Back Home Win as Benfica Hosts PSG

Steven Suarez

Monday, December 9, 2013 6:42 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 6:42 PM GMT

Group leaders PSG will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic when they travel to take on Benfica in Champions League action on Tuesday. How will they cope? Sportsbooks have listed Benfica as the favorites, let'se take a look at the odds and make our soccer pick.

Odds Overview

The Parisians find themselves in unfamiliar territory on Tuesday: as underdogs in the soccer betting odds. They're priced out in and around the +275 area.

Benfica is at home and that's clearly a big advantage in the eyes of oddsmakers. The Eagles are close to even odds at +105 or so, while a draw's at +275.

Benfica

A 1-0 away loss to Olympiakos was a tough result to take, but the Eagles have responded the right way, rolling off a four-match unbeaten streak heading into Tuesday. First they beat Braga in the league before topping Anderlecht 3-2 in the Champions League. That was followed by a 3-1 domestic win over Rio Ave and a 2-2 draw against Arouca this past weekend.

The Eagles actually went down on two different occasions but got equalizing goals from Rodrigo in the first half and then from Lima (from the penalty spot) with just under 10 minutes to go.

In the league, Benfica is in third place, as they're tied on points with Porto and two back of Sporting Lisbon. Their home form is relevant here and we find the Eagles are still unbeaten (four wins, two draws, zero losses) in six matches at the Estadio da Luz.

This is Europe though and therefore a whole different ballgame. This is a must-win situation for Benfica, considering they're tied on points with Olympiakos (seven points through five matches), with the Greek outfit set to face Anderlecht at home.

PSG

Wondering why PSG is such a significant underdog? After all, they've been cruising domestically and are also tops in Group C. Well, Ibrahimovic's absence is a big reason why.

In unstoppable form this season, Benfica is certainly lucky they don't have to deal with the Ukrainian. He's scored 13 goals with six assists in 16 Ligue 1 appearances this term and has added an amazing return of eight goals in five Champions League matches.

We saw first-hand just how important the striker is to the Parisians' cause in PSG's recent 5-0 mauling of Sochaux.

Ibrahimovic had two late goals, those coming after Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani had put the hosts up 3-0. It was a walk in the park for PSG, who had 73 percent of the possession and out-shot Sochaux almost three-to-one.

But who will the Parisians have to rely on without their talisman forward? We'll have to wait to see if they end up resting more of their key players, but if not then Cavani and Lavezzi are two to watch out for.

Champions League Pick

At first we found it really difficult not to back PSG at this kind of price, but in the end oddsmakers know what they're doing. There's a reason Benfica is the firm favorite.

The Eagles are not only undefeated at home in the Portuguese Liga, but they've also yet to lose in the Champions League group stage either. They beat Anderlecht 2-0 and then tied Olympiakos 1-1 back in late October.

Since the Parisians have the luxury of resting players because of their huge lead, you have to wonder how their desire and commitment will stack up when compared to Benfica, who will be going all out to get the full three points.

As you can see, this is a match the Eagles really need, so we'll take the home side for our soccer pick at these short odds.

Pick: Benfica 2 PSG 1

[gameodds]8/244720/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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