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Liga NOS Matchday 2: Will the Weekend Offer High-Scoring Affairs and a Benfica Win?

Kouka was involved in the scoring for Braga last week. Could he part of another high-scoring match this weekend? Photo by @Sokkaa_RSS (Twitter)
  • Goal totals could offer strong value as mid-table teams try to snatch points early in the season
  • Big 3 offer big question marks in Week 2, especially Sporting (-101) at home vs. Braga
  • Benfica already two points ahead of Porto, Sporting in title race after a single week

Matchday 2 in Portugal’s Liga NOS kicks off this Friday with Rio Ave visiting Famalicao, and we have three games of special interest to highlight.

Moreirense return home after suffering an opening-day beating at Braga to face a confident Gil Vicente side in a game with plenty of value.

Belenenses is coming off a credible draw away to Portimonense, and return home to their borrowed stadium for a date with title favorites Benfica.

Sporting hosts a refreshed Braga squad at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, with plenty of questions surrounding the former’s manager Marcel Keizer and the latter looking to engineer an upset.

Moreirense vs Gil Vicente Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Odds at BetOnline Total
Moreirense -0.5 (-110) +125 O 2.5 (-101)
Gil Vicente -0.5 (-110) +225 U 2.5 (-119)
Draw N/A +210 N/A

*All odds taken 8/15/19

Moreirense slumped to a one-sided 3-1 loss at Braga last week, while Gil Vicente stunned giants Porto 2-1.

Saturday’s hosts are coming off a strong 6th-place showing in the Liga NOS last season, but new manager Vitor Campelos is in his first top-division posting.

Gil Vicente, meanwhile, is under grizzled veteran Vitor Oliveira and should be well-organized for its first away test since returning to the first division.

Moreirense played for the counter last week at Braga, and will likely be more attacking at home; Gil Vicente will probably sit deep and wait for a counter, though Oliveira’s teams have never been fully gun shy.

Pick: Over 2.5

Belenenses vs Benfica Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Odds at BetOnline Total
Belenenses +1.5 (+101) +950 O 3 (-119)
Benfica -1.5 (-121) -476 U 3 (-101)
Draw N/A +540 N/A

If you believe in x-factors, then perhaps Belenenses is a long play.

Blues boss Silas has not lost to powerhouse Benfica in three matches (1W-2D-0L) since taking over Saturday’s hosts, though if anything, history would tell us Benfica rarely goes four matches against middling domestic opposition without a win.

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? Estreia na #LigaNOS! #SLBFCPF #PeloBenfica

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The crowd will undoubtedly be a sea of Benfica red despite it being a Belenenses home match, as the pro club remnants of BEL continue their drawn-out front office battle for the club’s original fans, stadium and crest.

It’s turned ugly, and the club’s mid-table performances throughout the past year-plus of protracted legal battles and mudslinging is impressive — just not impressive enough to take them against one of the best Portuguese squads of the last decade.

For context, here are the highlights from the last time a Biig Three team visited Belenenses in its borrowed stadium.

Pick: Benfica -1.5

Sporting vs. Braga Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Odds at BetOnline Total
Sporting -0.5 (-101) -101 O 2.5 (-126)
Braga +0.5 (-119) +250 U 2.5 (+101)
Draw N/A +230 N/A

Winning domestic cups on penalties after underwhelming performances aside, it’s been a very disappointing stretch for Marcel Keizer’s Sporting Lisbon squad.

Last week’s 1-1 draw on the island of Madeira at Maritimo did little to assuage concerns about Sporting this season.

While retaining Bruno Fernandes could save Sporting’s firm Top-3 status, the Leōes need more dynamic attacking options to have any chance.

Braga, meanwhile, has looked good in recent weeks but could be tired from its Thursday Europa League clash with Brondby — no scheduling support from the Portuguese federation for Sa Pinto’s Braga side here.

Consider the over here: Sporting has gone over in every match since the beginning of pre-season, with the exception of last week on the road, while Braga has gone over in its last two matches.

Pick: Over 2.5

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