Mar 10, 2012

Guarani - Sportivo Luqueno

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

Odds again going crazy for this match, and again, I don't see a reason for that. Guarani are a quality team, and lately they've been in good form. They've lost two matches earlier on, but now they are coming from a hard worked draw at Libertad, and a 4-0 trashing of Tacuary. They are coming into this game on a high note, and I'm sure they want to continue in this trend, especially since their opponents look like a team that will allow them to do that. Pretty much full squad, with goalkeeper Aurrecochea back in the team after his ban. Important absences are just defender Filippini and midfielder Mendoza, but it shouldn't matter too much, as Luqueno will most likely come to defend. Speaking about Luqueno, they had a miserable finish last season, but they gave their fans some hope, beating Cerro Porteno in this Apertura's debut. But that was just smoke without fire, as they couldn't build on that... they lost at Libertad, consecutive draws with Carapegua and Tacuary (two easy opponents) and a 3-0 win over Cerro de Franco, but that's nothing special, as CF are big favorites to return to the second division. Head-to-head also favors Guarani, as they have won their last 4 matches at home against Luqueno, and haven't lost at home with them since 2006. Odds have value, so I'll go with a bit higher stake. GL!

Guarani (-0.5 AH) @ 2.16, 4/10
Result: 3-1, WON

Racing - Nacional

Uruguay Primera Division, Clausura

Today is a good chance for Nacional to take the lead in the league, but coach Gallardo is obviously putting more emphasis on Copa Libertadores (where they'll have to play in Peru next week), and is making a lot of changes in his team. Only 2 players can be considered full regulars, the goalkeeper and one defender, while the others feature from time to time, but only as substitutes of the other regulars, and rarely all of them at once. Even their feared offensive duo, Viudez and Medina, are being rested, and won't even be on the bench. Also, out for this match are defenders Scotti and Placente and midfielders Damonte and Cabrera. So, it will be interesting to see how an already troubled defense will do without 2 regular defenders and a defensive midfielder. In attack, Boghossian can do some damage if he's in a good day, but I never liked him too much, as he tends to miss too many chances. Meanwhile, Racing didn't have the best start of the tournament, with only 1 point after 3 matches, although they showed some signs of improvement last round, when they fought hard with Rampla, losing 3-4. Against Nacional they have mixed reactions, but we've seen them able to pose some problems (lost 2-3 last year, drew 2-2 at home in 2010, and won 3-2 as visitors in 2009), so against an alternative team, they could be able to snatch something. GL!

Racing (+1 AH) @ 1.94, 3/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Mar 9, 2012

Flamengo - Emelec

Copa Libertadores 2012, Group Stage

Opening odds were nothing special for me, as the handicap line was set at 1.25, far from being appealing. But odds moved a lot lately, probably because some absences in the Brazilian camp, moving the -1 line to a decent price, making a bet worthwhile. Let's talk about Emelec for a moment: as I've said before in previous analisis, Emelec isn't the same team as last year. Then they had a good team, but the coach's style of playing wasn't really suiting the players. A change of coach brought better results, but they made some changes during the winter break, although now of the new players have impressed me so far (although they have Lucho Figueroa, with lots of European experience). They made a good start this season, although with some emotions (came from 0-2 to 3-2 against lowly Macara), but lately they seem to be in a downtrend, drawing 0-0 at Manta and losing the clasico with LDU, 0-2. Flamengo drew 1-1 at Lanus in their debut; but for this match they will have a few absences: the goalkeeper Felipe, and a few midfielders: Renato Abreu, Willians and Airton. With all of these, I still see the Brazilians as favorites to win this game, as the quality is still on their side, despite the absences. Bottinelli and Ronaldinho should lead the midfield line well, and all the balls that reach the strikers are potentially dangerous, as the strikers will be the very experienced Wagner Love and Deivid. I honestly don't expect Emelec to take something from this match, so it will be up to the Brazilians to beat the handicap. GL!

Flamengo (-1 AH) @ 1.75, 5/10
Result: 1-0, VOID

Mar 7, 2012

Penarol - U de Chile

Copa Libertadores 2012, Group Stage

Both these teams started bad this Libertadores campaign, but unlike U de Chile, Penarol didn't manage to recover. So, after the undeserved loss in Argentina, Penarol went on to be trashed at home by a super Atletico Nacional, 0-4, thus making this match a do-or-die for them. They changed their coach meanwhile, Gregorio Perez leaving the team in favor of Jorge da Silva, and in the previous match with him at the helm, they showed some improvements in their offensive play, but also a slight decrease in defense, as they've beaten Cerro Largo by 4-2, coming from behind twice. Of course, U de Chile will be another story than Cerro Largo, but one thing is sure: Penarol has to attack, otherwise they are out of this competition. And attack means leaving spaces for counter-attacks, an area in which U de Chile usually excels. But a win would also work wonders for the Chileans, as they are also in a fragile position in the group. That is why I expect an entertaining match, with both teams attacking and trying to take advantage of any spaces that they can find. So goals should come. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.88, 4/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Mar 6, 2012

Universitario - Cienciano

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Odds moving all the time, because the news are pretty contradictory. First, it was rumored that Universitario will once again use their youth squad for this match, showing solidarity with San Martin's case, and that is probably the reason why the odds went up. But, more recent news are giving a better light in regards to U, as there has been an agreement between the players and the club, so we will see the professional players tonight on the pitch. The ones that won't be able to play are the new signings, as Universitario's proposed payment plan hasn't been approved yet, so the new players don't have the right to play. Even so, they still should have a good enough team to be able to win this match, especially since Cienciano didn't make a great transfer campaign, seem a bit weak, and are also usually poor travelers. Of course, what they are really capable of doing is still an unknown, but the odds are quite ok for a home win, especially if we keep in mind that Universitario won the last 4 clashes against Cienciano that were played in Lima. GL!

Universitario (-0.75 AH) @ 2.11, 3/10
Result: 1-1, LOST

Mar 4, 2012

Cobresol - Jose Galvez

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

After a tempest in the opening round, when a lot of teams were forbidden to use their proffesional players, and the rest of the team showed solidarity and also used the youth squads, the Primera Division of Peru is slowly getting back on track, despite the sad news that San Martin has retired from the competition. Most teams are looking ok now, and will finally be able to use their main squad. Cobresol is one of them, as after a 1-2 loss in the first round, at Cristal, playing with the youth team, they can finally start their campaign. This time they will be at home, against newly promoted Jose Galvez, and in theory, this should be an easy game for them. That is because Jose Galvez will once again be forced to use their youth squad, because their proposed payment plan hasn't been accepted by the federation. So, we have a decent home team, using real players, against a newly promoted team, who is still an unknown in away matches, forced to use very young and inexperienced players. Clear quality difference here, and although the odds went down, it's still worth a bet. GL!

Cobresol (-0.5 AH) @ 1.84, 3/10
Result: 1-1, LOST