Porto - Malaga Betting Preview: Why backing Jackson Martinez to score looks a wise investment

Our Spanish expert Phil Kitromilides believes Porto's in-form striker looks great value at 20/21 to net at any time this evening and has a 12/1 value bet for the match
It is a curious metamorphosis that has befallen Malaga over the last 18 months, from shambolically shaky to defensively masterful in little over a year and a half, the Andalusians currently possess the best defensive record in La Liga, something utterly unthinkable in recent seasons.

Closer analysis of the statistics reveals that Manuel Pellegrini's side have conceded just seven goals in 11 away matches in the league this season, a truly remarkable achievement. They will need all their new found defensive resolve this evening as they travel to a Porto side in ominous scoring form.

Unbeaten in 12 matches in all competitions the Portuguese champions can be backed at 4/5 (1.80) with Bet365 to claim a first leg lead this evening, while the visitors are offered at 17/4 (5.25) and the draw available at 13/5 (3.60).

Having eulogised about Malaga's defensive form however, one must remember that in recent years Porto have made a habit of unearthing some of the finest talent from South America and in Jackson Martinez they appear to have found another striker of startling quality.

A natural goal scorer, the Colombian has found the back of the net with ease wherever he has been, and a successful stint in Mexico saw him move to Portugal in the summer.

Filling the boots of his countryman Falcao - who left the Estadio do Dragao two years ago - was never going to be an easy task, but 20 goals in 19 league games means Martinez is one of the most in-form strikers in Europe.

The 26-year-old scored three times in the group stages, and has netted in each of his last six appearances for Porto scoring 10 times in the process.

The price therefore of 20/21 (1.95) for him to score at any time this evening looks utterly unmissable. Of course, Malaga's defensive improvement has previously been mentioned, yet they have only kept one clean sheet in their last 12 matches in all competitions and have conceded in each of their last three Champions League games.

For a value bet, Martinez to score first and a 1-0 win for Porto looks a decent play at 12/1 (13.00) for those searching for a bigger price.

Jackson Martinez to score at any time at 20/21 (1.95) with Bet365
Martinez to score first and Porto to win 1-0 at 12/1 (13.00) with Bet365

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports anchor working on TV in Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.