World Football: Ambitious newcomers to make a splash in Portugal


WORLD football fanatic James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) continues-off his 2019 travails with two hand-picked best bets from across the continent on Saturday.

Rio Ave v Setubal | Saturday 9th November 2019, 15:30

In our first of two visits to the Portuguese Primeira Liga, we have a mid-table encounter to look forward to as Rio Ave entertain Setubal on Saturday afternoon. It pits together two sides that whilst not in necessarily blistering form, they’ve proven difficult to beat in recent times.

Rio Ave have lost just two of their last eight in all competitions, but in their defence they did come at home to Porto and away to Benfica, two of the big dogs in this league. Setubal have also seen their two latest losses be inflicted by Porto and Benfica, but that comes across a larger period of 13, which is all of the matches they’ve played this season.

Setubal have drew more games that anyone else in the Portugal top flight. They’ve lost the same as Guimaraes and one fewer than Sporting, who are both situated in the top-five.

On the flip side, they’ve won just the two league games this season, with only the current bottom-three managing fewer. What’s worse, they’ve only scored three goals across their 10 league games, by far the lowest in the league.

Then again, they’ve conceded just the six, with only league leaders Benfica shipping less. Entertaining isn’t the name of the game when Setubal are involved, with five of their games finishing 0-0.

Rio Ave are quite slim odds to win this game but they’re winless in their last four at home. Whilst they did face opponents like Porto and Guimaraes, drawing to Moreirense and losing to Tondela were poor outcomes for them. Carlos Carvalhal’s side have at least had the upper hand in this head-to-head renewal as Rio Ave have lost only one of the last nine meetings.

Unsurprisingly, only one of Setubal’s league games this season finished with a minimum of three goals scored. Their games aren’t even averaging one goal per game. They’re generally tough to beat away as their last four losses on the road came against Benfica and Porto going all the way back to February.

Rio Ave has seen seven of their 10 league contests also end Under 2.5 Goals, and that has to be our play. Odds of 13/18 (Sportingbet) are decent enough for us to get involved.

Famalicao v Moreirense | Saturday 9th November 2019, 20:30

We complete our Saturday roundup with another Portuguese clash, but this one features a side towards the top of the standings. That is the surprise package of the league in the form of Famalicao, who welcome Moreirense, a side on a run of three consecutive draws.

We mention Famalicao as being the surprise package on the basis of only themselves, Benfica and Porto having earned at least 20 points at this stage of the season. They’ve lost just once this season, which came away in Porto a couple of weeks ago. However, they’ve since earned a spirited away draw in Braga to prove that they have what it takes to mix with the better clubs at this level.

Famalicao have certainly benefited from a recent injection of cash, which culminated in their promotion last season. The club are owned by Quantum Pacific Group, who hold a stake in Atletico Madrid.

Last season was their first promotion since the 1980s and they’ve certainly made a positive impression in the big time. An away win at Sporting CP in September has probably been their highlight of the season so far. A 7-2-1 record is not to be sniffed at.

Moreirense on the other hand haven’t really pulled up any trees after ten games. They’ve earned only two league wins this season, which came at home to Gil Vicente and Portimonense who are both below them in the table. The concern for them is that they generally don’t travel too well and that’s been the case for a while. Their last away league win was in March and they actually had quite a good away record last season.

It’s no shock to see Famalicao as favourites to win a game at this level anymore. They’ve earned a cool four wins from four home league games this season and only one of their seven wins was a 1-0 score. For additional value, we’ll play Famalicao to win and Over 1.5 goals at 5/4 (Coral).

Nine of 10 in the league has featured a minimum of two goals this season and each of their last eight Primeira Liga contests has done so, as well. Only two of Moreirense’s league clashes this season ended below this amount, so chances are this weekend’s game should contain a couple of goals, at least.

Best Bets

Rio Ave v Setubal – Under 2.5 Goals (13/18 Sportingbet)

Famalicao v Moreirense – Famalicao to win and Over 1.5 Goals (5/4 Coral)

About Author

Since leaving university I've worked as a Research/Football Performance/Betting Analyst. I live and breath all things football. This has gradually helped me with my betting when looking for value and ultimately, winning selections. I've experienced both the bad, and more recently, the good supporting Lincoln City, with whom my weekends aren't the same without.

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