- Portugal’s Primeira Liga continues to chug through the middle portion of the season, with a Lisbon Derby highlighting Matchday 16
- Undefeated Sporting is six points ahead of third-place Benfica entering the Derby de Lisboa
- Get a breakdown of the two clubs, Monday’s matchup odds and a few value picks below
Fresh off a Taça da Liga triumph, Ruben Amorim’s Sporting will look to maintain its four-point lead atop Portugal’s Primeira Liga on Monday against Benfica (4:30pm ET).
With the Leoes enjoying a season unlike any other in the 21st century for the club, tensions will be high against a rival Benfica side that has dropped points in three of its last five league matches.
The tables have certainly turned in 2020-21: Sporting is no longer the weak, struggling neighbor, and Benfica’s run of three-straight wins in head-to-head play — and in five of six meetings overall — could certainly end on Monday.
Sporting vs Benfica Primeira Liga Odds
|Sporting vs Benfica||SPO -0.5 (+155) | BEN +0.5 (-210)||SPO +155 | BEN +155 | DRAW +240||Ov 2.5 (-105) | Un 2.5 (-125)|
Odds taken Jan 31 at DraftKings
Sporting’s rise under Ruben Amorim has been nothing short of incredible this season, with the former Portugal midfielder’s 70% career win percentage over stops at Braga B, Braga and now Sporting vaulting him into the discussion around soccer’s next great coach.
The fan base is hungry for silverware, and lifting the Taça da Liga — Amorim’s second, after winning it in 2020 at Braga — could be a sign of a shift in Portugal’s power structure as Sporting legitimizes itself as a contender.
Sporting: All Systems Go
Lisbon could very well turn green this season, as Sporting (12-3-0) sits undefeated through 15 matches as the early favorite to win the domestic league title.
From the emergence of Jovane Cabral, whose two goals against Porto fired Sporting through to the League Cup final, to the elevation of Nuno Santos’ game this season after his move from Rio Ave, the club boasts more playmakers than at any point in recent memory.
While fans and bettors have seen Sporting’s return to earth as inevitable, the team has kept rolling — with wins in three straight against Big 4 opposition — and seems poised for a title run, having survived the January transfer window with its core intact.
Benfica: Underwhelming Under Jorge Jesus
When Jorge Jesus took the helm at Benfica (10-3-2) in August 2020, he promised swift results and an attack-dog mentality.
The reality has been markedly different: Three draws from six Europa League group stage matches was somewhat disappointing, and a sea of draws in league play of late has left the Aguias six points off Sporting in first place.
There is no doubt Benfica boasts an impressive attack, but recent results — 1-1 vs Nacional, 2-1 league cup defeat vs Braga, etc. — are a sign that things have cooled off offensively.
While Darwin Nuñez did find the net in the team’s 3-0 cup win over Belenenses on Thursday, Benfica will need him — along with young Luca Waldschmidt off the bench — to recapture his early-season form in order to mount a title challenge during the second half of the season.
Sporting vs Benfica Best Bets
While the bookmakers see it as a dead heat, Sporting is in slightly better form and on two days’ extra rest — making the +155 odds on the hosts, who are 5-2-0 at home this campaign, a tasty proposition.
Additionally, the Under 2.5 (-125) could offer value; yes, this matchup has seen the Over 2.5 hit in four of the last six contests, but this Sporting defense is the sharpest the club has had in at least three years (0.6 GA/game).
If you’re in the market for a value scorer pick, consider Nuno Santos (+250): The Sporting creator has five goals in 15 appearances this season, including the opening salvo in his team’s 2-2 draw against Porto back in October.
Pick: Sporting (+155), Nuno Santos to Score (+250)