Champions League Qualifying July 31-Aug 1

The Second Qualifying round of the Champions League continues this week and a couple Overs I like in these games.  After Dinamo Zagreb and Celtic jumped to big leads, Hapoel and Rosenborg will need to respond in the second legs, so I think we should see some more goals.  Here are my Champions League bets for this week:

 

1 unit bet on Hapoel Beer Sheva-Dinamo Zagreb Over 2.5 @1.81

1 unit bet on Rosenborg-Celtic Over 2.5 @1.93

 

Hapoel Beer Sheva-Dinamo Zagreb

Dinamo got a huge 5-0 win in the last round and now Hapoel need a miracle to make the next round and have no choice but to go all out for goals.  Hapoel have scored in every Champions League home game they have ever played and have scored more than once in all but one.   But Hapoel have conceded in all three of their qualifying games so far this season, including both legs against Flora of Estonia, so keeping a clean sheet here is probably unlikely.  I think this will end 2-2.

 

Celtic-Rosenborg

An impressive performance in the first leg saw Celtic take a 3-1 lead and the Scottish Champions could have scored a few more.  But they will be in for a difficult match in Norway and Rosenborg will need to attack and score some goals.  The past six home matches have all gone over 2.5 goals for Rosenborg including the last round against Valur of Iceland which ended 3-1.  Celtic are still without a couple defenders who are still resting after the World Cup, but they are scoring tons of goals so far in qualifying, led by Odsonne Edouard who already has 3.  I think Celtic get another 3-1 win in this match.

 

 

And the rest of the matches for the Second Qualifying round:

Sheriff Tiraspol-Shkendija: Lean Over 2.5 @2.23

The first leg ended just 1-0 for Shkendija, but there were a ton of shots in the game and both were a bit unlucky to not score more.  Both legs in the previous round went over 2.5 for both of these teams and Sheriff need to score if they are to move on.  I think Sheriff will get a 2-1 in this match.

Spartak Trnava-Legia Warsaw: Lean Over 2.5 @2.13

Trnava got a surprising upset victory in Warsaw in the first leg and take a nice 2-0 lead back to Slovakia for this match.  Legia need to get some goals here and I think they will be able to score at least once, but Trnava are playing very well and they should be able to score at home as well.  I think Legia will win 2-1.

HJK Helsinki-BATE Borisov: Lean Over 2 @1.77

HJK hung on for a 0-0 draw in the first leg, despite BATE having a lot more possession and shots on goal.   This match could be a tight one but this is a very low total and if any goals are scored early on, the other side will need to respond.   I am gonna predict a 2-1 win for BATE

FK Qarabag-FK Kukesi: Lean Under 2.25 @1.86

The first leg of the tie ended 0-0 and both sides also played a scoreless draw in the previous round.   All the matches with these two during qualifying have been low scoring and this will probably be a similar situation.  Kukesi will try to hold out as long as possible and while I think Qarabag will be too strong in the end, they will make it difficult.  I think Qarabag win 1-0.

FC Midtjylland-FC Astana: Lean Astana +.5 @1.83

Astana got a late winner in the first tie and take a 2-1 lead into this match, though the Danish side got an important away goal and now have home advantage on Wednesday.  But Astana have a lot more experience in this competition and though they haven’t been the best in away matches, they have been able to grind out quite a few draws on their travels and I think they can do the same in this match.  I think this will end 1-1

Malmo FF-CFR Cluj: Lean Malmo ML @1.95

Malmo got a 1-0 win away in Romania in the first leg and this was quite a surprise, as they have traditionally been a terrible road team in European competition.  On the other hand, they have been very good when playing in Sweden, especially in these early qualifying rounds.  I think Malmo win 2-0

FK Suduva-Red Star Belgrade: Lean Over 2.5 @2.02

Red Star take a commanding 3-0 lead into this match and Suduva will have to attack all out to get back into the tie.  The Lithuanians did score a bunch of goals when they played at home in the last round though and they defeated APOEL 3-1.  They can probably score in this match but will struggle to stop Red Star once again.  I think Red Star get a 3-1 win in this game

FC Basel-PAOK: Lean Basel Over 2.75 @2.00

Five of the last six home matches in the Champions League have gone over 2.5 goals for Basel and they will need to score in this one after losing the fist leg 2-1.   But Basel have been struggling badly defensively so far this season, so PAOK are likely to score as well in this game.  I think this match will end 2-2

MOL Videoton-Ludogorets: Lean Ludogorets -.75 @1.92

Ludogorets had 61% of the possession in the first leg and out shot their opponents 16 to 2.  But Vidi were able to keep a clean sheet and come away with a 0-0 draw.  Now they get the second leg at home and should feel good about their chances of advancing.  But I still think Ludogorets have too much quality in their squad and will eventually be able to get a couple goals in this match.  I like Ludogorets to win 2-0

Sturm Graz-Ajax: Lean Ajax ML @2.02

Ajax dominated the first leg of this tie and their was a big disparity in possession and shots in favor of the Dutch team.  Sturm Graz will need to go for goals in this match and this could open them up and give Ajax plenty of chances.  I think Ajax get a 2-1 win in this match.

