Apr 20, 2011

Libertad - San Luis

Copa Libertadores

There should be no debate over who is superior in class here, as Libertad has better individual players than San Luis, and also performs better as a team. But what is important here is motivation. Libertad has comfortably won the group, after a great run of results, but things are not done for them yet. With 3 more points tonight, they will have 14, and they will pretty much secure second place in the aggregate tables of the group winners, thus assuring they would play one of the weaker teams that finished as runner-ups. And just to show how serious they are, they rested some of the regulars in the league, in order to keep them fresh for this final match of the group. They might be in poor form in the league, without a win for 4 matches, but 2 of them were against Guarani and Nacional, and those matches are never easy to win, while in the other 2 there were some rotations. San Luis is in an even worse form, and they've managed to win only a single game from the last 14 they played, and despite still having chances to qualify, I don't see them capable of doing it, as they need to win in Paraguay, and also San Martin not to win. They are also missing a few important players, and if we add that to their trip from Mexico, and also the fact that they used the regulars in the weekend, I think we have a clear winner in Libertad. Small stakes though. GL!

Libertad (-0.5 AH) @ 1.92, 3/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Apr 17, 2011

Liverpool Montevideo - Penarol

Uruguay Primera Division, Clausura

A great opportunity for Penarol here, to take back the top spot of the standings, as 3 points here would see them tie Nacional on points, while also having a game in hand, so they'll be back in pole-position for the final of the championship. But, same as with Nacional yesterday, the odds for away win are a joke, and even though Penarol is obviously the better team, Liverpool can surprise (and we've seen a big upset last night, when River won 4-2 with Nacional). So I see the over as the best choice again. Liverpool is gunning for a place in a Continental Cup, but those places are quite far away from them, and only 3 points tonight would keep them with hopes. They will try to exploit any tiredness from Penarol's side, and they can be a real torture to any defense, as they have 2 very good strikers (Emiliano Alfaro and Maureen Franco), who, in a good day, can score against any opposition. Penarol might be a bit down after losing at home in Libertadores, and also losing the top spot of the group (which could produce some negative ramifications later in the tournament), but I'm sure they won't let the chance to catch Nacional slip away from their hands. Moreover, the last 7 matches played between Penarol and Liverpool ended with at least 3 goals, so I'm going to stick with this trend. GL!

over 2.75 @ 1.91, 3/10
Result: 2-4, WON

El Nacional - Deportivo Cuenca

Ecuador Serie A, Primera Etapa

This is the bet of the day in my opinion, and I will thankfully take the nice odds on El Nacional. Cuenca's bounce-back has already begun, after a great start of the season, they are now on a run of 4 matches without a win. In their defense, they did play with Emelec (twice) and LDU, but they also had the first leg with El Nacional, at home, which they managed to draw in the 94th minute, taking a pretty much undeserved point. That's why I expected El Nacional to be somehow bigger favorites today, but it's much better this way. El Nacional is in good form now, having not lost in their previous 5 games, including a winning run on their home ground of 3 matches (Independiente, Emelec and Espoli), without a single goal conceded. For Cuenca, along their drop in form, there are also other problems, as they will be missing 3 key players of the team: central defenders Castro and Ledesma are suspended, same as defensive midfielder Godoy, all of them being very important pieces of the team, that will let the team very vulnerable to El Nacional's attacks. Head-to-head is also encouraging the hosts, as they haven't lost in their last 6 matches against Cuenca (last 5 were draws though), while at home, in the last 10 years, they have only lost 3 times, from 22 matches played. GL!

El Nacional (-0.25 AH) @ 1.80, 5/10
Result: 4-2, WON

Barcelona - Olmedo

Ecuador Serie A, Primera Etapa

Time for a new Barcelona to show it's face tonight. They had an awful start of the season, but since they changed their coach 2 weeks ago, they have started to show some improvements, winning away at Independiente, and drew at home with the same team, but being equalized only after having a man sent off. Still not enough from them, but they will start gathering points soon, as that 7th place they're in doesn't do them any justice. And they should really win this match, and here are the reasons for that: first of all, as already mentioned, there has been a slight improvement with the new coach, and I believe their game will only get better. Secondly, one month ago, when Insua was still coach, Olmedo pulverized Barcelona with a shocking 4-0, so the revenge factor should be deep within the players minds. Finally, Olmedo are one of the worst travelers in the league, having just 4 points won after 6 matches, and this run includes losses against 'super' teams like Independiente and Imbabura. Odds not so great for this bet, but I can't see Barcelona losing again. GL!

Barcelona (-0.75 AH) @ 1.83, 3/10
Result: 4-0, WON

Guarani - Tacuary

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

One more bet for today, as I really like the odds on the team that won last year's Apertura, and this year isn't bad at all, sitting on 6th place, but with 2 matches to be played, where if they win, they'll jump on 3rd place, 6 points behind the leaders. Guarani were a real disappointment in Libertadores, as they finished their campaign without managing a single point, so now they have to turn to the league in order to wash some of the shame away. They're not in the best of forms, with only 1 win (against Cerro Porteno) in the last 4 matches, but none of them was easy (lost at Luqueno - undefeated at home and Guarani with rotations, drew at Libertad, and lost at league leaders Nacional). All of their 3 matches that they haven't won were away, while at home they boast a record of 4 wins out of 5 games, being still undefeated, along with Luqueno. On the other side, Tacuary's imagination is at an all-time low, as against the big teams they change absolutely nothing in their ultra-defensive tactics, defending with almost the entire team, and hoping for a good counter. And sometimes it works (against Libertad, Olimpia), while sometimes it doesn't (Nacional). Their first match of the season ended 0-0 at Tacuary, and this one won't be a walk in the park either for Guarani, but with some solid odds, it's worth a bet on them. GL!

Guarani (-0.5 AH) @ 1.99, 4/10
Result: 1-2, LOST