Apr 7, 2012

Nacional - Rubio Nu

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

The handicap is a bit bigger than what I had hoped for (I was seeing -0.75 in my fantasies), so while there's almost value in this bet, it's also one with slim to none chances of failing, as anything other than a home win would be a huge surprise. The class diference between these teams is obvious even if we only look at the standings. Nacional is fighting for the top spots, sitting on 3rd currently, 5 points behind the leaders, while Rubio, despite their high pre-season expectations, are only on 9th place, with 10 points from 9 matches. The hosts are really playing well this season, especially at home, where they have 5 consecutive victories in the league. The full squad has been called up for today's game, so there are very big chances to see their best 11 on the pitch, despite their Libertadores duties from next week. Meanwhile, Rubio are in a slump of form, managing to take only 4 points from their last 7 games, and even those points aren't impressive, drawing away at Luqueno and beating Independiente at home. As visitors, they haven't won a match in 4 tries, having a total of 11 goals conceded in those 4 games. They are simply poor this season, and can't really see how they will be able to take something from today's game. At least a one-goal win for Nacional is highly expected, so this bet looks very safe. GL!

Nacional (-1 AH) @ 1.75, 3/10
Result: 0-2, LOST

Apr 5, 2012

Emelec - Flamengo

Copa Libertadores 2012, Group Stage

Flamengo received an unexpected gift from Lanus yesterday, as the Argentinians trashed Olimpia by 6-0, leaving the qualification gates wide open for the Brazilians. If they win today, they will leapfrog Olimpia into second place, and everything will be in their hands in the last round. With no altitude in Guayaquil, Flamengo shouldn't have any extra-problems, despite a lot of rain falling in the last days, and also today's forecast isn't the best. But even so, quality should prevail, especially since there is enough motivation in the Brazilian camp. Emelec is in a very difficult position, as if they want to qualify from this group, they need to win this match, and also win next week in Paraguay against Olimpia, so this is pretty much mission impossible for them. And they don't usually do too good when they have to play against better opposition, losing all 3 of their matches against Lanus and Flamengo so far, including a 0-2 defeat at home with the Argentinians. Flamengo has all their weapons available, and we will see Ronaldinho and Wagner Love commanding the offense, with Bottinelli in the midfield line. The win is the only option available for Flamengo, and with quality also on their side, only by accident could they lose the points tonight. The handicap also covers us a bit in case of a shock-draw, so this should be a nice bet, even though the odds went down a bit. GL!

Flamengo (-0.25 AH) @ 1.97, 5/10
Result: 3-2, LOST

Apr 4, 2012

Alianza Lima - Vasco da Gama

Copa Libertadores 2012, Group Stage

Vasco da Gama comes into this match as great favorites, but I don't expect things to be so easy for them. They've only managed to beat the handicap in one game, two weeks ago at home against Libertad. Otherwise, they were a team of ups and downs, losing at home to Nacional, struggling to beat Alianza at home (3-2, despite having an extra man for the entire second half - also missed 2 penalties) and drawing 1-1 in Paraguay. Now, with two away games left, they need all the points from this match, otherwise they could be left out of the competition. Therefore, I expect them to attack and impose the game, like in the first leg, especially since Alianza's defense isn't anything special, and Souza, Nilton and Alecsandro should find plenty of spaces. For the Peruvians this is also a capital match, and only if they win they can still hope to achieve something in this group. They are motivated, the coach having rested several of his key players during their weekend match, so I also expect them to go out looking for the win. Vasco's defense isn't very solid either, so Fernandez and Arroe could also have some chances. The bottom line here is that neither team affords to lose, so they will most likely go for the win. Two goals is the minimum I expect, but we should see plenty more. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 1.76, 4/10
Result: 1-2, WON

