Sporting vs Benfica Prediction: Rafa Silva to Score First?

Sporting take on Benfica in an unviable draw in the semifinal of the Taca de Portugal. The Lisbon residents will square off in their classic rivalry in one of their country’s biggest stages. Sporting is coming off a thrilling 3-3 draw against Rio Ave, while Benfica disassembled Portimonense 4-0. Read on to access an expert Sporting vs Benfica prediction and explore stats and the latest Benfica odds in 2024.

  • Sporting CP vs SL Benfica, Taca de Portugal, Semifinal 1st Leg
  • February 29, 2024
  • 3:45 PM EST
  • Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal
  • YouTube TV

Sporting vs Benfica Prediction: Who do Sportsbooks Favor?

Sporting are favorites but it’s still a 50/50 proposition they can take care of business at home. The Lions are even money to earn an aggregate lead with a win on Thursday. Benfica, their city rivals, will hope to spoil the day as (+250) underdogs. A draw (+245) would give Benfica the advantage as they return to Estadio da Luz for the second leg.

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Sporting Head to Head Record and Statistics

Sporting will have to get past their Lisbon rivals if they are to win a Taca de Portugal trophy this season and end their 4-year drought. While the duration does not sound long, the Lions’ historical dominance in Portugal, along with lofty expectations as one of the country’s “Big Three,” defends such a label. 

Recent form, however, supports a quality result on Thursday. The club is unbeaten since their Taca de Liga defeat at the hands of Sporting Braga on January 23. Since then, Sporting has rattled off 16 games without suffering defeat in all competitions. Amorim’s team has secured 13 victories during this period, but consecutive draws against Young Boys (1-1) and Rio Ave (3-3) have halted the 2019 cup champions from heading into Thursday’s match with a seven-game winning streak.

Their result against Rio Ave was a critical one in the race to be crowned Liga Portugal winners, as Benfica now sit two points ahead of their fellow Lisbon citizens in the table. A win at home in this midweek cup clash would be Sporting’s first against Benfica in their last 5 tries. A loss this year followed a couple of draws in both domestic fixtures of the 2022-23 campaign.

Paulinho, who has scored three goals in the cup, will miss this week’s clash due to a tendon injury that sidelines him until April.

SportingTo Defeat Benfica
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Benfica Recent Games and Injury News

Regarding Roger Schmidt’s team, their pursuit of a record-extending 27th Taca de Portugal faces its upcoming challenge in a two-match series against their Lisbon rivals.

Sporting, who also play the role of main antagonist in their quest for a 39th top-flight trophy, are by far their toughest test to date in the Taca de Portugal. Benfica have arrived in the final four of the knockout tournament thanks to wins over Lusitania, Famalicao, Braga and Vizela. Now on an eight-game unbeaten streak, it appears fortunes are good for the Eagles. Benfica have lost just once in their last 22 games to boot.

Manager Roger Schmidt’s sole injury concern is Juan Bernat, who is sidelined with a muscle issue and is expected to be out until March.

BenficaTo Defeat Sporting
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Close Matchup Expect in Lisbon Derby

A lot is on the line in this edition of the Derby de Lisboa, as both clubs will stake their unbeaten runs in exchange for the opportunity to take a critical lead in the semifinal. Sporting hopes to make their supporters proud at the Estadio Jose Alvalade before they must return the honor at Estadio da Luz. 

In a cagey affair between two sides tempted to sit back and avoid catastrophe, I find it hard to pick one over the other. While I favor Sporting, I cannot get myself to recommend backing them at the current price. The total is not anymore inviting. A line of 2.75 indicates a game that leans towards 3 goals over 2, but if both clubs are to score (which is likely), a third would take considerable effort. In an effort to avoid mistakes, and considering the location of the second leg remaining in Lisbon, neither side should be too aggressive.

Sporting vs Benfica Prediction and Free Betting Pick

I will be looking to the goalscorer market in this close matchup. Schmidt will likely be choosing between two strikers in Rafa Silva and Arthur Cabral. The former has been in much better form this season, scoring in more than half of his Primeira Liga appearances. The Portuguese international has been on a purple patch within his country, scoring six times in the last 5 domestic matches.

I believe Schmidt will select R. Silva to start the match and continue his run of good form. However, such uncertainty leaves me wary of backing an anytime goalscorer bet, since a late arrival via substitution would leave him with little time to score. In an effort to avoid that outcome, I think it is best to take Silva to score first. If he does enter as a substitute, the bet will be void so long as a goal has been scored prior to his coming on the pitch.

At (+875) I believe we are getting good value on a striker in the best shape between the two sides, and arguably in his career. And as many soccer players may relate to, seeing the ball ripple the net is the best, and perhaps only, way to boost a forward’s confidence. That being said, be very conservative. I will be sprinkling just a little bit on this speculative proposition.

Rafa SilvaTo Score First Goal
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Will Chace

From Boston, Will's passion for sports is more of a hereditary characteristic than a learned hobby. Besides rooting for his hometown teams, he follows MMA heavily and will consume just about any sports-related content. In college, Will combined his passion for sports and writing as a journalist. Now, he provides detailed betting analysis to help others profit off their sports knowledge too. Will spots insights casual fans may miss and delivers his guidance in a direct, no-nonsense style. In his downtime, you can find him unwinding on the couch and watching foreign film classics.