Benfica are hosting CSKA in the first match of the Champions League group stage and the Portuguese champions are struggling with the absences of Jardel and Fejsa, who missed the last training session before the game. Lisandro and Samaris are expected to replace them, while Salvio is believed to return to the right wing. Júlio César could also have an opportunity in goal. Facing a -0.75 handicap line, Benfica are the favorite team to win the 3 points. However, they had clear difficulties to create opportunities against Portimonense, which makes it more doubtful if they can beat this line against a more experienced team such as CSKA. An over 2.25 goals result could be reached if talented attacking players such as Jonas, Seferovic or Salvio are inspired and if they are capable of unbalancing the match. On the other hand, some lack of ideas in the last fixture could make them struggle in attack, which could make an under 2.25 goals result more possible.
CSKA Moscow aren’t expected to make too many changes from their last game, but they did rest a couple of players who could return to the starting XI. With no injury or suspension concerns, Goncharenko has a full squad of players to choose from and he will want to play his strongest XI as Benfica look quite depleted. CSKA Moscow’s recent Champions League record hasn’t been great. They haven’t won in 10 UCL Group Stage games and they’ve lost 12 of their last 15 away games at this stage of the competition. However, the +0.75 handicap looks well placed as they haven’t conceded in their last 4 UCL games and will feel they can shut out a depleted Benfica side to earn at least a draw. All of CSKA Moscow’s last 4 UCL games have finished under 2.5 goals so it’s no surprise to see the goals line set at 2.25. They’ll try to keep it tight and will believe they have the quality to shut out an injury-stricken Benfica side, but they’ll have to avoid an early goal which will force them to open up and chase the game.
Verdict & Prediction
It’s been a mixed start to the season for CSKA Moscow. Financial restrictions prevented them from doing any business in the transfer market, but they’ve promoted a number of promising youth players to the first team and have started their league campaign with 5 wins, 1 draw and 3 defeats. A win will be the aim against a depleted Benfica side, but they haven’t won a UCL Group Stage game in 10 attempts and have lost 12 of their last 15 away games at this stage. They’ll believe they have the quality to emerge victorious, but they’ll need to be at their best.
Prediction: CSKA Moscow +1.00 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.80 SBOBET
We will post three betting predictions from the English Championship and three from League One, so check back a little later.