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Liga MX Update: Tigres peaking at the right time

Andre Pierre Gignac Tigres Liga MX soccer 2018-19 Mexico

Another international break is upon us, and as we approach the very last week of the regular season, only 10 teams remain in search of the 2018 Liga MX Apertura title. Not much has changed at the top, with both Cruz Azul (+250) and Club América (+300) still favorites to win it all. But one team in particular made quite a buzz over the weekend.

Yes, it’s happening. Tigres’ biannual tradition of always catching fire ahead of the start of Liguilla, as the Felinos absolutely crushed Puebla 6-1. Tigres set out to send a statement to the rest of the league, and thanks to a four-goal performance from Andre-Pierre Gignac, the message was delivered loud and clear.

Indeed, there is a reason Tigres (+1400) are right behind Cruz Azul and Club América at the top of the favorites list. Though their regular season has been average at best, Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti and his players know that all that matters is lifting the trophy at the end of the season.

Furthermore, momentum can be everything, and these are the types of morale-boosting performances that get the players fired up before the Liguilla.

Santos deserves credit for its season

Stylistically speaking, there is probably no better team to watch in Liga MX than Santos Laguna. The defending champions have been a consistent team across the regular season, but oddsmakers are having a tough time figuring out if the Guerreros are true contenders for the title. Santos has been up and down in the favorites list, and they didn’t do themselves any favors over the weekend after drawing 1-1 with Club América.

In truth, Santos is not a bad team, and perhaps the hesitation behind them is that we don’t know if they are capable enough to beat the good teams. It’s also quite difficult for teams to win back-to-back titles in Liga MX. It has only happened twice in the modern history of the league.

That said, Santos deserves a lot of credit. It’s impressive how a team with very little economic resources that lost some of its core players during the offseason has made it this far. Not to mention, they let go of their title-winning manager only weeks into the season following some locker-room drama after a game.

Things will probably change little in Week 17

Unfortunately for neutrals, it looks like it is going to be a very quiet Week 17 in Liga MX. As mentioned before, Cruz Azul and Club América remain the favorites to lift the title, with the former slightly favored over Las Águilas. As things stand, Cruz Azul holds a three-point advantage over América in the table, and unless something unusual happens, Cruz Azul will likely clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. This happens to be a big deal, considering they are still unbeaten since moving to the Estadio Azteca.

Elsewhere, it is still surprising how low Pumas UNAM ranks among the oddsmakers. Despite an upset win over Deportivo Toluca over the weekend in arguably one of the toughest stadiums in all of Mexico, the Universitarios still have six other teams in front of them. Of course, that means good value if you want to go all-in on the seven-time champs, and as a result, you might want to argue that they have actually been the third-best team this season in Liga MX.

Finally, Pachuca remains as the team with the potential to shock everyone. Currently, Los Tuzos find themselves narrowly outside Liguilla playoff positions, but all they need is a Monarcas Morelia loss to Cruz Azul and a win over Club León to qualify. Both of these scenarios are possible, and, in fact, Pachuca could climb up all the way to seventh if results manage to go their way.

Odds to win 2018-19 Liga MX

Odds as of November 16 at Bovada

  • Cruz Azul +250
  • Club América +300
  • Tigres UANL +400
  • Santos Laguna +650
  • Monterrey +650
  • Toluca +1000
  • Pumas UNAM +1400
  • Pachuca +3300
  • Monarcas Morelia +3300
  • Querétaro +4000

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