Brasileirao Preview July 28-30

It is going to be a busy week in Brazil with several teams competing in the Copa do Brasil quarterfinals, while a few others are also in the Copa Sudamericana. With all these other competitions going on, I think it may be difficult for some teams to concentrate on their league matches this round and I am looking to fade teams involved in Copa games.  Two matches in particular that I like:

 

1 unit bet on Atletico MG +.25 @1.88

1 unit bet on Internacional -.75 @1.83

 

Bahia-Atletico MG

Bahia just got a nice win in the Copa Sudamericana over CA Cerro of Uruguay and will take a 2-0 lead into the second leg.  They also have a big Copa do Brasil match at home with Palmeiras on Thursday.   It is a nice run of games for this club and it is especially nice that they are getting all these matches at home.  But I think this game against Atletico MG will be overlooked with all the other big matches taking place.  The match against Palmeiras will be especially important, as they will want to have a lead before they go to Sao Paulo for the second leg.  Therefore, I think players will be rested ahead of that match and I doubt that Bahia will be at full strength for the game on Monday.  And Atletico MG are a very strong team, currently in third place in the league and they have scored more goals than any other team.  I think Atletico MG wins this match 2-1

 

Internacional-Botofogo:

Botofogo in a tough spot here with a trip to Paraguay coming up this week in Copa Sud, while Internacional have no other matches this week.  Inter are unbeaten at home this season with five wins and two draws in seven league matches, while Botofogo have won just once in away games.  This looks like a big mismatch and I like Inter to win 3-0.

 

 

And the rest of the Brasileirao matches:

Ceara-Fluminense: Lean Draw @3.34

Ceara are still bottom of the table but they have been performing better in recent matches and they have been very tough to beat at home.  Fluminense have been in decent form with two wins and a draw in their last three, but they do have a Copa Sud match coming up later this week and may be looking ahead here.  This should be a close match and I think it will end 1-1

 

Vasco-Corinthians: Lean Vasco PK @2.09

A tough spot here for Corinthians, as they have a Copa match against Chapecoense coming up this week.  Corinthians have also been very poor on the road, losing four straight away matches in the league.  Meanwhile, Vasco have no other games this week and can fully focus here.  And they are a tough team to beat at home.  I think Vasco wins here 1-0

 

Palmeiras-Parana: Lean Palmeiras -1.5 @2.21

Palmeiras do have a big Cup match coming up later this week, but they have a favorable match up here against a Parana team that has yet to win an away game this season.   Palmeiras should take care of business in this one and I like them to win 2-0

 

Cruzeiro-Sao Paulo: Lean Cruzeiro ML @1.76

Both of these teams have big Cup matches coming up this week.  Cruzeiro are playing away to Santos in the Copa do Brasil, while Sao Paulo are in Copa Sud action against Colon Santa Fe of Argentina.  Sao Paulo also have several players suspended for this match after picking up yellow cards in their last game.  With Cruzeiro at home, I think they should have the advantage here and I think they get a 1-0 victory in this match

 

Atletico PR-Vitoria: Lean Atletico PR ML@1.85

Two teams here that are near the bottom of the table and neither is having much of a season.  Atletico PR did get a nice win in the Copa Sud this week over Penarol of Uruguay and that confidence boast may lead to another victory here against the team that has allowed the most goals in the Brasileirao.  I like Atletico PR to win 2-1

 

Flamengo-Sport Recife: Lean Sport +1 @2.20

Flamengo are in the middle of a very difficult run of games with a Copa do Brasil match away to Gremio coming up this week and then the Copa Libertadores match with Cruzeiro next week.  I think Flamengo will be prioritizing those matches over this game with Sport and while Flamengo are much higher up the table, I think this will stay close.  I think this match ends 1-1

 

Chapecoense-Gremio: Lean Draw @2.97

Both have Copa matches coming up this week, with Chapecoense hosting Corinthians and Gremio at home against Flamengo.  Both may be looking ahead to those games, though Chapecoense are in the relegation places at the moment and can not afford to drop points at home.   They are yet to lose at home this season, though they have more draws than wins.  Chapecoense are a tough team to beat though and don’t give up many goals, but they face the league’s best defense  in Gremio, who have only allowed seven goals all season.  This should be tight and low scoring and I am going to predict that it ends 0-0

 

Santos-America MG: Lean America MG +1 @2.08

Santos have drawn all three games they have played since the World Cup break and they have a big Copa match coming up with Cruzeiro later this week.  America are not having the best season, but they won their last match over Internacional and have now moved above Santos in the table.  With Santos possibly looking ahead to the Copa match, I think America may be able to get a result here and I am going to predict a score of 1-1.

