Sep 16, 2011

Olimpia - Emelec

Copa Sudamericana

This game smells like an over from a very long way. We have two teams with very solid offensive lines, and both of them are adepts of scoring one more than their opponents. Olimpia made 8 overs in their last 10 matches, and they have also conceded at least once in 8 of them. So they clearly have some defensive issues, a thing also highlighted last weekend, in their 1-3 defeat away at lowly Luqueno. Emelec also plays offensive minded football, thanks to their coach's mentality of 'all-in attack', and although they still haven't been playing at the expected level, they do try to score, and they also leave a lot of spaces behind, spaces that can be an advantage for Olimpia's good strikers and midfielders. Emelec has fewer overs than Olimpia, but that shouldn't matter too much, as most of the Ecuadorian teams are defensive minded when playing against the big teams, and they choose to bunk up in defense, a thing that Olimpia for sure won't do. So, I expect both teams to score, and I'd be very surprised if this bet doesn't go in. Odds are also very good. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.07, 4/10
Result: 2-1, WON

Sep 15, 2011

UNAM Pumas - Toronto FC

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Can't believe these awful odds available for a Pumas win... an average of 1.35 for a team that is taking this competition as a joke? The Pumas decided to tackle this Champions League with their youth team, and the players that took part in the previous 2 games have an average age of 20, at most. All of them are from their youth system, and even though they are promising players, the results are far from proving it. They lost at home to FC Dallas in the opening match, entering the history as the first Mexican team to lose at home against a MLS team. In their second match, they only drew 0-0 away at Tauro, despite playing with an extra-man for more than an hour. And for what it seems, the same youth players will see action tonight, as Pumas's dreadful form is also present in the local league, where they are without a win for 5 games, just got trashed 0-4 by Queretaro, and there's a very important match with Toluca coming up this weekend. Toronto has made it clear that their objective is to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so I'm pretty sure that we'll see a lot of regulars on the field tonight. They are well organized team, and I see them capable of withstanding the young Pumas assault, especially since their confidence should be sky high following their 4-2 weekend win at Columbus Crew, and since they know that a win here will pretty much seal their qualification. Odds on Pumas are very poor, so the value definitely lies with the Canadians. GL!

Toronto (+1.25 AH) @ 2.14, 4/10
Result: 4-0, LOST

Sep 14, 2011

U de Chile - Nacional

Copa Sudamericana

First instinct here was to go medium stake for the over, and the reasons for that (regarding Nacional) can be found in one of my numerous picks against them. However, reading some latest news made me change my mind, and go from the over to the home win (hope it won't be an idiotic decision). So, Nacional could find it's pace yet, coach Marcelo Gallardo seems to be powerless to change too much in the team, and they defense is especially poor, although they have shown some signs of improvements lately. They have conceded 8 goals in 5 matches (have the third worst defense in the league), and the only solid team that they played against was Defensor Sporting. The rest were usual mid-table teams. Now, with U de Chile, it should be a totally different story. They are the best team in Chile at the moment, and are in demonic form, having 7 consecutive victories in the league, having score 18 goals in those 7 matches, while conceding only 2. That is very impressive, and they are in one of their best moments of their history, so a qualification to the next round of Sudamericana will prolong the euphoria. Gallardo has been coming under heavy-fire after their last draw with Danubion, and he is also expected to rest one or two players tonight, taking my mind off the over. U de Chile can definitely win this, and I'm pretty confident they will. GL!

U de Chile (-0.5 AH) @ 1.78, 4/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Monarcas Morelia - LA Galaxy

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

I going to back a Mexican team against an MLS team again, as I simply can't believe that Monarcas will be the third team not to win against the Americans in this season. Now, it's clear that LA Galaxy are probably the best team in the MLS at the moment, and their league position says a lot about their quality. But, they did look a bit tired in their last match against the Rapids, and we all know that American teams find it hard to play 3 games in a week at the same level, and this will be the third one. Moreover, they will miss 2 of their key players, as Beckham didn't travel, and Juninho is suspended after last round's red card. And tonight they will play at altitude (Morelia is situated at nearly 2000 meters above sea level), and in a tough stadium. Monarcas went through a tough run, but lately they have shown a lot of improvement, having 4 consecutive matches without defeat, including a win at mighty Cruz Azul last weekend. Reports are giving a full squad for Monarcas tonight, with all their regulars set to start, and I believe they should have too much for the Galaxy, especially since they are pretty much forced to win here, otherwise they can put their qualifying chances in jeopardy. GL!

