Soccer Picks: Malaga vs. Porto in Champions League

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 7:07 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 12, 2013 7:07 PM GMT

Porto heads to Estadio La Rosaleda with a narrow 1-0 advantage from the first leg and will look to finish the job, but Malaga surely has other plans. Have we decided which side will move on?

Odds Overview 

The soccer odds couldn't be much closer for this showdown in Spain. Funnily enough, one book is offering an identical 33/20 price for both a Malaga and Porto win. 

A draw, which would ultimately see the Portuguese outfit move on, has been installed at roughly 11/5, while the UNDER 2.5 goals is getting much more action than is the OVER. No surprise there after what we witnessed in the first encounter.

[gameodds]8/221279/43-999997-192/us[/gameodds]

Malaga 

The Anchovies went into the showdown with FC Porto playing some of their best soccer, but since the loss they've struggled to find that same form. 

Without a win in any of their three most recent La Liga matches, Malaga has loosed their grip on the fourth spot in the standings. They're currently there strictly because of a superior goal differential over Real Sociedad, but the likes of Real Betis and Valencia just to name a couple are right there in the mix as well.

Malaga's claim to fame this term has been a brick-wall defense that's allowed just 25 goals in league play this season, but this side can't seem to find the back of the net, which is obviously a problem with them needing at least one goal on Wednesday. 

The Anchovies have scored just once in their last four matches across all competitions and could have another difficult time against Porto, a highly disciplined team in the back. 

Players to keep an eye out for in this match include Isco, Lucas Piazon, Roque Santa Cruz and Jeremy Toulalan. Javier Saviola, who has seven goals in La Liga this season, could also make an impact here.

FC Porto 

The Portistas are looking locked in at the moment, with a possible berth in the Champions League quarter-finals on the horizon. They're also in a heated race with Benfica domestically. 

As of now Porto is two points back for the top spot, despite not having lost a single league match while posting an out-of-this-world goal differential of plus-40. They will meet up with Benfica on May 12, their second-to-last fixture, which is sure to have a massive impact on who wins the crown. 

For now, Porto will be eying a spot in the last eight in the Champions League. They have an advantage heading in, and their strong defensive performance kept the Spanish side without a goal, which could turn out to be key in the return leg.

Though European atmospheres reach another level, the Portistas have shown they can hang away from home this season. 

Out of 10 matches outside of Porto, they've won six and drawn four, while scoring 20 goals and allowing only seven. In Europe, they gave PSG everything they could handle and also got points out of Dinamo Zagreb and Dynamo Kiev away.

Champions League Pick 

Joao Moutinho netted the only goal in the first leg win for Porto. It was a match that the Portuguese dominated from start to finish, at least in terms of possession and overall chances on goal.

Porto had 18 total shots, five of which were on goal, while Malaga had just two scoring chances and didn't really test Helton whatsoever. The Portistas finished with 63 percent of the possession and will try to do control the tempo once again here in the return leg. Don't be surprised if Jackson Martinez, who has 26 goals to his name for the club this season, is the one that spoils the day for Anchovies supporters.

We can expect a frenzied crowd in Malaga, but looking at recent form on both sides, we're finding it hard to back the home team's chances of advancing with our soccer picks. Porto has looked very strong throughout and has the experience necessary to get the result they need. 

Pick: Malaga 1 FC Porto 1

Aggregate: Malaga 1 FC Porto 2
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