- After a wild week off the pitch, Portugal’s Liga NOS returns to action this Friday with Braga a -233 favorite at home under new manager Custodio against struggling Portimonense (+560)
- Riding a hot streak and stunningly back in first place, Porto (-270) host a plucky Rio Ave (+680) at the Estadio do Dragao
- Get all the odds and best matchups for Matchday 23 in Portugal below
The title race in Portugal’s Liga NOS has jumpstarted from ‘almost over’ prior to February 8th’s Clasico to ‘red hot’, as Porto are winning at a relentless pace and former leaders Benfica have won just once in their last seven across all competition.
A stunning move at Sporting saw the club pay Braga 10M euros this week for the rights to manager Ruben Amorim, who had been in charge just 13 games at the latter.
How Braga, which was riding a wave of momentum and sits comfortably in third place, and Sporting — in real danger of slipping from the top five — respond will be intriguing to watch.
Liga NOS Matchday 24 Odds
|Sporting Braga||-1, 1.5 (-105)||-233||O 2.5, 3 (-114)|
|Portimonense||+1, 1.5 (-115)||+560||U 2.5, 3 (-106)|
|Tondela||pk (-120)||+159||O 2, 2.5 (+117)|
|Boavista||pk (+100)||+183||U 2, 2.5 (-137)|
|Vit. Setubal||+1, 1.5 (-106)||+725||O 2.5 (-108)|
|Benfica||-1, 1.5 (-114)||-270||U 2.5 (-112)|
|FC Porto||-1, 1.5 (-115)||-270||O 2.5, 3 (+105)|
|Rio Ave||+1, 1.5 (-105)||+680||U 2.5, 3 (-125)|
|Belenenses||pk (-105)||+173||O 2.5 (-108)|
|Famalicao||pk (-115)||+157||U 2.5 (-112)|
|Moreirense||pk, -0.5 (-111)||+124||O 2, 2.5 (+108)|
|Maritimo||pk, +0.5 (-109)||+215||U 2, 2.5 (-128)|
|Sporting Lisbon||-1.5, 2 (+102)||-370||O 3 (-102)|
|Aves||+1.5, 2 (-122)||+775||U 3 (-118)|
|Gil Vicente||pk, -0.5 (-129)||+107||O 2, 2.5 (+108)|
|Santa Clara||pk, +0.5 (+109)||+255||U 2, 2.5 (-128)|
|Pacos Ferreira||+0.5, 1 (-104)||+460||O 2, 2.5 (-134)|
|Vit. Guimaraes||-0.5, 1 (-116)||-154||U 2, 2.5 (+114)|
All odds taken Mar. 6
Pick 1: Vit. Setubal vs. Benfica
Backing either Setubal (6-9-8) or Benfica (19-1-3) could qualify as risky business at the moment, as both are in the midst of serious skids.
After an initial uptick under new boss Julio Velazquez, Setubal has stumbled from an outside shot at European play to being a firmly bottom half team during its recent 0-2-3 run.
Benfica boss Bruno Lage is being questioned after his side won just twice in seven outings in the month of February.
Simply put, it’s a must-win game for Benfica — and one that Setubal will feel they can harness to snap their slump. Expect an offensive battle as Setubal’s last four home games have all hit the “Over” and goals have hardly been Benfica’s downfall in recent weeks.
Pick: O 2.5 (-108)
Pick 2: Sporting Lisbon vs. Desportivo Aves
The best soap opera in Portugal right now is taking place at Sporting Lisbon (12-3-8), which trails the other traditional members of the Big 3 by 20 points and is losing its grip on the No. 3 spot in the country.
The ‘purchase’ of Braga manager Ruben Amorim smacks of midseason desperation for the Leoes, who are heavily favored but unsteady in form entering this week’s matchup against last-place Aves (4-1-18).
Sporting só por uma vez investiu +10M€ num jogador. Na lista de mais caras contratações da história do clube, Ruben Amorim entra directamente para segundo. É o 3º treinador mais caro da história do futebol.
Liderou o Braga durante 13 jogos. A gestão do Sporting é fascinante. pic.twitter.com/nW5t35DDSv
— Tiago Estêvão (@TiagoEstv) March 5, 2020
Tiago Estevao is one of Portugal’s foremost soccer minds, and the translation equates to: Sporting has only ever broken the 10M euro fee they just paid for a coach with 13 games of top-division experience on a player once. Fascinating management.
Can the cellar dwellers manufacture an upset? Unlikely, given their last two comprehensive defeats at home against Guimaraes (0-2) and lowly Pacos Ferreira (1-3).
Expect goals — lots of them.
Pick: O 3 (-102)
Pick 3: Pacos Ferreira vs. Vit. Guimaraes
Yes, it’s true that Pacos Ferreira (6-4-13) have been one of the worst teams in Portugal this season.
And yes, it’s also true that Guimaraes (9-7-7) have been steady and are roughly on track for a return to Europe next season.
But former Tondela boss Pepa has steadied Pacos’ leaky ship in recent weeks, with a pair of wins creating six points of separation between Sunday’s hosts and the drop zone; Guimaraes, while in good form, could be vulnerable away from home (3-5-3).
Pick: Pacos +0.5, 1 (-104)
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