WORLD football fanatic James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) has scoured the planet for his best bets this weekend and bring us his best six plays from across the world. Here he sizes up Porto's match with Rio Ave and see's the home side topping the Portuguese league for Christmas.
See James' other previews for the weekend here;
- Karlsruher v Braunschweig | Saturday 22nd December 2018, 13:00
- PSV Eindhoven v AZ Alkmaar | Saturday 22nd December 2018, 18:45
- Standard Liege v Oostende | Saturday 22nd December 2018, 19:30
- Aue v Union Berlin | Sunday 23rd December 2018, 12:30
- Porto v Rio Ave | Sunday 23rd December 2018, 15:00
- Guimaraes v Sporting Lisbon | Sunday 23rd December 2018, 20:00
Porto v Rio Ave | Sunday 23rd December 2018, 15:00
The top of the Portuguese top flight certainly has a familiar look to it. Porto, Sporting Lisbon, Braga and Benfica form the top four spaces, and that is almost certain to be the case come the end of the season. Porto may well end top of the summit once again, and their recent form suggests they should enter the Christmas break enjoying the number one position.
They lasted tasted defeat in the league all the way back in October to rivals Benfica, losing 1-0. Their record at home is especially impressive. They did suffer a shock 3-2 home loss to Guimaraes here back in August, during the early part of the campaign, but they have clearly reacted well to that. They’re into the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League too, where they will face Roma over two legs.
Rio Ave are positioned roughly where they should be in the league. Clearly they won’t threaten the top four any time soon, but they are certainly in the next calibre of club to contest the other positions. One big concern for them going to face one of the best teams in the league however is their poor run of form at present. It is five without victory in the league, and Porto have also dominated the head-to-head in a big, big way.
Rio Ave last beat Porto all the way back in 2004. Porto have won the last six outright as well. Rio Ave did take a point from a trip to Porto both in 2005 and quite recently in 2016, but other than that they have become quite used to returning home empty handed.
Porto therefore will clearly target maximum points this weekend to enter the Christmas break. It is important they do so to maintain top spot as well. Clearly they are going to be the team we’ll back this weekend, but those of you who regularly bet on this league will understand, Porto will be a shot price to do so.
There therefore has to be another way we can get them on side, and we believe there is. When we think of Porto, we think of their attractive style of play and how they can really get at teams. Ultimately, we think of them scoring goals. However, their defence deserves big credit too. It is best in the league, letting in only eight times so far. Keeping clean sheets is a big part of their success too, with a roughly two-thirds success rate our of all their league games. In matches at home, they’ve kept 71% clean sheets.
Whilst Rio Ave are don’t tend to experience too many shutouts themselves, we anticipate a tough weekend for them on this occasion. On eight of their last 12 visits to the Estadio do Dragão, they have failed to score. With Porto dominated this meeting too, it is pretty clear which angle we are going to do down.
Porto To Win ‘To Nil’ is a very appealing 20/21 (Bet Victor) shot.
Porto To Win ‘To Nil’ 20/21 (Bet Victor)