Soccer Picks: Olympiakos vs. Benfica Champions League

Nila Amerova

Monday, November 4, 2013 1:51 PM GMT

Olympiacos FC and SL Benfica collide on match day four in UEFA Champions League action next week. Join us as we breakdown the odds and deliver our choice value soccer picks.

Olympiakos FC have the slight edge

Olympiakos FC have earned only a slight edge in the soccer odds for the reverse against SL Benfica, in part due to a positive showing in Lisbon in the reverse fixture but largely down to home advantage one would assume.

That edge amounts to odds that are on the long side of even money at +130 to win outright at Bet365, a price that effectively renders said both home edge and positive account rather moot points. But are sportsbooks right to underrate them so?

Last season, Olympiakos finished on 9 points in group action, missing out on second place to Arsenal by a point alone even though they did beat Arsenal 2-1 at home in the last round of group matches. To beat Arsenal is no mean feat make no mistake. And if they can do that, wouldn’t one then assume they have a decent chance to beat Benfica at home too. If nothing else, at least, it should warrant a more favourable estimation from odds makers.

On opening day, Olympicas succumbed 4-1 to PSG at home before clinching a crucial 3-0 away win at Anderlecht on the back of Kostas Mitroglou's hat trick. Match day three saw Olympiakos force a 1-1 draw in Lisbon, a result they’ll be looking to build on when they welcome the Portuguese outfit to Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis, in Piraeus. Inspiring them along is a handy performance in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup, when the pair collided in the group stage with the Greeks running away 5-1 winners. And to some extent even the win over Arsenal?

The recent 1-1 result kept both sides level on four points in Group C standings but with the Greeks to the good on account of a better goal differential. It goes without saying, the Greeks will be looking to capitalise on home ground advantage to pull ahead of SL Benfica in the race for second spot. They are an impressive 8-1-0, which includes a perfect 4-0-0 at home mark, in 9 rounds of Greek Super League action. Recently, they are after back-to-back victories in which they twice scored five goals and conceded a combined total of four.

SL Benfica at the slight disadvantage

It goes without saying that so far Benfica’s campaign has been a bit disappointing, fallen short of the mark, you could say. Keen were they to make a statement in Europe’s top-flight league given that their kop was chosen to host the Champions League 2013-2014 final.

Last season, SL Benfica finished third in group action, a result that earned them automatic entry into Europa League R32, which, to their credit, they built with a run all the way into the final only to lose the title to Chelsea.

SL Benfica were naturally disappointed with the 1-1 draw on match day 3. A match that many had them as their Champions League pick to win outright and in which odds makers had them installed around the -150 favourites range to win outright. Now they face the Greeks on the road as the +200 underdogs at Bet365, marking a rather tight soccer betting line for this matchup.

The draw to Olympiakos was their second straight draw in as many matches and a result that maintained their undefeated run at home to six since the start of the season. A return to domestic winning form following the European break saw them improve to 5-2-1 in Primeira Liga and tally 17 points, which puts them in third place but level with Sporting CP on points. They are slated to face Academia at the weekend, a mid-table side that could test them since coming off a victory over Sporting Braga.

Soccer Betting Verdict: At the start of the competition, many had Benfica pencilled in second place and by extension through to the knockout phases. However, three rounds in, that assumption can’t be taken for granted anymore. Of course, they have everything to play for yet. Even have enough quality to get back on track. But Olympiakos are giving them a serious run for their money in this competition, perhaps even gained the momentum on the back of the 1-1 draw in Lisbon. Upon which certainly they’ll look to capitalise on in this upcoming clash, despite the unconvincing soccer odds. All in all, everything seems to point to an Olympiakos win right now in our opinion and at +130 to win outright it’s also the value choice for our sports picks.

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Soccer Free Picks: Olympiakos at +130 to win outright

Bonus Free Picks: Over 2.5 at +110 and Olympiakos to win both halves at +260

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