As we reach the halfway point of the 2019 Liga MX Clausura, things continue to get interesting, with the teams from Monterrey leading the way at the top of the league table and the oddsboard.
The big question going into this week was how the teams from Monterrey would handle having to play in both the CONCACAF Champions League and Liga MX. In the case of Tigres (+300), their midweek game to Deportivo Saprissa didn’t matter one bit, as the Felinos beat Atlas 1-0 to move to the top of the league table. From what we saw in the first leg, coach Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti continues to prioritize the league above all, which is a real shame considering the type of names on the Tigres squad.
With Rayados (+300), it is a completely different story. Against Puebla, Diego Alonso kept his midweek game against Alianza in mind and decided to rest several key players, including star striker Rogelio Funes Mori. Alonso’s decision ultimately proved costly, and Rayados had to settle for a goalless draw at home against one of the weaker teams in the league.
It remains to be seen just how much Monterrey will prioritize the CONCACAF Champions League over Liga MX, but if Rayados are to get past Alianza, it is relatively safe to assume that we are in for more games in which Rayados struggle to get all three points in the league. It is definitely something to keep in mind when putting money on Monterrey.
Nico Castillo and América mean business
We know that the teams from Monterrey have taken a hold of the top two spots in the league table, but Club América (+450) isn’t going to let go of its title that easily. Las Águilas ended a two-game losing streak on Saturday by defeating Lobos BUAP and moving back to Liguilla positions.
Perhaps the most important thing about Club América’s win was the two-goal performance from Nico Castillo. The Chilean arrived to this Clausura as Las Águilas’ big signing and, after two games, looked like he was going to struggle to make an impression with the Mexican giants. But the third game was the charm for Castillo, who helped put the game away with two second-half goals.
Prior to his departure to Benfica six months ago, Castillo had always been at the top of coach Miguel Herrera’s wish list. In that regard, Castillo looks to be destined to play a big role for Club América going forward, and the more goals the Chilean scores, the better Las Águilas’ chances of retaining the title.
Among the teams suddenly trending up in Liga MX is Santos Laguna, following its 4-0 thumping of Deportivo Toluca. The Guerreros are an intriguing choice given that they almost always quietly find a way to be contenders, despite their limited resources.
One reason why the Guerreros have been so successful this season and why they should at least be considered contenders is the fact that they have been tough to beat at home. Santos has lost just once in the last 18 Liga MX matches at the Estadio Corona, including three wins in its last four.
The Guerreros aren’t going to be world beaters by any stretch of the definition, but they don’t have to be. For them, it has always been a matter of making the Liguilla and shining when it matters most. And if that’s not enough to convince you, consider the fact that Santos has always won a league title the same semester a new Marvel’s Avengers movie has been released. Avengers: Endgame is dated for this upcoming month of April, which means Santos might want to give Thanos a new jersey if they end up winning the league title once again.