- Portugal’s Liga NOS returns to the soccer pitch on Wednesday after being suspended for nearly three months during the COVID-19 crisis
- League leaders Porto hold a one-point lead over Benfica with ten compressed matchdays still to be played over the months of June and July
- Get all the odds and best matchups for Matchday 25 in Portugal below
Thanks in large part to Benfica’s slump immediately prior to the COVID break, the title race is very much back on in Portugal and all eyes will be on Wednesday evening’s league (re-)opener between Porto (-227) and 7th-place Famalicao (+660)
Bruno Lage’s Benfica (-526) are firm favorites at home against bottom-half Tondela (+1250) on Thursday.
The race for third is also still vaguely in play; 3rd-place Braga (-161) faces a tricky contest against Santa Clara (+440) while holding a four-point lead over 4th-place Sporting (+184), who may be in tough with a visit to Guimaraes (+149) on Thursday.
Liga NOS Matchday 25 Odds
|Portimonense||pk (-122)||+150||O 2, 2.5 (+108)|
|Gil Vicente||pk (+102)||+183||U 2, 2.5 (-128)|
|Famalicao||+1, 1.5 (-120)||+660||O 2.5, 3 (-113)|
|FC Porto||-1, 1.5 (+100)||-227||U 2.5, 3 (-107)|
|Maritimo||pk, -0.5 (-116)||+119||O 2, 2.5 (+105)|
|Vit. Setubal||pk, +0.5 (-104)||+230||U 2, 2.5 (-125)|
|Benfica||-2 (+101)||-526||O 3 (-108)|
|Tondela||+2 (-121)||+1250||U 3 (-112)|
|Vit. Guimaraes||pk (-123)||+149||O 2.5 (-106)|
|Sporting Lisboa||pk (+103)||+184||U 2.5 (-114)|
|Santa Clara||+0.5, 1 (+102)||+440||O 2.5 (-114)|
|Sporting Braga||-0.5, 1 (-122)||-161||U 2.5 (-106)|
|Aves||pk (+105)||+187||O 2, 2.5 (-106)|
|Belenenses||pk (-125)||+147||U 2, 2.5 (-114)|
|Boavista||pk (-125)||+150||O 2 (-114)|
|Moreirense||pk (+105)||+189||U 2 (-106)|
|Rio Ave||-0.5, 1 (-119)||-156||O 2, 2.5 (-114)|
|Pacos Ferreira||+0.5, 1 (-101)||+440||U 2, 2.5 (-106)|
All odds taken May 31
Pick 1: Benfica vs. Tondela
The final three weeks leading into the suspension of the Liga were not kind to Bruno Lage’s Benfica (19-2-3), which after a red-hot first half skidded into the unexpected COVID break with a 1-2-2 record in their final five league matches and an ugly Europa League exit at the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk.
Tondela (6-7-11) has put in its typical shift, grinding above the relegation zone and enjoying a nine-point buffer currently with Portimonense (2-10-12) and Aves (4-1-19) setting a new standard of futility this season.
While Benfica mopped the floor with Tondela immediately following the latter’s promotion to the top flight in 2015 — bagging four or more goals in all but one of their first five encounters — the last few years have been kinder to Tondela.
Thursday’s visitors actually stunned Benfica at the Estadio da Luz two years ago (2-3), and dropped a narrow 1-0 decision there in March 2019; they might just keep things interesting again this week.
PICK: Tondela +2 (-121)
Pick 2: Vit. Guimaraes vs Sporting Lisboa
Despite their difference in club stature, Guimaraes (10-7-7) and Sporting (13-3-8) have more in common at the moment than Sporting and the other two ‘Big Three’ clubs.
Thursday’s hosts sit just five points back of Sporting entering play, and have taken points from this match in four of five previous season (2-2-1) — the lone outlier being a lopsided 5-0 loss in August 2017.
Sporting had been wildly inconsistent this season and slid into the COVID break with an 0-1-3 record in their final four away matches.
PICK: Guimaraes pk (-123)
Pick 3: Rio Ave vs Pacos Ferreira
Rio Ave (10-8-6) will have plenty of time to digest Thursday’s results ahead of their Sunday clash with Pacos Ferreira (6-4-14).
Carlos Carvalhal’s squad currently sits in 5th place, sandwiched by Sporting and Guimaraes, and has a very real shot at qualifying for European competition next season.
It’s worth noting that three of the previous four meetings between these two clubs — including their earlier meeting this season — have ended 0-0.
PICK: Under 2, 2.5 (-106)
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