Soccer Picks: Tottenham vs. Benfica

Nila Amerova

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 2:57 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014 2:57 PM UTC

Tottenham Hotspur host Benfica in the R16 of Europa League on Thursday. Find out what odds are currently in swing and where the value soccer picks are to be had for this match.

Tottenham Hotspur second overall favourites

Tottenham Hotspur are tipped as the joint-second overall favourites with Napoli in UEFA Europa League betting markets, priced at +700 to win outright at Bet365. Yet, the only Premier League representatives in the competition are faced with a tough ask against Benfica, so tough that they are listed on the short side of even money in the first leg of their tie at White Hart Lane.

The Spurs are favourites albeit at +130 to win outright, which is hardly a strong vote of confidence in proportion to their overarching soccer odds in the competition. That has everything to do with the quality of their opponents as well as partly to do with their somewhat unconvincing deposit in the R32.

The Spurs advanced into the R16 with a 3-2 win on aggregate at the expense of Dnipro. However, the score belies just how tough the victory was entirely for the Londoners.

The Spurs opened their campaign in the knockout stages with a 1-0 defeat in Ukraine. In the second leg, the visitors added to their advantage when they surprisingly took the 1-0 lead in the 48th minute at White Hart Lane, an away goal that seemed to all but suggest the hosts were headed for an agonizing end in European competition.

All of a sudden several things happened that shifted the momentum. First, Christian Eriksen’s free kick ten minutes later brought the Spurs to within one goal. Then a touch of controversy saw Dnipro reduced to 10-men, which helped the Spurs to finally come alive or rather Emanuel Adebayor specifically as he scored the brace that sent the Spurs into the R16.

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Benfica at the disadvantage

Benfica routed PAOK in the R32, beating the Greek side 4-0 on aggregate to advance into the R16. The Portuguese side began the knockout stages with a 1-0 victory in Salonika and then underscored their advantage with a 3-0 win in the reverse tie before their adoring fans to come through on their favourable -225 soccer odds to win outright at Bet365.

Despite their convincing performance in the last lap however, Benfica are installed as the significant underdogs at +220 soccer odds at Bet365 to orchestrate the upset at White Hart Lane, a market stance that seems rather disingenuous, all things being considered.

Benfica probably should still be competing in Champions League this season but for an unfortunate twist of fate that saw them demoted to second-tier action; they finished level on points with Olympiakos but third in the group pecking order. Credit to the Portuguese outfit, they didn’t dwell on the injustice of it all. Instead they turned this opportunity into a positive, a second chance at European glory.

Last year, Benfica came very close to winning the competition but finished runner-up to Chelsea instead. In advancing to the R16, Benfica have had their future odds to win this competition slashed from +1400 to +1100 but not enough to do them any justice.

Soccer Betting Verdict: Tottenham Hotspur have the home advantage but given that they are beatable at home – both in Premier League and in European competition – odds makers aren’t cornering this match firmly in their camp. What’s more seeing how solid Benfica have been of late, Spurs won’t have an easy time of it at all which suggests that whichever way you slice this matchup, there is value on both sides of the coin. Tottenham provide good value with their +130 soccer odds but so do the +220 soccer odds on Benfica to win outright. Based on current form however, the balance tips in favour of Benfica and that’s why they are our value soccer pick to win outright.

Soccer Free Picks: Benfica to win outright at +220

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