Dec 16, 2012

Corinthians - Chelsea

FIFA Club World Cup 2012, Final

My first thoughts on this final (several weeks ago, because I was 99% sure this would be the match-up) were to skip this game. Chelsea were on a bad run of form, and I just couldn't trust them... especially after Benitez took charge. But after seeing the semi-final matches, I pretty much realized that the quality gap between the European teams and the south/central American ones is just too big. Chelsea gave Monterrey no chances, and with some extra-concentration, they could have recorded an even bigger score. Hazard was particularly impressive, as he dribbled the hearts out of Monterrey's players. Now I know there is a difference between Mexican and Brazilian teams, but if Chelsea keeps the same level of performance, they should have anything to worry about. Corinthians has a solid team, and they have Guerrero up-front, but I wasn't at all impressed with them against Al Ahly. They just seemed lazy, and they actually made the Egyptians look better than they actually are. With that performance they can't expect to take something from Chelsea, and since the odds are a bit better than I expected, I'm taking this bet. GL!

Chelsea (-0.5 AH) @ 1.78, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Al Ahly - Monterrey

FIFA Club World Cup 2012, Third-place play-off

Won't go on too much about this match, since I've already spoken about both these teams. Monterrey showed against Ulsan that they like to play possession football, with an emphasis on attacking moves, and they've done it with success. They also showed some glimpses of that against Chelsea, but the English-giants had by far more quality, so they didn't give the Mexicans any chances. Meanwhile, Al Ahly showed terrible defending skills against Hiroshima, and they have to thank the J-League team for squandering around 5-6 clear-cut chances. They did show some improvements against Corinthians, but the Brazilians didn't suffocate them with pressure either, as they were content with just winning by the margin and saving their energies for the final clash against Chelsea. In this match, the third place will be at stake, and I'm quite sure that both teams want it. Monterrey has the quality and skill advantage, and are rightfully favorites, even though I was expecting some lower odds for them (which means we have some value here). Won't be an easy task, but without some serious improvements for the Egyptians, I don't see them taking anything from this game. GL!

Monterrey (-0.25 AH) @ 1.94, 5/10
Result: 0-2, WON

Dec 15, 2012

Sportivo Carapegua - Olimpia

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Sportivo Carapegua is the team with the best chances of remaining in the league, as they depend only on themselves. Even though they are currently sitting on the last place in the league, with a win they will leapfrog both Tacuary and Independiente, as they have been playing in the first division for only one year, therefore their average can increase a lot with a win. And a win is their only chance here, as a draw or a loss will condemn them to relegate, once again without having to look at the others' results. Squad-wise, Olimpia is taking this match seriously, as they will be using pretty much their best squad, with only 2 changes. But the big question mark is their motivation. They don't have any chances to win the title, and they are looking good as the best classified non-champion team in the general standings (5 points ahead of Nacional, meaning that they can only lose the Libertadores place is Nacional or Guarani become champions - meaning that Libertad has to lose at home against Luqueno... either way, there is nothing that Olimpia can do about it). Carapegua is a poor team, there's no denying that, but they need this win badly, and recently, Olimpia has been almost just as poor. And this nice increase in odds gives us a good bet here. GL!

Carapegua (+0.25 AH) @ 2.01, 4/10
Result: 4-1, WON

Cerro Porteno - Tacuary

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

I know the odds dropped a lot for this game, but I still think it's worth a shot. Tacuary is in a very uncomfortable position here, despite being above the relegation line. The thing is that even if they win, they can still relegate is Independiente and Carapegua also win, since they'll have a better average number of points. So they really need a miracle. But if we look at Cerro Porteno, they look like they're throwing the match away. Most of the first team players have already been allowed to go on vacation, and for today's match they will use some less used reserves, and some players from the youth team. That doesn't change the fact that Tacuary is a poor team, but it does show a big lack of interest from Cerro's side. The most that Tacuary can do today is to win and wait, and they should be able to do it. Even if they relegate, at least they'll be able to do it with their heads held high (and if they lose by a minimum, we'll get half of the stake back). And the thing that convinced me to go on this bet even at these odds, is Tacuary's recent form, as they have lost just 3 of their last 10 games, and this record includes a couple of 2-2 draws as visitors at Libertad and Olimpia, plus a 2-0 win with title hopefuls Guarani. GL!

Tacuary (+0.75 AH) @ 1.70, 4/10
Result: 5-1, LOST

Dec 12, 2012

Al Ahly - Corinthians

FIFA Club World Cup 2012, Semi-final

Copa Libertadores winners, Corinthians, are entering the competition in the semi-finals, and will play against African champions Al Ahly. From what I've seen so far, the Egyptians are rather poor, especially in defense. They were completely outrun by Hiroshima, several time, as the Japanese had at least 5-6 clear scoring chances, either alone with the keeper or alone with the empty net. And they missed all of them, so only their lack of efficiency allowed Al Ahly to progress. And in addition to a terrible defense, they didn't show much in offense either (although attack was not their objective). They played on counters, and they had a lot of success doing it, scoring 2 goals from 2 chances. Against Corinthians, we should see something else. The Brazilians are much more solid at the back, so I don't think they will be so easy to beat. And in attack, they have a lot quality, with top class players like Paolo Guerrero, and a very solid and well built team. And against a team that showed so many defensive holes, I think they should score at least a couple of goals. Odds dropped a lot since the market opened, but it's still worth taking this bet. GL!

Corinthians (-1 AH) @ 1.71, 5/10
Result: 0-1, VOID

Dec 10, 2012

Guarani - Sportivo Carapegua

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Do or die game for both teams, but with totally different objectives. Guarani needs a win badly in order to keep their title dream alive. A win tonight would bring them just one point behind leaders Libertad, with just one round remaining, and I'm sure they want to take the battle all the way to the wire, since they squandered a good lead with a string of poor performances. But it looks like they snapped out of that poor run of form, with 7 points from the last available 9, and since they are still the best home team (8 wins from 10 games) I can expect them to try and capitalize on that. Meanwhile, Carapegua are haunted by relegation, and even though right now they are safe, if they lose tonight they will go to a relegation-spot (they have an average of 1.00, which will of course drop if their number of points remains the same after tonight's match). However, no matter how much they wish to win, the difference in quality should be too much for them. They've lost 6 games on the road, from 10 played (last 5 lost consecutively), and after last week's home defeat 0-4 against Tacuary, I really doubt their morale is too high. Guarani still has something to play for, and the odds are just too high here, as I was expecting something closer to 1.40-1.45. GL!

Guarani (-0.75 AH) @ 1.75, 3/10
Result: 2-1, HALF-WON

Dec 9, 2012

Ulsan - Monterrey

FIFA Club World Cup 2012, Quarter-finals

I really think we should be seeing some goals here. Both teams are usually offensive-minded and with rather shaky defenses, and this competition is usually pretty high-scoring. Let's start with Ulsan, Asian Champions League winners, with an undefeated run in the competition and with 27 goals scored in 12 matches. In the local league they have finished on 5th place, but even there, the majority of their matches ended with a minimum of 3 goals, having scored 60 games in 44 games, while also conceding 52. They might not have too many foreigners in the team, or too many star-players for that matter, but they have a solid squad, that works very well together. On the other side, we have a Monterrey side who won last seasons CONCACAF Champions League, and are on route to defend their trophy, winning all matches in their group. They do like to play offensive football, and they are usually keen on sending the ball forward. And they do have some classy players in their squad: striker Humberto Suazo (Chilean international), forward Cesar Delgado (ex-Lyon), midfielder Neri Cardozo, defender and captain Jose Maria Basanta, Ecuadorian defender Walter Ayovi and forward Aldo de Nigris. They have a lot of skilled players in their team, but it will be hard against a team as Ulsan. The winner might be tough to pick, but the goals should flow. GL!

over 2 goals @ 1.71, 5/10
Result: 1-3, WON

Dec 6, 2012

Tigre - Sao Paulo

Copa Sudamericana 2012, Final

Tigre made a great achievement to reach the final of Copa Sudamericana, but this should be as far as they get, as I don't see them getting their hands on the trophy. They did make a great campaign, so I won't be pinning their performance on luck, as they overturned negative results at home with Deportivo Quito and Cerro Porteno, before qualifying to the final with an aggregate win (0-0 at home and 1-1 away) over Millonarios. Sao Paulo should be a different class, as they can count on several top-notch players: goalkeeper legend Rogerio Ceni, wonderkid Lucas Moura, Paulo Henrique Ganso, Luis Fabiano, Jadson, Denilson, etc. So a lot of stars in the Brazilian team, and this could be seen in their overall performance this season, where they finished their league on 4th place (compared to Tigre, who are sitting on 19th place, with just 1 win and 8 draws in 17 games), and they also had slightly more difficult matches on their route to the final, facing U de Chile and U Catolica. Another disadvantage for Tigre would be that they won't be able to play this first leg on their own stadium, as it doesn't meet the CONMEBOL requirements, so they'll have to play in La Bombonera (Boca's stadium). Everything points towards an away win, and even though I was hoping the odds to be a bit higher, this bet is worth taking as it is. GL!

