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Liga MX Apertura Semifinals Leg 1 Odds & Picks: Guadalajara vs Léon & Cruz Azul vs Pumas

John Dillon

by John Dillon in Soccer

Dec 1, 2020 · 6:46 AM PST

Cruz Azul of Liga MX
Cruz Azul's Elias Hernandez, right, and Tigres' Jesus Duenas compete for the ball during a Mexican soccer league quarterfinal second leg match at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
  • Last four first leg ties at 10:05 pm ET on Wednesday and 10:00 pm ET Thursday
  • Regular season table-toppers Leon are favored while Cruz Azul are wide outsiders
  • See all odds and best bets for Liga MX Apertura “Guardianes” Semifinals Leg 1

Mexico’s Liga MX Apertura championship reaches the playoff semifinal first leg stage this week with Chivas Guadalajara facing Club Leon and Cruz Azul meeting Pumas UNAM.

The nation’s championship is divided into Apertura and Clausura sections, with the current competition re-named as the “Guardianes” to honor Mexico’s health workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

You can read our previews here for this week’s two first leg semifinals matches below.

Chivas Guadalajara vs Leon Odds

Matchup Spread Moneyline Total
Chivas Guadalajara vs Leon CHI pk (+106) | LEO pk (-137) CHI +180 | LEO +145 | DRAW +235 Ov 2.5 (-104) | Un 2.5 (-127)

Odds taken Dec 1 at DraftKings

Chivas Guadalajara vs Leon

Leon finished comfortably top of the Guardianes regular season table and remain favorites to lift the championship as they prepare to face Chivas Guadalajara in the semifinal first leg on Wednesday.

For Guadalajara, their surprise advance to the last four has placed them in a situation in which they have nothing to lose.

It could allow them to implement their counter-attacking style with confidence over the two-legged showdown.

The favorites to advance to the final are Leon who are priced at +145 to win the opening game with DraftKings.

Chivas are rated at +180 at the Estadio Akron at 10:05 pm ET on Wednesday with the draw looking the best value here at +235.

The back story here is that Chivas have recently emerged from a scandal in which they were forced to fire one player and suspend three more in early November for alleged misdemeanors at a party.

Leon were table-toppers in the regular season with 40 points –  eight ahead of second-placed Pumas  UNAM.

The mood has since lifted. But they face a tough test against a Leon side which has been regarded as Mexico’s best during the past two seasons although they were last champions when they won the Clausura section of Liga MX in 2014.

Leon were table-toppers in the regular season with 40 points –  eight ahead of second-placed Pumas UNAM.

They racked up 12 wins, four draws and only one defeat during that part of the campaign.

However, there was a shock in the first leg of the playoff quarterfinals when they were beaten 2-1 at Puebla who had been the lowest placed qualifiers for the playoffs in the 12th position.

In the return match, Leon recovered to win 2-0 thanks to an early own goal from Puebla’s Maximiliano Berg and a further strike from Angel Delgado – who was the team’s leading scorer in the regular season with seven goals.

Guadalajara was seventh in the regular-season table.

Guadalajara Two Wins Over Club America

That placed them in the first playoff “re-classification” round in which the teams finishing fifth to 12th meet in one-off ties to advance to the quarterfinals.

After a 1-0 defeat of Necaxa in this section, Chivas scored a double win over Club America in the last eight; again boosting hopes they can surprise Leon.

Chivas won the first leg 1-0 thanks to a goal from defender Christian Calderon.

He then scored twice more to claim further headlines in the 2-1 second leg victory.

There was a 0-0 draw when these teams last met in Guadalajara in July.

Pick: Draw +235

Cruz Azul vs Pumas UNAM Odds

Matchup Spread Moneyline Total
Cruz Azul vs Pumas UNAM CRU -1.5 (+250) | PUM +1.5 (-345) CRU -118 | PUM +320 | DRAW +245 Ov 2.5 (-108) | Un 2.5 (-121)

Cruz Azul vs Pumas UNAM

Cruz Azul have not lifted a Liga MX title since 1997 and they are not much-fancied to end that run after a stuttering advance through the quarterfinals.

On Thursday at 10:00 pm ET, they face a home first leg against Pumas UNAM at the 87,000-capacity Azteca Stadium in Mexico City which is their home HQ.

Pumas have also made nervous progress into the last four.

At DraftKings, Cruz Azul are surprisingly wide favorites to win the opening leg at -118. Pumas UNAM are priced at +320 with the draw at +240.

This is despite the fact that Pumas UNAM were second-placed finishers in the regular season table while Cruz Azul were fourth.

With that in mind, the wide offer of +320 for a Pumas win looks most attractive.

Furthermore, Cruz Azul lost four of their final five regular season fixtures.

Having qualified for the last eight of the playoffs, they won 3-1 in their opening leg away against Tigres.

Pumas UNAM were beaten only once in the regular season while winning eight and drawing eight times.

That seemed to have restored their confidence. But they were then beaten 1-0 in the return game, although they clung on to advance.

Pumas Just a Single Loss in Season

Pumas UNAM were beaten only once in the regular season while winning eight and drawing eight times.

They are good at grinding out results and avoiding defeat and will offer a tough proposition for Cruz Azul to break down.

That was illustrated by the quarterfinal results.

They secured a gritty 1-0 first leg win at Pachuca after a seventh-minute goal from Favio Alvarez. Then they forced a 0-0 draw in the return meeting.

Pumas were 2-1 away winners when these teams last met on November 8.

Pick: Pumas UNAM +320

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