Mar 25, 2011

Oriente Petrolero - Leon de Huanuco

Copa Libertadores

I'll keep the stakes low again, as this bet comes after a last minute change of opinion. Had the 'no bet' idea since Monday, but recent news made slightly favor the guests. So, Oriente is last in the group, and with no possible chance to qualify to the next stage, as they are 7 points behind Gremio, with only 6 left in play. That means they will play this match for honor, in order not to finish the group with 0 points. But their task will be made even harder, due to some important absences. So far, regular goalkeeper Hugo Suarez and top scorer/best player Mauricio Saucedo are 100% out of this match, while there are fitness worries over striker Juan Carlos Arce, and if he won't be nurtured back to fitness in time, he would be the third very important missing of the team. Meanwhile, Leon still hopes for a qualification, although it will take a miracle for that to happen (they have to win both this and the match in Colombia, while Gremio has to fail in both matches). They have still done a decent campaign, in their first ever appearance in Copa Libertadores, but they want more. So a full team is expected tonight, and reports are giving an offensive formation, that should be able to put pressure on Oriente. The Bolivian defense is quite shaky, and they leave a lot of space when they attack. However, their offensive power isn't too good, and despite good opportunities, they fail to make them count, thing that has been seen in all their previous matches. And I can only imagine it will be twice as hard for them without Saucedo. GL!

Leon DNB @ 2.23, 3/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Mar 24, 2011

Emelec - Olmedo

Ecuador Serie A, Primera Etapa

Emelec will have to play one of it's postponed matches tonight, and they have a great chance of equalizing the leaders (provided they will all 3 matches that they haven't played), so any wrong turn they take might cause a huge set-back in their title campaign. They look as strong as ever at home, despite the lack of an advantage of altitude, and this season they have won all 3 matches played in Guayaquil, with 7 goals scored. The quality of their defeated opponents hasn't been great (LDU Loja, Imbabura and Independiente), and while Olmedo should be better than the three afore-mentioned teams, they are still miles behind Emelec. 3 players will surely miss today's match for the Electrics, with midfielder Fernando Gimenez suspended, and goalkeeper Klimowicz and midfielder David Quiroz called to the national team. Only Klimowicz's absence could be considered as important, as for the other 2 they have adequate substitutes, but I doubt Olmedo will reach Emelec's goal too often, so that should matter too much. Olmedo comes after a 4-0 trashing of Barcelona, but that match should be far from a reference point, as currently, Barcelona is awful, and anyone could beat them. Last season, Emelec won all their 4 games against Olmedo. The odds for this line are quite low, but I'm happy with the line, as a narrow victory is very possible, but Emelec has the quality to double it, and win with ease. GL!

Emelec (-0.75 AH) @ 1.73, 3/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Mar 21, 2011

Sporting Cristal - Cienciano

Peru Primera Division

Cristal priced at 2.00 at home against Cienciano? Now what's wrong with this picture. Cristal have been very irregular so far, winning-losing-drawing, without any pattern. Lost at home with Melgar, won away at Sport Boys, drew at home with Alianza, etc... pretty much no logic in their results. And Cienciano come in this match with a great morale, having won 4 of their last 5 matches. BUT, we have to be realistic: Cienciano is still the same team from last year... without too much money, without any big players (except Ibarra). They are playing better than in 2010, so they could achieve a safe position just from the home matches, but I still don't see them as a big threat when playing as visitors, as they are a typical home team, playing at high altitude as locals - and being quite strong when their game goes well, but being really poor on the road, and this has been a pattern established over the last few seasons. The only reason that may put me off this bet are the recent results between them, Cristal not being able to win any of their last 4 matches, also losing their last 2 games played in Lima, but even so, these odds are too good to be missed. They haven't been priced so high since 2007 (last year they were at 1.46), so the odds alone represent value, but I also believe they have good chances of winning this, as Cienciano is very likely just a soap bubble, ready to burst. GL!

Cristal (-0.5 AH) @ 2.07, 5/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Mar 20, 2011

Deportivo Cuenca - El Nacional

Ecuador Serie A, Primera Etapa

Going for a surprise result here. Ever since the season has started, me (and probably others) have been expecting Deportivo Cuenca to crumble into pieces. The reasons for that are the massive change that took place in the team since the end of last season until the start of the new one. Cuenca had some financial problems, and they had to give up on a lot of their more experienced (and high-paid) players, so for 2011 they started with a very young team, with little experience. But, their recent results have been confusing for everybody, as after the first 8 rounds, they are the only undefeated team in Ecuador, with 4 wins and 4 draws. Still, their only 2 matches against more serious opponents were at home, against Deportivo Quito and Barcelona, and they drew in both. I'm still expecting them to lose anytime now, and maybe today it will be a good chance for that happening. They will miss 2 regulars: defender Carlos Castro (injured) and midfielder Gregory Gonzalez (suspended). El Nacional passed over their scratchy start of the season, and found 2 consecutive wins, against Independiente and Emelec. That will surely help with the morale as they visit Cuenca. Worth mentioning is that the hosts are 1-2-0 at home, and the last 4 matches played between these teams (all of them last season) have finished 0-0. Good chances for another draw today, or perhaps it's time for Cuenca to finally lose against a team that seems to have found it's form. GL!

El Nacional (+0.5 AH) @ 2.00, 3/10
Result: 2-2, WON