Liga NOS Matchday 17 Odds & Picks: Lisbon Derby the Key Clash

Sporting
Fourth place Sporting entertain first place Benfica this weekend. Photo by @SportingCP_en (Twitter)
  • Sporting (+235) host league leaders Benfica (+111) in a hyper-charged Lisbon derby with the former beginning to surge and the latter looking to maintain its four-point lead in first place
  • This column’s favorite dark horse Famalicao (-138) are favored at home against a draw-happy Maritimo (+390)
  • Second-place Porto (-196) faces a stiff challenge from Ruben Amorim’s Braga (+500), which has won two straight to surge into the top five

Week 17 of the Portuguese soccer season continues this weekend with the game of the week featuring Sporting and Benfica, while we break down two other matches which could offer betting value as well.

Sporting CP vs. Benfica Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Odds at BetOnline Total
Sporting CP pk, +0.5 (+102) +235 O 2.5 (-115)
Benfica pk, -0.5 (-122) +111 U 2.5 (-105)
Draw N/A +225 N/A

All odds taken Jan. 15

The derby that arguably defined the 20th century in Portuguese soccer renews pleasantries on Friday, as third-place Sporting (9-2-5) host Benfica (14-0-1) at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Sporting have been significantly better since Silas was appointed as manager on September 27, compiling a 13-0-5 record across all competitions and most importantly taking care of business against clubs of smaller stature — something they struggled to do under Marcel Keizer.

But: This same Sporting side lost 2-1 at home to Porto a mere two weeks ago, and is squaring off against a Benfica team four points clear of that Porto and in the midst of another romp through Portugal.

Results in recent weeks haven’t been awe-inspiring from Bruno Lage’s group — a 2-1 win vs. last-place Aves and 3-2 cup win vs. Rio Ave had nervy moments — but this is still a Benfica team whose only league loss came back on August 24.

Note: Many of Sporting’s finest results the past few years have come via the magic of Bruno Fernandes, who is now being seriously linked to Manchester United. Will his potential departure unnerve the squad, or will he provide Sporting fans one last signature moment in the derby? He could be a good value bet on the anytime goalscorer market as well.

Pick: Benfica +111

Famalicao vs. Maritimo Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Odds at BetOnline Total
Famalicao -0.5 (-138) -138 O 2.5 (-114)
Maritimo +0.5 (+118) +390 U 2.5 (-106)
Draw N/A +235 N/A

Just when it appeared the Cinderella story of Famalicao (9-3-4) was beginning to come crashing down, Joao Pedro Sousa’s team responded.

After three-straight defeats from November 30 to December 14 in league play, questions were being asked — about defense, offense, you name it.

Fast forward to Matchday 17 and it’s an altogether different story: Famalicao have won four on the hop in all competitions, outscoring admittedly weak opposition 8-0 in the process.

Sousa’s squad returns home off a pair of 1-0 road wins; their last home outing was a solid 3-0 win over a then-buzzing Setubal.

Maritimo (4-7-5) suffered through a slow start to the season, but have since earned points in five of their last six (2-3-1) and are unbeaten in four (2-2-0).

Nonetheless, Famalicao away is tricky and Maritimo — which have seen two total goals (both scored) over their last four games — will likely try to stifle it.

Pick: U2.5 (-106)

Porto vs. Braga Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Odds at BetOnline Total
Porto -1 (-113) -196 O 2.5 (-109)
Sporting Braga +1 (-107) +500 U 2.5 (-111)
Draw N/A +295 N/A

The prevailing sense in Portugal is that this will be a weekend that could determine the course of the second half of the season; Benfica is favored to win the derby at Sporting, and Porto (13-2-1) faces a winnable but not-automatic Braga (7-3-6) test on home turf.

Friday’s visitors appear to have stabilized following the shock dismissal of manager Sa Pinto, having battered Belenenses (7-1) and seen off Tondela (2-1) in new boss Ruben Amorim’s first two games. However: Porto away is an entirely different beast and the first big-three test for the unproven manager.

Note: Porto has won five of the last six meetings between the two.

Pick: Porto -196

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