- Benfica host red-hot Pacos Ferreira on Sunday (3:00 pm ET) in a Primeira Liga match that may not be as open-and-shut as the lopsided 29-2 Benfica advantage on the historical record indicates
- Sunday’s visitors sit fifth in Portugal’s top division — a place they have not held since 2012-13 — while Benfica is tied-third and four points behind leader Sporting
- Get a breakdown of both clubs, Sunday’s odds and a few value picks below
It’s been a cagey ‘first quarter’ of the Primeira Liga season in Portugal, with all the traditional powers beyond Sporting (7-1-0) dropping points while trying to navigate a heavy European fixture list.
Benfica (6-0-2) have not avoided those difficulties, with losses in two of their last three — vs Braga (1-2) and at Boavista (0-3) — league fixtures putting manager Jorge Jesus’ Aguias behind the eight-ball in the title race.
Pacos Ferreira (4-2-2) have enjoyed a renaissance under up-and-coming manager Pepa, scoring serious scalps in the likes of Porto (3-2) and Santa Clara (2-1) and raising eyebrows by qualifying for the Portuguese League Cup’s final phase.
In normal years, this would be considered a trap game for Benfica at best; 14-straight wins in this matchup at the Estadio da Luz dating back to 2006 speak for themselves, however, Pacos is in unbelievable form and boasts a solid core that at worst will cruise to a mid-table finish.
Benfica vs Pacos Ferreira Odds
|Benfica vs Pacos Ferreira||BEN -1.5 (-137) | PAC +1.5 (+106)||BEN -420 | PAC +950 | DRAW +475||Ov 2.5 (-180) | Un 2.5 (+135)|
Odds taken Dec 2 at DraftKings
In terms of form, strong results in Europe and a 2-1 win in Madeira against Maritimo have restored at least a partially positive vibe around Benfica following those two unexpected league defeats.
Pacos has been quality as of late, with four straight wins and six undefeated (5-1-0) across all competitions; Canadian-born midfielder Stephen Eustaquio has been strong for Os Castores, along with veteran Brazilian frontman Douglas Tanque.
Benfica: Inconsistent but Entertaining
If the last two matches against Maritimo and Poznan (one goal allowed combined) are a legitimate indicator, Benfica has shored up the defensive woes which plagued it early in November.
The offensive talent is undeniable; Haris Seferovic’s six goals in seven matches are self-explanatory, while newcomers Luca Waldschmidt and Everton have looked dynamic.
Seferovic’s five-game scoreless drought is tied for his longest since June, and one might say the Swiss finisher is due.
73% – SL Benfica’s possession figure vs Marítimo today was the second highest for them in a single Primeira Liga game since the start of the 2019/20 season (77% vs Moreirense on March 2020). Initiative. #CSMSLB pic.twitter.com/G4YHE0Lfyy
— OptaJoao (@OptaJoao) November 30, 2020
Jorge Jesus’ side has not set the world on fire, as he promised upon being reappointed manager before promptly exiting the Champions League following an unceremonious 2-1 loss at PAOK. Rather, they have bumped along and remained alive in both the title mix and Europa League despite long stretches of mediocre play.
Benfica vs Pacos Ferreira Stats
|6-0-2 (2.25 pts/game)||2020-21 Primeira Liga Record||4-2-2 (1.75 pts/game)|
|19 (2.38/game)||Goals scored||10 (1.25/game)|
|10 (1.25/game)||Goals conceded||8 (1.00/game)|
|Haris Seferovic (6)||Leading Scorer||Stephen Eustaquio/
Douglas Tanque (2)
|W – W – D – W – L||Overall Form||W – W – W – W – D|
|2nd||2019-20 Finish||1st, Division 2|
|29-3-2||H2H Record Since 2007 (W-L-T)||2-3-29|
Pacos Ferreira: Any Way You Want It
Pepa’s Pacos squad is currently redefining the club’s ambitions in an effort to qualify for European competition for the first time since 2013-14.
Far from relegation fodder, a tight defensive style away from home (0.75 GF vs 0.75 GA) has kept them in games and helped Pacos earn results in three of four matches beyond the Estadio da Mata Real.
On the flip side, Os Castores have also shown an ability to trade offensive punches in wins over Porto and Santa Clara — both of which hit the Over 2.5.
Benfica vs Pacos Ferreira Best Bets
As lopsided as the odds are and as bad as the historical head-to-head is, there could be value in backing Pacos (at least somewhat) come Sunday.
Pepa’s side is in good form, with a veteran core that has already earned one win against ‘Big 3′ opposition this season and will be on two extra days’ rest.
25 – Alejandro Grimaldo has been dribbled past by an opponent more often (25) than any other defender in the Primeira Liga in 2020. Target. pic.twitter.com/wlXiZrccju
— OptaJoao (@OptaJoao) November 19, 2020
On the home side, taking Seferovic to score at -112 could be good value given Benfica’s propensity for home goals (2.25/game) and the likelihood he’ll have a scoring opportunity or two. Not that it means much, but the 28-year-old also scored in this meeting last season — a 5-0 win for the hosts on August 10, 2019.
Picks: Pacos Over 0.5 (-109), Seferovic to Score (-112), Pacos Ferreira +1.5 (+106)