MLS Betting Preview July 28-29

Ten games this weekend in MLS and three bets for me.  Two on Saturday and one on Sunday:

 

5 unit bet on Portland -.75 @1.84

1 unit bet on NY Red Bulls -.75 @1.84

1 unit bet on LA Galaxy -1 @1.79

 

Portland Timbers-Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo are just in a really bad spot here, with this their fifth match in the past two weeks.  They have had an intense rivalry game and a big cup match during that time and they look to be out of gas.  They looked tired last Saturday against Dallas and then fell apart at the end of Wednesday’s match with Philadelphia.  Now they must make a long trip to Portland to face a team that is undefeated at home this season and unbeaten in 14 straight MLS matches.  And Houston will be without several starters who are suspended for this match.   Just about everything points to a Timbers victory in this game and I am going to predict a 3-0 Portland win here.

 

New York Red Bulls-Columbus Crew

The Red Bulls have won five straight at home and have beaten the Crew the past four times they have come to New York.   The Red Bulls have allowed the fewest goals in MLS this season and the Crew have scored the fewest in away matches.   I like New York to win here 2-0.

 

LA Galaxy-Orlando City

Like the Dynamo, Orlando have also had a very busy schedule that included a Cup match last week.  They have also been on the road a lot and now have another long cross country trip.  The Lions have been really struggling on the road, losers in eight of ten this season.  The Galaxy had a nice comeback to get a draw against LAFC on Thursday and now face a much weaker opponent on Sunday.  A very quick turnaround here is a concern for the Galaxy, but they get to sit at home and are in a better situation than Orlando.  I like the Galaxy to win here 3-1

 

And the rest of the MLS action this weekend:

Montreal Impact-Atlanta United: Lean Draw @3.55

Atlanta destroyed the Impact 4-1 earlier this season in Georgia, but since then, Montreal have really improved their play and they have won five straight at home.   Atlanta are the best away team in MLS this season, but they are not nearly as dominant, nor do they score as much as they do at home.  This should be a good match between two teams in very good form (both have identical 3-1-1 records in their last five matches).  In Montreal, I think the Impact will be able to get a result and I think this match ends 1-1.

 

Toronto FC-Chicago Fire: Over 3 @1.74

These two faced off in Chicago just last weekend, with Toronto coming away with a 2-1 win.   They also got a big 3-0 win over Ottawa in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday and they look like they are finally getting healthy and getting close to full strength.

Just about everyone has been expecting Toronto to get things together and go on a run for awhile now and with a match at home here, they have a good chance to get another win.  But I have been disappointed by Toronto many times this season, so need to see them put together a few more good performances before I am willing to back them. I do think Toronto win 3-1 in this match though

 

DC United-Colorado Rapids: Lean DC -1 @2.04

A couple disappointing results in the last two matches for DC, but they faced two of the best in MLS and now get to face a much easier opponent in the Rapids.  Colorado have won just once on the road this season and have lost all three times they have traveled to the East Coast this year.  Wayne Rooney came off the bench and played just 30 minutes midweek, so he should be fresh and ready to go for this one.  I like DC to win 3-1

 

Sporting Kansas City-FC Dallas: Lean Kansas City ML @1.86

Dallas are top of the Western Conference but they have not fared well on their trips to Kansas City in the past few years, losing seven of ten.  Sporting have lost just once at home this season and I think they should get a win here as well.  I am going to predict a 2-1 win for Kansas City

 

Vancouver Whitecaps-Minnesota United: Lean Over 3.5 @2.16

Minnesota have now won four of five and have moved into seventh in the Western Conference, just two points below the final playoff position.  However, all of those wins came at home and they have been awful on the road, losers of 8 of 9 matches this season.  The only loss in the last five matches was a horrendous performance in a 3-0 loss in Houston.

Vancouver have lost four of five and have fallen out of the playoff places in recent weeks.  I don’t like the way Minnesota play on the road, but I think they may be getting the Whitecaps at the right time and I think the Loons can get something from this match.  I am going to predict a 2-2 draw in this one.

 

San Jose Earthquakes-Real Salt Lake: Lean Draw @3.83

San Jose lost again Wednesday for their third loss in a row and have now lost 12 of their 20 MLS games and have only won twice this season.  On the bright side, they did at least play decently against the Sounders midweek and had the better chances for most of the game.  They get another home match on Saturday and face an RSL team that have been terrible on the road this season.  If the Earthquakes are ever going to get another win this season, this is one of their best chances, but they really lack the quality to create much and they seem to find ways to blow games when they do get a lead.  These teams drew when they met in Utah earlier this season and I think we could get another draw here.  I am going to predict a 2-2 finish in this one

 

Seattle Sounders-NYC: Lean Under 2.5 @2.11

A very tough spot for NYC here after a Thursday match in Orlando, they must make the very long trip to Seattle to face the Sounders on short rest.  Seattle have been playing well and got a nice win on Thursday in San Jose, but they face an NYC team that have now kept clean sheets in four straight.  Seattle have been playing well defensively themselves with two clean sheets in a row and they have allowed just two goals in their last five matches.  This could be a tight match and I think it will end 1-1.

