The Portuguese giants have been sweeping aside all comers since dropping down to the Europa League, and our expert expects this trend to continue against a weakened Toon Army
The Portuguese league leaders have won all five of their games in this competition since dropping down from the Champions League, and are slight favourites at 6/4 (2.50) with Paddy Power to continue that 100 per cent record at St James' Park.
The Magpies will point to a strong recent home record of five wins and one draw in their last six as cause for optimism, and they are available at 7/4 (2.75) to continue that fine form with a victory this evening.
Four of the hosts' last eight games in this competition have resulted in a draw, and you can get odds of 12/5 (3.80) on this one finishing in a stalemate.
As if facing one of Europe's most formidable teams wasn't enough, Alan Pardew is struggling with a number of injuries to some key players going into this match, including Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Cheikh Tiote, while Yoan Gouffran and Mathieu Debuchy are ineligible.
A patched up side will surely struggle against a Benfica team that have only lost against Barcelona and away to Spartak Moscow within 90 minutes in 45 outings this season, and who are currently enjoying an eight-match winning streak.
In contrast, Newcastle are in shaky form after three defeats in their last four, making those 6/4 (2.50) odds on an away win look tantalisingly attractive tonight.
If the hosts are to have any chance of getting back into this tie, then they will need Papiss Cisse to be at his clinical best.
The Senegalese striker struck the potentially vital away goal at the Estadio da Luz, and will be confident of hitting the back of the net in front of his own fans, who have seen him score in each of the last four home games.
With five goals in his last nine games to his name, The Magpies' top scorer offers excellent value at 11/5 (3.20) to score anytime this evening.
|Benfica to win at 6/4 (2.50) with Paddy Power
||Papiss Cisse to score anytime at 11/5 (3.20) with Paddy Power
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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.