The final four teams are lining up for the Liga MX Clausura playoffs and Chivas and Monterrey look the best pics to scoop the big prize.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks we can see that bettors are favoring Club America and Monterrey, rating them both around the +185 mark. Tigres is priced up at +350, while the underdog of the quartet at the quarter-final stage is Chivas, which is available at +400.
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Clausura Betting Briefing
Liga MX is the top soccer league in Mexico but it has a structure that is relatively unusual in the football world. The league features 18 teams but is divided into two separate seasons: Apertura and Clausura, each with its own play off stage, producing potentially two different champions each year.
At the end of the 17-game regular Clausura season, the top four teams: Monterrey, America, Chivas and Toluca qualified automatically for the Clausura quarter finals, while the next eight teams played off in a preliminary round, which lead to four more teams: Santos Laguna, Atletico San Luis, ATLAS and UANL making up the final eight. Following the last eight, we are down to four teams for the semi-finals.
Free Scoring Club America
Club America finished the regular Clausura season top of the goalscoring charts, finding the net 36 times in their 17 games, and its freescoring style has been evident throughout. Much of the credit for that must go to Henry Martin, the Mexican international, who scored 14 times during the regular season and topped the scoring lists for his team and for the whole Clausura.
At the other end of the field, the key difference maker has been Luis Angel Malagon, who replaced Oscar Jimenez in goal and has been a solid performer in recent weeks.
Club America came through a high-scoring quarter-final tie against Atletico San Luis, largely due to the three goals it scored in the first leg and takes on Chivas in the semi-finals, having finished level on points with the Guadalajara team during the regular season. That looks set to be a tight game so at this point, betting on Club America in the Futures market doesn’t offer much value.
Monterrey on the March
Monterrey finished first in the regular season, six points ahead of its nearest rival so it isn’t a huge surprise to see it sharing favoritism here, and it will take a strong performance to beat it.
The team is strong in pretty much all departments. For a start, its defense has allowed only 14 goals over the 17 games it has played in the regular season, a remarkable statistic. It has plenty to offer going forward as well with several notable playmakers in the squad, not to mention arguably the most passionate group of fans in the country and the wisdom and expertise of coach Victor Manuel Vucetich.
The balanced team in Liga MX, it has not surprisingly recorded the best goal-difference figure in the regular season and the only slight concerns for Monterrey fans were a couple of defeats in April. It had little trouble in getting past Santos Laguna in the quarterfinals, and up against the weakest of the four remaining teams in its semi-final, it has a great chance to go all the way.
Chivas Hard to Beat
Chivas has not played spectacular football in Clausura, but it has been extremely effective, thanks to the efforts of head coach Veljko Paunovic, who has made the team hard to beat.
Under Paunovic’s influence, the team has improved from midtable mediocrity to genuine title contenders. It finished third in the table, level on points with Club America and its campaign was notable for grinding out results in tight games, although it played with more fluency at the end of the regular season, recording an impressive four-game win streak, powered by the attacking duo of Alexis Vega and Victor Guzman.
It was back to a more familiar approach in the quarter-final against Atlas, as Chivas lost the first leg 1-0 before grinding out a 1-0 at home that took it through, but that resilience gives it a good chance to get past Club America and into the final, so it could offer value.
Time Up for Tigres
Tigres is the only one of the remaining four teams that finished outside the top four and had to come through the preliminary round by beating Puebla 1-0.
It was then involved in a dramatic quarter-final against Toluca, recording a remarkable 4-1 victory at home, before losing 3-1 in the second leg, which was again good enough to take them through by a single goal. Tigres has a number of experienced players, most notably Andre-Pierre Gignac, the veteran striker, and with its depth of talent, should arguably have done better in the regular season.
Still, the lack of consistency on display in the quarter-finals suggests that it could have reached its ceiling in Clausura, and time could well be up for the team from Monterrey.