Liga MX Preview July 27-29

Round 2 of Liga MX and I like a few matches to end in draws.  Here are my plays for this weekend’s matches:

 

1 unit bet on Monarcas-Santos to Draw @3.53

1 unit bet on Puebla-Toluca to Draw @3.36

1 unit bet on Queretaro-Pachuca to Draw @3.24

 

Monarcas Morelia-Santos Laguna

Monarcas had a disappointing start to the Liga MX season, with a controversial loss away to Toluca.  Santos got a nice win last weekend, but they took a big hit to their roster in the off season, so we’ll have to see how they do once they play some tougher competition.  The last two trips to Morelia have ended in draws for Santos and I think this match will be very close as well.  I am going to predict a 1-1 draw

 

Puebla-Toluca

Toluca got a win to start the season, but were a bit fortunate in that match.  Puebla held out for a long time in the opener at the Azteca, before finally conceding three late to Cruz Azul.   Puebla were very good at home in the Clausura last season and they will be tough to beat here, though Toluca had the best away record in the Clausura.  This should be a close match and I think it will end 1-1

 

Queretaro-Pachuca

Queretaro drew 0-0 in their opener and also had draws in half of their home matches in last season’s Clausura.  Pachuca drew four of their nine away matches in the Clausura, so I feel that this should be a close match.  I am going to predict this to end 1-1

 

 

And the rest of the Liga MX games this weekend:

Club America-Atlas: Lean America -.75 @1.87

Disappointing openers for both of these teams.  Atlas really should have been able to find a winning goal against Queretaro, but ended up drawing 0-0, while America had a very poor outing in a 2-1 loss to Necaxa.  But back at the Azteca, I feel that America should get back on track.  America were tied with Tigres for most points at home in the Clausura and they should get another win here, I like America 2-0

 

Chivas-Cruz Azul: Lean Cruz Azul PK @1.81

Cruz Azul top the table after the first round and after one match it appears they could be the real deal this season.  Chivas had a loss in their opener away to Tijuana and it appears they may be in for a difficult season.  I think Cruz Azul gets a 2-1 win in this match

 

Pumas-Necaxa: Lean Necaxa PK @2.04

Two very impressive performances for Necaxa with a Supercopa win over Monterrey and then a victory over America to open Liga MX.  Pumas also got a nice win to start the season, but faced a much easier opponent in Veracruz.  This should be a close match, but I think Necaxa can continue their good form and I think they win 2-1

 

Lobos BUAP-Veracruz: Lean Lobos ML @1.98

Two of the bottom teams from last season face off here and two of the teams with the worst defensive records from the Clausura.  Veracruz finished a couple of places ahead of Lobos in the table, but it was Lobos who won both head to head meetings, including a 5-0 victory the last time Veracruz came to Puebla.   With this match at home, I think Lobos once again will get the win and I will predict a 3-1 win.

 

Tigres-Club Tijuana: Lean Under 2.5 @1.75

The last four meetings between these teams have all gone under 2.5 goals and in the Clausura last season, Tijuana’s away matches averaged just .8 goals per game.  Xolos did win their opener over Chivas, but they have lost the last six matches against Tigres.  The Monterrey team looked very strong in their opener, dominating Leon in a 2-0 victory and should once again get a win against Tijuana.  But Xolos should make it a difficult match and may be able to come away with a point.  But in the end, I think Tigres win 1-0

 

Club Leon-Monterrey: Lean Over 2.5 @1.88

The two teams with the most games over 2.5 goals from last season’s Clausura meet here.   Monterrey had the most goals scored with 30 in the Clausura, while Leon was tied for most goals allowed.  I think Monterrey wins 3-1

Brasileirao Preview July 25-26

Eight midweek matches in the Brasileirao this week and three bets for me.  Two draw bets on Wednesday and then a play on Sao Paulo on Thursday:

 

1 unit bet on Sao Paulo +.5 @2.00

1 unit bet on Corinthians-Cruzeiro to Draw @3.14

1 unit bet on Santos-Flamengo to Draw @3.07

 

Gremio-Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo are flying high, in second place and just a point below Flamengo in the table.  They have won four straight, including a huge 3-1 win over city rival and defending Champions Corinthians last Sunday.  Gremio are doing well defensively, but are struggling to score goals with just 13 through the first 14 games.  They lost this past weekend 1-0 and could not get a goal despite being a man up for a good portion of the match.  Playing away to Gremio will always be difficult, but Sao Paulo are playing so well at the moment and I think they will win this match 1-0.

 

Corinthians-Cruzeiro

Corinthians are having a bit of a disappointing season after winning the title a year ago.  A lot of turnover at the club, plus missing some guys due to the World Cup have been some of the problems, but this team has still been very tough at home and are unbeaten this season with four wins and three draws.   They have allowed just three goals in their home matches and face a Cruzeiro team that have also been very strong defensively.  Cruzeiro have allowed just 9 goals this season, only behind Gremio and Flamengo for the fewest in the league.  With two teams that are very defensive, this should be a very low scoring game and I am going to predict a 0-0 draw.