Sao Paulo DNB @ 1.70, 4/10
Result: 0-0, VOID

Dec 2, 2012

Deportivo Cuenca - Emelec

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

During midweek, Emelec lost all chances to qualify for the final and challenge Barcelona for the title, so today they will be resting several of their regular players, in order to keep them safe and fit for the 2nd place play-off, to be played next week.From the reports, it looks like at least 6 regulars will be out, and their places will be filled by very little used players. Cuenca went through some financial issues earlier this week, but right now everything seems to have been taken care of, so they are ready to face Emelec. And they also have something to play for today. In order to qualify for a continental competition, they will need to be among the top 5 in the aggregate standings (4th and 5th will dispute a play-off), and they can only do that by winning today, as they are 2 points behind Loja, who have a very tough match against Independiente. So they can't afford not to win this match, and since Emelec will present a much weaker team than usual, this should go well as a home win (with an insurance in case of a draw). GL!

Cuenca DNB @ 1.77, 4/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Nov 29, 2012

Deportivo Quito - Emelec

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

I would have expected some closer odds for this match, and no way I could have seen Deportivo as the favorites. Therefore, we should have some slight value here. Just one round left in the Ecuadorian Serie A (plus this match, which has been postponed), and everything looks pretty clear. Emelec needs a miracle to play the final: they need to win both games left, while Barcelona has to lose at home against an already-relegated Olmedo, so their chances are close to zero. However, all the players in the team have said that they will find up until the end, and they'll try to take any chances they have. Deportivo Quito had a horrendous campaign, winning just 5 matches and scoring 12 goals in 20 performances. They are safe from relegation now, so they don't really have any other objectives left, only to play and complete the schedule. At first, the coach said he will be using some youngsters and less-used players, but then he changed his mind as said he'll use the best players available. Lots of uncertainties there, but if the second story is true, he'll be using the same team that was trashed 1-4 by Manta last weekend. Also, they had some awful recent performances against big guns Barcelona (lost 0-2 at home) and rivals LDU Quito (lost 0-3 away), so with Emelec being the better team and still fighting for something, I don't see anything close to a home win here. GL!

Emelec DNB @ 1.90, 3/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Nov 26, 2012

Wanderers - Penarol

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

If there's one match where we can expect to see some goals in Uruguay, this must be it. Both teams have been performing admirably, with good attacking lines and offensive style of play. And of course, if that's the case, then the defenses are the ones that have to suffer. The match will be played on Estadio Centenario, so Penarol will be at home (like it's usually the case when they play), so they can just play their usual game, which went so well within the last few weeks (since October, they had just one match which ended with less than 3 goals, and it was against Nacional, ending in a 0-0 draw... all the other games have been won clearly by Penarol). Wanderers have been alternating good performances with poor ones, but they like to play against teams that don't lock up in their own halves. Morale should also be high, since they are coming from 2 consecutive victories, in which they scored 6 goals. One more thing worth mentioning is that the last 5 official games between them and Penarol have ended with a minimum of 3 goals, so this should be a minimum for today as well. GL!

over 3 goals @ 1.74, 3/10
Result: 1-2, VOID

Inti Gas - Cobresol

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

This one should be a no-brainer. Inti Gas are in a must win situation, otherwise their entire work throughout  the season would have been in vain. They currently sit on 7th place, the last one the brings with it a qualification to the Copa Sudamericana, and there is no place for missteps, as a list of 5 teams are rooting for that place. A draw won't do here, so Inti Gas has no other options than to take the three points. And normally, that shouldn't be a problem against a team in Cobresol's position. They have been relegated for quite some time, most of their players have left the team, and they are just waiting miserably for the season to end. Cobresol lost 18 of their 21 games played as visitors, conceding 52 goals, and if we add the altitude to this series of bad results, we should see a clear winner. The handicap is high, and the odds have dropped, but it's still worth taking for some medium stakes. GL!

Inti Gas (-1.5 AH) @ 1.72, 3/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Sporting Cristal - Cienciano

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

Well, I missed a tempo ever since the lines/odds have opened for this last round in Peru, but let's still try to take advantage of what we have. Sporting Cristal will play the final, and have no chance of losing the first place in the aggregate table. And as a result, they will be playing the first leg of the final next week, in Cusco. Since it will be a very tough match, as a result of the high altitude, they have already traveled to Cusco, where they will remain for an entire week, trying to get used to the air. Therefore, only the goalkeeper and two players from the first squad have remained in Lima, to face Cienciano, and they will be the only experienced players among a group of youngsters. Cienciano has no objectives left, so they will only play this match because they have to. However, they should use their main team, and if we look at the players quality-wise, they should have the advantage. The opening line was great, but the odds dropped a lot ever since. So , I'm taking this bet instead (with a fresh line), and I will definitely take them even as low as +0.5. GL!

Cienciano (+0.75 AH) @ 1.80, 4/10
Result: 3-3, WON

Nov 25, 2012

El Tanque Sisley - Liverpool

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

All right, we have almost the same situation as last week with Liverpool, but this time it gets even better. Opening odds were 1.80 for a Tanque win, in Sbobet, and now it just rocketed to 2.26... again, with no apparent good reason (just like Wanderers did last week, and just as a reminder, they won 3-2 at Liverpool, despite playing with 2 men less since 1-1). El Tanque are one hell of a solid team this season, one of the most solid teams when playing at home, and one of the 3 teams that are still undefeated on their own stadium. And if we look at the standings, they seem the ones with the most chances of challenging Penarol for the title. They might even be leaders today, if they win and Penarol loses, but that would be a long shot... so even if both of them win, El Tanque will move to second place, and will keep their chances, remaining 2 points behind the leaders. Same story with Liverpool: small squad, not too many classy players, and bad form overall, so don't expect miracles. Once again, bet worth taking because of the huge odds movements, and if you can take -0.25, just increase the stakes. GL!

El Tanque (-0.5 AH) @ 2.29, 3/10
Result: 2-2, LOST

Nov 19, 2012

Alianza Lima - Real Garcilaso

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

I see some nice value here. Real Garcilaso has already won the group, and their only objective now is to finish first in the aggregate table. But that's not very important, as the league winners only choose which leg of the final they can play at home, and where the third match will be played in case of a draw... it would be a nice advantage, but not something to die for. Besides, they are not a great team when it comes to playing away from home, and their place in the final has been assured by some perfect home performances, where they won 20 out of 21 games. Meanwhile, Alianza made the poorest season in their recent history, as they are second from bottom in their group, and only 14th in the aggregate table (out of 16 teams). So the least they can do tonight is to win their last match in front of their home fans, and their decent home form should help them with this (only lost 2 games at home). They have already beaten Garcilaso at home this season, 2-0 back in June, and an extra-motivation factor should be that today it will be Juan Jayo's last match as a professional footballer. I don't see Alianza losing this one. GL!

Alianza DNB @ 1.82, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Nov 18, 2012

Liverpool - Wanderers

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

When I saw the opening odds for this match, I never though I'd make a bet here, but the recent odds movements pull me closer. Liverpool went down from 1.98 to 1.65, and for no clear reason. They were performers last season in the league, but with most of their players gone, and with a very short squad, the 12th place that they are currently on is a fair reflection. Things haven't changed lately, except their schedule, which is now more 'breathable' since their elimination from Copa Sudamericana. They have 2 consecutive lost matches, and their only 3 victories in their last 10 games, came against newly promoted Progreso, and against bottom teams Cerro Largo and Central Espanol. Meanwhile, Wanderers aren't a great team either, but they can be a real pain most of the times. They are also coming from a bad run of form, mostly due to a lot of injuries, but today they will be able to recover some of those players. The only absences will be midfielders Santiago Martinez (9/1) and Diego de Souza (6/0). Otherwise no changes from their standard team, with Maxi Rodriguez also set to start from the first minute. Medium stakes on this bet, for which I see a lot of value (Liverpool might still be slightly better, but not worthy of those odds), and if anyone can get a +0.75, the stakes can be increased. GL!

Wanderers (+0.5 AH) @ 2.37, 3/10
Result: 2-3, WON

Nov 14, 2012

Saudi Arabia - Argentina

International Friendly

Some rest today, for the national teams, as they take on some friendly matches, probably with the objective of finishing the year with high spirits. So without anything at stake, all teams should play relaxed without any pressure. Argentina will test some players, but we still have a solid basis in the team: up-front, we'll see Aguero and Messi, so that should be enough to scare any opponents (especially since Messi started to perform with the national team). And they shouldn't be isolated there either, as on the wings we'll see Di Maria and Salvio. The defensive line might look a bit weak, but since they're playing against Saudi Arabia (who lost 0-5 against Spain, and also lost against Gabon, Libya and Irak), I wouldn't worry too much. Frank Rijkaard is their coach, so that's a plus, but it really doesn't matter who the coach is... they simply lack enough quality to be competitive on the field. Argentina looks in good shape, and will field a good team, so they shouldn't have any difficulties in putting a few goals past Saudi Arabia. GL!

Argentina (-2 AH) @ 1.89, 2/10
Result: 0-0, LOST

Nov 12, 2012

Barcelona - LDU Quito

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Odds seem to be over the top here. After all, this is a derby match, where everything could happen, regardless of the teams' position or form. Both Barcelona and Quito are gunning to win this Second Stage, and either win the league title (Barcelona), or play the league final (LDU Quito). The hosts are in good form, but they might suffer from tiredness, as they have been playing quite a lot of matches lately, trying to get back to date in the league after their Copa Sudamericana performance. This would be their 3rd match in seven days, and during midweek, against Loja, they did suffer towards the end of the match. So I expect pretty much the same thing today. Even more, they will also have to do without some important players: defender Erazo (13/0) is suspended, while defender Campos (12/0), midfielder Oyola (8/0) and forward Mina (7/5) are injured. To them, there might be 1-2 more players who could be rested, but nothing is certain at this point. LDU Quito isn't in the best form of their life, but I'm expecting some extra motivation in this derby. They have pretty much the full squad available, and can finally use both forwards: Nahuelpan and Bieler. Another plus for them should be the fact that despite a poor year, they have never lost against Barcelona, recording 3 draws (actually, Barcelona didn't win against LDU since 2009), so I expect this trend to continue, at some nice odds. GL!

