Apr 11, 2013

Real Garcilaso - Cerro Porteno

Copa Libertadores 2013, Group Stage

Early bet here, as the odds are bound to drop. As much as I hate Real Garcilaso this season, and as many bets that I've lost on their matches, I can not 'not' take a bet on them now.  They've made an incredible campaign this year, keeping in mind that this is their first time ever in Libertadores, and they currently have 7 points in the group, after 4 games, and have some nice chances of qualifying to the next round. For that, they will first of all need to defeat Cerro Porteno... normally, that won't be an easy task, but if we look at some facts, everything seems easier. Cerro Porteno have 0 points in this group, losing all 4 games, and ruining even the slightest chance they had to qualify. And it looks like they are just throwing the towel. Since their domestic campaign isn't that good either, a lot of the regulars will remain in Asuncion, along with coach Arce. So, in Peru, they will have a team composed of youngsters and reserves, lead by the assistant manager and the youth coach. Also, they'll have a long road ahead, with a stop in Bolivia before going to Lima, and in Cusco they will also have to face over 3000 meters of altitude. Hard for an inexperienced team to fight in those circumstances, especially with nothing at stake, so this should go down as an easy win for the home team. GL!

Garcilaso (-1.25 AH) @ 1.91, 5/10
Result: 5-1, WON

Apr 8, 2013

Olimpia - Cerro Porteno PF

Paraguay Primera Division, Apertura

Despite a poor domestic campaign, Olimpia is having a great performance in Copa Libertadores, where they are currently topping a group with Newell's and U de Chile, and are already qualified. They did go through a tough match just a few weeks ago, recording a 1-0 win in Chile, so the manager has decided to give a rest to most of his key players. Therefore, tonight we'll see an Olimpia side with very few regulars, and a lot of reserve players. So the current odds seem to be off by quite a bit, and they would have been exaggerated even if Olimpia would have used their best squad. I was talking about their poor performances in the league, as they have only won 2 games from the 7 they played (much to their credit, those two wins came against Cerro Porteno and Guarani). But when you draw with Rubio Nu, Luqueno and Carapegua, and lost at home against General Diaz, there's definitely room for improvement. Cerro de Franco also has 2 wins so far, but their general results are slightly better, as they drew at Libertad last week, and in February they defeated league leaders Nacional by 5-2. Another interesting thing is that ever since their promotion, they have drawn all of their matches against Olimpia, so that gives me even more confidence that they won't lose today against an alternative team... and even if they do, they should at least keep it tight. GL!

Cerro (+1 AH) @ 1.98, 3/10
Result: 2-0, LOST

Apr 7, 2013

Cajamarca - Sporting Cristal

Peru Primera Division, Descentralizado

Nice odds for Sporting Cristal, as probably the bookies are thinking that they will rest some of their players, ahead of a very important Copa Libertadores match. But if we are to believe their coach (and there's no reason not to, as they have played with pretty much the best team all of their matches this season), they won't rest anyone and will take on this game in full force. They are once again one of the best teams in the league, and will most likely square off for the title with Alianza, Universitario and with last year's finalists, Real Garcilaso, who are currently topping the table, 3 points ahead of Cristal. They have been awesome so far, with 16 goals in 7 matches, thanks to their classy, in-form strikers: Avila (scored 2 in the league, 5 in all competitions) and Rengifo (2 goals), and of midfielder Renzo Sheput (4 goals in the league, 5 in all competitions). Cajamarca is situated at high altitude, but I don't see it as a major problem. Cristal has the players to overcome this deficit, and they have already won in Huanuco a couple of weeks ago, 2-1. Cajamarca have also lost at home against Alianza Lima (a team that I rate lower than Cristal), and the odds were quite similar. The only problem here would be if Cristal's players think about Libertadores too much, but they are professionals, so I trust they will get the job done here. GL!

Cristal (+0.25 AH) @ 1.90, 3/10
Result: 0-2, WON

Bolivia - Brazil

International Friendly Match

Exhibition match in Bolivia, in the memory of a kid who died during a Copa Libertadores match. The purpose of this match is to raise some funds, so expect a nice-flowing game, with lots of goals, willing to please the crowd and to honor the deceased fan. No foreign-based players are allowed, so both teams will have to rely on local players, and this obviously brings a huge advantage to Brazil. If we look in their squad, we can see a lot of big names and some very classy players: Ronaldinho, Jadson, Neymar and Pato, plus a few talented youngsters, but without too much international experience (especially in the defensive line). Now, I am aware that the big stars probably won't play throughout the match, as almost all of them have Libertadores duties, but with the amount of quality that they have, even one half on the pitch should be enough. The Bolivians can't boast about their player's skills. They are using a mix of experienced players and some youngsters, but there is little to say about them, even the experienced ones. The only ones worth mentioning are Marcelo Moreno and Juan Carlos Arce, as they should be the only ones capable of putting some pressure on Brazil's fragile defense. Also, the match will be played at Santa Cruz, where there is no altitude, so the Brazilians can just get on with their usual game. With nothing at stake here, I'm expecting both teams to show something nice for the fans and viewers, and when this is the case, usually both teams score and we have several goals. GL!

over 2.5 goals @ 1.88, 4/10
Result: 0-4, WON