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This article published for ProTipster Premium users on 8th of May.
As the Mexican top flight heads into the closing stages, the ProTipster crew takes a look at just what can be expected...
Liga MX is the top level of the Mexican football league system. This league is specific as each season it holds two tournaments and crowns two champions. The Apertura tournaments starts in the summer, while the Clausura starts in the winter. There are 18 clubs in the Liga MX with one being relegated every year based upon its league performances over the previous three years. The first eight teams in the table at the end of the regular phase of the tournament qualify for the playoff, or liguilla in the Spanish language.
Historically, two most popular teams in the country have been the most successful, America from Mexico City won 13 titles and Guadalajara 12. The Liga MX is very balanced, so among champions we have more than 20 clubs and we will mention only those most successful like Toluca (10 titles), Cruz Azul (9), UNAM (7), Leon (7), UANL (6), Santos Laguna (6) and Pachuca (6).
The most recent champions are America, but the most successful team last years have been UANL with 3 titles since 2015.
Mexicans have just finished regular part of the Torneo Clausura. Veracruz are already relegated, while Leon, UANL, Monterrey, Cruz Azul, America, Necaxa, Pachuca and Tijuana will play the liguilla.
At the moment bookies do not offer outright odds for the title, but generally consensus is that Leon are the favorites after excellent regular season. The Lions finished at the top of the league with 41 points from 17 games and they have by far the best attack with 41 goals scored and the best defense which have conceded just 14 goals.
Indeed, Leon have been really good in the regular season, but our favorites are two rich teams from the northern Mexican city of Monterrey – UANL and Monterrey. Those two teams finished the regular season in second and third place, but if we would have to pick a winner, we would go with Tigres of UANL. They had minor crisis in the middle of this season, but they’re entering the playoff in excellent form as they are undefeated in last five, taking 11 points in the process.
What is their biggest strength? If we put financial power aside, we’d say continuity and stability are main characteristic of this team. For almost ten years they’ve been lead by the Brazilian coach Ricardo Ferretti who already won 4 league titles, 1 cup title, 3 Campeon de Campeones titles and 1 Supercopa. And then there is that international attack, probably the most dangerous in the league lead by Frenchman Andre Gignac who scored 21 goals in 30 matches this season.(top goalscorer of the league) Beside Gignac, in the attack Ferretti has Chilean Eduardo Vargas, Colombians Luis and Julian Quinones, Ecuadorian Enner Valencia and Mexican Jurgen Damm.
We were in doubt between two capital city teams, Cruz Azul and America. Two rivals will play in the first round of playoff and everything is possible in this tie. Eventually we took Club America as potential surprise of the playoff. Why? Simply because they are the current champions and have been more successful in H2H with Cruz Azul.
America had some ups and downs this season, they did have some unexpected slip ups, but still they are an excellent team capable of going all the way to the end. For the last two years they’ve been lead by probably the best Mexican coach Miguel Herrera, and they have a squad packed with quality players (Jeremy Menez, Nicolas Castillo, Roger Martinez, Guido Rodriguez, Bruno Valdez, Emanuel Aguilera, Agustin Marchesin…).
Betting on Liga MX
If you like to bet on low odd favorites, then this is not the league for you. In the Liga MX there are no teams capable of finishing the regular season with 80-90% of points. This season was bit exceptional as we had Veracruz at the bottom who simply fell apart (financial troubles) and Leon who had a historical season. Home pitch generally is an advantage, especially for teams like Pachuca and Toluca who are playing on more than 2500 meters over the sea level (but many Mexican cities have high elevation, so be careful!).
As for goals, this season generally more games went into over 2,5 goals, and odds for over are usually excellent. Still, be careful with overs in the playoff as most of the teams tend to take more cautious approach in the knockout phase.