 

Santos-Flamengo 

Flamengo are top of the table in Brazil, but they have struggled in recent meetings against Santos.  Four of the last six meetings in Sao Paulo have ended in 0-0 draws and this should be a very close match.  Santos are having a disappointing season and are currently in 15th place but have been much tougher to beat at home.  I think this match will be a 1-1 draw

 

And the rest of the midweek matches:

Fluminense-Palmeiras: Lean Fluminense +.25 @1.99

Fluminense are not having the best season, but they did have a good week, getting a 2-1 win over Sport Recife and a 1-1 draw with Vasco.  Palmeiras are having a better season and are the stronger side, but I don’t think Flu should be this big of an underdog, especially at home.  I think this will be a 1-1 draw

Atletico MG-Parana: Lean Over 2.5 @1.94

Atletico MG have the most goals scored in the league and their matches are seeing an average of 3.4 goals per game.  Ten of their 14 league matches have gone over 2.5 goals, including four of the last five.  I like Atletico MG to win here 2-1

Botafogo-Chapecoense: Lean Under 2.25 @1.84

The last five matches for Chapecoense have all gone under 2.5 goals, with two 0-0 draws in their past three matches.  Botafogo have had four of five matches go under 2.5 goals and they have only allowed four goals in their home matches this season.  I think Botafogo win here 1-0

Vitoria-Sport Recife: Lean Vitoria ML @2.19

An embarrassing 4-1 loss this past weekend to city rivals Bahia and Vitoria will badly want to bounce back here.  They have won three of the past four at home and play a Sport team that has not been very strong on the road.  I like Vitoria to get a 2-1 win

America MG-Internacional: Lean Over 2 @1.90

America have one of the worst defensive records in the league and they play an Inter team that are in very strong form.  Inter have scored eight goals in their past four matches and should be able to get a few more in this match.  I like Internacional to win 2-1

MLS Betting Preview July 25-26

Five midweek matches in MLS play this week and some good match ups and rivalry games.  Two bets for me on Wednesday and one on Thursday:

 

5 unit bet on DC United-NY Red Bulls Over 3 @1.93

1 unit bet on Seattle +.25 @1.81

1 unit bet on LAFC-LA Galaxy Over 3.5 @2.07

 

DC United-New York Red Bulls

Two 3-1 scorelines in the matches that Wayne Rooney has played for DC United, one win and one loss, and I think we will being seeing a lot of similar scores in DC’s matches going forward.  This team in dangerous in attack and are capable of grabbing plenty of goals, but they are a bit shaky defensively and are also going to concede quite a few.  Each of the last five games for United have had at least four goals and they have kept just one clean sheet this season, but have only been shutout once as well.  Only three MLS teams have scored more than the Red Bulls and head to head with DC, four of the last five have had at least three goals.  I think both teams score in this one and I am going to predict a 2-2 draw.

 

San Jose Earthquakes-Seattle Sounders

A disastrous season for the Earthquakes and things almost boiled over in their last match at Montreal with a sideline confrontation between midfielder Fatai Alashe and coach Mikael Stahre.  There has seemed to be a lot of bad blood and issues in the locker room for some time now and you have to wonder how motivated this team will be for the rest of the season.  They had last week off in MLS play, so have had some time to cool off and get their issues resolved and they did get a nice 0-0 draw in a friendly against Manchester United on Sunday.

Interestingly, that result against Man Utd is the Earthquakes only clean sheet of the season and you can not overlook how bad this team has been in MLS play.  Just two wins on the season, both against Minnesota, and they face a Sounders team that looks to be coming into peak form.  A nice win over Vancouver over the weekend for the Sounders and their squad is starting to look very strong.  They are coming into form just in time to make a playoff run and a win over San Jose would be a good start.  I think Seattle wins here 2-1.

 

LAFC-LA Galaxy

I typically don’t like to bet overs when the total has gotten this high, but I think I will make an exception for this match.  The Galaxy have had five straight matches go over 3.5 goals, while LAFC have had four of five go over that number.   There are goal scorers all over the field in this game and Zlatan Ibrahimovic keeps moving up the MLS goal leader standings.  Zlatan scored two incredible goals in his debut, which was the last time these two met.  LAFC will be very motivated and ready to get revenge for their 4-3 loss in that game, but they will also be motivated to get back on track after an embarrassing 5-1 loss this past weekend in Minnesota.  As bad as that loss was, LAFC had rested many players, clearly looking ahead to this game and Carlos Vela are co.  will be ready for this one.  This should be a very entertaining match and hopefully it will have as much action as the last meeting.  I think LAFC will get a 3-2 win this time in a very high scoring game.

 

And the other two midweek matches:

Houston Dynamo-Philadelphia Union: Lean Houston -.75 @1.92

Houston have a very good home record this season and should get another win here against a Philadelphia team that has been very poor on away trips.  But this is now the fourth game the Dynamo have played in the past twelve days and they have now advanced to the US Open Cup semifinals in addition to their MLS games.  They looked very tired and sluggish this past weekend against Dallas and another midweek game will be tough for this team.  But the Union are also still in the Open Cup, so they will be dealing with the same problem as well.   Houston should win this match and I will predict a 3-1 win, but this could be an ugly match between two tired teams.