LDU Quito (+0.5 AH) @ 2.14, 3/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Nov 8, 2012

El Nacional - Deportivo Quito

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Deportivo Quito is starting to get up to date with their matches, since their schedule has cleared a bit after their Copa Sudamericana elimination. And they really need to start summing up points if they don't want to fight against relegation up until the last round... and the same can be said about El Nacional, as they are tied on points with Deportivo Quito, just one point above the relegation line. So, simply put, a draw won't help any of them, that is why I expect both of them to go straight for the victory. El Nacional will have it the hardest, despite being hosts, as they have 3 important absences, all in defense, as Javier Chila (13/0), Jose Madrid (13/0) and Jhon Narvaez (7/0) are all suspended. Big blows, but it doesn't justify the recent increase of odds on them, as they are still the only undefeated team at home. Besides, Deportivo Quito did show some slight improvements recently, but they are not consistent. I'm going for over here, as El Nacional's back line should suffer with all those absences, and I expect both teams to show some attacking football, willing to go for the 3 points. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 1.94, 3/10
Result: 0-1, LOST

Nov 7, 2012

Cienciano - Sporting Cristal

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

Sporting Cristal is, without a doubt, the best Peruvian team of the year. They managed to qualify to the final of the tournament 6 rounds before the end, and now they can just take it easy, and have some 'official training matches' against the rest of the teams. And they also have the liberty to choose which matches should they play with the first team, and in which matches should they try some of the less used players. Today, it will be the second scenario. Cristal is between two weekend matches, they played with the first team last Sunday, and most of them will be rested today, especially due to the high altitude of Cusco. Besides, even with their best players on the field, they still might have suffered today, as they struggled most of the times when they played at altitude this season: they did manage to beat Melgar and Leon, but other than that, they only have draws with Huancayo and Inti Gas, while losing the other 4 games (including the one with Cienciano, 1-2). The hosts are still hoping to get to a continental tournament next year, so for sure they will give their all. And it would also be a high profile win against the best team in the country. The handicap line makes this bet a must-take. GL!

Cienciano DNB @ 1.84, 4/10
Result: 1-2, LOST

Nov 5, 2012

Sport Boys - FBC Melgar

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

The two finalists of the Peruvian Primera Division are pretty much settled, but there are still a lot to play for: qualification to an international cup is the main objective for several teams, with Melgar being one of them. They are currently sitting on a qualifying position, sitting on 5th place, but nothing has been settled there, as there are 9 teams separated by 9 points, so everything could easily change. Every point counts, especially those won away from home, so I'm expecting Melgar to go all-in, against an already relegated and demoralized Sport Boys team. A lot of nerves and low morale took over the home team, during the last couple of weeks, and without any objective left, they will only play for honor. Melgar, as I said, has everything to play for, and they should start strong, trying to take advantage of the bad atmosphere in Callao. The only thing that keeps me from betting on them is the fact that they are the worst traveling team in this group, with just 1 win and 7 draws in 19 matches. But they have greatly improved lately, with just 2 defeats in their last 10 games. The over looks good, especially due to the low line available, as I'm expecting a minimum of 2 goals. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 1.93, 3/10
Result: 1-1, HALF-LOST

Nov 4, 2012

Deportivo Quito - Deportivo Cuenca

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Deportivo Quito is yet another team involved in the relegation battle, and it would be almost inconceivable to see them in the second division. Just one point ahead of the safe line, tied on points with El Nacional, they would have to dig deep, because every point counts. They had a dreadful start of the season, but the good news is that they started to recover some form, as they are undefeated in the last 4 games, recording 3 wins meanwhile. Cuenca is also pretty much living off the points gathered in the first round, as right now they are almost as poor as Quito. The only difference is that while Quito is in recovery, Cuenca is stagnating, especially when they are visitors, holding a record of 1-1-6, with 4 goals scored and 12 conceded. Another tough match is expected, and I'm waiting for a low scoreline (as Quito is not known for being scoring-frenzy), but a home win should eventually be delivered. It's definitely worth a bet, especially since the odds went up a bit. GL!

Quito (-0.5 AH) @ 1.87, 3/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Olmedo - El Nacional

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Olmedo is as good as relegated, and only a miracle could save them now, as they are 8 points behind the safe line. And with time running out, any miracles are unlikely. Despite the fact that they say they will still fight until everything is lost, they have already started to 'clean' their squad, that's why we won't see some important figures today: Midfielders Godoy (27/1), Prieto (19/4) and Nazareno (9/1), plus defender Gamez (15/0) and forward Sergio Souza (12/6) are no longer training with the first squad. Out of them, at least 3 are considered key members of the squad. Morale is low within the team, as after a promising start of the Second Round, they went back to their dreadful form, having 6 consecutive matches without a win. El Nacional are also deeply involved in the relegation battle, and are just 1 point above the line, so a win is a must here. They've had some nice results lately, beating Barcelona and Manta, and drawing with LDU Quito. However, they are still winless on the road, so I really expect an ugly match today. But with some absences for Olmedo, and a different mood for the visitors, they should be able to take something here. GL!

El Nacional (+0.25 AH) @ 1.74, 3/10
Result: 0-0, HALF-WON

Oct 31, 2012

Nacional - Cerro PF

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Following Guarani's defeat yesterday, at home against Libertad, the championship is pretty much open once again, and for sure the challengers Nacional and Olimpia would want to take advantage of this misstep of the leaders. With a win today, Nacional will get 6 points behind Guarani, and would get their hopes back up. And they are a solid team, especially when it comes to playing some of the lower teams. As proof, in their last 10 games, they have failed to win just 4, against top class opponents: lost against Libertad, Olimpia and Guarani, and drew with Cerro Porteno. So they only failed to win against the giants of the league. Today, a full squad is expected to take the field, and they should be considered high favorites against an irregular Cerro PF. They've had some good results, like the 1-0 win against Guarani, or the 2-2 draws against Olimpia and at Cerro Porteno, but all the merits from these matches have been wasted with a home defeat against Sol de America, or a 1-2 defeat at rock-bottom Independiente. So they mix results and performances, making them a team that can't be trusted. Quality-wise, Nacional should be much better, and I think there is some value in these odds. Home win is expected. GL!

Nacional (-0.75 AH) @ 1.98, 4/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Gremio - Millonarios

Copa Sudamericana 2012, Quarter-finals

As Copa Sudamericana is entering it's latter stages, more and more teams are starting to take it more seriously, and one of these teams is Gremio. Besides striker Kleber, who is doubtful after suffering a minor injury in his last match, everybody else is ready to go, as a full strength Gremio is expected to take the field on Tuesday night. If in the last round we saw Millonarios facing another Brazilian team, Palmeiras, and they managed to qualify after a great comeback in the second leg, this time we'll have a different story. Palmeiras used a mixed team in the two legs, and were still the better team when they played in Brazil, winning 3-1. If Gremio uses their best players, it will be a lot harder for the Colombians, as Gremio also has a better squad than Palmeiras. Of course, Millonarios could strike on the counter attack, which is one of their favorite tactics when playing away from home. With both teams expected to use their best squads, and with a place in the semi-final at stake, I think this should be a nice clash to watch, and the goals should come. Gremio is of course the favorite here, but the handicap line is too big if we think that Millonarios can also score. Therefore, the over bet seems like a much better choice. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.85, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Oct 25, 2012

UANL Tigres - Alajuelense

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Last round in the group stage, and things are a bit complicated in Group 6. Current leaders Alajuelense will travel to Mexico to face Tigres, and they will need at least a draw in order to ensure qualification from this group. However, the same Tigres are their main followers, and for sure they will be going all in to ensure they get the 3 points. The Costa Ricans aren't a bad side at all (actually they are one of the strongest non-Mexican teams in the continent), but their main advantages are at home, or against the lower ranked team. They usually struggle in their visits to Mexico, and I expect the same scenario today. Tigres will probably use the best available team, since anything else than a win will send them out of the competition. The only absences will be Lucas Lobos (long time injury, 29/16), and midfielder Abraham Stringel (1/0). Everyone else is ready to go, and they should start from the first minute. The handicap line is a bit high, but I totally trust Tigres to cover it. GL!

Tigres (-1.5 AH) @ 1.90, 3/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Oct 24, 2012

Millonarios - Palmeiras

Copa Sudamericana 2012

Second leg of Copa Sudamericana eight-finals will take place this week, and there should be some very interesting matches. First stop will be in Colombia, where Millonarios will try to take revenge on Palmeiras for the 1-3 loss in the first leg. I did mention some squad problems for the Brazilians in the first leg, and pretty much nothing has changed since then. They are still deeply involved in the relegation battle, and with a lot of tired players, they will again have to rest several pairs of legs. For example, it is almost certain that striker Barcos (23/11), defender Mauricio Ramos (20/0) and midfielder Marcos Assuncao (15/2) won't take part in this match, as they didn't make the trip to Colombia. Furthermore, midfielders Joao Vitor (17/0) and Jorge Valdivia (14/0) are still injured, same as forward Maikon Leite (5/1). Others might be rested as well. Millonarios have rested their regulars on Sunday, so they should have all the players fit to play. The high altitude from Bogota (2600 meters above sea level) should also give them a big advantage, and I expect to see a much more different match from the first leg. If they play well, Millonarios might even qualify to the next round, but it will be tough... however, a home win should come in much easier. Small stakes, because odds already dropped a lot. GL!

