Since their last UCL match with Club Brugge, Benfica has gone 3-0-1 in league play. Their only loss came at home to FC Porto. Benfica currently sits atop the Portuguese table and Porto is firmly in second place. Benfica allowed Porto to score twice. I find this is noteworthy because Benfica have only allowed 16 goals against in 27 league matches. Benfica’s defense is among some of the toughest in all of Europe.
Inter has been in significantly worse form since their previous UCL match knocking Porto from the competition. Inter is 0-2-2 in that time span with 0-1 losses to Juve and Fiorentina. Inter is another strong defensive club, and advanced past Porto scoring only one goal over two matches. Goals will be at a premium in this fixture.
Romelu Lukaku looked to have a slump breaking international break with Belgium. Lukaku scored four times in two games for Belgium, but that form has not carried over to league play. Lukaku is still struggling with getting his shot away in space and his timing is not great. I am unsure who Inter will start up top between Lukaku, Dzeko, and Martinez. Inter has been getting excellent play from Denzel Dumfries lately. The Dutch international started the match vs Fiorentina and put in two beautiful crosses to Lukaku that went unfinished. He has also been pressing forward and shooting while handling the midfield and defensive responsibilities. I want to see Dumfries in Tuesday's lineup. If I do, his shots, SOT, and assist props are all things I will be targeting. Andre Onana, Inter’s keeper, has been doing an outstanding job as well. Inter’s record may not reflect how good his play has been. Onana has not allowed more than one goal in a match since the Porto game. He has kept Inter in the fight despite facing a lot of shots from opponents. Inter will once again need Onana to be on his A game vs this Benfica attack.
Benfica’s Joao Mario and Goncalo Ramos share the lead in Portuguese League for goals scored, with 17 each. Joao Mario has not scored or assisted in his last two matches for Benfica. I expect him to come out firing on all cylinders in front of this home crowd. I believe that Benfica will control the possession and press the scoring issue here and that Mario will have a goal or assist after the 90 minutes plus. Rafa Silva on the left wing is always a threat and someone to keep an eye on as well. Defensively, Argentine international Nicolas Otamendi will be missing due to a yellow card suspension. This is going to be a big hole for Benfica to fill. Otamendi is a 35 year old veteran and has a ton of big game experience. If I am Inter, I make sure to test his replacement early and often. Could be a nice spot to bet a booking.
I think this will be a cagy low scoring game. Inter’s lack of recent goal scoring is concerning, but they would be perfectly fine coming home to the San Siro with a 0-0 draw or a 1-0 defeat. As long as the agg score is within a goal, I believe Inter will chalk that up as a win. I believe Benfica will responsibly press the issue here. They know how difficult it is to play in Italy at the San Siro.
A 2-0 home victory would be an ideal start to the campaign with Otamendi returning for the road trip. I believe a two goal lead would allow them to park the bus on the road and grind out an advancement on agg scoring.
- Benfica ML +120 @ DraftKings
- Joao Mario AGS +325 @ Barstool