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PSG vs. Benfica Betting Preview: Don’t Expect Fireworks in Paris (October 11)

PSG vs. Benfica Betting Preview: Don’t Expect Fireworks in Paris (October 11) article feature image
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Aurelien Meunier/Getty. Pictured: Kylian Mbappe.

  • PSG hosts Benfica in the Champions League.
  • The home favorite will be without Lionel Messi in the fixture.
  • Read on for Nicholas Hennion's match analysis and prediction.

PSG vs. Benfica Odds

PSG Odds -200
Benfica Odds +475
Draw +375
Over/Under 3.5 (+120 / -165)
Day | Time Tuesday | 3 p.m. ET
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For the second time in six days, Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica will meet in the UEFA Champions League.

The two sides remain tied on points in a competitive Group H following a 1-1 draw last week in Portugal. Now, they’ll switch venues and play once again in Paris, where PSG has dropped points only once in five home fixtures this season.

Historically, visiting teams have struggled at the Parc des Princes. In PSG’s last 10 UCL home games, the French giants are 9-1-0 (W-L-D).

PSG A Quality Defensive Side

Perhaps surprisingly, the hallmark of PSG’s Champions League campaign has been their defense.

Through three UCL fixtures, it has conceded only 3.29 expected goals on target (xGOT) along with six big scoring chances. Just in their lone home match against Juventus, PSG surrendered only 0.37 xGOT and a single big scoring chance.

On the offensive end, manager Christophe Galtier’s side has proven slightly underwhelming. The Ligue 1 leaders sit 10th in the competition in total xG and are creating only 1.42 xG per 90 minutes, down from a season-long average of 2.46 xG/90 minutes in Ligue 1, per fbref.com.

Further, in three home fixtures against Monaco, Nice and Juventus – all of which finished in the top-five of its respective leagues last year – PSG has generated only 4.8 xG and 4.35 xGOT.

Benfica Beating Expectations

There’s undoubtedly a venue element at play here, but this Benfica side has performed incredibly above-average in the first half of the group stage.

Through three group fixtures – two at home and one on the road – Benfica has a +4.13 xGOT differential along with a +7 big scoring chances differential.

A good chunk of that performance can be attributed to Benfica’s defense, which has surrendered the second-fewest xGOT amongst all 32 teams (behind only Manchester City) along with the fewest big scoring chances.

Offensively, Benfica has excelled as well. The Portuguese outfit has scored five goals on 5.91 xGOT and eight big scoring chances so far, including 1.26 xGOT and four big chances last week against PSG. Currently, only four teams have created more xGOT while only six sides have created more big scoring chances.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Not a whole lot has changed since last week, except for one big injury concern for Paris Saint-Germain.

As of this writing, Lionel Messi is questionable to appear on Tuesday in the French capital, which would provide a blow to PSG’s attacking threat. Considering he amassed 45 percent of PSG’s xGOT last week, I expect a defensive struggle once again come Tuesday.

Although PSG finds themselves at home, I question how they will break down a Benfica defense that is perfectly content taking a point from this match. Given Benfica’s defensive prowess in this group stage, I’m confident they will hold a Messi-less attack to no more than two goals.

I’m not sure of what the Benfica attack will do on the road against a solid home defense, but I’ll be quite surprised if this game gets to four total goals or higher.

As a result, my top play for this match is the total under 3 goals and I’ll bet that to -115.

The Pick: Under 3 Goals (-105) 

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