The fact that Manchester City saw off Portuguese Primeira Liga leaders and reigning champions Porto in the last round suggests they will have little trouble in getting past Europa League last-16 opponents Sporting.
City completed a comprehensive aggregate victory with a 4-0 win over Porto at the Etihad Stadium on February 22nd, having won the first leg 2-1.
However, the Citizens have a shaky record away from home in Europe and with Sporting unbeaten in their last nine European home games, it is a surprise to see Roberto Mancini’s men installed as odds-on favourites to win the first leg at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
Sporting have not conceded a goal at home since November 6th and have won six of their subsequent seven matches to nil.
City have won only two of their last eight away games in Europe and the situation is not much better domestically, where their last eight games on their travels have yielded just three wins – all of which were achieved by a 1-0 scoreline – and six goals.
Meanwhile, Sporting have not conceded a goal at home since November 6th and have won six of their subsequent seven matches to nil.
Nevertheless, they have only scored eight goals in these seven games, suggesting that a bet on under 2.5 goals in the game looks to hold better value at 83/100 than a Man City win at 71/100.
A successful £25 free bet on under 2.5 goals is set to return £45.75, whereas a City win offers £42.75.
In light of Sporting scoring once in their last three home matches – including in their last Europa League game – a bet on the Portuguese side following suit this evening also looks tempting at odds of 29/20.
While City are searching for their fourth consecutive clean sheet and their fourth in six in Europe, it should not be forgotten that Porto not only scored but had a number of other chances to add to their total in the first leg at the Dragao.
Although City’s recent defensive record suggests they will stop Sporting scoring too many, Porto’s performance, along with Sporting’s excellent home record, suggests the team from the capital should at least have some attacking success.
Again, this certainly looks a safer bet than a Man City win, although this is not to say that odds on a Sporting success at 18/5, or a draw at 11/4, are any more attractive than an away victory in bwin’s 3Way football betting market – just that there could be better options out there.
Recommended bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 83/100
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