Estudiantes La Plata welcome Cerro Porteno on Thursday morning for a Copa Libertadores last-16, first-leg clash which brings together two sides who have been struggling for domestic form of late.
The Argentine champions find themselves seventh after 11 games of the Clausura, without a win in four and licking their wounds after a 2-0 home reverse at the hands of Colon last weekend.
Meanwhile, Cerro Porteno have failed to reproduce their continental form – which saw them top Group 5 in style – in the Paraguayan Primera Division recently, having picked up just two points from their last three matches.
The win-draw-win football betting market for the match has Estudiantes as the 21/50 favourites, with the draw priced at 29/10 and the visitors available at 11/2.
However, a closer look at the form suggests that perhaps Juan Sebastian Veron and company may not be as certain to build a lead as their price would suggest.
Cerro picked up seven points on the road in the group phase, with wins over Colo Colo and Deportivo Tachira supplemented by a creditable 1-1 draw against Brazilian Cup holders Santos.
While it could be argued that Estudiantes will be a tougher proposition than the former two at least, odds of 3/4 on the visitors grabbing at least one goal could attract interest.
After all, the Argentines were thumped 3-0 by Cruzeiro on their own patch and even let group whipping boys Guarani score an away goal, albeit in a 5-1 victory.
In addition, the visitors have a huge goal threat in the shape of striker Roberto Nanni, who is the competition’s top scorer after notching seven times in the group phase.
With an average of 2.79 goals per game being scored so far in this year’s Copa Libertadores, it is interesting to note that Cerro’s six group games contained 21 goals and no clean sheets.
Add in the fact that Estudiantes’ matches featured 20 goals in total and suddenly bwin’s odds of 4/5 on more than 2.5 goals being scored at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata could represent a great chance of getting a return.
Another intriguing angle is that Estudiantes have scored an impressive four goals between the 31st and 45th minutes of their matches, while Cerro have conceded four in the first 15 minutes of their fixtures.
With that in mind, it seems reasonable to get stuck into the 3/4 being offered on the hosts grabbing the first goal in the opening 45 minutes, while more adventurous punters could bet on them to be leading 2-1 at half-time, which is priced at a tempting 15-1.
Although the tie remains one of the most unpredictable in the last 16 line-up, there is a sense that the traditional early caginess of most teams in two-legged clashes may not materialise here – so betting on the match should be focused accordingly.
A successful £10 bet on Estudiantes to beat Cerro Porteno 3-2 would return £290 at bwin.com.
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