It was a pretty quiet quarter final round with the top three seeds advancing and fifth seed Club America pulling off a modest upset. The semifinals feature a Clasico Regiomontano and a battle between America and Leon. How will the tightly contested final four play out? Where can bettors find value?
Monterrey (3) vs Tigres (2)
Monterrey Title Probability: 19%
Tigres Title Probability: 31%
In terms of creating a price for this market, there are more benchmarks available than usual to guide the odds. Monterrey and Tigres have played each other in three matches in the past six weeks.
Two of those matches ended in a 1-1 draw with a third ending in a 1-0 Monterrey away victory. The home side in each of the three matches was priced between 2.30 and 2.40, so it is no surprise to see Monterrey priced to 2.40 at Pinnacle Sports for the opening leg (41.6% implied probability).
The matchup between Tigres and Monterrey will be determined by which side can influence their style of play the most.
Tigres prefer a possession first aggressive style while Monterrey likes to play off possession, press high and get physical in transition. Poor pitch quality in Estadio Bancomer will benefit Monterrey in the opening leg. But there are many question marks about what the managers are saving for the second leg.
After getting the early lead in the first matchup, Monterrey manager Diego Alonso pulled back into a 5-4-1, subbed out midfielders Pabon and Meza and looked disinterested in securing the victory.
The unusual conservative approach allowed Tigres to attempt on 14 shots – 9 of which were inside the box – in the second half alone. In the CONCACAF Final, Tigres manager Ricardo Ferretti sat star attacker Andre-Pierre Gignac giving the Monterrey defence a big advantage.
Knowing a matchup between the two teams was highly probably in the league playoffs, it may not be a stretch to assume both managers were protecting their best move for this occasion.
There is reason for the market to doubt both sides entering the semi final. Both teams looked vulnerable at times in the quarter finals and were out worked and out shot in the first leg with Tigres generating just 0.4 xG and Monterrey 0.6.
Nahuel Guzman had a career performance in goal against Pachuca and kept Tigres even to return home. After scoring an early goal, Diego Alonso once again pulled his men back in an important game. Possession was conceded to Necaxa in the second half and Monterrey failed to put away their opponent with a second goal.
It is difficult to look anywhere for value but the draw in the opening leg. The second leg is where any surprises and aggression should show up with both teams taking more chances late and bettors may find value in a sneaky over wager on the weekend.
Club America (5) vs Leon (1)
Club America Title Probability: 25%
Leon Title Probability: 25%
Bettors have to go way back into the early stages of the Clausura to find any market benchmarks to compare to this price. America was defeated 0-3 as an even money favourite at home by Leon in February.
Much has changed since then, but support continues to build on America who are priced to 2.14 (46.7% implied probability) in the opening leg. Uncertain to make the playoffs until the final week, America is now priced at equal odds to win the title as top seeded Leon.
The move in price and continued support gets more interesting when considering the performance in the quarter finals. Of the four teams that advanced, America was the only side that lost the xG battle – and did so by a considerable margin.
Despite winning the aggregate 3-2, Cruz Azul generated 2.7 goals to just 1.3 of America. Off ball work and attack buildup each favoured Cruz Azul too. Leon on the other hand, steamrolled Tijuana 5-2 on aggregate and were not tested in either match.
There is player news that works in favour of Leon too. America defender Edson Alvarez did not train on Monday or Tuesday and is in doubt for the opening leg.
Cruz Azul took advantage of a weak defence generating numerous opportunities, and Leon poses a much stronger attacking threat. The Leon offence will have Jose Juan Macias, who has been cleared to play and will not join the U-20 team until after the Semi Finals.
Both sides are extremely aggressive tactically. Leon is very quick in the final third with Mena, Macias and Campbell which can test an at times undisciplined back four of America.
Las Aguilas play long and vertical in the middle of the pitch, which is an idea way to take advantage of an overzealous Leon side. The styles will push both coaches to press forward and bettors are likely to find value in the over markets while the prices stay low due to the magnitude of Liguilla matches.