 

Orlando City-New York City FC: Lean Over 3 @1.83

Orlando were leading 2-1 late against Columbus on Saturday, but then a controversial penalty and a wonder goal for the Crew meant that Orlando ended up with a demoralizing 3-2 loss.  Combine that with a 1-0 loss in the Open Cup to Philadelphia last Wednesday and it has been a very rough week for Orlando.  On the bright side though, this team do at least look improved under new coach James O’Connor and they did win their last home match over Toronto.   NYC are well rested after a weekend off, but do have a tough week ahead with a long trip to Seattle coming up after this game.  NYC also do have some injury concerns with David Villa likely to continue missing games this week.  NYC have also been pretty bad in away games, losing four of the last five.  Picking a side in this match is a bit difficult, but I do think there should be some goals.  NYC have scored the third most goals in the league and Orlando have allowed the most in MLS.  At home, Orlando should also be able to score some goals and I am going to predict a 2-2 draw in this match

Champions League Qualifying July 25

A lot of home victories in the Champions League on Tuesday and there is another home team I like in Wednesday’s games.  I think Ludogorets will get a big win over Videoton.  My bet for Wednesday is :

 

1 unit bet on Ludogorets -1.5 @1.88

 

Ludogorets-MOL Videoton

Ludogorets won their previous tie by a aggregate score of 9-0.   Meanwhile, Vidi could barely get past Dudelange of Luxembourg, just sneaking by 3-2.   Ludogorets also won their two home Champions League matches last season by scores of 4-1 and 3-1 and the Bulgarians are very experienced in this competition.  Vidi are in the Champions League for just the third time and the Hungarians have yet to defeat an opponent even close to big as Ludogorets.  I think this is one of the biggest mismatches of this Qualifying round and I am going to predict Ludogorets to win 3-0

 

And the rest of Wednesday’s matches:

BATE Borisov-HJK Helsinki: Lean HJK +1 @1.84

BATE are a big favorite in this match, but they have only covered a spread of more than a goal twice in their past ten Champions League games and there were a few minnows among those teams that they played.  Now they did beat another Finnish team 2-0 a couple seasons ago, but HJK come into this match in good form, having lost just once in their last ten matches.  I think HJK can get a result from this trip to Belarus and I am going to predict a 1-1 draw.

 

FK Kukesi-FK Qarabag: Lean Qarabag ML @1.85

Kukesi could barely get by minnows Valleta of Malta in the last round, advancing on away goals after tying 1-1 on aggregate.  They face a much bigger team here in Qarabag and this is going to be a huge challenge for the Albanians.  Qarabag defeated a tough Olimpija Ljubljana team in their previous tie and made the Group Stage in last year’s competition.  Kukesi should make this a tough match at home, but Qarabag are going to be too strong in this tie and I think they win 2-0

 

Ajax-Sturm Graz: Lean Sturm Graz +1.5 @1.90

Ajax are the much more famous team in this tie and have tons more experience in this competition, but the Dutch side have not had much success in the Champions League the past few seasons.  Ajax have not qualified for the Group Stage since the 2014-15 season and they have won just once in their past 8 games in qualifying.   Strum Graz were last in the Champions League in the 2011-12 season and only lost one of their six matches by more than one goal.  Ajax should get the win here, but I think the Austrians can keep it close.  I like Ajax to win 2-1

 

Celtic-Rosenborg: Lean Under 2.25 @1.90

These two met in qualification for this competition last season, with the teams drawing 0-0 at Celtic Park before the Scottish Champs got a 1-0 win in Norway.   Two very low scoring games last season and this match should be very similar.  Rosenborg’s last three away games in Champions League play have all had 2 goals or less and all four meetings between these teams have had under 2.5 goals.  I think Celtic will win 1-0

Champions League Qualifying July 24

Champions League Qualifying continues this week and some bigger name teams are starting to enter the competition in this round.  I like one of those bigger clubs on Tuesday and will be backing Basel as they face PAOK in Greece.  Here is my bet for Tuesday:

 

1 unit bet on FC Basel +.5 @1.96

 

PAOK-FC Basel

Starting this competition so early in Qualifying will be something new for Basel, as they have started in the Group Stage the past couple of seasons.  They had won the Swiss League 8 straight years, but could only come in second last season so will be forced to start in the Second Qualifying round this year.

Still this is a tough team and they did very well in the Champions League last season, advancing out of a  Group with Manchester United,  Benfica, and CSKA Moscow before being eliminated in the knock out stages versus Manchester City.  They also beat Man City, Benfica, and CSKA in away games last season and while Tuesday’s trip to Greece will be difficult, Basel have proven they can get results in difficult environments.

PAOK have been in the Champions League four times, but they have yet to win any of their ties.  In fact, they have not even won an individual game with draws the best they have ever been able to do.   This will be a difficult road trip for Basel, but they have more experience in this competition and have much better results.  I think Basel will win 2-1 in this match.

