The 2018-2019 season is finishing in two months. FC Porto, SL Benfica, SC Braga or Sporting CP can finish first on the table. Surprisingly or not, a bet on Braga to win Primeira Liga can be a good call. The team is not far from the top and can finally change the pattern.
Portuguese football suffers from big inequality. This is mainly due to the fan base the clubs have gathered since the beginning, and, consequently, to financial reasons. Ever since the start of the National Championship of the First Division (Campeonato Nacional da Primeira Divisão) in 1938, the “Big Three” (Os Três Grandes) are the regular winners of the competition. They are the only ones that have never been relegated to minor leagues and their superiority was only beaten twice.
According to our 2019 Primeira Liga winner predictions, Porto is expected to win this year’s league. However, we also believe that Braga has very good chances to finally start an era of more competitivity in Portugal.
When Belenenses and Boavista broke the “rule” in Portuguese football
As documented by online sportsbook news sites in Portugal, by the 1940s, CF Os Belenenses was one of the best teams in the country. During the 20s and 30s, they won the Championship of Portugal (Campeonato de Portugal) – the primary tournament at the time – three times. Because of their success, the main teams were known as the “Big Four”.
Belenenses kept a successful run when the Federation established the National Championship of the First Division. The team finished second a couple of times before winning their first official title in the 1945-1946 season. However, and despite some occasional trophies throughout the 20th century, they were unable to keep up with the success of Porto, Benfica, and Sporting.
It took more than 50 years for another team outside the “Big Three” to become the Portuguese Champions. In the 2000-2001 season, Boavista FC conquered its first Primeira Liga.
Despite not going far, the “Panthers” also surprised in the European competitions. In the 1998-1999 season, they were second. In the following year, Jaime Pacheco led the team to the victory. The season didn’t necessarily start well for them, but after a few matches they started to prove themselves unbeatable and had the best defense of the league.
However, just like Belenenses, Boavista didn’t repeat the achievement in the years that followed, despite very successful campaigns until 2003. By this time, they started to decline. And the worst came in 2008, when, because of a financial scandal, they were relegated to lower tiers.
Why a bet on Braga to win Primeira Liga might be the best move
Braga’s ascension is not that recent and this year they want the title
The “Arsenalists” have already shaken the concept of the “Big Three”. Mainly due to Sporting’s struggle in keeping up with Porto and Benfica in recent years, but Braga is definitely affirming itself in Primeira Liga. This is why all eyes are the northern team this year. Braga has long been waiting for its chance to win and it’s only 5 points away from Porto and Benfica.
Without a doubt, Braga shares some similarities with Boavista. The team started to improve significantly since 2003 when Antonio Salvador became the club’s president. Braga performed consistently and finished on the top 5 of the table since then, apart from two years. Their best result was in the 2009-2010 season when they finished 2nd and, two years later, they finished 3rd. Along the way, Braga won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2008 and was the runner-up in the 2011 UEFA Europa League.
Braga is playing with one of the strongest teams it ever had. Despite the recent losses in February, one against Sporting, Braga started the year earning more points and has turned things around in March again.
So far, it’s keeping a good record, with only 4 defeats and 4 draws. The team will still have to face Porto and Benfica, but it is getting back to shape again. It has also been proving itself superior against the smaller teams and will definitely make some points from there.
Braga has reasons to be optimistic about the future
It is true that Benfica (1.72), with the new manager Bruno Lage, seems to be unbeatable lately. The team has the best attack of the league – led by top-scorer Haris Seferović. Plus, things seem to be easy for Benfica until the end of the season. They are only playing against smaller teams, being Braga their biggest opponent. This is why they are favorite at online sportsbook sites in Portugal. However, history tells us that they cannot celebrate until the last minute of the last match. And they already showed some signs of weakness in the last match at home against Belenenses SAD, finishing in a 2-2.
Regarding Porto, the team is having an overall good season and their odds at KTO Sportsbook are 2.10. But it is important to keep in mind that the “Dragons” have two big matches ahead for the UEFA Champions League. Playing against Liverpool won’t be an easy task. But Porto will certainly be focused on it, as the team is willing to get their former European glory back. Besides, the team will still have to play against Sporting for the league.
Apart from this, predictions are that Porto eliminates Braga from the Portuguese Cup and will meet Benfica in the final. Even though it will only take place at the end of May, both teams will certainly be putting effort on the next match in April. The competition for more national titles between Porto and Benfica is one of the main events every year. In this way, and despite their odds of 41.00 at KTO Sportsbook, if the cards are played well, the “Minho Warriors” can certainly profit from small mistakes and win Primeira Liga, bringing back the term “Big Four” to Portugal.