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UEFA Champions League: Ajax vs. Benfica Preview, Odds, Prediction

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The game between Benfica and Ajax in Lisbon was one of the best in the entire UCL round of 16. We saw four goals, numerous chances and high intensity on the pitch, which is why we expect the same from the rematch. Both sides have a result that gives them realistic chances of getting into the top eight on the continent, and we are sure that both believe in that. Ajax might be the favorite, but Benfica’s players are only motivated more to prove the oddsmakers wrong.

Preview

Ajax (-250) has three wins in a row, but we can say that the Lancers slowed down significantly over the past month or so. At first, they played 2-2 in Lisbon, but after that lost in Eredivisie to Go Ahead Eagles, 2-1. Following that loss, Ajax posted three wins in a row, yet in the latest two against Walwijk at home and Cambuur on the road (both 3-2), they had to save lives in the closing moments.

In either, the Lancers had a two-goal lead but allowed the rivals to come back. It is something we haven’t gotten used to seeing from this unit, especially in the domestic league, where they usually don’t have any problems.

Ajax’s defense was superb and the best part of the team, but they posted just one clean sheet in the past five games. Luckily, Tadic, Haller and the rest of the forwards scored twice or more four times during that stretch.

Benfica (+600) didn’t lose in the past seven games, but they had four wins and three draws throughout that period. They failed to beat Vizela at home in the most recent Primeira clash, 1-1, making a pretty poor intro for Tuesday’s game.

What is noticeable for the Eagles is the fact that they play open football, and that their defense can’t keep up with that. Only one clean sheet in the recent 10 games is the evident proof for that claim.

Though, the encouraging thing for the Portuguese team is that they managed to score two or more goals in the recent four road matches. The rivals were not at the same level as Ajax, but still, it is something that gives hope.

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There aren’t any new absences in Ajax, as Gorter, Klaiber, Pasveer and Stekelenburgh still sit out.

Verissimo, Pinho and Seferovic are not eligible for Benfica, while Yaremchuk will be a game-time decision.

Head to Head Games

The first leg was fun to watch. Ajax quickly reached the lead twice, but the hosts always responded. Furthermore, after Yaremchuk’s goal for 2-2, they pressured Ajax and were close to scoring the third one.

Prediction

Our first and the safest pick here is over 2.5 goals, with the odds currently sitting on that at -330. The profits might be lower, but they are safe. The second one is Over 1.5 goals in the second half. No matter the result, whichever side is behind will attack and try to score, and that inevitably leads to goals. Also, the statistics tell us that UCL games usually see two or more goals in the second half. The odds here are -200.

Pick: Over 2.5 goals -330

Here are the previews for other UEFA Champions League games:



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