Club Brugge vs Benfica Picks and Predictions: Cards Aplenty Heading Brugge's Way

Club Brugge have somehow ended up in the Group of 16 but they've recently switched managers, are in horrible form, and will have a tough time keeping up with Benfica. Find out how to take advantage in our Champions League betting picks below.

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2023 9:35 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Club Brugge Champions League
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Club Brugge aren’t supposed to be here. They started with the fifth-worst odds of winning the competition prior to the group states but escaped a difficult group against all odds. Now, the Belgian side is getting ready to face off with Portuguese giants Benfica in the Champions League Round of 16 on Wednesday. 

While they enter the knockout stages with the lowest odds to lift the trophy, Brugge aren’t to be overlooked — and Benfica knows it.

That said, the visitors will be facing a club that has changed managers since the group stage, and is well off the top of the Belgian Pro League table. The Eagles will want to pick up a crucial away win and continue their torrid run of form.

Can Benfica take advantage of an underdog that appears to have punched itself out? Or will Brugge find new life in one of the biggest matches in club history?

We break it all down in out Club Brugge vs. Benfica picks and predictions for Wednesday, February 15. 

Club Brugge vs Benfica odds

Club Brugge vs Benfica picks and predictions

Despite Brugge reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in club history, manager Carl Hoefkins was fired just before the turn of the calendar after the Belgian defending champs won just once in a five-match span and slid down the Pro League table. 

Scott Parker hasn’t had much more success since taking over, with the side claiming just one victory in his seven matches in charge and earning eight of a possible 21 points.

They’ve drawn five of their last six and now sit 20 points behind league-leaders Genk. Making matters worse, they’ve also been eliminated from their domestic cup, leaving the Champions League — unlikely as it is — as the only possible route to hardware.

Now they'll face a Benfica team in outstanding form, and coming off a crushing defeat in the Portuguese Cup at the weekend. The Eagles had the third-most successful tackles in the group stage and had the fifth-best success rate at take-ons over their six matches. They have multiple players who can attack via the dribble and will want to hit Brugge on the counter-attack once they win the ball.

When you combine a team that gets the ball back well and can beat people in open space, that tends to lead to a lot of fouls for the side that has been dispossessed. Enter Davide Massa, the man in the middle for Wednesday’s clash. 

Massa is an Italian referee who is not very well-liked by Serie A fans, as he’s often quite liberal with putting names into the book. He was in charge of the Milan Derby last weekend, in which he showed seven bookings, including five to AC Milan. Over his past four matches, he’s shown a staggering 29 yellow cards and he’s shown fewer than five cards in just two of his last 11 matches in charge. 

That’s bad news for Brugge. No team racked up more yellow cards during the group stage than Brugge, with 21 yellow cards — including a second yellow turning into a red — over the six matches despite committing just 56 fouls. They’ve continued to be bad boys of late in the Pro League, earning 14 yellows and a straight red in their past five outings. 

Five of Club Brugge’s six group stage matches ended with them having at least three names taken, with the lone outlier being their opener against Leverkusen. Given their propensity to foul — and the quick trigger of Massa — I absolutely love getting the home team at plus-money odds to receive three or more bookings on Wednesday.

If you really want to get bold — as I will be — throw a bit on the Over 3.5 home cards as well, with a win more than tripling your stake. 

My best bet: Club Brugge Over 2.5 cards (+116 at FanDuel)

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Club Brugge vs Benfica side analysis

If things weren’t going badly enough of late for Brugge, Parker now has injury issues to deal with. Winger Tajon Buchanan will be fighting to make it back after coming off late with an injury against Union St Gilloise, and he could be without Ferran Jutgla and Andreas Skov Olsen as well. That’s not good for a side that has won just once since November 10, a span of 10 matches in all competitions. 

Benfica don’t have that problem. Roger Schmidt will have his entire squad at his disposal, although star midfielder Enzo Fernandez has now left to join Chelsea. They’ve suffered just two defeats in all competitions, both coming on the road, the last of which was a penalty shootout defeat to Braga on Thursday. They’ve won six of their last eight, and 16 of their last 20. 

These two clubs have never faced off with one another, but Benfica is favored to win this first leg at -120 across the board. A draw pays well and isn’t completely out of the equation, but Benfica’s attack will likely be too much for Brugge to stifle for a full 90 minutes. 

Club Brugge vs Benfica Over/Under analysis

If you’re a fan of high-scoring soccer, then Brugge’s most recent matches probably haven’t been your thing. Of their last 13 matches in all competitions, just five have seen more than two goals scored. Four of their six Champions League group stage matches also went Under 2.5, and ironically enough, the two that didn’t were both matches with Portuguese side Porto.

Benfica have been bullies away from home of late. Only Braga has been able to crack their defense over the past six away tilts — scoring four total goals in two outings — as they’ve kept clean sheets in their other four contests.

They've also scored multiple goals of their own in those four shutout wins. Benfica saw three of their six group-stage matches go past 2.5 goals, with the last two featuring a total of seven in each contest. 

This match could be a cagey affair or one that features plenty of chances, and the market reflects that. The total of 2.5 is pretty evenly split for both sides, and I’d likely stay away from it altogether. 

Club Brugge vs Benfica game info

Location: Jan Breydel Stadium, Bruges, Belgium
Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
TV: Paramount+

Club Brugge vs Benfica key injuries

Club Brugge: Andreas Skov Olsen M (Questionable), Tajon Buchanan F (Questionable), Ferran Jutgla F (Questionable).
Benfica: No key injuries to report.

Club Brugge vs Benfica weather

It’ll be a chilly evening in Brugge on Wednesday. Temperatures will be in the high-30s, but there will be no rain and little wind. 

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