Benfica Lisboa - Sporting Lisboa

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03.12.21 - 22:15 CET

PORTUGAL: Liga Portugal

This is my favourite bet on a 1-0 or 2-0 result in Sporting's favour, which is more common than it might seem at first view.

I'll start with the negative factors for the bet. This is definitely the away environment, where Sporting has kept a clean sheet "only" 2 times out of 5 games this season (in the league), so the defense is a bit lame (they haven't conceded in 6 out of 7 games at home and only Porto scored).

The other, perhaps even worse, is the opponent itself. It's a follow-up problem to the first one, as in this match played on Benfica's territory, never in modern history has a match ended with these results, only once in the cup, but never really in the league.

Since last season, Sporting has been on the rise after a period of decline. Last year they won the Portuguese league and this year they have already put the cherry on top by qualifying for the spring stage of the Champions League. They have won league title mainly through a great and assured defence and a not entirely overwhelming offence. This year they have followed up on similar performances, with 7 of their last 12 games ending with the necessary results, but further 6 of their last 7 games have ended with the necessary results, so Sporting have already gotten into last year's mode and could at least trouble Benfica in my opinion.

And last season was good against Benfica. At home, in their first game of the season, they notched only their second win against Benfica since 2015, the result was 1-0. The second mutual match was played in the second-to-last round, when Sporting had already secured the title. I definitely don't want to say that they didn't go all out in the game, because this derby is very prestigious, at least in Portugal, and you don't give away games like this, but Sporting's relaxed attitude was evident in the game. The game eventually ended in a wild 4-3 result in Benfica's favour, but it's hard to expect something like that again.

Moreover, the Portuguese league is more evenly matched now than perhaps ever before, with the top three teams (Sporting, Porto, Benfica) on 32, 32 and 31 points respectively, so going into the game it's certainly unacceptable to concede. However, I think one team in particular will do well and the chances of it being Sporting are then greater than the odds say. So it's a tough bet, but it doesn't reflect the odds.

Prediction:
Sporting to win and Under 2.5 Goals @ 8.0 (bet365)
 

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