Mar 12, 2011

Nacional Asuncion - Sportivo Luqueno

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

Can't say there is a lot of value in this bet, but I think that the chances of it being a losing bet are minimal. Nacional recovered well from their difficult first 2 matches (losing at home against Olimpia and drawing at Guarani), and since then they haven't lost a single game, winning 4 and drawing away at Rubio Nu. The quality of their opponents hasn't been too high, so all the victories came as a logical thing, and so it should happen today. Sportivo Luqueno is in a deep crisis, ever since 2010, when things started to go awfully wrong for them, and now they find themselves deep in the relegation battle. And with things not likely to lighten up, their only chance right now is that their relegation-rivals (Independiente, Caballero, Sol and 3 de Febrero) perform worse than them. Luqueno proved to be a tough nut to crack at their stadium, surprisingly being undefeated, but they have only won once in 4 matches, and they haven't played against any of the power-teams (only played against Rubio, 3 Febrero, Independiente and Sol). Meanwhile, as visitors they have lost all 4 games, and worth mentioning are the 0-5 trashing at Olimpia and the 2-3 loss against Tacuary. And if a defensive minded team like Tacuary can put 3 in your goal, you really need to start worrying. Class, form, organization, etc... everything points towards a Nacional win (also the head-2-head, where Nacional won the last 4 games played in Asuncion, scoring 9, and not conceding a single goal). And the worst case scenario that I can think of would be a narrow win, but I'm confident Nacional will win with something around a 3-0 score. GL!

Nacional (-1 AH) @ 1.72, 5/10
Result: 0-0, LOST

Mar 10, 2011

Oriente Petrolero - Junior Barranquilla

Copa Libertadores

I was surprised when I saw the odds for this match. First thought was to skip the entire round of Copa Libertadores, but now I can't help it not to bet on this match. Besides the opposed results that Oriente and Junior have recorded, they have also showed different styles of play, and determination. First of all, Junior have 6 points from 2  matches, winning in Huanuco and beating Gremio at home, both with the same score of 2-1. Solid display of football by the Colombians, who are very close of sealing their qualification to the next round. Meanwhile, Oriente Petrolero has played against the same 2 teams, losing both matches. Despite battling hard, and even being dangerous at times, they have succumbed to a 0-3 defeat at Gremio, followed by a narrow 0-1 loss in Huanuco. There, the Peruvians made a simple match, scoring and then preserving the result. And despite again trying to be dangerous, Oriente again failed to put enough pressure on the goal, showing they can be quite poor against a well organized defense. And their form has been poor overall, also losing their last 2 league matches. No altitude advantage for them, as Santa Cruz is just around 400 meters above the sea level. And with Junior looking good and being quite solid (even in the altitude of Huanuco), I don't really see them losing in Bolivia. GL!

Junior DNB @ 1.94, 3/10
Result: 1-2, WON

Mar 9, 2011

Rubio Nu - 3 de Febrero

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

Not much of a good form for any of these teams, as both have just a win this season. However, the style of play has been much different, and so has also been the quality of the teams they had to face, and the results recorded. After their first round win, Rubio hasn't won a single match, but they have played against some of the big names of the league: Cerro Porteno, Nacional and Libertad. Also against Tacuary, which put up a lot of effort, and have recorded good results against the big teams. And in this matches, Rubio have only lost 2, managing to draw against Cerro Porteno and Nacional. So, for Rubio must be a relief to face some of the 'weaker' opposition. 3 de Febrero have also won just in the first round, followed by 6 win-less matches. And to lose away at Luqueno, draw at General Caballero and lose at home with Sol de America isn't something to be proud about. Both teams should snap out of their form sooner or later, but I'd rather see Rubio doing it sooner. To win in La Arboleda is a tough task for pretty much anybody, as Rubio are known for being a pretty strong home side. Normally, odds should be higher than 1.50-1.60 for them, so with the current odds must be worth a shot on the hosts. GL!

Rubio Nu (-0.5 AH) @ 1.84, 4/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Mar 7, 2011

Velez Sarsfield - Boca Juniors

Argentina Primera Division, Clausura

Nice to see such nice odds against Boca, especially when playing against a team like Velez. Today's hosts might be in bad shape lately, being still winless in the league after 3 rounds, in which they drew with Independiente and Argentinos Juniors, and lost at home to All Boys. Last match was played in Libertadores, and they somehow managed to squander a 3-1 lead and lose the match (they were playing with one man less since 3-1, but still, it's not easy to concede 3 goals in the last 15 minutes). That is why coach Gareca won't try anything funny tonight, won't make rotations in the team, and will throw all he's got, in order to end their bad run, and to record a high-profile win against Boca. Top scorer Santiago Silva looks to be 100% fit, and will start from the first minute, providing a huge boost for the team, and completing the offensive formation that Gareca has prepared, with Silva and Martinez up-front, supported by Ramirez and Moralez. Boca is a team that you don't know what to expect from it... very unstable and irregular. First they get trashed at home by Godoy Cruz (1-4) after showing some horrible defending, than they win 1-0 away at an in-form Racing, just to draw at home against All Boys, who are a good team, but not excelling away from home. Riquelme still not playing, due to a coach decision, and while I don't think they are poorer without him, morale will certainly be a bit lower... plus, they eliminate a danger at set pieces. I think this match will be all up to Velez. If they can recover their game and keep their heads cool, they shouldn't have a problem, and since I was expecting odds around 1.75-1.80, the current odds are too good to miss. GL!

Velez (-0.5 AH) @ 2.14, 4/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Mar 6, 2011

Olimpia Asuncion - Guarani

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

I'm trying to keep my feet on the ground when I'm thinking about Olimpia, and I know that they will lose sooner or later, and hopefully, the odds/lines on their opponents will be worth a try at that moment. But for this match, the odds on Olimpia are just screaming to be taken. 6 wins out of 6 matches, 19 goals scored, a very enthusiastic style of playing, huge pressure put on every opponent, and a 2-1 victory in El Superclasico against Cerro Porteno. Morale is sky high, and the team is working simply great. That's why I was surprised to see odds around 1.70 on them... usually, these odds would be considered crap for a Clasico (yes, against Guarani will be another Clasico), but now I wasn't expecting more than 1.50. Guarani doesn't seem right at all... 2 draws (against Nacional and Tacuary) and a narrow win against 3 de Febrero isn't much, especially if we think that Olimpia is trashing all of their opponents. Their Libertadores campaign is also going bad, with 2 defeats in 2 matches, and next week Estudiantes is coming to Paraguay, so maybe there will be a few rotations in the squad (although I doubt it). Their results just prove that it was a huge mistake to let Fabbro go, and they find it very hard to play without him. Olimpia will be with full squad, the same players that won at Cerro. And I'm expecting extra-motivation from them, as they haven't beaten Guarani since 2007, and it's unlikely they will catch their rivals in a similar moment again soon. GL!

Olimpia (-0.75 AH) @ 2.01, 4/10
Result: 4-3, HALF WON