Portuguese Superliga Tips: Expect different fortunes for Big Three on return
Portuguese football returns with a full programme starting from Wednesday and Primeira Liga expert Jamie Pacheco has bets for games featuring the league's big three.
Numbers in your favour on the BTTS market
Famalicao v Porto Wednesday June 3, 20:15
Porto will have felt that the break in the Superliga didn't do them any favours. Yes, they were guilty of a slightly sloppy 1-1 draw at home to Rio Ave just before the league was suspended but they were on a fine run just before that, which saw them win four in a row including that all-important 3-2 victory over Benfica, which really reignited the title fight.
This is a tough match to call because Famalicao's home form doesn't really offer too many clues as to how they might perform here. They started the season in style by winning their first four home games of the campaign which went a huge way to pretty much meaning they were safe from relegation pretty early on.
But it's been something of a mixed bag after that which included a remarkable 7-0 loss at home to Guimaraes (they did admittedly have a man sent off after 26 minutes in that one) followed by a draw and an impressive 3-1 win over Sporting Lisbon just before the break.
So, if calling the match winner looks like hard work, we can take comfort from the stats that both teams to score happened in 67% of Famalicao's home matches this season and in 58% of Porto's away matches. In a tricky game to call after such a long break, getting odds of even money looks the right call in light of those numbers.
Benfica may need to do it the hard way
Benfica v Tondela Thursday June 4, 18:15
If Porto didn't welcome the break, then Benfica probably did. They were pretty much in freefall before it came, dropping points in four of their last five league matches and also going out to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League, at the same time. Quite a remarkable bad spell for a team who tends to be pretty consistent, at least on the home front.
Their defence has also been pretty disastrous of late. Playing a defensive partnership made up of 19-year old Tomas Tavaraes and 23 year-old Ruben Dias is very much in line with Benfica's policy of blooding youngsters early on and then selling them on for a big profit but the flipside is you're going to concede a few goals till these somewhat inexperienced players have mastered their craft.
The result is they conceded in 10 of their last 11 games. But their record against Tondela has been good over the past few years, winning three of their last four at home. Playmaker Pizzi was in fine scoring form before the league was suspended with goals in each of his last three appearances and they should be able to get back to winning ways. But this could be hard work and may need another come-from-behind win here.
Take the home win, but with both teams scoring, at 9/4.
Points split in Cidade Berco
Guimaraes v Sporting Lisbon Thursday June 4, 20:15
Sporting manager Ruben Amorim will have had nothing if not time on his hands over the past few weeks. In a completely unprecedented move, Sporting paid his 20 million Euro buy-out clause to prise him away from Braga, he led them to a 2-0 win in his only match in charge to date and has then spent the last two months mulling what to do next ever since.
Amorim will surely improve the club's fortunes over the next few years because things haven't been easy for Sporting over the past few seasons, but he may have to wait for his next win. Guimaraes, who are from the city where Portugal was 'born', have been good, sitting sixth in the table and winning their last three matches before the league was halted.
But I'm a little surprised they're actually favourites here given all the hype about Amorim, so the smart bet is surely the draw. Two of the last four games between these two in Guimaraes were stalemates and it's the biggest price of the three, so that's surely the call.