Millonarios (-0.5 AH) @ 1.73, 4/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Oct 22, 2012

Barcelona - Deportivo Cuenca

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

A lot of important absences for Barcelona for this match,as they have really hit a bad run when it come to available players. Here's the list: defenders Jairo Campos (12/0), Oyola (8/0), Fricson Erazo (11/0) and Revoredo (2/1) are all injured (that makes 2 key defender, and their two main replacements). Besides this, midfielders Michael Quinonez (4/0), Carlos Gruezo (9/0) and Luis Caicedo (6/2) are all suspended, that's why coach Costas would pretty much have to rethink his entire team. And this catches them in quite a poor moment. Despite the international break, Barcelona have only won 2 games in the last 6 (one of them has been away at Cuenca,won 2-1, but I think today's match will be much different). Cuenca is a bit on the rise, as they won 2 out of their last 3 games, and have pretty much their full squad available. They still don't have a coach, as Pablo Bravo will still be interim, but with this line available, I don't see how we can lose. It will be a very difficult match for both teams, but I personally expect a low scoring match, with a void in the worst case scenario. GL!

Cuenca (+1 AH) @ 1.81, 4/10
Result: 4-1, LOST

Oct 20, 2012

Nacional - Liverpool

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

My 'favorite' team, Liverpool Montevideo, are playing as visitors in Parque Central, against Nacional, and this is another good opportunity for a good bet. I did mention previously about their very short squad, and nothing has changed since them. However, they do have a very successful campaign in Copa Sudamericana, where they have a chance to qualify for the quarter-finals, so they are definitely giving priority to that. That's why today they will be resting a few players, including forward Carlos Nunez (5/10) and defenders Mauricio Felipe (5/0) and Barboza (5/0). They are playing too well even in normal circumstances, so today I can only expect them to struggle even more. Meanwhile, Nacional has apparently found the correct formula, with an offensive style of play (they are using a 4-3-3 tactic), and also with the right players in the right positions (the forwards, for exmple, have very good speed, and can exploit any defensive gaps). They only failed to win 2 games in this Apertura: a 2-2 draw against Defensor Sporting, and a 1-2 loss at Cerro, on a very poor pitch that prevented them from playing their normal game. Nacional won their last 3 games against Liverpool, and today it will be a good opportunity to add to that number. GL!

Nacional (-0.75 AH) @ 1.86, 4/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Oct 17, 2012

Bolivia - Uruguay

World Cup 2014 Qualifiers

The line is quite low on this one, and I really expect a nice match, so we should easily see at least 2 goals here. Both teams need the points here, Bolivia in order to get closer to the qualification area, and Uruguay to make sure they remain on their position. Main advantage for the home team is the high altitude from La Paz (over 3500 meters), and for sure the Uruguayans will have problems coping with that, because they can't to the same thing the Peruvians did (make a team only with players used to playing at altitude). Bolivia will force the attack with an offensive trio (Martins, Mojica and Arce), and if they manage to put constant pressure on their oponents, the goal should come eventually, especially towards the end of the match when the air should run out. Meanwhile, Uruguay will use a slightly more defensive approach, with just Suarez and Forlan up-front, probably hoping for some counters or set pieces. Bolivia conceded in all of their home games, and failed to score only in one (against Chile). Also, last 3 matches played between these teams in the qualifications ended with lots of goals (Uruguay won at home 5-0 in 2007 and 4-2 last year, while Bolivia draw at home 2-2 in 2008), so I expect the same pattern today. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 1.81, 4/10
Result: 4-1, WON

Oct 13, 2012

Argentina - Uruguay

World Cup 2014 Qualifiers

The two most offensive teams on the continent will face each other tonight, so it is only normal to think it will be a goal-fest. And we just have to look at the amount of quality that we have on the pitch... Argentina will use 4 offensive players, with Higuain, Messi, Aguero and Di Maria. All of them are top class players, and we can always expect some magic coming from them. On the other hand, Uruguay might change a bit from their usual system, in order to try and stop the Argentinian attack, so we will probably see Cavani with a slightly more defensive position. Even so, up-front we'll see Forlan and Suarez, and they are also capable of great things. And a more defensive system shouldn't put anyone off, as they should have plenty of chances on the counter-attacks, especially since the Argentinian defenders could be easily overcome by some skilled and experienced forwards, and also because Uruguay should be able to find lots of spaces for some quick counters. Hopefully, all the hype surrounding this match will materialize, and we will be able to see an exciting match, and also make some profit out of it. GL!

over 3 goals @ 2.08, 4/10
Result: 3-0, VOID

Ecuador - Chile

World Cup 2014 Qualifiers

Chile is doing a pretty good campaign so far, but a lot more was expected of them. They currently occupy the 5th place, which only takes them to the play-off, and for sure they won't be too happy with that, especially since if they lose a tempo, they might also lose that spot. And the main issue for them is their defensive line, almost the poorest, with 13 goals conceded (4 from Argentina and Uruguay, plus 3 from Colombia and 2 from Peru). They compensate for that with a solid attack, as they have also managed to score 12 goals so far. There are also some facts that will make their task even harder against Ecuador: first of all, the match will be played in Quito, at high altitude, and even though the Chileans had about 4 days to acclimatize, they might still suffer towards the end of the match. Then, they will also be missing 4 key players: goalkeeper and captain Claudio Bravo, top scorer Humberto Suazo and midfielders Gary Medel and Eugenio Mena. That means that they will probably suffer once again defensively, even though it looks good from midfield up, with Matias Fernandez (Fiorentina), Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) and Eduardo Vargas (Napoli). Ecuador is performing great so far, especially in Quito where they have a record of 4-0-0, without receiving a goal. However, I see the Chile side strong enough to be able to hurt them, and a goal from them should not be too hard to achieve. The line looks ok to try it for some small stakes. GL!

over 2.25 @ 1.88, 4/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Colombia - Paraguay

World Cup 2014 Qualifiers

The fight for a qualification position to the World Cup will probably go all the way to the wire between at least 6 teams, so none of them can afford to take a wrong step. Colombia is sitting on second place tied on points with Ecuador, one point behind leaders Argentina, but that position isn't very reassuring: a loss on Friday corroborated with other results, can see them dropping out of a direct qualification. So for sure, they won't take any chances against a Paraguay team in deep crisis. They have all their stars and big guns available, so we can expect players like Falcao, Freddy Guarin, Zapata and Yepes (AC Milan), and many other Europe-based players in the starting team. Loads of quality, and I can't see Colombia failing to make an impact in the World Cup with such a talented team. On the other hand, Paraguay must be at their lowest point in recent history. They are currently rock bottom with just 4 points from 7 matches, managing to beat only Ecuador and to snatch a point from Uruguay, one year ago. Ever since then, they have lost everything, including a home match with Venezuela last month. And things don't look like they are about to get better if we look at their squad. The defensive line is rather poor, as they won't be able to count on some veterans like Bonet, Veron, Manzur, Caceres or Aureliano Torres. Midfielder Edgar Barreto is also out, and the offensive line should also suffer without Cardozo and Santa Cruz. Basically, they will have to rely only on defenders Alcaraz and Da Silva, and on Barrios and Haedo Valdez in attack. They are poor, and don't have players who are able to win a match by themselves, and I really don't see them pulling any surprise in Colombia. GL!

Colombia (-1 AH) @ 1.92, 5/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Oct 7, 2012

Cesar Vallejo - Real Garcilaso

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

Top clash in Liguilla B of Peru, as leaders Real Garcilaso are visiting challengers Cesar Vallejo in what could be a title decider. If newly-promoted Garcilaso win, they would get 6 points clear at the top of the table, and I doubt they will be able to lose such an advantage. But this is the hard part: winning. Even though they are having an incredible campaign, one that they never dreamed of when they promoted, they are basing their results mostly on their home matches, where they have an impeccable record of 17-1-0, with just 4 goals conceded and 34 scored. Away from home, even though they are still tough to beat, they rarely win, having a 2-8-8 record. Most recently, they have managed to lose at Sport Boys, the worst team in the group, so Cesar Vallejo should be more than a match for them. Speaking of them, today's hosts are also a very strong home team, 13-3-1 with 34 goals scored and 11 conceded. They have won their previous home game with Garcilaso, 2-1 back in May, and with so much at stake today, I expect some extra-motivation from them. It won't be an easy match, that's for sure, but the 3 points should stay in Trujillo. GL!

Cesar Vallejo (-0.5 AH) @ 1.70, 4/10
Result: 0-1, LOST

Oct 6, 2012

Nacional - Independiente

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Nice line we have here, for a match in which I can't see past the home win. Nacional are contenders for the top spots, and have some nice chances of getting into the title fight, even though it's going to be hard, as they are currently 8 points behind leaders Guarani. But they are in good form now, coming off 3 undefeated matches, including a 1-1 draw at Cerro Porteno last week. But they are not the main reason for this bet, which is more like a bet against Independiente. They are pretty much the poorest team in the league, with just one win in the 10 games played so far in this tournament. And that win came at home, against Cerro PF, a newly promoted team (and even they are doing much better in the standings than Independiente). When playing against the better teams of the league, they just fail miserably, as they lost 0-1 at home with Cerro Porteno, while as visitors they've been beaten 1-3 by Guarani and 0-3 at Libertad. Earlier this year, they have also lost both games played against Nacional, 2-5 at home and 0-5 away. So we should see pretty much a repeat of that performance tonight, and the line/odds are very good. GL!

