Soccer Picks: Portugal vs. Israel

Nila Amerova

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 8:50 PM GMT

Portugal hosts Israel in World Cup qualifying action at the weekend. Find out where the value is to be had and what our choice picks are for the match.

Portugal trail Russia in Group F by a point and as such their next match is a must-win game if they want to keep their hope of automatic qualification for Brazil alive.

In fact, Portugal conceded top spot last month when Russia beat Israel 3-1 in St. Petersburg and if Russia goes on to win their next two matches away they’ll qualify automatically for Brazil thereby leaving (most likely) Portugal to decide their own fate in play-off action in November.

Israel trails six points behind Russia and five points behind Portugal. They are still within a slim (really stressing the word slim) shot of securing second-place and, in turn, keeping their hope alive for qualifying. But that hope rests solely on the result in Lisbon. They must win. Defeat will ensure Portugal finishes no lower than second and therefore send them into the play-offs.

Portugal vs. Israel betting preview and odds

Home advantage is definitely felt in the odds on this match as Portugal goes into the clash as the undisputed -600 favourites to win outright at Bet365 while the visitors are tipped at a whopping +1200 and even the draw is installed at a large +650.

Now this market stands in stark contrast to their last meeting in March that was a rather dramatic affair in Ramat Gan and which saw six goals and ended on a stalemate.  Portugal opened the scoring straight out of the gates but Israel were quick to respond 20 minutes later and draw level. Just before the first half ended Israel took the 2:1 lead into the locker room. They would extend their lead in the second half on a 70th minute goal by Null Gershon, all but looking to be on their way to deliver a major upset in Group F betting action.

Portugal finally woke up from their reverie however and answered two minutes later and then deep into stoppage time Fabio Coentrao scored the equalizer that brought them level and quite frankly salvaged their World Cup campaign.

The manner in which sportsbooks cast the reverse leg of this matchup, it’s clear they aren’t expecting a repeat. It’s down to the wire, the penultimate round, and the overriding expectation is that Portugal will rise to the occasion and deliver a comprehensive victory. And we have to agree and, as such, we are going with a Portugal win at -600 for our first choice pick.

Now this doesn’t mean Israel is expected to be a pushover or that you shouldn’t consider them as your choice pick to win this match if you are so inclined. Certainly, the match they played at Ramat Gan showed they could match the big boys of Europe despite relinquishing the lead towards the end. But make no mistake it’s a tall order not to mention it would ring in as one of the biggest upsets of the qualifying rounds.

The reality is Israel’s squad is struggling with injuries and coach Eli Guttmann is faced with some tough decisions. The obvious question: How can they possibly hope to contain Cristiano Ronaldo and company under such conditions?

Don't forget to check out what might happen over there with Holland and Hungary~

Speaking of Cristiano Ronaldo and his leadership on the pitch coupled with his sublime abilities, if he has one of his out-of-this-world-nights, it’s hard to imagine Israel would stand a chance.

Odds makers favour the Over 2.5 at -188 at Bet365 and look no further than score markets to figure out which way that scoring balance tips. You’ll find most scores that reflect Portugal in the lead are priced shorter than those of their counterpart are. For example a 3-0 score is priced at +550 while a 2-1 score is priced at +850 for our soccer picks. The lowest price on an Israel score is +2800 and that is on a 1-0 score.

[gameodds]36/244632/?r-1=43-19-349-192/us[/gameodds]

The favouritism of Portugal extends throughout markets on this matchup. Portugal to win both halves is listed at -188 and Portugal to win by a goal or two is priced the shortest at +275 in winning margin markets. Portugal to win by +3 goals is listed at +375 on many soccer betting odds boards.   

Soccer betting verdict: Portugal must win if they hope to keep hope alive and while that adds pressure on them they are no strangers to it. Soccer nations of their ilk know how to rise to the occasion and therefore they are the smart pick here. To add value, take the Over 2.5 at -188 as well as Portugal to win by a several goal margin. The 2-goal margin is the conservative option at +275 but for those bolder punters, the 3-goal margin at +375 is a nicer option.

Soccer Free Picks: Portugal to win outright and Over 2.5 at -188.