Club Puebla will be looking for another upset against top seed Leon on Wednesday after beating Monterrey over the weekend in the Wild Card round. Photo by @ClubPueblaMX (Twitter).
- The first legs of the Liga MX Apertura Quarterfinals take place on Wednesday and Thursday
- 12th place Puebla finds themselves playing number one seed Leon in one of the four matches
- Get the odds, preview, and picks for these games below
The Liga MX Wild Card Round over the weekend allowed several teams who typically wouldn’t have a shot at playoff glory to make their case for a spot in the quarterfinals. There were no massive surprises though, except for 12th spot Puebla beating fifth-place Monterrey in penalties.
Now, we have just eight teams left as we prepare for mid-week playoff ties in Mexico. Wednesday will see Puebla take on Leon, while Guadalajara meets with Club America. Thursday, Tigres play Cruz Azul and Pachuca clash with Pumas. We’re picking our three best bets from the leg 1 quarterfinals below.
Liga MX Apertura Quarterfinals Leg 1 Odds
|Puebla vs Leon||+240||+250||+100|
|Guadalajara vs Club America||+140||+250||+165|
|Tigres UANL vs Cruz Azul||+115||+240||+220|
|Pachuca vs Pumas UNAM||-110||+240||+290|
Odds taken Nov 23 at FanDuel
Pick 1: Puebla vs Leon
Club Leon will certainly not be taking Puebla lightly in this first leg at Estadio Cuauhtémoc, considering their last meeting was just a 2-1 victory.
Leon finished eight points ahead of Pumas to finish in the top spot this term, bagging 27 goals while conceding just 14 in 17 outings, a league-best. Ignacio Ambriz’s side was a perfect 7-1-0 on home soil this season as well. Leon has lost just once all season, on Matchday 3, which means they’ve gone unbeaten in their last 14 matches heading into this fixture.
Puebla didn’t have the greatest year. Because of the Wild Card round though, they were able to sneak in by the skin of their teeth into the playoffs, securing the final seed. Juan Reynoso’s men pulled off a tremendous upset against Monterrey on Sunday, beating them 4-2 in spot-kicks.
What’s even better about this massive victory was the fact they were down 2-0 early in the second half and went on to score twice in the last 30 minutes. Having beaten a team in Monterrey who was substantially higher in the standings, Puebla will have nothing to lose in this quarterfinal clash and will march in with lots of confidence.
Leon has been the most dominant side in Mexico’s top-flight this season and I don’t believe they’ll have any issues grabbing a victory in this first leg. With a dynamic attack consisting of numerous goal-getters, it will be tough for Puebla to stop them. However, I do think it will be a close match, with the visitors winning by just one goal.
Pick: Leon +100
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Pick 2: Tigres UANL vs Cruz Azul
This clash will be a battle of the two most clinical finishers in Liga MX. Tigres frontman Andre Pierre Gignac leads Mexico with 13 goals, while Cruz Azul striker Jonathan Rodriguez has netted 12 times this term for his club.
Tigres finished just one point out of the top four, which meant they had to play in the Wild Card round against 11th place Toluca, who they narrowly beat 2-1 thanks to Gignac’s double. It wasn’t the most dominant of performances for Ricardo Ferretti’s squad though. They will need to be a whole lot better against a Cruz Azul side who have much more quality. However, Tigres did beat them on Matchday 14 and will be looking for a similar result on Thursday.
Azul hasn’t played since November 7th after clinching a bye to the quarterfinals. They finished in fourth place, but enter this match in poor form, having won just once in their last five games. Rodriguez hasn’t bagged a goal in his last two appearances, but if there’s any time for the Uruguayan to find his form again, it’s now.
Tigres have lost just once at home this season. But, they’ve also tied four times. Azul hasn’t played great on the road, but I like the idea of a draw here. Both teams will play a respectable match, but the second leg will prove to be the decision-maker.
Pick: Draw +240
Pick 3: Pachuca vs Pumas UNAM
Pachuca will host runners-up Pumas at Estadio Hidalgo on Thursday, fresh off a convincing 3-0 win over Santos on Saturday. The hosts finished ninth this term and are the second-lowest seed left in the playoffs behind only Puebla. Paulo Pezzolano’s men have lost just twice in their last ten games and had one of the finest backlines in Mexico this season, conceding just 14 times.
Pumas travel to Pachuca having finished second in Liga MX this year, having drawn a league-high eight times. They did score a healthy amount of goals though, bagging 29, just second behind Club America, who scored 34. Juan Ignacio Dinenno will be one to watch for this side, having already netted 10 times.
The last meeting between these two teams was a 1-1 draw in late October. Pachuca hasn’t played great at home this term, but I like the hosts in this first leg. I think they’ll pull off a surprise victory.
Pick: Pachuca -110
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.