Nacional (-1 AH) @ 1.84, 4/10
Result: 5-1, WON

Oct 3, 2012

Palmeiras - Millonarios

Copa Sudamericana 2012

For Palmeiras, this match in Copa Sudamericana comes at the worst time possible. With their local league entering it's final stages, they are knee deep in the fight to avoid relegation. With the last 4 teams in the standings relegating directly, Palmeiras find themselves currently on the 18th place, 3 points behind the safe places. And with the very important match against Sao Paulo coming up this weekend, the coach is obviously prioritizing the league. Therefore, he will use a mixed squad for this clash with Millonarios, with several key players already confirmed to be out: Barcos (20/9) will be with the national team, while Valdivia, Correa, Thiago Heleno and Maikon Leite will be rested. And that's just for the moment, as others might be rested as well. And I seriously doubt their motivation in this competition, with their current domestic situation. Millonarios is a good and solid team, with a great record this season, both in their league and in Sudamericana. Against a weakened Palmeiras team they have some good chances not to lose, therefore this asian line has a lot of value. GL!

Millonarios (+1 AH) @ 1.73, 5/10
Result: 3-1, LOST

Sep 30, 2012

River Plate - Liverpool

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Odds are going up a bit here, and that can only make me happy, as I don't see any real reason for that. Neither team is doing a great campaign so far, but if I were to choose the first team that will collapse, this will definitely be Liverpool. They have a very short squad, so their coach rarely gets the chance to rest one or two players. So they took on all their matches so far in the league or in Sudamericana with pretty much the same team, and the same case will be today. And this could be detrimental to them, as fatigue and tiredness will definitely catch up. They played in Argentina during midweek, so they couldn't get too many days of rest. And since their performances haven't been great anyway, I don't expect a higher level of football today. River Plate is a very strong team at home, and we can see that in their recent results: in 2012, they have only lost one game at home... the very first one, back in February, exactly against Liverpool. However, things have changed lately, and Liverpool is nothing like last season's team. Both teams are short on quality, but with a wider squad and an easier schedule, River should nick it here. GL!

River DNB @ 1.97, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Danubio - Penarol

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Here we have two teams with a lot of offensive potential, but also with rather poor defensive lines, so we can only expect goals here. One more reason for that is that Danubio's new coach is the well known Juan Ramon Carrasco, who always employs offensive tactics. He did say he will try to take a more conservative approach with Danubio, but following their 0-0 draw last week, he is already changing the formation, from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-1-2, which should bring more balls to the area. So they should definitely improve on their 5 goals scored so far in 4 games, and of course, I don't expect too many improvements to the defensive line, which managed to concede 10 goals. Penarol didn't enjoy the best of starts either, as they have just started winning. However, 3 more points today will throw them back in the title race, so victory is a must. Two goals per match is the average scored by them, so if they keep up this trend, we might be in for a nice match, especially since last year both games finished with several goals. GL!

over 3 goals @ 1.88, 3/10
Result: 0-0, LOST

Sep 27, 2012

LDU Loja - Sao Paulo

Copa Sudamericana 2012

Once again, I'm going against Loja, as their fairytale-like run will definitely not last forever. They have reached this stage after beating a very poor Monagas, thus gaining confidence, and after that they pulled off a big surprise by knocking out Nacional of Montevideo, with a 2-1 win in Uruguay. However, things might have gone a lot worse for them, as Nacional could have tied the match in the last minutes, and since Loja lost the first leg in Ecuador, they would have been out. But luck was on their side, and they managed to qualify. But can they pull off another surprise against Brazilian giants Sao Paulo? The altitude from their home city might be an advantage, but if we think about the fact that they lost at home against Nacional (a team that has no experience playing at high altitude), that doesn't seem so important. The thing is that Sao Paulo has a much better team than both Loja and Nacional, and if they have their minds set to it, they should be able to win this match. They will be without striker Luis Fabiano and without their new star Paulo Henrique Ganso, but they still have enough quality in their ranks with William, Jadson, Denilson or Rogerio Ceni. GL!

Sao Paulo (-0.25 AH) @ 2.03, 4/10
Result: 1-1, HALF-LOST

W Connection - Chivas

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Chivas are still in a result crisis, but I think we can say that lately they've had an improvement in their game. They are now undefeated for the last 4 games, including a rebound in the Champions League (4-0 against W Connection), a local win against Club Leon, and a match against Pumas in which they were the better side, and have also missed a penalty in the 93rd minute. But nothing will matter unless they get a win today as well, as only 3 points can get them back in the qualification race (they are currently 4 points behind group leaders Xelaju). Apparently, the entire squad made the trip to Trinidad & Tobago, and since this is a crucial game for them, I'm expecting a solid squad to start. There's no questioning about the clear quality difference between these two teams' players, so Chivas are rightfully favorites. It is only to see if they can continue their good recent run and win all the points. Connection are simply a poor team, already lost 0-4 to Chivas and took just 1 point in two matches against Xelaju, conceding 5 goals (although they did score 4 themselves). Chivas should win it, they simply have to, and everything is in their favor. GL!

Chivas (-0.75 AH) @ 1.70, 4/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Santos - U de Chile

Recopa Sudamericana 2012

In the first leg, I went for goals, as I was expecting a committed performance from both teams. And I was so wrong... Santos did play well, and had several good chances to score, including a missed penalty in the first half. But the goal never came, thus the match ending 0-0. What we can take from that match is that Santos played much better, as visitors, and U de Chile showed little of the football that charmed us in the last 2 seasons. So I won't be getting my hopes up today. It is very difficult to play in Brazil, and Santos is a top class team. With all the regular and star players ready to go, I'm expecting a very good line-up for the Brazilians, as they should dominate the game. It won't be very easy, I admit that, so don't expect a trashing, but the victory should come eventually. U de Chile should still have a good offense, so it won't be a surprise if they score, but their defensive line has shown a lot of inconsistency lately: in their last 10 games in all competitions, they have only managed to win 3, all of them in the local league. And in those last 10 matches, they have indeed managed to score 17 goals, but they have also conceded 16. Even so, I won't be taking the over again, as I'm expecting Santos's force to overpower the Chileans. GL!

Santos (-0.5 AH) @ 1.79, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Sep 25, 2012

Guarani - Sol de America

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Guarani left Copa Sudamericana last week, which means they should be able to focus solely on the championship from now on, where they are doing a great job so far. They are league leaders for the moment, with 6 games won from 8 played, plus a draw, and with a win today, they can increase their lead at the top of the table, as neither Cerro Porteno nor Olimpia managed to win yesterday. And we can't say their top position is a lucky break due to an easy schedule, as they have played all the giants in the league: they won against Cerro Porteno, Nacional and Olimpia, all of them away from home, and also drew with Libertad also as visitors. That must definitely mean they are up to serious business. For today, all the players are in the squad, and I don't see any reason why they won't field the best possible line-up. Meanwhile, after a very good Apertura season (finished 4th), Sol have apparently lost the spark, as they have only managed 2 wins in 8 matches played in Clausura. They did manage to beat Cerro Porteno away, but when you fail to win at home against teams like Rubio Nu, Sportivo Luqueno or Independiente, there must definitely be something wrong. Sol won't make a repeat of their last tournament's performance, and I really expect them to lose today. Nice odds, as the fair ones should have been around 1.50 for the home win. GL!

Guarani (-0.5 AH) @ 1.84, 4/10
Result: 3-2, WON

Sep 24, 2012

LDU Loja - Deportivo Cuenca

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

Despite their lowly stature, LDU Loja is doing a great campaign in Copa Sudamericana, and their recent victory in Uruguay, against Nacional, saw them qualify to the main draw. And with this, they have also found a renewed confidence that they can go far in the competition, that is why the priority will be the continental cup, not the league. Therefore, today, coach Velez will be resting a lot of regulars, as the team returned from Uruguay only on Thursday, and with the match against Sao Paulo coming up, he wants to have all players fit. The line-up is not yet confirmed, but we can expect around 7 regulars to miss this match. This certainly won't help their case, as they couldn't find some for in the league anyway, and have only 2 wins in the last 10 games. Cuenca isn't much better either, just one point more in the standings, but here they should be favorites. I'm expecting a tight match here, as Cuenca usually keeps the result close, but without many of their key players, I don't see Loja winning this one. GL!

Cuenca (+0.5 AH) @ 1.76, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Sep 23, 2012

Progreso - Defensor Sporting

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Two of the early leaders will be facing each other tonight, in what promises to be quite an exciting match. Progreso is the surprise package of the Apertura, so far, as the newly promoted are one of the leaders after the first 3 rounds, taking 7 points and scoring 8 goals. And I don't think we should put too much of their performance on luck, as all the points have been won as visitors, against not very comfortable teams. So it's easy to understand why their hopes are set high in this high-profile clash. But despite their great start, I'm not getting my hopes up for this team, as the results won't stay like this for too long, and their enthusiasm might go out. And today might be the turning point for them, as they face one of the giants: Defensor Sporting. The violets are always running at the front of the league, always looking to challenge for the title, and have a very good squad with which they can do that. They are also in good form, also with 7 points (including a draw with Nacional), so expect them to take this match seriously. Defensor have a much more solid team, with more quality and more confidence, so they should win this match. A nice increase of the odds makes this bet even better to take. GL!

