Upcoming Match-ups

Braga vs Benfica Odds & Prediction – Primeira Liga Round 24

Carlos Verde

by Carlos Verde in Soccer News

Updated Mar 20, 2021 · 6:25 AM PDT

Abel Ruiz on the pitch speaking
Braga's Abel Ruiz during the Europa League Group G soccer match between Leicester City and Sporting Braga at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Thursday, Nov 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
  • Third-place Braga entertains 4th-place Benfica in Portugal’s Primeira Liga on Sunday (4pm ET)
  • The two are part of a logjam jostling for a chance at UEFA Champions League money next season
  • Get the latest odds, trends and best bets for Sunday’s showdown below

With Sporting 10 points clear of anybody else in Portugal, attention turns to the race for second through fourth place.

It’s been a phenomenal season for Carlos Carvalhal’s Braga (16-2-5), which has made a run to the final in two different domestic cups and is on track for a fourth-straight Top 4 finish in Portugal.

On the flip side, Benfica (14-6-3) has struggled in all competitions in Jorge Jesus’ return to the Aguias bench — in stark contrast to his promise to ‘set the league on fire’ at the outset of the season.

The two collide on Sunday in a critical clash which could go a long way towards shaping the European race down the stretch in the Primeira Liga.

Braga vs Benfica Odds

Matchup Spread Moneyline at DraftKings Total
Braga vs Benfica BRA pk (+120)  | BEN pk (-150) BRA +188 | BEN +120 | DRAW +265 Ov 2.5 (-148) | Un 2.5 (+117)

Odds taken March 19th.

It’s been a streaky recent history between the two sides, with Braga winning the last three matchups but Benfica winning five straight contests from Jan. 2018 to Dec. 2019.

Sunday’s visitors hold an overall 23-9-6 (W-L-T) edge dating back to 2007, but the Guerreiros have certainly held their own over the past few seasons.

Braga: Potent on the Attack

Goals have not been hard to come by for Carvalhal’s side, which has scored in 14 consecutive contests across all competitions since a 1-0 loss to Sporting in Jan. 23’s Taça da Liga Final.

Braga has scored two or more goals in its last four outings entering the weekend, including three-goal efforts against Porto and Guimaraes, two well-organized teams.

Whether it be Ricardo Horta, Abel Ruiz, longtime Chelsea loanee Lucas Piazon or January signing Andraz Sporar — acquired in a swap deal for then-leading scorer Paulinho — the Guerreiros boast weapons and are currently firing on all cylinders.

YouTube video

Food for thought: The Over 2.5 has hit in each of the team’s last six games, with the ambitious Over 3.5 also cashing in four of those six.

Benfica: Defensive Returns

Trailing by 13 points in the league, knocked out of the UEFA Europa League last month by Arsenal and with just one trophy — the Taça de Portugal in May — still within reach, Benfica has had a disappointing season by any measure.

Nonetheless, Jorge Jesus’ side has tightened up defensively in recent weeks and put together a nice string of results in Portugal.

YouTube video

The Aguias have registered five clean sheets in as many outings entering Saturday — albeit against middling opponents like Farense, Boavista, etc. — and are undefeated in seven league matches (4-3-0) since a 1-0 derby defeat to Sporting on Feb. 1.

Braga vs Benfica Best Bets

Goals have not been a problem for Braga in its two matches against Benfica since Carvalhal took the managerial reins, with a 3-2 win at the Estadio da Luz back in November followed by a 2-1 win on home turf in the Taça da Liga semifinal in January.

Amongst the scoring odds for the hosts, Abel Ruiz at +230 offers good value — the Spanish frontman for Braga has made two starts in March and scored against Guimaraes — as well as Andraz Sporar (+185).

Given Braga’s recent success against Benfica, and their near-identical points totals, backing the hosts with pk protection and still getting plus-money seems like a no-brainer.

Pick: Abel Ruiz to Score (+230), Braga pk (+120)

Author Image