liga premeira

The top two in the Portuguese League meet on Saturday evening, as Porto host Braga at 8:30pm local time. Porto are the current Portuguese champions and currently lead the league on goal difference. Their opponents, undefeated Braga, are the team they are joint with at the top of the table, as the two sides meet in a crucial game in the Portuguese league.

Home Team: Porto

Porto won their first league title in 5 years back in May, and look favourites to retain the title, especially with Benfica’s recent abysmal form. Porto have won 7 out of their opening 9 matches in the league, losing twice. Their most recent defeat was against Benfica back in early October, but have won 6 matches since then, including two back to back wins against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League.

Their progression to the Champions League knockout stage is all-but-confirmed with 10 points from 12, so attention is shifted to arguably their biggest game of the season – home to Braga on Saturday. Porto have the best defensive record in the division, only conceding 6 goals from their 9 matches.

Away Team: Braga

Braga are a team in Portugal that always tend to win the ‘best of rest’ championship, always occupying that fourth spot behind the three big Portuguese clubs – Sporting Lisbon, Benfica and Porto. Braga have finished fourth 8 times in the last 13 seasons. Despite being consistent, they haven’t broken into the top two in Portugal since 2010. Braga have started this season impressively, despite an early exit in the Europa League.

With no European distractions, Braga can now focus on mounting a serious title challenge, and have yet to lose a game in the league this season. Onlookers will suggest that they haven’t had a real test yet, but they have managed to beat Sporting Lisbon at home. Understandably though, their real test will be this fixture at the weekend, and if they are to avoid defeat then they should be considered genuine title contenders. Braga currently have the league’s top goal scorer in their ranks, as Dyego Sousa has scored 7 goals from the opening 9 matches.

Head to Head

Porto have been fairly dominant in this fixture over the years, and have only lost once in the last 11 matches. In last season’s two meetings, Porto won 3-1 at home, and 1-0 away. The most famous meeting between these two sides was in the Europa League final in 2011, the first all Portuguese European final, where Porto had won 1-0 on the night – a header from Radamel Falcao. Braga last defeated Porto at home in 2016, but haven’t won at the Estadio Dragao since 2005. In fact, Porto have won 8 of the last 9 times they have hosted Braga.

Predictions and Betting Tips

As history suggests, Porto are deservedly strong favourites at 4/9 to get the victory here, with Braga looking for their first win at Porto since 13/2. A draw is priced at 10/3. I believe that Braga’s undefeated start to the season will come to an end here, but it will be a close and cagey match.

I expect Porto to narrowly win, so I am opting for a 1-0 score line at 5/1. Moussa Marega has only 3 league goals this season, but after two goals in midweek, I would back him to get a goal during the match at any time at 11/10. Finally, the odds are kind if you want to back Braga in any aspect, so if you are bold enough, then you may get some decent winnings if you bet on the following, Braga to score 2+ goals (5/1), to win one half (13/5), or a ‘double chance’ bet of them to win or draw at 6/4. Braga will cause a lot of difficulties so those odds are generous.

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