Defensor (-0.25 AH) @ 1.94, 4/10
Result: 1-4, WON

Sep 21, 2012

Liverpool - Envigado

Copa Sudamericana 2012

I made a bet on Envigado in the first leg as well, and it was lost quite unfairly... Liverpool didn't show much throughout the game, and they managed to snatch a point in the closing minutes. They now have an away goal lead, so they have a slight advantage when it comes to the qualification, but I still wouldn't trust them. As I mentioned previously, they have changed most of their team, and also have a very short squad. So from the beginning of the season, they have used pretty much the same players, as they don't afford to make rotations. The fatigue is due to catch-up sooner or later. They had good results so far, but mainly because they played against weaker opponents, both in the league and in Sudamericana. Once they faced a stronger opponents (Defensor Sporting), they lost. Envigado might not be of the same caliber as Defensor, but they are for sure a strong and solid team. Since in their league they are not in a good position, all their gables go on this match. They come without any injury worries, and also had enough time to rest since their last game, so I expect them to put up a good challenge. It should be a close match, but I don't really see the Uruguayans snatching it. GL!

Envigado (+0.5 AH) @ 1.99, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Sep 20, 2012

LDU Quito - Macara

Ecuador Serie A, Primera Etapa

After a disastrous First Stage, LDU Quito are once again near the top of the table, as they are looking to make thier fans forget the first part of the year. And they are in a good moment, as they are undefeated for the last 3 matches, winning against LDU Loja and El Nacional, and also recording a spirited 2-2 draw last week, away at Emelec. Defender Luna (26/0) is the only important absence for them, as they recover forward Bieler, who will just be on the bench. Their attack is working fine lately, even without Bieler, as they have scored 7 goals in the last 3 matches, but their defense is having plenty of issues, receiving 4 in those matches. Luna's absence could increase their defensive worries. Macar is flying very high in this stage, level on points with the leaders Olmedo and Barcelona. Away from home they drop their standard of performance, but they can still put up a good fight, that's how they won at Independiente by 3-0. Other than that, they lost all matches, but still managed to score 3 goals, the exception being their trashing at the hands of Barcelona, 0-4. I think they can score here as well, as they have a good offensive system, and with LDU's recent form, goals should be coming. And I'm choosing this bet over the handicap, as a 2-1 home win has good chances of happening. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.88, 3/10
Result: 1-2, WON

Sep 19, 2012

Emelec - Olimpia

Copa Libertadores 2012

This will be the 4th time Emelec and Olimpia will face-off this year, and so far, only the Ecuadorians have been happy. They have won all 3 matches so far, knocking Olimpia out from Copa Libertadores, and also taking a 1-0 advantage into this match. So it really has to be seen if Olimpia can react and end this bad run against Emelec. And they have to pull something off, if they are to advance in the next stage. Won't expect them to go all-in attack, as they are just 1-0 behind, but they should play a bit more offensively if they want to score, with some extra-attention payed to the counter attacks, an area where they excel. And they should have plenty of opportunities for that, if Emelec plays according to their starting formation. They know that a 1-0 advantage is not to be trusted too much, that's why coach Quinteros is planning to use an offensive formation, with an offensive trio: Mondaini, de Jesus and 'Lucho' Figueroa. So from the set-up, and the expected starting teams, I think we can expect an edgy match, with plenty of chances for both teams, and this line should normally be covered easily. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 1.98, 4/10
Result: 0-0, LOST

Sep 17, 2012

U San Martin - Cienciano

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla A

After San Martin returned to the first division, a couple of rounds after the start of the championship, they immediately made an impact, with some very good results against the top teams. However, that quickly changed, and now they find themselves near the bottom of the table. Their form isn't great either, with just one win in their last 7 games, but we have to look at their opponents from those matches as well: lost against the leaders Cristal and Cesar Vallejo as visitors, and against Universitario (all of them were derbies), drew in the altitude from Huanuco with Leon, and at home against high-flying Real Garcilaso, plus another draw at home against second placed (in their group) Jose Galvez. So really, all of them have been very tough games. And it should get a bit easier today, as Cienciano are awful travelers, with a record of 1-2-13. They lost the last 8 consecutive away matches, with a goal difference of 3-19. This isn't very unusual for them, as they are traditionally poor travelers, but San Martin do have to end their poor recent run. I think it will be a relief for them to play against Cienciano after so many hard matches, and we have a nice line to try (it would have been around -1.25 if San Martin would have been in good form). GL!

San Martin (-0.75 AH) @ 1.82, 3/10
Result: 1-0, HALF-WON

Sep 16, 2012

Real Garcilaso - Leon de Huanuco

Peru Primera Division, Liguilla B

The Liguilla has started, and in their group, Real Garcilaso are big favorites. Their home form has been brilliant so far, with a record of 15-1-0, and a win today could see them take back the leader's seat. And keep in mind that they are a newly promoted team. And exactly for that reason, I have some doubts they will be able to go all the way to the wire. And today they will have to face a team with more experienced, who already played a final of the league and also played in a continental competition. They haven't been enjoying the best season in 2012, as they are far away from the top places, but they are still a tough nut to crack, and even if they lose, they do it after a hard-fought match, and usually by the minimum difference. They haven't won for the last 9 consecutive away games, where they only managed to get one point, but all the losses came by just one goal, regardless of who they were playing against. No altitude advantage for Real today, and Leon could pose some problems here... despite the lack of results they are still strong, and as I said before, I have my doubts Real can challenge the title until the last breath. This line should be tried, but just with small stakes, as Leon's form isn't encouraging at all. GL!

Leon (+1 AH) @ 2.04, 2/10
Result: 2-1, VOID

Sep 15, 2012

Defensor Sporting - Liverpool

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Nice match is expected in Uruguay tonight, as two in-form teams will be facing each other. Both Defensor and Liverpool have 4 points in the first two rounds, so today one of them will be able to continue their good run. When the odds appeared, I thought they were set fairly, but recent odds movements (without serious reasons) give us some nice value on the home win. Defensor have been impressive so far, recording a 2-2 draw with Nacional, and trashing Wanderers 4-0 as visitors. Quite impressive results, as they have definitely marked their title challenge once again. Meanwhile, Liverpool also started the season in good form, and that is quite surprising for me. They have lost a lot of players, and had to start rebuilding their team, so their aspirations were far-fetched. However, they have managed to string a couple of positive results, both in Copa Sudamericana and the local championship. Still, I don't think this will last, as the new players should still be in their accommodation period, and as soon as they will meet a more serious team, they should have some difficulties. And that day should be today, as Defensor Sporting is not an easy team to play against, as they rarely lose. And since they have a more solid and experienced team, I expect them to do well today. I'm going with high stakes, because as I said, I see a lot of value in the home win after the increase in odds. GL!

Defensor (-0.5 AH) @ 2.28, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Sep 9, 2012

Nacional - Cerro Largo

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

The line is sky-high, so I'll only take it with minimal stake, and I do so because I just can't miss this bet after seeing the teams' line-ups. Nacional is usually a very offensive and overish team, but today they will have even a more offensive formation, with 3 forwards (Luna, Medina, Bueno) plus Alvaro Recoba behind them. Speed is not his best skill, but his passing can break Cerro's defense, same as his free-kicks, and we should have enough speed on the flanks. Their defense is as poor as usual, so for sure they can (and most likely will) concede, especially since experienced striker Horacio Peralta will make his debut for Cerro Largo. Now, when it comes to the visitors, they are nothing special, losing the first round 2-3 at home against Montevideo Wanderers. So receiving 3 goals from Nacional is more than do-able, especially since their defensive line also crumbles when they are put under pressure. And just for statistics, if we look at their previous mutual matches, in 5 of their last 6 games Nacional and Cerro Largo finished with a minimum of 4 goals, as they have an average of 4 goals scored per match in those 6 games between them. This should really happen again, but as I said, only small stakes due to the high line. GL!

over 3.25 goals @ 2.00, 2/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Sep 8, 2012

Colombia - Uruguay

World Cup 2014 Qualfiers

Both these teams have been underish lately, but I expect that to change sooner, rather than later. And also, due to this fact, we have a very nice goal line that we can try for some medium stakes. Uruguay traveled to Colombia with their usual strong squad: we can see players that are acting in the strongest leagues from Europe, like Cristian Rodriguez, Alvaro Pereira, Arevalo Rios, Forlan or Cavani. Suarez is suspended for this match, and it will be an important absence, but I have faith that Forlan and Cavani will be able to do the job, supported from behind by Rodriguez. Colombia also has some very good players, the most famous being Falcao, and we have seen recently that Falcao can do wonders all by himself. So we have two teams with some incredible offensive players meeting each other. As I said previously, they are usually underish teams: Colombia has 8 matches with under 2.5 goals from their last 10 games, while Uruguay has 6 unders from the last 10 games. But even so, Colombia managed to score in 8 of their last 10, while Uruguay did the same in 9 matches. I would definitely expect a minimum of 2 goals in this match, especially since the statistics are not so bad if we take out the friendly matches, so it's well worth a risk on this bet. GL!

over 2 goals @ 1.82, 5/10
Result: 4-0, WON

Sep 2, 2012

Penarol - River Plate

Uruguay Primera Division, Apertura

Second round of the Uruguayan league sees Penarol coming after a thriller of a first round. They were leading Fenix, and it looked like they were in control and would have had an easy job. Fenix drew the match before HT, after being 1-3 down, and managed to score the winner in the second half. So Penarol must surely be still hurt after that match, so they should be more focused to get the points today. There's no doubt that they have a much better and superior team compared to most of the other teams in the league, but they will have to work on their defensive game, and on their concentration. River comes after a 1-0 win against newly-promoted Juventud, after a less than impressive match. They have a very young squad, and I don't think they can have too many expectations this season. From the 19-man squad they have selected for the game against Penarol, 10 players are coming from the youth system, and have less than 20 years. Also, a few of them will make their debut today in the first division, while other will play their second match, having debuted last week. So I expect to see a team without experience, which at least tonight, should be an easy prey for the Uruguayan giants. GL!

