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Benfica Favored Over Porto to Win 2019 Portugal Primeira Liga Title

Haris Seferovic of Benfica
Haris Seferovic and Benfica are in pole position to claim the 2019 Portuguese title. Photo By Steindy (discussão) (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • Two-horse race for Primeira Liga title
  • Benfica have the edge on goal-difference
  • Sporting CP big outsiders on +200000

Much has been made of the head-to-head between Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the English Premier League. But as the European soccer season draws to a close there are some equally thrilling finishes in some of the other top leagues.

In the German Bundesliga, just a single point separates Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, while in the Dutch Eredivisie just goal-difference separates PSV and Ajax. But arguably the tightest of the lot is in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, where Benfica and Porto are locked in a titanic battle for the title.

Odds To Win 2019 Primeira Liga

Winner Odds To Win Primeira Liga
Benfica -175
FC Porto +125
Sporting CP +20000

*Odds taken April 26, 2019

At -175, Benfica are the bookies’ favorites to win it, partly because they have what is, on paper at least, the slightly easier run-in, and also due to Porto’s upcoming Taca de Portugal final (the Portuguese Cup) with Sporting CP.

But the margins are fine and this one looks like it may well go to the final weekend of the season.

Identical Records

With four games to go, both teams are on 75 points and have identical records with 24 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats, but it’s Benfica’s +61 goal-difference that currently gives them the edge and top spot.

Porto, with a goal-difference of +45, are 16 goals worse off and with there being virtually no way for them to close this difference with four games remaining, this is in effect worth another point for Benfica – another reason why the bookies think they will win it.

Sporting With Too Much to Do

Sporting CP, currently in third place on 67 points, have too much ground to make up to trouble the top two, so we wouldn’t recommend anyone wasting their money, even at odds of +20000. In fact their biggest challenge is to retain third place, with Sporting Braga (64 points) breathing down their neck.

Braga though, are a comfortable 15 points ahead of their nearest rivals – Moreirense – and therefore, along with Sporting CP, are still virtually certain of a top-four finish and therefore European football next season.

So, essentially, despite Sporting CP and Braga both having had what they will regard as successful seasons, it has boiled down to a two-way shoot-out for the title.

The Final Countdown

For Benfica, their biggest test remaining comes next when they travel to Braga in what promises to be a tense Sunday afternoon in the picturesque Municipal Stadium.

While for Porto it’s an away game at eighth-placed Rio Ave, who themselves are stuck in mid-table with little to play for. It’s hard to see either team slipping up.

Benfica then have a home game with Portimonese (10th), which is followed by a home game with Rio Ave. We expect them to win both.

Meanwhile, for Porto, it’s a home game against mid-table Aves (11th) followed by an away trip to relegation-threatened Nacional (17th), and while we expect them to beat Aves with ease, the fact Nacional will be fighting for their lives makes this a difficult one.

They should win both but in the circumstances, don’t be surprised to see them drop points at Nacional.

Final Weekend Drama

The final weekend promises to be fascinating. Benfica have a fairly comfortable looking task at home to Santa Clara, while Porto entertain Benfica’s great Lisbon rivals, Sporting CP, who will not necessarily be busting a gut to do Benfica a favor. It’s hard to see Porto slipping up, but if Benfica do their job it should be academic.

The Águias, in our view, may need a win on the final day to see the job through but we think they are capable of winning their final four games, making their superior goal-difference the significant factor.

Our pick: Benfica (-175)

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