Benfica’s Rafa Silva centre, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side second goal during the Europa League round of 32, second leg, soccer match between Arsenal and Benfica at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium, in Piraeus port, near Athens, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
- Braga and Benfica matchup in the Taça de Portugal final on Sunday, May 23rd
- Benfica is the most successful club in competition history with 26 titles
- Read below for the latest Taça de Portugal odds, betting preview and a pick
In the final for the first time since 2016, Braga are chasing just a third Taça de Portugal triumph in club history. They face one of the biggest club’s in European football in Benfica, who have won the Taça de Portugal on 26 occasions and finished runners-up last season.
One position and 12 points separate the two clubs in the league table. Braga has won of the previous three meetings, though Benfica got the better of their cup final opponents when they matched up in March. As the odds show, this is a relatively even matchup between two good sides.
Taça de Portugal Odds
|Matchup||Spread at DraftKings||Moneyline||Total|
|Braga vs Benfica||BRA +0.5 (120) | BEN -0.5 (+105)||BRA +265 | BEN +100 | DRAW +205||Ov 2.5 (-105) | Un 2.5 (-115)|
Odds as of May 22
Braga’s Recent Struggles
A congested schedule has hit Braga hard down the stretch. Injuries haven’t been too severe, with only long-term absentees David Carmo, Francisco Moura and Iuri Medeiros missing out here, but their form has dropped off as the fixture list has got busier. In their 12 matches since March 15th, they have recorded only three wins.
The flip side, though, is that this Braga side has remained hard to beat. They have the best defensive record in the league outside of the top three. Carlos Carvalhal’s 3-4-3 has been good at keeping opponents out and holding games tight. That will be particularly important against a talented Benfica side on Sunday.
Amanhã é o dia, 𝔏𝔢𝔤𝔦𝔞̃𝔬! 🔥👊#JuntosPelaTerceira pic.twitter.com/01tKccf2Oz
— SC Braga (@SCBragaOficial) May 22, 2021
Benfica were the last team to score more than once in a game against Braga. That match was back in late-April, and where Braga have slumped since then, the Taça de Portugal favorites have surged.
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Benfica Keep Winning
It’s 13 wins from their last 15 for Benfica. Lucas Veríssimo’s injury in their last match was a blow, but Jorge Jesus has plenty of options to choose from on Sunday. He could matchup with Carvalhal’s back three or he may switch to a 4-4-2. Jesus also had the benefit of resting some key players in midweek, meaning Julian Weigl, Helton Leite and Rafa should be refreshed for this one.
👊 The Boss!#VSCSLB #WeAreBenfica https://t.co/kXBlZ1OtPg pic.twitter.com/p21RLLwbIr
— SL Benfica (@slbenfica_en) May 19, 2021
Benfica had the majority of possession when these sides last met. Some of that can be attributed to a first half red card for Braga, but we can expect a similar pattern in the cup final. Benfica led the Portuguese top flight in average possession and pass success, and they were miles clear in passes per 90 minutes. While the attack is led by the dangerous duo of Haris Seferovic and Everton, this Benfica side is happy to be patient and slowly pick apart the Braga defense.
The Eagles scored 10 goals across their last three league outings. This is an attack firing on all cylinders, and Braga will understandably be concerned about keeping them out. Don’t be surprised to see this break down into an attack vs defense exhibition, with Braga hoping to snatch a goal from a set piece or counter-attack.
Braga vs Benfica Statistics
|14||Shots taken per 90||13.9|
|513.3||Passes per 90||566.5|
|60 yellows, 5 reds||Cards||83 yellows, 0 reds|
|54%||Shots inside the area||62%|
Benfica would be favored by the bookies even if the form was switched round. With the talent advantage and superior recent performances, it’s impossible to look past Jesus’ team. This would only be their third time winning the Taça de Portugal since 2004.
Having shown they can cause an upset by beating Porto in the last round, bettors will be tempted by Braga on Sunday. For a team struggling as they have of late, though, the price is just too short.
The attacking prowess of Benfica could prove too much for Braga, even with their impressive defensive record. Benfica to score in both halves is a good bet. Everton’s supreme recent form (four goal involvements in his last four starts) makes the +310 on him to score anytime seem like decent value, too.
Pick: Benfica to score in both halves (+215)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.