Penarol (-0.75 AH) @ 1.80, 4/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Aug 31, 2012

Guarani - Millonarios

Copa Sudamericana 2012

Odds are just set wrong here, in my opinion. It is true that both teams are in good form, but the Colombians are looking like the more solid team. They are undefeated in the first 8 games they've played, 6 in the league and 2 in Sudamericana against Inti Gas, and in this run of good results, we can also see a 2-1 win over Once Caldas, and a 0-0 draw away at the strong Atletico Nacional. I've talked about Millonarios previously, in my preview for the match against the Peruvians, so I'll keep it short now. They have a very good and solid team, with some big names (Renteria, for example), and are looking like a team that is capable of going a long way. Guarani is also undefeated in the local league, but they did lose a game this season: a shocking 0-1 home loss against the Bolivians from Oriente Petrolero. So really, I can't trust a team like this too much, regardless of their recent form. They did manage some results against the big teams, beating Cerro Porteno and Nacional as visitors, and drawing away at Libertad, but pretty much all these teams are in a small crisis. International competitions are something more than the local leagues, and I doubt Millonarios will lose, as they should be the better team. GL!

Millonarios (+0.25 AH) @ 1.92, 4/10
Result: 2-4, WON

Deportivo Quito - Aurora

Copa Sudamericana 2012

Deportivo Quito are still searching for their lost form, but the quality gap should be just too big to miss a bet here. Even though they can't win matches in their home league, at least they have a very solid defense, receiving only 4 goals in 7 games, despite sitting on the last place in the table. They did win both matches played in the first round of Copa Sudamericana, scoring 4 goals against Leon de Huanuco, a team that I rate better than Aurora. And in order to improve their offense, coach Insua is preparing 3 forwards for this game, that should give them some superiority when they get the ball in the opposition's quarter. And if they can play the same way as they did against Leon, this match should be just a formality. Aurora got to this stage after knocking out a poor Cerro Largo. Nothing special happened in that leg... Aurora capitalized on their altitude advantage, and Cerro was just too poor to turn around the score in the second leg. For today's match, they also have a lot of squad problems, with 7 players unavailable (4 of them made the trip to Ecuador, but they have small chances of playing). And in the league they aren't going any better either, losing the last 4 consecutive games, with a goal difference of 0-10!!! The odds also moved up quite nicely, so this should be a good bet.

Deportivo (-1.25 AH) @ 1.97, 5/10
Result: 2-1, HALF-LOST

Aug 29, 2012

Envigado - Liverpool

Copa Sudamericana 2012

Liverpool made a couple of good match against Universitario Sucre, despite having quite a new-formed team, with lots of new faces and very few of their team from last season. They also managed to win in Bolivia, at high altitude, but the main reason for that was Universitario's weakness. They have also changed almost their entire team, with only two players remaining from last season, and about 10 new faces... so it was like taking some random football players, making them play in an international competition. Tonight, Liverpool will meet a much more solid team, so they won't be having an easy time for sure. The only problem might be Envigado's recent form, which has been far from good. They have lost 4 of their 5 matches played in their local championship, and it can't be a good sign when you are losing at home against a team like Deportivo Pasto. However, in Copa Sudamericana they have been doing fine, knocking out Union Comercio from Peru, with a 2-0 home win. It should be more difficult today, but this is the first match where we can see Liverpool's true face (they have postponed their league match from the weekend). The altitude should also go in the home team's favor, and in the end, the three points should remain in Colombia. GL!

Envigado (-0.5 AH) @ 1.91, 4/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Aug 25, 2012

Macara - Tecnico Universitario

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

We've had some nice movements in odds here, which further convinced me to take this bet. Macara is looking better than in the Primera Etapa, winning 4 of their 7 matches so far, while Tecnico don't seem to have improved too much, with 1 win and 4 draws in their 7 games played. Today's hosts are trying to regain their strong home team status, and are on the right way to do that, with 3-0-1 on their stadium, the only loss coming against a clearly superior Emelec. Today, they will be able to count on two players that have been doubtful throughout the week: defender Luis Carlos and midfielder Baldeon, so this will certainly provide a boost to the team. So there will be no major line-up changes for them, as everybody is ready to go. Same goes for Tecnico, who are on a high following their 1-0 win away at Barcelona. But I consider it as being just a fluke, as that win was their first in their last 9 games. They should come back down to earth now, against a traditionally tough team for them, as they never won against Macara as visitors. Also, in the first stage of the championship, Macar won 2-0, so I think they are obviously the better team. Nice line and odds. GL!

Macara (-0.25 AH) @ 2.12, 3/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Cerro Porteno - Rubio Nu

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Reigning champions of the Apertura, Cerro Porteno are in a lot of trouble in the current tournament, as after 4 games, they are without a win, only managing to sum up 2 points. And we can't blame it on a tough schedule, as the only hard match was against Olimpia, and they managed to snatch a draw as visitors. They lost both home games, 1-2 with Guarani and 2-3 with Sol de America, and there are already a lot of discontent voices. Therefore, a win today is a must. And it can well happen... Cerro are bound to bounce back sooner or later, and Rubio Nu looks like the perfect team for that. Rubio hasn't won a single match for 10 games now, and they really look hopeless, despite some spirited draws against Sol and Nacional. They already lost twice to Cerro this season, with a total goal difference of 5-8, so the champions probably won't have a better time to get back into form. Full squad is expected for Cerro, with only one change: Santiago Salcedo will play instead of Roberto Nanni, and this should be a positive change. GL!
Cerro (-1 AH) @ 1.92, 3/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Aug 23, 2012

Alajuelense - UANL Tigres

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Costa Rica is a tough place to go and win, even for the big teams of the continent. I wouldn't exactly call Tigres one of the big teams, and I consider that even under normal circumstances, they would have a tough time getting the 3 points from Alajuelense. I'm saying 'under normal circumstances', because apparently, the coach is favoring the local league, and since they already have 3 points in this group stage of the Champions League, they can take it easy now. Therefore, they will be fielding a reserve team tonight, with just one regular player on the pitch: midfielder Viniegra (24/1). Other than him, Tigre will be using just reserve players, including goalkeeper de Leon and defender Zamora, who have yet to make an appearance this season, plus striker Guarch who played just one match as a substitute. So I'd say it's a pretty weak line-up, and most likely they will be going there for the draw. But it will be tough for sure, as Alajuelense are no push-overs. They are the current leaders of their local league, and are a very strong home team (last year they won all home matches in the group stage, including matches against LA Galaxy, Morelia), so I expect them to take something from this match. GL!

Alajuelense DNB @ 1.91, 4/10
Result: 2-2, VOID

U de Chile - Santos

Recopa Sudamericana 2012

When you see this two team playing against each other, you can only think of one thing: goals! Even though U de Chile has slightly changed compared to the last season, they are still adepts of the same style of play, which means attacking play. They always try to press and to get the ball forward, and their counter attacks are also deadly. That's why it comes as no surprise that in the local league they have the best offense, with 44 goals scored in 17 matches, 13 goals more than the team with the second best offense. And while we can not compare Chilean teams with Santos, the Brazilian defense is not brilliant either, so they might allow some goals tonight. Santos is playing usually a bit more defensively, but with their defense, that's not making a lot of difference. That why we can see they recorded overs in their last 6 matches, and in 5 of them both teams scored. The thing with them is that they have excellent individual players, who can scored from basically nothing: Neymar, Ganso, Miralles, etc. So I expect both teams to continue with their recent trends, and normally, this match should be overish, with both teams getting on the score sheet. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.92, 5/10
Result: 0-0, LOST

Aug 22, 2012

Real Salt Lake - Tauro

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

While an official (or even a probable) line-up is almost impossible to find at this time for Real, we can draw a conclusion from their first group match, and from their last game on Saturday. Since they have lost 0-1 in Costa Rica three weeks ago, Real is now in a must-win situation if they want to qualify to the next stage from this group, and since the coach stated that the Champions League is a priority for them, I'm expecting him to field a strong squad tonight. Also, last weekend he rested 3 key players: midfielder Kyle Beckerman (23/4), forward Alvaro Saborio (21/14) and midfielder Will Johnson (19/2), as they all played 90 minutes with their national teams last Wednesday. Real went on to lose 1-2 against Dallas, but at least they have those three players fit for tonight's match, and this should really make their intentions clear. Tauro is a team used to play in this competition, but they don't have any performances to show off, never managing to qualify out of the group stage. There isn't too much info on them, but Real looks too strong, and with their star players on the pitch from the start, they should put the win beyond doubt. Small stakes though, as I never trust American teams too much when it comes to covering handicaps. GL!

