Paul Higham has found some value in Spartak Moscow’s corner odds for their Champions League qualifier against Benfica.
Spartak Moscow v Benfica
Wednesday 4 August 18:00 BST kick-off
Both of these well-known European sides clash in Russia with Spartak Moscow hosting the first leg of their tie with Benfica with a Champions League spot up for grabs.
Benfica are favourites for the tie and this match even though it’s their first competitive outing of the season while Spartak are two games in to their Russian Premier League campaign (W1 L1).
Spartak have a Portuguese connection with new coach Rui Vitoria being a former Benfica boss no less and having faced current Benfica manager Jorge Jesus 21 times – he’s not had the best record to say the least (W4 D4 L13).
Spartak as a club don’t have the best record against sides from Portugal, having won four and lost six of their previous 12 games – drawing twice – while Benfica have an even record from their 20 matches with Russian oppopnents (W8 D4 L8).
This would be a tricky game to call even with the season in full flow but even more so this early in the season – Benfica for example enjoyed seven away wins out of eight games to end last season, but this being their very first competitive game of the new campaign means we’re yet to see exactly what sort of side they’ll be this year.
Spartak should be a bit sharper given they’ve already kicked off the season, but even then this is their first home contest so we’re yet to see how strong they are in their own back yard.
Under 2.5 goals is just favoured at 1.910/11 and given Spartak have been involved in two 1-0s so far this season and this being Benfica’s real game of significance makes that look more than a reasonable outcome.
Picking a winner here, especially with it being the first leg, is a tough assignment so instead we’re taking a look at the stats and, while there’s not too much to go on the one thing that does jump out is Spartak Moscow’s corner count in their first two league games.
Both games were away from home, yet they won 10 and 11 in the two games, with the match totals being 13 and 18 respectively.
Given those numbers it looks like the corner markets are the way to go here and given Spartak’s extra sharpness then there’s no reason why they can’t collect a few in Moscow.
Being outsiders there’s some decent value on offer but over 5.5 corners seems more than doable at 2.915/8 – a bet which has landed in nine of Spartak’s last 10 games.