Lanus - Olimpia

Copa Libertadores 2012, Group Stage

Olimpia comes in a very good moment, and will be a tough team to beat, especially after their previous matches in Libertadores, where they beat Lanus in Paraguay 2-1, came back to draw the match at Flamengo after being 0-3 down, and also won the return match with the Brazilians, 3-2. So it's a perfect time for them, and are looking like solid contenders to qualify to the next round, especially since their last match will be at home with Emelec. However, Lanus is still leading the group, and will look for the 3 points tonight, that will assure them 90% of their qualification, as in the last round they travel to Brazil, so any lost point today could prove to be fatal. Both teams are expected to go full strength in this match, so we'll see on the pitch Olimpia's offensive force, consisting of Marin, Orteman, Zeballos and Caballero. That will definitely be dangerous in positional attacks, as well as on counters and from set pieces. However, their week point still remains the defense (they conceded 7 goals in their 4 matches so far), so there should be plenty of chances for Regueiro and Pavone to score. Both teams have rested their key players during the weekend, so they should all be up to this task. And as I said, whoever wins basically qualifies, so I see them both going for the 3 points, not leaving anything to chance for the last round. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 2.00, 5/10
Result: 6-0, WON

Apr 2, 2012

FBC Melgar - Alianza Lima

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

I guess by now everybody knows the story by now: Alianza will use a mixed squad, mostly reserves, for this match, in order to rest their regulars for their last chance to qualify to the next stage of Copa Libertadores. But besides that, they are also in a deep financial and administrative crisis, and as a result of that they had some points deducted, and are now sitting dead-last in the standings, with -2 points. However, I think that this will only motivate the Alianza players, and they will fight even harder for a win today. And besides, looking at the squad that traveled to Arequipa, we can still see a lot of good players, like Libman, Edson Aubert, Miguel Curiel, Cristofer Soto or Junior Viza. So they still have plenty of quality left, and with that extra-motivation that I expect after the points deduction, they certainly won't be such easy victims as the current odds suggest. Melgar have been doing fine until now, with 2 wins from 4 matches, but when they faced some real opposition, they lost tragically, 1-4 at Cesar Vallejo. The high altitude could be considered an advantage, but Alianza are one of the teams that can cope with that. So, all in all, regardless of the circumstances, the current odds have some nice value, so let's hope Alianza won't disappoint.

Alianza (+0.5 AH) @ 2.32, 3/10
Result: 3-0, LOST

Apr 1, 2012

Cesar Vallejo - Cienciano

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Cesar Vallejo, after a great start of the season that saw them take the 2nd place in the early standings, will now try to continue with their good form and defeat Cienciano in Trujillo. And they have very high chances to do so, in what promises to be an entertaining encounter, between two teams that usually favor an offensive style of football. Cesar Vallejo made 2 shows so far, when playing as hosts, defeating Alianza by 2-0 and trashing Melgar by 4-1. As I said, they try to move the ball forward as fast as possible, and this has payed off so far. Cienciano, despite traditionally being poor visitors, also like to play offense, and this leaves lots of spaces behind, spaces that will be perfect to exploit by Vallejo's pace. They managed to score in all their 5 games so far, but have also conceded in 4 of those games, making them quite an interesting team to watch. The handicap line is set quite right, but the odds are poor, so I'm going for the over, as I expect both teams to score, with a probable result of 3-1 for the hosts. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 2.03, 3/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

LDU Quito - El Nacional

Ecuador Serie A, Primera Etapa

I got burned last time I bet on LDU, after Independiente managed a 93rd minute equalizer, but I'll go on Liga one more time. It's true that they didn't make a great match earlier this week (nor in their previous 3 games), but as I said before, they have one of the best squads in the league, and this bad form of theirs won't last forever. It's just a matter of time until they get back to winning ways, and El Nacional's form this year hasn't been anything special. They did manage a recovery lately, but their only wins came against Macara with two last minutes goals, and against Olmedo, who can't be considered a real challenge since they have only 1 point after 8 rounds. Last match they lost at home against Barcelona, so they're the team to beat if LDU wants to recover some form. El Nacional will also miss captain Pita, while Liga welcomes back defender Calderon, who returns from a suspension. Coach Bauza should motivate his players, and hopefully, they will start winning some matches again. GL!

LDU @ 1.85, 4/10
Result: 3-2, WON