Real (-1.5 AH) @ 1.78, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Santos Laguna - Aguila

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

The Mexican champions, Santos Laguna, are debuting in this year's Champions League group stage, against a team that is already in deep trouble. Aguila played a match already, and they failed miserably, being trashed 1-5 at Toronto. That should say a lot about their quality, and don't be surprised if we see a similar scoreline today. Santos wants to make a solid debut in this competition, and everybody knows that you need to take all the points on your home ground in order to qualify without many complications. That is why they will be fielding quite a strong line-up, at 90% I would say. Just two of the players from today's expected line-up can't be considered as regulars, but except for them, Santos is going strong. Another weak point for them would be the absence of their 2 top strikers: Darwin Quintero (25/11) and Oribe Peralta (22/15), who will be replaced by Candido Ramirez (2/0) and offensive midfielder Christian Suarez (26/5). This makes me lower the stakes a bit (I would have gone full stake with the two strikers on-field), but even with this line-up, they should still be a few classes better than the Salvadoreans, and I expect a win by a minimum of 2 goals. GL!

Santos Laguna (-2.25AH) @ 1.80, 4/10
Result: 5-0, WON

Aug 19, 2012

Deportivo Quito - LDU Loja

Ecuador Serie A, Segunda Etapa

For this match, we will have two teams struggling to find their form, as both of them have been disappointing so far, for different reasons: Deportivo are always expected to challenge for the first places, but now they are sitting rock bottom with just 3 points from 6 games, without winning a single match so far. Meanwhile, Loja fought for a place in the final up until the last round of the First Stage, and everyone was expecting them to be near the top places once again. But they lost 4 of the 6 games they played, so they are in a very similar situation to Deportivo. The difference between them is in the style of play: while Deportivo keeps it tight, conceding 4 goals in their 6 win-less games (only scored once, though), Loja opens up a lot, scoring 7 goals while conceding 12. But I'll go for the home win. And the reasons are simple: Deportivo has a much more solid squad, they welcome back two important players (defender Checa and midfielder Bolanos) and they also look more solid with their style of play. All they need to do now is to start scoring goals, so former top scorer Bevacqua should start making the difference again. Only small-medium stakes. GL!

Deportivo (-0.25 AH) @ 1.79, 3/10
Result: 0-0, HALF LOST

Aug 16, 2012

Envigado - Union Comercio

Copa Sudamericana 2012

Don't have as much confidence in this bet as I had yesterday with Millonarios, but it should still be a solid bet. The Peruvian teams are near the bottom of the standings when we talk about South American club football, and they usually struggle even when it comes to playing against Ecuadorian or Paraguayan teams. And even though from time to time, the big guns (Universitario, Alianza Lima, etc) manage to get some results, the smaller teams usually fail miserably. And this should be the case with Union Comercio. They won promotion to the 2011 Primera Division for the first time in their short history, and even though they managed a very good campaign, I still rate them as a small team. And this was visible in the first leg as well... while Envigado isn't a great team even by Colombian standards, they managed to keep a 0-0 draw in Peru, in a pretty dull affair. And while Comercio are poor travelers in Peru (so I expect an even lower level outside of the country), Envigado is usually a strong home team in Colombia, losing only 1 match in the last 8 played at home in the league. Don't expect too much entertainment, but expect the home team to win and qualify. Small stakes only. GL!

Envigado (-1 AH) @ 1.83, 4/10
Result: 2-0, WON

Aug 15, 2012

Millonarios - Inti Gas

Copa Sudamericana 2012

A 0-0 in the first leg leaves the door for the qualification wide open, but if we look at this match realistically, we should only see one winner. Millonarios of Colombia have been in red hot form lately, winning all 3 matches from their league, and not receiving a goal in the 4 games that they have played (including the first leg with Inti Gas). They have a very good team, with big names like Wason Renteria, and after this great start of the new season, they really have high hopes. In the first match, played in Ayacucho, Millonarios have been pretty much in control of the game, underlining the quality gap between them and Inti Gas, and the man of the match was the Peruvian goalkeeper, who was able to keep the match scoreless. For the Peruvian team, there was only one scoring chance, as they were struggling throughout most of the game. So now, Inti Gas really has an impossible mission, as they need to take something out of this game, and with their away form in the local league (2-3-10), I doubt they will have much celebration. Home factor and a clear advantage in quality makes Millonarios huge favorites for this game, and they should be winning it quite easily. GL!

Millonarios (-1.25 AH) @ 1.91, 5/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Nacional - Deportes Iquique

Copa Sudamericana 2012

After losing the first leg with 0-2 in Chile, Nacional now have to repeat the same score in order to push the game into extra-time, or to win by at least 3 goals to qualify directly. And it will be a tough job, as Iquique aren't exactly pushovers, and Nacional haven't accomplished a feat like that (qualifying after losing the first leg as visitors) for over 11 years. Still, they will give it their best, and that is why tonight we will see a much more offensive formation than 2 weeks ago. Coach Diaz is expected to field a 4-3-3 formation, with Sanchez, Medina and Bueno up front, trying to press from the first minute, and score rapidly to increase their chances. And they have some chances to pull an amazing come-back, as Iquique's performances (especially in away games) aren't great. In this year's Clausura, they have received 11 goals in the 6 games played, including two away trashings: 0-5 at Rangers Talca, and a 1-4 at Huachipato. This contrasts greatly with their Apertura performance, when they were the best away team in the league, finishing the tournament undefeated. The atmosphere in Montevideo should also be hellish, and it will push Nacional from behind. Once again, I have to choose between the handicap and the over, and I'm going for the handicap, as I;m expecting Nacional to have possession and dominate the match. GL!

Nacional (-1 AH) @ 1.86, 4/10
Result: 4-0, WON

Aug 5, 2012

Sol de America - Rubio Nu

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

I like this increase in the odds quite a lot. If we take an overall look at these two teams, I think it is clearly that Sol has a better team than Rubio. They were fighting for a better position in the top half of the table for almost the entire Apertura, finishing on 4th place, while Rubio were struggling constantly, and only finished the tournament on 11th place. And from what we've seen in the first round of Clausura, things didn't change too much, and if they did, it was for the worse. Rubio lost at home, 0-3 against Olimpia, and while no one expected too much from them in that match, it was a very poor performance... maybe even poorer than in the Apertura. Meanwhile, Sol de America had a tough encounter with Carapegua, and were able to snatch a point. So today they should have the better morale on the field, and I'm sure they'll push for the 3 points. They also have an advantage against Rubio when it comes to head-to-head results, as they've already beaten them twice this season, with an aggregate of 5-0. So I'm expecting another relatively easy win, and I'm going with higher stakes, due to the increase in the odds, which gives us quite a nice value. GL!

Sol (-0.75 AH) @ 2.10, 4/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Aug 3, 2012

Monagas - LDU Loja

Copa Sudamericana 2012

LDU Loja will make their international debut tonight, against Venezuelan team Monagas, and I'm quite sure they would have liked an easier draw. It's not like Monagas is a great team, but they had some solid performances this year, especially at home where they were very tough to beat. And with Loja not being anything special either, I think the home factor and Loja's lack of experience will prove decisive tonight. Monagas have already played in an international competition, last year in Sudamericana. They also had plenty of time to prepare for this game, as their season ended in May... they might be lacking in match fitness, but they should be more than prepared for the Ecuadorians. They also tried to strengthen their team as well as possible, with the clear objective of advancing to the next stage. Meanwhile, Loja has been quite disappointing lately in the league, far from their performances from the First Round. And besides their lack of experience, they will also be missing a key player: defender Jimmy Bermudez (18/0 in 2012). All in all, I can't really see Loja taking something from this game, but in the remote case that they do, this bet should cover the draw. GL!

Monagas DNB @ 1.75, 5/10
Result: 0-2, LOST

Aug 2, 2012

UANL Tigres - Real Esteli

CONCACAF Champions League 2012, Group Stage

Had some doubts when it came to Tigres's squad, thinking that maybe they'll try a completely secondary team again, but from the looks of it, the squad isn't looking bad at all. It will be a mix of regulars and reserves, and they should have to much for a Nicaraguan team, even though they are the reigning champions of their league. So tonight, for Tigres we'll have 5 regulars (the goalkeeper, 2 defender and 2 midfielders), three players that have started 6 matches this year and they played as substitues in several others (so they all took part in more than 11 matches), and a three others that played rarely, but should still be quality players compared to the Nicaraguans. Meanwhile, the visitors are a good team at a local level, but should not be able to compete with the better teams of the continent, and we had a proof of that in 2011, in the preliminary round, when they lost both matches with Toronto (not a great them themselves) with 1-2. So nobody probably gets their hopes up, and they would be lucky if they leave Mexico with just 2-3 goals conceded. Normally, the tally of goals should be much bigger, so I'll try the handicap here... it's big, but it still doesn't look like a realistic one.

Tigres (-2 AH) @ 1.70, 5/10
Result: 4-0, WON

Jul 30, 2012

Juan Aurich - Alianza Lima

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Things are quite simple here, so I'll try to be short. Alianza played last night a friendly match with Atletico Madrid, which they lost by 3-0. And since the federation did not agree to postpone their league game with Juan Aurich, they will have to play today as well. Of course, they won't use the same players as yesterday, and this leaves a weakend team, with lots of youngsters, and just a few of the regular/more experienced players. Alianza has been struggling away from home even with all their players, having a 1-4-8 record, so I'm not expecting any miracles from them today. Aurich might not be very special, compared to last years, but at home they are still a solid team, winning 8 of their 13 matches, and have already beaten Alianza this year by 3-0. They should field a much more solid and experienced team, so they should take the win quite easily. GL!

Aurich (-1 AH) @ 1.92, 4/10
Result: 1-0, VOID