The Iberian War, the Battle of the Mediterranean, Ronaldo vs Ramos….call it what you want, but the bottom line is that this game between two evenly-matched sides should be a belter. Which makes offering Portugal vs Spain betting tips tricky!
Spain’s preparations have not been aided by the bizarre goings on that saw head coach Julen Lopetegui sacked on Wednesday. That was for political, rather than footballing, reasons, and decisions like that very rarely sit well. Indeed, numerous sources are reporting that the players had a ‘two hour stand off’ with Spanish FA representatives.
All of which suggests the Portuguese have a decent chance in Sochi on Friday evening. They will be relying heavily on the prowess of Cristiano Ronaldo, of course, but he has the ability to single-handedly drag teams to success; see Portugal’s Euro 2016 win for further details.
So, where does the smart betting value lie? Check out the rest of our Portugal vs Spain betting tips for the lowdown.
Before we crack on, remember to sign up with bwin to get your risk free £10 bet. Head to our FREE BETS page for more information.
Portugal vs Spain Betting Tips
There is a very real sense that Spain are here for the taking, and the fact their price has lengthened from a general 10/11 to a readily available 21/20 is testament to the notion that the betting community agrees. But, as we have seen through the years, Portugal vs Spain predictions are rarely that straightforward.
If the Spanish are to be undone – as they were so unceremoniously in the 1-5 defeat to the Netherlands in their World Cup 2014 opener – then we need to be able to rely upon Portugal to take care of business.
This is a very different Portuguese side to the one that lifted the European Championship trophy in 2016. There’s no Nani for starters, while Ricardo Quaresma is now a rather-less sprightly 34-year-old. Renato Sanches, winner of the ‘Golden Boy’ award for his brilliance, ended the 2017/18 campaign in Swansea City’s reserves.
Coach Fernando Santos is likely to play a 4-4-2 style formation, with Ronaldo as a central striker supported by the precocious Goncalo Guedes, who could break into the PSG first team next term. There won’t be much attacking thrust with Joao Moutinho and William Carvalho in midfield, but Bernardo Silva will add plenty of guile from wide areas.
It’s defensively where you worry about the Portuguese. Pepe and Jose Fonte are a combined age of 69, and Diego Costa will make their evening an absolute misery with his energetic and physical style. Carvalho and Moutinho will sit very deep as a result, and that will give Spain’s midfield playmakers a chance to thrive.
Silva Lining for the Spanish
There will be plenty of space in the middle of the park for Spain to exploit, and for all their off-the-pitch problems they remain a devastating force on it.
David Silva and Isco, fresh from fantastic campaigns for Manchester City and Real Madrid, will be complete nuisances in those ‘half spaces’ where they are so difficult to mark. Carvalho and Moutinho will have to step out and close them down, and that will leave Costa – or potentially Iago Aspas – with a free run at Pepe and Fonte if they both start.
Factor in that whoever partners Sergio Busquets in a deeper midfield role – either Thiago or Koke – will have plenty of time on the ball to pick their passes, and we’ve not even mentioned Andres Iniesta yet of course, and it is easy to see Spain coming out on top in Sochi.
And we’re happy to back the Spaniards, even allowing for their off-field problems, at an excellent odds-against price of 21/20 (2.05) with William Hill.
History tells us that matches between these two aren’t high scoring affairs, and that’s something we have to add to our Portugal vs Spain betting tips.
The last three competitive fixtures between the pair have ended 0-0 and 1-0 (twice), and here’s a fun fact: Portugal haven’t beaten Spain in five World Cup matches.
This will be another typically cagey affair between two countries who don’t particularly get along, and so we’re happy enough to back the Under 2.5 Goals line at 57/100 (1.57) with bwin.