Monarcas @ 1.81, 3/10
Result: 2-1, WON

Sep 12, 2011

Aurora - La Paz

Bolivia Primera Division, Apertura

Clash in the Bolivian league, that promises to be entertaining and to have several goals. La Paz has been disastrous in the first 2 rounds, losing both matches, with a goal difference of 2-10. Their coach favors an offensive football, but that just didn't work so far (although they scored 2 goals in the first match, and also missed a penalty in the second). And their defense is obviously tragic, as the 10 goals haven't been conceded against the big guns of the championship (Bolivar, Oriente, etc). So again, today they are expected to play slightly offensive, as they have a complicated live in the relegation standing, and unless they start summing up points soon, they will surely fall. And Aurora wants to take advantage of this situation, that's why they will be forcing the goals with 3 strikers. They looked good in their only match played so far, at Mamore (won 2-0), and I'm sure they'll want to build on that. Last 2 matches between them also had several goals (Aurora won both this year, 3-0 and 3-2), so I hope they'll continue with this trend. GL!

over 3 goals @ 1.87, 3/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Sep 11, 2011

Racing Montevideo - Penarol

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Terrible odds for Penarol, so I'll try to take a bit of advantage on the home team. Penarol didn't really impress me so far this season. It's true they are undefeated so far in the season, but their only good match was the 3-0 win against Bella Vista. Otherwise, they won a Tanque team that was still finding it's pace, won with Defensor, but had to struggle for most of the match, and also made a draw away at Cerrito. The results are good, but the performance on the field... not so much. And this was all in the Aguirre era. The coach left on Monday for Qatar, and Gregorio has been reinstated as coach, after a long break. Has been a heavy week for Penarol, and I'm not sure if the players have already coped with the stress. Also, Gregorio had only 5 days to work with the team, and that doesn't seem like too much time to impose his tactical ideas. Racing have been dissapointing so far, without a single win, and also with an awful performance last round, when despite leading at Nacional and having an extra-man, they still managed to lose the match. However, they are bound to have a reaction soon, and they are traditionally a tough team at home for Penarol: 6 games were played in the last 10 years, with Penarol winning 2 (both with 1-0). In the recent history, Racing won the last 2 games, with 2-1, and I hope that can motivate the players and make a good match. GL!

Racing (+1 AH) @ 1.83, 3/10
Result: 2-2, WON

LDU Quito - Espoli

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

As everybody probably knows, I don't like these big handicaps, but I see a lot of value in this bet if we think that the opening odds were at an average of 1.72. So with odds bigger than 2 at the moment (in most bookies), there is defintely some value there. I don't really understand this movement in the odds, as the opening ones seemed to be quite fair. It's true that there were some internal issues in the past week, with the disciplinary problems of Miller and Luis Bolanos, who won't be taken into account for today's match, but other than that (and the probable absence of goalkeeper Dominguez), there are no other new squad problems for Liga. They will play with the regulars (despite a Sudamericana match next week), with Barcos and Bieler making the offensive double, so I expect to see some goals here. Espoli are playing tragically, despite their last win against Imbabura. And away from home, they are especially poor: in the last 10 away games, they have only won one and drew 2 other games, while from the 7 that they lost, 5 were by a difference of at least 2 goals. LDU also clearly won their last 2 direct meetings, and I think they can do it again. At these odds, this bet is surely a good shot. GL!

LDU (-1.5 AH) @ 2.06, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Independiente Jose Teran - Olmedo

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Again pretty much unexplainable odds, as I would have definitely set Olmedo as slight favorites here. Independiente has been finding it hard to sum up points, and they are only 1 point ahead of the relegation area. Surprisingly, they feel more comfortable when playing as visitors, as they are undefeated in the last 4 away games (including a shock 2-1 win at LDU), but when it comes to playing at home, where they have to attack and orchestrate the game, they look like a different team, losing 6 of their last 10 games. Due to a couple of absences in the team, coach Sevilla will again go with some youth players, like defender Ramirez, midfielder Rua and striker Sornoza, but they are yet to prove capable of playing at this level (Rua played a part in 8 matches so far, and failed to make an impact, in comparison to Samaniego - who he is replacing, who made 2 assists in 3 games). Olmedo is obviously the better team overall, are also seem to be in much better form, losing just 3 games in the second stage, and 2 of them were against the giants Barcelona and Deportivo Quito. Olmedo hasn't won at Independiente in the last years (played only 3 games), but they did record 2 draws. And with Independiente's current form, I see them capable again of snatching at least a point (although I think a win is quite likely). As I said, I see Olmedo as slight favorites here, so the line appears to be very good. GL!

Olmedo (+0.25 AH) @ 1.78, 3/10
Result: 3-0, LOST