Benfica will be looking to get on the scoresheet early when they host Sporting Braga in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final tomorrow night (April 28th).
In an all-Iberian affair, Liga Zon Sagres’ second and third-placed teams will be hoping to move a step closer to a place in the final in Dublin on May 18th.
And while Braga have defied the odds to reach their first-ever semi-final in UEFA competition under the inspired direction of coach Domingos Paciencia, Benfica have been in this position before – albeit 18 years previously.
However, Jorge Jesus’ side are odds on favourites to win the tie at Estadio Da Luz, with bwin pricing the home team at 1/2. The visitors are 11/2 to pick up an unlikely win, while the draw can be backed at 14/5.
Interestingly, the last five meetings between the two clubs have produced no draws, with Benfica claiming the spoils on three occasion and Braga on two.
If the away fans are to come away from the Estadio Da Luz in high spirits on this occasion, Rodrigo Lima will need to be a decisive figure up front. The forward is the Arsenalists’ top scorer this term and bwin are offering odds of 8/1 on the hitman opening the scoring.
However, they face a tough task against a Benfica side that is unbeaten in their last six in Europe, winning four and drawing two and who have scored in every home match this season.
The Eagles have many more attacking options available to them and the sensible money is likely to be on them to find the back of the net first.
Javier Saviola, Oscar Cardozo and Allan Kardec have all proved their credentials in front of goal this season and are priced at 7/2, 4/1 and 5/1 respectively to break the deadlock.
Betting on Benfica to grab an early goal could also prove to be a profitable venture, with the Eagles scoring ten of their 55 league goals so far this season in the first 15 minutes of matches.
A £10 bet on Benfica to score the first goal in the first half will see punters collect returns of £18.30.
Europa League betting fans could also be tempted to back Benfica to win the game and keep a clean sheet, with Braga having only scored 17 times away from home so far this season.
Odds of 6/5 could prove tempting to a number of punters. New customers can register here to receive a £25 free bet.