Sportsbooks aren't giving Anderlecht a ton of respect. They have the Belgian side as high as +300 in some soccer odds to win at home, leaving Benfica as the favorites (+105 or so) despite being the away team. The UNDER 2.5 goals is getting a lot of love (-130), while the OVER is trading at +110.
The Belgian Pro League has been tight all season and Anderlecht is certainly no lock to finish at the top.
Right now they find themselves in fourth place, with 10 wins, one draw and five losses to their name. They're one point behind Genk, two behind Standard Liege, and four behind league-leading Zulte Waregem.
In their first match back after the international break, Anderlecht lost 2-1 away to Royal Charleroi SC, a tough loss to take considering they had beaten Genk (1-0) away right before the break. It was not the way boss John van den Brom would have liked to return.
At least Anderlecht has an opportunity to recover some pride, as they'll play host to Benfica in a Champions League affair. The match will be played at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels.
So far in Group C, the Belgians have failed to win and have one point to their name through four fixtures. They've scored a grand total of one goal and have let in 11, which is more than the other tree teams in the group (PSG, Olympiakos, Benfica) combined.
The Eagles returned from the long layoff to beat Sporting Braga 1-0 at home in the Portuguese Liga. Nemanja Matic scored the lone goal in the second half to give the home side the three points.
And oh how crucial those three points could end up being. Benfica (on 23 points) was able to keep pace with Porto (24 points) and Sporting Lisbon (23 points) and built up some momentum heading into this collision with Anderlecht as well.
In the group, the Eagles have one win, one draw and two losses, giving them four points overall. PSG leads the way with 10 points and Olympiakos is in second with seven. Benfica's away form is worrying too, as they've lost both matches outside of Portugal while failing to score a single goal.
Oscar Cardozo will try to change that this week. He leads the team with five league goals on the season and has scored once in the Champions League group stages so far.
Other players to watch for include promising young Serbian Lazar Markovic and Benfica could also call on Lima, who has made the most of his limited appearances since joining up with the club last year.
Champions League Pick
Though Anderlecht has been humbled in the competition so far – their last European occasion at home finished in a 5-0 defeat at the hands of PSG, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic stealing the show – they did manage a draw with the group leaders in Paris a few weeks ago.
Still, do they have it in them to give Benfica a run for their money?
We definitely do feel as if there's value on the home team here, as you're getting nearly 3-to-1 odds on a home team. We've seen that Anderlecht can pull off a result, but in the end the safest bet to add to our soccer picks may be the draw at +250.
Pick: Anderlecht 1 Benfica 1