The Portuguese league gets back underway after the break and Sunday's slate of games opens up with Maritimo hosting Beira Mar, with both teams deadlocked in the standings.
Maritimo had a difficult schedule in the first half of the season facing all the top clubs and losing away to league leader Benfica in a 4-1 beating three weks ago. The hosts were however able to get a giant monkey off their back when they notched their only victory of the season at home against local rivals Nacional in the Madeira Derby in mid-December.
Their lacklustre home record of 1-2-3 (W-L-T) will need to improve swiftly if they harbour any ambitions of making it back to European play like they did this season, when they exited after the end of the recent group stage.
Maritimo has the lowest goal production in Portugal with only 10 goals scored, with only four of those scored at home. The club has also conceded twice as many as it's scored, with 20 allowed so far. Despite those woes, the former club of Canadian legend Alex Bunbury is still favoured by bookies to win, with odds of 1.96 over at Uwin.com.
A safer and more attractive bet to me in the outright markets is the draw which is listed at the same firm for 3.25. Though Beira Mar hasn't drawn a game in its six road matches, I like the fact that Maritimo has drawn 50% of its home games so far.
Beira Mar can be had at a teasing rate of 3.70. The visitors' weak away record of 2-4-0 will make you frown off the bat, but their ability to score on the road hasn't been bad, with an average of 1.33 scored while away in addition to scoring seven in their last three overall matches.
They also appear to be performing a bit better as the season has gone on as they currently ride a three-game unbeaten streak which includes a 2-1 away win to Gil Vicente in mid-December. They also have a win on the island when they defeated Nacional 4-2 a few months back.
I like the draw bet here, but why not hedge it with either a Beira Mar win or a handicap tie with Beira Mar down -1 which would payout 3.70.
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