Albacete v Deportivo | Sunday 26th January 2020, 15:00
Albacete against Deportivo is a game that on paper most strongly suggest an away win on the basis of Depo being the much bigger club, however this season has most definitely been one of their most challenging in recent memory. They were rock bottom of proceedings only a few weeks ago, but a run of four successive LaLiga2 victories has given them a real shot of avoiding relegation.
Albacete on the other hand are struggling for form. Whilst they quite a few places above Deportivo in the standings, they’re only four points in advance, meaning that there really shouldn’t be too much to separate the sides on this occasion. Sunday’s hosts have won only one of their last nine in all competitions, but they did win 1-0 away in Deportivo in September.
The form table of the last five games places Albacete right at the bottom, whilst only Real Zaragoza has a stronger run of recent results compared to Deportivo. Therefore, why are Albacete favourites to win on Sunday? One reason, home advantage, and nothing else. We say ‘advantage’, but it hasn’t been of late. No wins in their last five, and just one in eight in front of their own supporters.
The reality is that it is not so often that the away team is favoured by the sportsbooks in this league, even if it was a relegation contender against a title challenger. A big reason for that is that this is a drawing league (many draws!), whilst not many clubs we can say have a dominant record on the book. Deportivo have won only once away all season, but they did come in their last encounter at Numancia.
Funnily enough, many Deportivo fans are putting the mid-season change of kit as a reason for their upturn in form. Last summer, the club announced they were changing to horizontal blue and white stripes, but ever since they’ve switched to their more traditional vertical stripes, they’ve won every game! A coincidence of course, but just something to note.
We have to find a way of getting Deportivo on side here. They’re clearly the form team and whilst this run will end at some stage, we’d be unlucky if it did so in Albacete. They’ve scored only seven home goals all season, with only Extremadura managing fewer home points.
Sure, Deportivo have the second worst away record, but we cannot doubt that they’re in their best place for some time. Deportivo Draw No Bet at 111/100 (Marathon) just makes total sense. Albacete only have four draws all season, so this may be more open than your usual LaLiga2 game, which may suit the away team.
Pacos Ferreira v Benfica | Sunday 26th January 2020, 17:30
Benfica really are going great guns this season and have opened up a bit of a lead at the top of the league. They find themselves seven points clear of nearest challengers and big rivals Porto, and Benfica are rivalling Liverpool with their played 17, won 16 record. They do have the one loss to their name however, and that did come at home to Porto but all the way back in August.
They really have gone on from strength to strength as the games have gone by. They have the UEFA Europa League to look forward to as well, so the Portuguese giants have every chance of being a success in many disciplines. First and foremost, they’ll look to maintain their dominance of their domestic league, and a trip to Ferreira comes on Sunday.
Do they have anything to fear from Pacos Ferreira? On paper, probably not. However, they are unbeaten in their last four in the league, including a 1-0 away win in Braga, which deserves plenty of respect. However, Pacos did lose 5-0 away in Benfica earlier this season, and Benfica themselves have conceded only six goals this season. Six! So much is pointing towards a routine away win.
Finding good angles on teams like Benfica and Porto in their league matches is always tough considering they’re always winning. Handicaps are one avenue to go down, but I’ll swerve that particular route as Benfica aren’t always one to blow teams away on the road.
Sure, they won 4-1 away at Boavista, but their other results against current bottom half teams reads 2-0, 2-1, 2-1 and 1-0. They did win 4-0 away at Braga however, so they probably prefer it when teams have a go.
Pacos Ferreira however will certainly sit back and look to frustrate. Whilst they will look to frustrate, actually playing that out is another matter. Ferreira has the worst first half record in the whole division, and we compare that with Benfica, who has the second strongest behind Porto.
Benfica has far and away the best second half record in this division, which proves that they aren’t one to really let off at any point. They’ll go for the jugular, especially as they have 14 away league goals to their name.
I do still think there is good value in our selection of Benfica/Benfica HT/FT at 11/10 (Betfair). To get odds against quotes of this is too good to refuse, especially as I firmly expected it to be odds-on, considering that is their overall 1×2 price.
Whilst they have an excellent first half record, their first half away record is certainly not amazing, but from a value perspective I think this has legs. Benfica still have 13 first half goals to their name, which only seems not so good compared to their 29 in the second period. Still, 13 first half goals is only fewer than Porto and Sporting CP, and they will want to avoid this becoming even more of a banana skin.