Libertadores, and seem in great offensive form, particularly their two strikers, Neill and Salcedo, both scoring twice. And for tonight, coach Troglio prepared a pretty offensive 3-4-3 formation, with Neill, Salcedo and Oberman up front, and I'm confident that both teams will score in this match. The lines are low in my opinion, and we should see a nice and appealing match, with a minimum of 3 goals. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 1.97, 4/10
Result: 0-1, LOST

Feb 28, 2011

Juan Aurich - CNI

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Lower lines with higher odds, in comparison to last weekend's match. I was on Aurich -1.5 then, and only a total retardation from them made me lose the bet, as they were leading 2-0 and found themselves equalized in the closing stage of the match (conceded in '82 and '86). Lack of concentration probably, as they scored the winner eventually, in the last seconds of play. Hope they have learned something from this, and we'll see them more focused tonight, knowing that the match lasts 90 minutes, not 80. Because otherwise they played a good match, could have easily been more than 2-0, and up until those final minutes they were looking solid, and their win seemed like a lock. Meanwhile, CNI looks like a super crappy team. They were trashed at Cesar Vallejo with 0-3 in the first round, while last week they played with 2 extra men at home against Universitario, and barely managed to equalize, after an 84th minute penalty. They were unable to put pressure on a wounded Universitario, and despite their advantage in the number of players, they were second best on the pitch for long periods of time. Unless some dramatic improvements, I don't see them standing much chances in front of Aurich, and there is no reason to believe they improved in just a week. So it's all going to be up to Aurich to close the match, and I hope they won't make the same mistake again. GL!

Juan Aurich (-1.25 AH) @ 2.02, 4/10
Result: 2-2, LOST

Feb 27, 2011

El Nacional - LDU Quito

Ecuador Serie A, Primera Etapa

Finally, some odds higher than 2 for Liga de Quito away from home. Probably because of their recent narrow win against Independiente Jose Teran, but the score might be a bit unfair, as LDU could have easily won it by at least 3 goals. And today's match catches them in a good moment. First of all, a win will put them top, something that seemed a bit far-fetched a few weeks ago, when Liga was struggling and Deportivo Quito seemed unstoppable. Secondly, goalscorer Hernan Barcos is finally past his injury, and it looks like he will start the match as a regular. Also, they have managed to recover 2 of their injured defenders, and having rested them on mid-week, they should be at 100% now, and should give more stability to the defense. They probably won't be resting any regulars, so we should have a full strength LDU, eager to get the first place. El Nacional is doing quite ok so far in the league, but that's how they usually do, and it all stops when they face one of the big guns. This season happened already, losing at home with Deportivo Quito, 0-3. LDU haven't lost to them since early 2008, and as things are standing now, I don't see them losing. Probably a hard-fought win for the visitors, but a win nonetheless. GL!

LDU Quito (-0.25 AH) @ 2.12, 4/10
Result: 1-2, WON