Feb 21, 2013

San Jose - Corinthians

Copa Sudamericana 2013, Group Stage

Let's try to get back on track, after two horrendous weeks of Copa Libertadores, where everything that could have gone wrong, did. San Jose of Bolivia and Corinthians are making their debut in Group 5, and both of them would want a solid start. Corinthians are main contenders to win this group (and one of the favorites for the title), so it's very important to kick off their campaign on a good note. Just one thing is against them tonight, and that is the high altitude of Oruro, which stands at 3700 meters. So, the main question is, will they be able to make their quality count in such conditions? I believe they will... they are a much better team than San Jose, so if they make a good and solid start of the match, perhaps an early goal, they will make their life easier, as they can play more relaxed and save energy. In San Jose, the atmosphere isn't perfect, as they are having some financial issues, and the players are really unhappy about it. Even for Bolivian standards, I rate them as average, and we can see them failing to capitalize on their altitude advantage in recent years, and we have as an example a 0-0 draw with Nacional Asuncion in 2011. Quality should prevail here, and the odds look quite nice. GL!

Corinthians DNB @ 2.05, 5/10
Result: 1-1, VOID

Feb 20, 2013

Toluca - Nacional

Copa Libertadores 2013, Group Stage

Another bet for tonight, as pretty much all Libertadores games look bet-worthy. And for this match, we have a simple explanation. First of all, Nacional looked awful in their first group match against Barcelona, going down to a 0-2 deficit, while showing absolutely nothing on the pitch. They were able to come back into the game though, thanks to some remarkable fighting spirit, but their overall performance was still appalling. And for tonight, they'll have to do without two of their best players: 'El Loco' Abreu and Alvaro Recoba... doesn't matter how old they are, they are still the brains of the team, especially the latter, and for sure Nacional are going to struggle without them. The second argument against the Uruguayans is the altitude. Toluca is situated at over 2600 meters above sea level, and this is going to put even more pressure on Nacional, as they are by no means used to play under these circumstances. And this isn't just a bet against Nacional. Toluca made an incredible start to their campaign, winning 2-1 at Boca Juniors, in a match where they hardly had to break a sweat, despite trailing at the interval. With that result, they managed to end their poor run, and now morale should be at the top. I see Nacional as having to struggle once again, and the Mexicans should come out on top. GL!

Toluca (-0.75 AH) @ 1.95, 4/10
Result: 2-3, LOST

Olimpia - U de Chile

Copa Libertadores 2013, Group Stage

Olimpia is still in the middle of an institutional crisis, with results stalling, with unpaid salaries and with the president expected to resign within the next few days. So it must be hard for the players to focus in this conditions, but they have all vowed to put away those worries, and to put in a committed performance against the Chileans. And their coach apparently also wants to recover from last week's 1-3 defeat at Newells, and will employ a much more offensive formation, so we should see the usual attacking Olimpia, with capable players like Fredy Bareriro, Carlos Ferreyra and Salgueiro. U de Chile isn't the same team that enchanted us with it's football in 2011, but they are still a force to be reckoned with. And while their offensive power is not what it used to be, their defense is even poorer, as they often make serious mistakes, and allow unnecessary spaces at the back. And some recent injuries are what actually convinced me to take this bet. U de Chile will miss key defenders Eugenio Mena, Osvaldo Gonzalez and Waldo Ponce. The bad part is that they will also miss offensive midfielder Luciano Civelli. But adding up the pros and cons, and judging by both teams' style of play, I expect to see some goals here, in what should be an entertaining match. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 1.94, 4/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Millonarios - Tijuana

Copa Libertadores 2013, Group Stage

Another team will make it's debut this year in Copa Libertadores, and this time, that club is from Mexico: league champions Tijuana. They have managed to win the Apertura last year, and also enjoyed a great start of the Clausura in 2013, but in recent matches, it seems that they have lost a tempo. They are without a win in their last 3 games, and if 2 of them can be excused (draw against Tigres and defeat against Club America - 1st and 2nd in the table), their most recent performance was awful, losing at 17th place Jaguares. And while form isn't on their side anymore, they will also have to cope with the pressure of debuting in the most prestigious South American competition. And on top of that, they will also have to face the high altitude of Bogota (around 2600 meters above sea level), which is sure to add to the pressure. Meanwhile, Millonarios do have form on their side, as they are undefeated in the league, and they can also count on a solid team with some top players: midfielder Mayer Candelo, forwards Freddy Montero (scored 2 of the team's 4 goals in the league so far) and Wason Renteria, and other well known local players. So I can't really see past the Colombians here: they have the quality and the experience on their side, at with the altitude advantage, they can't fail to win. GL!

Millonarios (-0.75 AH) @ 2.02, 5/10
Result: 0-1, LOST

Penarol - Emelec

Copa Libertadores 2013, Group Stage

Both teams started the group stage with a win: Penarol won as visitors against Iquique, while Emelec managed a high-profile victory at home against Velez Sarsfield. So there is a lot at stake in this match, and the team that will win could top the group alone, and take a nice advantage when it comes to qualification. So for sure, both teams will be fired-up tonight. Penarol are yet to start their domestic campaign, but they are coming after a good away win, so morale should be at the top. With few changes compared to last year, they maintained their solid base, and keep playing pretty much the same way. That mean an offensive and pleasant style, which always puts a lot of pressure on their opponents. Emelec, on the other hand, has form to their advantage, as they have managed to win all their official games in 2013, including the aforementioned clash with Velez, and their latest match against LDU Quito, as visitors, also resting a few regulars. They are really looking unstoppable at the moment, and they are also showing some very pleasing performances. They press a lot on offense, and they can launch some deadly counter-attacks at any time. Hard to pick a winner under these circumstances, but I'm sure we'll be seeing some goals here. The line seems lower than what I expected, so I'm going for a bet on goals. GL!

over 2.25 goals @ 2.00, 4/10
Result: 1-0, LOST

Feb 17, 2013

Cienciano - Real Garcilaso

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

I'm gonna take this bet early, without waiting for any line-up confirmation, because regardless of the playing conditions, this has a certain amount of value. First of all, I am expecting some changes in Garcilaso's team, as this would be their third match in 7 days, and just a couple of days later they will have to travel to Paraguay for another Libertadores clash against Cerro Porteno. They showed some good performances so far, despite the fact that most of the key players from last season have left the team, but this time it should be slightly different, as the regulars will be tired, while the reserves probably still need time to blend in with the team. Cienciano should be well rested, as they didn't have to play a single match so far, so they should have had more than enough time to prepare for this Clasico (both teams are from Cuzco, and even share the same stadium, so there won't be any home/altitude advantage). Last year they exchanged wins and points, with either team taking the victory when playing as 'hosts', so I'm expecting something similar to happen. Garcilaso doesn't have such a strong squad to focus on more competitions at the same time, and the good start they have in Libertadores should make them look to Cerro Porteno. GL!

Cienciano (+0.25 AH) @ 2.04, 4/10
Result: 0-1, LOST