 

 

And the rest of Tuesday’s matches:

FC Astana-FC Midtjylland: Lean Astana ML @1.97

Astana have a lot of Champions League experience in the past few seasons and have proven to be very difficult to beat at home.  They made the group stage in 2015 and got home draws against some very big teams like Benfica, Atletico Madrid, and Galatasaray.  They haven’t made the group stage since then, but have been in Qualifying each year and are unbeaten in Kazakhstan.  They defeated Celtic and Legia at home last season and should be able to defeat their visitors from Denmark on Tuesday.

Midtjylland are not experienced in this competition, this is just their second time in the Champions League, and they have not had a good start to the Danish League with a draw and a loss in their first two games.  This is a very difficult trip and I think Astana will be too strong.  I like the hosts to get a 2-0 win in this match

 

CFR Cluj-Malmo FF: Lean Cluj ML @2.12

In the past few seasons, Malmo have been very poor in away matches in European Competition.  Prior to this season, they had lost nine of the last ten away Champions League games with the only win coming over Zalgiris of Lithuania.  Now they had been in the Group Stage a few times so had faced some very difficult teams in these matches, but still their record is really bad.    In addition, Malmo have not been having a very good season in the Swedish League and are currently in sixth place.

Malmo did get a big 5-0 aggregate win in the previous round but were lucky to be drawn against such a small club in Drita of Kosovo.  This trip to Romania will be much tougher  and Cluj are a much stronger opponent.  Cluj did not lose at home last season in the Romanian League and though they have not been in the Champions League since 2012, they had a very good run in the competition that year.  I think Cluj wins this match 1-0

 

Dinamo Zagreb-Hapoel Beer Sheva: Lean Hapoel +.5 @1.78

Hapoel were one of the biggest winners in the last round of Qualifying with a 7-2 aggregate win over Flora Tallinn.  Now Flora are not a very big club, so shouldn’t get too excited about that result, but still it was impressive.  A much tougher match up here against the Croatian champions, but based on the last round, Hapoel will be a difficult team to beat.  Zagreb is infamous for its hostile environment and Dinamo have won lots of big matches at home in this competition, but I think Hapoel may have enough to get a result here and I think this match will be a 1-1 draw.

 

KF Shkendija-Sheriff Tiraspol: Lean Over 2.25 @2.03

All four matches involving these teams went over 2.5 goals in the previous round, with Shkendija winning 5-0 in Macedonia before losing 4-0 to the New Saints in Wales.  Meanwhile, Sheriff won 3-0 at home over Torpedo Kutaisi after losing the away leg 2-1.  Once again, I think we could see goals in this match and Shkendija had an incredible goal record in the Macedonian League last season with over 100 goals scored.  Shkendija will know they need to get some goals prior to the tough second leg on the road, but Sheriff will want to get an away goal in this leg as well.  I think Shkendija will this match 2-1

 

Red Star Belgrade-FK Suduva: Lean Under 2.5 @2.15

Red Star had to of liked the match up in the last round after being drawn against Spartaks Jurmala of Latvia, but Spartaks made it a very difficult tie drawing 0-0 in the first leg and then holding out til nearly the 80th minute of the second leg before Red Star finally broke through and got a 2-0 win.  Another team from the Baltics in this round and I think we could see a similar result.  I think Suduva will try to park the bus and hold out for as long as possible and make things difficult, just like Spartaks did.  At home, Red Star should get a win, but it will be tough.  I will predict a 1-0 win for Red Star in this match

 

Legia Warsaw-Trnava: Lean Legia -1.5 @2.23

Legia won their match up in the last round 4-0 on aggregate and have now won four home games in a row in the Champions League.   They are a very tough team to beat in Warsaw and are rightfully a big favorite in this match with Trnava.  The Slovakian team did have a nice win in the last round over Zrinjski Mostar of Bosnia, but a trip to Warsaw will be too much for them, in my opinion.  I think Legia will win this match 3-0.

Scandinavian Soccer July 22-23

A couple games I like in the Scandinavian Leagues.  One in Finland on Sunday and then one in Sweden on Monday:

1 unit bet on VPS Vaasa +.5 @1.90

1 unit bet on Hammarby-Dalkurd Over 2.75 @1.79

 

KuPS-VPS-Vaasa

KuPS are in fifth place in the Finnish League but this is mainly due to their early season form and they have fallen off in recent weeks and have only won two of the last eight in the league.   In addition, they they have been in Europa League Qualifying and are coming off two hard fought matches against FC Copenhagen, which they narrowly lost.  It is a short turnaround for this team and they play a VPS side that are in very good form.   VPS have won four of their last five and have now moved ahead of KuPS into fourth in the table.   VPS have also been one of the best away teams in the league and I think they should be able to get a result in this match.  I am going to predict a 2-1 win for VPS

 

