Juventus v Porto

Wednesday March 15, 6:45am


Juventus

No wonder Massimiliano Allegri is being talked about so much to take over at Arsenal. His Juventus side have won their last 31 home games in Serie A though they did it the hard way on Friday night, needing a 97th minute penalty to get the better of AC Milan by 2-1. Quite whether Allegri fancies the Arsenal job or how long it would take him to make the Gunners the force Juve are – if he did take the job- are different questions entirely.

Much like with Chelsea in the Premier League under the guise of another world-class Manager, Juve’s rivals have probably given up hope of challenging for the title because they’re simply too consistent. Even when they’re not at their best, they find a way to win.
There was a feeling a couple of years ago that the Juve side including Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal, Morata and Tevez was as good as they’ve had in years and that if they didn’t manage to win the Champions League then, their chance was gone for a while.

But I’m not so sure and I’ve seen far worse bets than the 11.00 on offer about them. With the Serie A title all but wrapped up, they can focus almost entirely on European glory.


Porto

It’s a huge shame that Alex Telles let the occasion get the better of him in the first leg because this could have been a very intriguing tie for the neutral. He picked up a second yellow for a rash challenge within minutes of getting the first and that was that. ‘I apologise to all Portistas’ he said after the game on his Instagram account. It may take them a while to forgive.

Porto did incredibly well to keep Juve at bay until the72nd minute. But this has now become the mother of all uphill tasks.

At least they have remarkable domestic form on their side. They’ve won their last three matches 1-0, 4-0 and 7-0.

They could really do with Hector Herrera being available again but the skipper is unlikely to be fit enough to start having not played at all for a couple of weeks.


Match Odds

At first glance the 1.67 on Juventus looks rather big. There’s no doubting the gulf in class between the two sides in terms of personnel and pedigree. And football isn’t always just about doing a job. The Juve fans will expect a positive performance rather than just watching their side limp into the quarter-finals.

But I don’t like betting on sides that don’t need to win at odds-on. So we’ll leave the match odds market alone. If you’re going to go with Juve to win, there’s a better bet than this one.


Over/Under 2.5 goals/Correct score

The ‘overs’ here at 2.16 are rather tempting. There’s no point Porto going into this match with an unadventurous approach and you’d think that sooner or later they’d either score or concede and once that happens, the floodgates could open.

It all depends on whether you think the great Gigi Buffon can be beaten because somewhat clichéd as it may sound, Italian sides don’t often try to rack up the so-called cricket score whatever the circumstances, meaning that scoring three of their own is a bit far-fetched.

The better bet might be to go for a 2-0 home win at 8.80. It’s a result that is about par for the course given home advantage and the difference in quality between the two teams. Remarkably, it’s also how six of Juve’s last 11 games in all competitions has ended.


To Score

If you think Porto can score one, then look no further than Francisco das Chagas Soares dos Santos. Or Tiquinho to you and me.

The January transfer window signing has wasted little time in marking his mark. Including his last match for Guimaraes before leaving for the Dragons, he’s now scored in seven of his last eight matches; a total of 10 goals. The odd one out? The 2-0 defeat at home to…Juve. You can get 5/2 on Betfair Sportsbook (where he’s listed as Francisco Soares) but you should be able to get at least 4.00 on the Exchange.

By his own very high standards, Gonzalo Higuain is somewhat out of form. It’s now just one goal in his last five matches in all competitions meaning a price of around 2.50 doesn’t really appeal.

I’d rather go with Paulo Dybala, who has five in his last six games. Admittedly three of those five (including the last gasp winner on Friday night) were penalties. But so what? You’ve still got to score them and he’s not a bad player to have onside for a top class side like Juventus who inevitable are awarded a fair few a season. He should be available at odds of at least 3.30 on the Exchange.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Juventus to win 2-0 @ 8.80

BACK – Paulo Dybala to score @ 3.20


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