- Benfica decent value to hammer newly-promoted Paços de Ferreira by three or more (-112)
- Porto similarly solid bet to wash new-look Gil Vicente in Barcelos (-1.5 for -111)
- Intriguing game pits resurgent Santa Clara against moneyed, newly-promoted Famalicao (+270)
A new season of Portuguese top-flight footy is upon us, as the 2019-20 Liga NOS campaign kicks off on Friday with Portimonense hosting Belenenses.
The big three are still a cut above the rest, with Benfica and Porto expected to duke it out in the title race for a fourth-straight season.
We’re taking a look at a few of the best bets for this weekend’s opening slate of matches.
Gil Vicente vs. Porto odds
|Gil Vicente||+1.5 (-109)||+875||O 2.5 (-114)|
|Porto||-1.5 (-111)||-333||U 2.5 (-106)|
*All odds taken 8/7/19
Porto’s bid to dethrone Benfica in the domestic league begins with a short trip to face newly-promoted Gil Vicente, who rejoin the Liga NOS directly from the third division.
Manager Sergio Conceicao’s Dragons are fresh off a strong performance in Russia, where they downed Krasnodar 1-0 in Champions League qualifying action on Wednesday; there are still moving parts to Porto’s squad, but it’s a confident group that ought to have more than enough talent to see off their hosts come Saturday.
— FC Porto (@FCPorto) August 7, 2019
Gil Vicente will be an intriguing team to follow early in 2019-20, as manager Vitor Oliveira — a grizzled veteran of many a second-division season — gets his shot with a young, Brazilian-heavy roster.
PICK: Take Porto to win, no BTTS
Benfica vs. Pacos de Ferreira Odds
|Benfica||-2.5 (-112)||-714||O 3.5 (-109)|
|Pacos de Ferreira||+2.5 (-108)||+1350||U 3.5 (-111)|
Defending champions Benfica open their title defense with a sitter at home against newly-promoted Pacos de Ferreira.
The Estadio da Luz will be rocking come Saturday, and it’s likely that Benfica — fresh off a 5-0 thrashing of Sporting, the consensus No. 3 team in Portugal, in the SuperCup — will drop the hammer against Pacos.
Benfica lift the Portuguese Super Cup ??? after a 5-0 win against Sporting CP. ??
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 4, 2019
Bruno Lage’s Eagles have the offensive horses (Seferovic, de Tomas, Chiquinho, etc.) to once again be Portugal’s premier attacking team, even after the departure of wonderkid Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid.
It’s been a long five seasons since Pacos de Ferreira were a Cinderella story, representing Portugal in the Europa League; in that time, the club has tumbled down the Liga NOS table, been relegated and now returns to the top division. Their roster is a mixture of Brazilian journeymen and veteran Portuguese players, and will likely be involved in the relegation battle.
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Perfection is the standard set at Benfica; this is a team that finished last season 18W-1D-0L, and went 14-2-1 at the Luz.
Oh, and last year against relegation-bound teams at home? 3-0-0: 4-0 vs. Feirense, 10-0 vs. Nacional and 4-0 vs. Chaves.
PICK: Take Benfica to win, no BTTS. Alternatively, take Benfica with the spread if it’s -2.5
Santa Clara vs. Famalicao Odds
|Santa Clara||-0.5 (+101)||+101||O 2.5 (-102)|
|Famalicao||+0.5 (-121)||+270||U 2.5 (-118)|
One of the more tantalizing non-Big Three contests on Jornada 1 pits Santa Clara, who impressed with a 10th-place finish in their long-awaited return to the top division last season, against relatively moneyed newcomers Famalicao.
The lone Azorean team in Liga NOS, Santa Clara returns most of the key pieces that helped them to an impressive mid-table finish last season. Famalicao is part-owned by a group that also has shares in Atletico Madrid, meaning they join the top-flight with more resources and connections than one would expect of a team that hadn’t played top-flight soccer in 25-plus years.
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Famalicao has shored up their lines with first-division veterans like Rafael Defendi in goal and defender Lionn, and should be able to compete from opening kickoff.
Santa Clara got results at home down the stretch last season (3-3-0), but also suffered a seven-game losing skid; Famalicao are trying to redefine what it means to be a Liga NOS newcomer, with flashy loan signings and a stellar front office setup.
Could there be an upset on Jornada 1?
If you’re feeling it, a small play on Famalicao at +315 could be high-ceiling value; a more conservative play of “Famalicao or Draw” at -125 is also quite appealing.
PICK: Famalicao or Draw (-125)
Porto ML, Benfica -2.5, Famalicao or Draw (+343)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.