Hammarby-Dalkurd

These two teams have the highest average goals per game in the Swedish League.  Both average 3.2 goals per match and Hammarby have had 10 of 13 games go over 2.5 goals, while Dalkurd are just behind them with 9 of 13 going over that number.   Hammarby’s average goals per game jumps to 3.9 when they are at home and six of seven this season have gone over 2.5.  Hammarby have scored the most goals in the league with 26 from 13 matches and Dalkurd have allowed the third most.  I think both teams will get goals in a high scoring game and I think Hammarby will get a 3-1 win

Brasileirao Betting Preview July 21-23

The Brasileirao got started again this week and four of the ten midweek games ended in draws.  I think this weekends matches should also have some more close games and three that I see as having a good chance to end in draws.  Here are my bets for this weekend:

1 unit bet on Sao Paulo-Corinthians to Draw @3.26

1 unit bet on Vasco-Gremio to Draw @3.17

1 unit bet on Chapecoense-Santos to Draw @3.36

 

Sao Paulo-Corinthians

Sao Paulo are having a great season, currently in second place and just a point behind leaders Flamengo, who they just beat on Wednesday.  Sao Paulo are now undefeated in 16 straight home matches but face a tough test here against city rivals Corinthians.

A bit of a disappointing season for the defending champs, but Corinthians are still a very tough team with a very strong defense.   A poor spell right before the World Cup break, but now with Fagner and Cassio back from the National Team, this team should be even stronger.

Meetings between these two are often close and nine of ten head to head with Sao Paulo at home have had less than 2.5 goals.  This one should also be very tight and I think a draw is a strong possibility.  I am going to predict a 1-1 draw between these two.

Vasco da Gama-Gremio

Gremio are in fifth place in the table, eight points ahead of Vasco.  But Vasco have been a good team at home this season and will make this a difficult game for the visitors.  Gremio are the top defensive team in the league with just five goals allowed, but they have not been scoring much, especially in away games.   Gremio away games are averaging just 1.2 goals per game and this one should be low scoring as well.  Gremio are the stronger side, but I think Vasco’s home advantage should cancel this out and this should be an even match.  I am going to predict a 0-0 draw here.

Chapecoense-Santos

The 14th and 15th placed teams meet here with these two separated by just one point in the table.   Two very evenly matched teams with both having scored 15 goals so far, while Chapecoense have allowed three more goals than Santos.  Chapecoense are tough at home and are undefeated with three wins and three draws, though they have lost a few players during the break which has hurt them a bit.  Overall, this is a very even match up and I think it will be low scoring with a good possibility of a draw.  I think this match ends 1-1

 

And the rest of the games this weekend:

Flamengo-Botafogo: Lean Flamengo -.75 @1.85

Flamengo are top of the table and though they had a setback midweek against Sao Paulo, I think they will bounce back against a Botafogo team that has lost four of their seven away games.  I am going to predict a 2-0 win for Flamengo

Parana-America MG: Lean Parana ML @2.18

Parana are near the bottom of the table and have the fewest goals scored in the league.  America MG are not doing much better and are just a point above the relegation places.  Parana have been doing well in home matches though with two wins and three draws from their last five as hosts.  America MG have been very poor in away games with just one point form six away games.  Despite their troubles scoring goals, Parana may have enough to win this one and I will predict a 1-0 win for the hosts here

Bahia-Vitoria: Lean Vitoria +.5 @1.86

It has been a busy week for Bahia with two away matches so far, one in the Cup and one in the league.  They also have a Copa Sudamericana match coming up this week and I think this fixture congestion may catch up to them.  Vitoria are not having the best season so far but they should have enough to at least get a draw here against a tired team.  I will predict a 1-1 draw for this match

Sport Recife-Fluminense: Lean Sport ML @2.03

Sport have been very tough at home and have yet to lose as hosts this season.  Fluminense have lost four of seven on the road and only two teams have allowed more away goals than them.  Sport should be able to continue their strong home form and I am gonna predict a 2-0 win for them here

Palmeiras-Atletico MG: Lean Atletico MG +1 @1.79

Palmeiras are understandably the favorite in this match, though I think they are too big of a favorite here.  Atletico MG are in third place in the league and though they lost 2-0 midweek to Gremio, that is the only match they have lost by more than a goal this season.  Atletico MG are also leading the league in goals scored so it will be difficult for any team to cover a spread against them.  I think this should be a close game and I am going to predict a 2-2 draw in this match

Cruzeiro-Atletico PR: Lean Cruzeiro -1 @1.87

Cruzeiro have had a nice week with two wins, one in the cup and another in the league.  Most importantly, they are finally scoring some goals, with five in those two matches.  If they can continue  to score they can be a  dangerous team and they should continue their good form in this match against a Atletico PR team that has yet to win an away match in the league and has only scored once in six road games.  I like Cruzeiro to win 2-0

Internacional-Ceara: Lean Under 2.5 @1.81

Ceara finally got their first league win of the season on Wednesday and are improving after a terrible start to the season.   They are mostly playing very low scoring games this season and their matches are averaging just 2 goals per game.  Internacional matches are averaging just a bit more at 2.1 per game, and they have allowed just two goals at home this season.  This should be another low scoring match and I think Internacional will get a 1-0 win