European Banker of the Week: FC Porto vs. SC Braga

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FC Porto's Brazilian defender Wendell Nascimento celebrates. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP)

After cashing both our plays in last week’s Banker of the Week, we are full of confidence heading into this weekend’s game. This will be our first dive into the Portuguese league for our soccer picks. A lot of games in the top division of Europe were difficult to get a read on this weekend.

FC Porto vs. SC Braga

Sunday, December 12, 2021 – 3.30 PM EST at Estadio do Dragão

Porto Remains Undefeated

Although Porto was dumped out of the Champions League this midweek following their 3-1 loss to Atletico Madrid, they were very dominant in that game and conceded two of the three goals in extra time. They will be focused on winning this game following that loss, and know they can’t afford to slip up whilst in such an intense title race with both Sporting Clube de Portugal and SL Benfica.

Domestically Porto has been very solid this season, and it’s a good thing they are because both Sporting Lisbon and Benfica are very strong. Sporting Clube de Portugal is tied for 1st with Porto on 35 points and Braga is sitting 10 points behind on 25 points.

Porto has yet to lose a game this season and even more impressively on home soil they have gone 6-0, scoring 18 goals and only allowing 3. Porto’s three main strikers have provided 20 goals from 33 appearances.
A big positive for Porto this game is the return of Mateus Uribe to the side, as he was suspended for the midweek Champions League fixture.

Braga Poor Away Form

Fighting on two fronts seems to be taking its toll on Braga this season, they are slipping early from the top three. Away from home, they have the 6th best record in the league, which isn’t hard to do, to be honest. Although they picked up 11 points from a possible 18 on the road, we still feel a lot of those results were iffy, or an outlier.

They got battered 6-1 last time out to SL Benfica, barely beat Gil Vicente FC 1-0, had 0-0 and 1-1 draws with CD Santa Clara and FC Pacos Ferreira.

Ricardo Horta has been the talisman thus far this season for Braga with 9 goals and 2 assists in 12 appearances so far this season. Braga really does rely on their strikers to score as only 5 goals from a total of 22 have come from the midfielders and defenders. When Horta isn’t on his game, Braga struggles this season as he alone has scored almost 50% of his team’s goals.

Effectively, Porto just has to shut him down and you basically shut Braga down.

Braga has only won 1 of the previous 10 games on the road to Porto and their chances of doing so this weekend at +550 seem about the correct set of odds here. At the very least we expect Porto to get a draw here, but most like a 2-1 or 3-0 win.

FC Porto vs. SC Braga Pick

We are targeting the over 2.5 goals here in the Portuguese fixture at odds of -120 at the best sportsbooks, which we believe represents some value as we expected the odds to be around -135. Porto games at home this season have seen 5 overs and 1 under, and that underdid come in a local derby against Belenenses.

Porto at home this season has been averaging 3 goals per game, so their average alone should cash this bet technically, but we know sports betting isn’t that easy. Still, it’s nice to know their average is above the actual match betting total line.

To help the cause, Braga has seen 1.3 goals on average this season whilst playing on the road. Although they have only seen 33% of their away games go over 2.5 goals, many of those matches were them struggling to beat lesser teams 1-0, etc. Porto won’t be so easy to beat at home and Braga is going to have to find two goals at least to beat Porto here. Although we can’t look past Porto scoring a minimum of two goals here.

A small play worth considering here for a fun bet might be Horta anytime goalscorer along with Porto player Mehdi Taremi at +950.

Soccer Pick: Over 2.5 Goals (-120) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.