Aug 23, 2013

Cruz Azul - Herediano

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

Cruz Azul will finally start their Champions League campaign, after having the first match-day off, due to the new format of the competition, where groups are consisting of only 3 teams. The Mexican team are usually challengers in this competition, as during the last 5 years they have played 2 finals and one additional semifinal. There is no word on the line-up that will be used, but if we look at their history, it is to be expected for Cruz Azul to use a few reserve players, as most Mexican teams do when they are playing at home. Their group is a fairly easy one, with opposition from Costa Rica and Haiti, but they do need to get at least 4 points against Herediano (they shouldn't break a sweat against the Haitians). So I'm expecting a decent squad today, and the home win shouldn't be put under question. Herediano did well in their debut, beating Valencia by 6-1, but this will be totally different for them. They never won on Mexican grounds, regardless of the opposition and the squad used, and I really doubt they'll manage that today. The line is lower than I expected, so I think it's worth to go with the Mexicans here. GL!

Cruz Azul (-1.5 AH) @ 1.83, 3/10
Result: 3-0, WON

Aug 21, 2013

Victoria - Tijuana

CONCACAF Champions League, Group Stage

The CONCACAF Champions League is probably one of the most disproportionate tournaments in the world, so we can rarely find any value here, but this bet looks good enough. Club Tijuana started their campaign with a draw, which is always a good point if taken away from home. However, for a Mexican club, anything besides wins in this competition can be considered a fail, that's why I think they should be going for a win here. Another draw may sound good, especially since Tijuana will play their remaining matches at home, but they may end up sweating towards the end. Honduras is a tough place to go and win, but I'm not expecting any miracles from debutant Victoria. Last year, the country's best clubs, Olimpia and Marathon, failed to win at home against MLS opposition, and as we all know, Mexican clubs are better than the American ones. The big unknown here is usually the squad that the big clubs choose to field, but from the looks of it, Tijuana will go with a strong squad. The expected line-up for the Mexicans provides us pretty much all the regulars, with the exception of striker Benedetto (3/3 so far in the Apertura). The defensive and midfield lines are intact, while in the offensive line we still have some quality, with Fidel Martinez (3/2) and Joe Corona (3/0) - both are actually midfielders, but they're playing quite often in advanced positions. The quality advantage is obviously on the Mexican side, and the odds provided look good enough to risk a bet here. GL!

Tijuana (-0.5 AH) @ 2.08, 3/10
Result: 2-3, WON

Aug 20, 2013

General Diaz - Cerro Porteno

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Cerro Porteno may be out of Copa Sudamericana, but their schedule isn't at all more relaxed these days. They will have to face General Diaz today, and they have the SuperClasico against Olimpia during the weekend. But we have some good news, as coach Arce said he will use the best he has, in order to take the three points and to continue at the top of the standings. Diaz is a bubble that it's about to burst, and even though they managed a highly unlikely win on Friday, trashing Guarani by 3-0 on their own ground, I won't let myself get carried away, and I just can't see how their form will last. They aren't one of the better teams in the league, and even though they are enjoying a good run lately (besides the win against Guarani, they also drew with Nacional and Libertad), I'm confident it will end sooner, rather than later. Since Cerro will be using their main squad here, they should have the first chance in this match, and if we also think about the fact that they've won both matches against Diaz in the Apertura, I think we should see a repeat of those results. GL!

Cerro (-0.25 AH) @ 1.93, 3/10
Result: 1-1, HALF-LOST

Aug 18, 2013

Cerro Porteno - Sol de America

Paraguay Primera Division, Clausura

Once Cerro Porteno signed their elimination from Copa Sudamericana, they can now fully focus on the local league, especially since a win today could see them equal on points with the leaders. Moreover, the reigning champions - Nacional, and the current leaders - Libertad, are expected to struggle with fixture congestion, since both are still engaged with the continental competition, so this could provide Cerro some breathing space. And their coach is well aware of this, and tonight he will use the best players that he has at his disposal, including those that have played on Wednesday with the national team, Oscar Romero and Fernandez. Sol de America are doing a very good campaign so far, sitting in the table just one point behind Cerro, but they've had a very favorable fixture draw. They come after two high-profile wins, 2-1 away at Nacional, and 2-0 at home with Guarani, but both teams were using their second-string teams. Other than that, they've lost at home in the first round against lowly Capiata, so that should paint a picture of their true colors. I expect Cerro to bring them down to earth, after those two high-profile wins, and since they will be fielding a full squad, this shouldn't go past a home win. GL!

Cerro (-0.75 AH) @ 1.80, 3/10
Result: 2-0, WON