Dec 14, 2011

Kashiwa - Santos

FIFA Club World Cup, Semi-final

Great value here (despite of the odds dropping quite a bit since the market opened), as these odds are way above the limit, and under my calculations, anything above 1.40 for the Brazilians is pure value. Kashiwa pulled-off a great performance in this tournament, entering it as host club, and reaching the semi-finals. They may have also had some luck, as in the play-off they faced Auckland City and in the quarters faced a 'sleeping' Monterrey (really poor match from the Mexicans, as they could have easily lost the match in regular time - Kashiwa dominated much of the match), but despite their qualification, they also showed a lot of vulnerability. Both Auckland and Monterrey had a couple of chances to score, but only their lack of class prevented them from hurting the Japanese. And if there's one thing that Santos has, that's class, a lot more than Kashiwa. Plenty of talent and experience in their squad, and if we are to name a few players, we don't need to look very far: team-captain Edu Dracena, Elano and Renteria, all of them with European experience, and, of course, young super-talents Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso. And pretty much all of Santos's squad is at least one class above the Japanese squad. We'll probably see a full strength team tomorrow on the field (nothing confirmed, but there's no reason to risk a potential final with Barcelona by sending a weak team), and with such a low handicap I think it's worth to stake a bit more. GL!

Santos (-0.75 AH) @ 2.08, 5/10
Result: 1-3, WON

Dec 11, 2011

Sportivo Luqueno - Libertad

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

The league championship from Paraguay is entering into it's last minutes in 2011, and with 2 rounds remaining, we have 3 teams fighting for the title. Libertad is in the most uncomfortable position of all the 3, as they are on 3rd place, 2 points behind leaders Olimpia, and 1 point behind Cerro Porteno. They were the leaders until last week, but the 0-1 defeat against Cerro diminished their chances. Anyway, they have all to fight for, as the diference is small, and Olimpia has a slightly more difficult schedule then them. And this should be their main focus, as if Cerro wins the title, Libertad enters Copa Libertadores only if they finish better than Olimpia in the aggregate standings (currently 5 points behind). Luqueno is in a deep crysis, having not won a single match from the last 11 they played. Even so, they are pretty much saved from relegation, and the only way they could drop would be for General Caballero to win both their remaining matches, or for 3 Febrero to do the same in order to force a play-out. But since that is pretty much science-fiction, Luqueno comes into this match without high hopes and expectations, and they should be thrown aside easily by Libertad. GL!

Libertad (-1 AH) @ 1.94, 3/10
Result: 0-0, LOST

Kashiwa - Monterrey

FIFA Club World Cup

Two mainly over-ish teams will meet today, so I'm honestly a bit surprised to see such a low line (was expecting something like 2.75). Monterrey, like all mexican teams, plays technical and offensive football, and are usually looking to score, instead of preserving the score. After their Champions League victory, they seemed to disconnect from the league, that is why there weren't any notable performances this season (only 12th place in Apertura), but they still provided some entertaining football, having the 4th best attack in the league, but also the 7th worst defense. Kashiwa plays pretty much the same style, although in their first match against Auckland they chose to keep the 2-0 advantage. Anyway, they had some dangerous offensive surges in the first half, but in the second half, when they decided to sit back and protect their lead, Auckland had a couple of runs that could have made some damage if the level of finishing would have been better. With Monterrey's class being far above Auckland's, I'm expecting them to take their chances, and I believe we should see a nice and exciting match. GL!

Over 2.25 goals @ 1.90, 4/10
Result: 1-1, HALF-LOST