Inter Milan vs Benfica Picks and Predictions: Both Teams Struggle to Score Early

Benfica has a major issue as they enter the second leg two goals down while stuck in a scoring drought. With both sides struggling to find the back of the net, our Champions League picks aren't expecting any goals until much later in the game.

Apr 19, 2023 • 12:26 ET • 4 min read
David Neres Benfica Champions League
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

A first-leg away victory for Inter Milan sees them with one foot into the Champions League semifinals, and they'll look to cement their place when they take on Benfica Wednesday. 

The Portuguese side must overcome a two-goal deficit if they hope to at least force extra time. To do so, they will need to end their longest losing streak in more than four years. Meanwhile, the inconsistent form of the Italian side has their fans a bit nervous and has their manager on the hottest seat imaginable.

Can Inter Milan keep their only hopes for a trophy this season alive, or will Benfica regain their form and pull off a surprise upset? Let’s discuss that and more in our Inter Milan vs Benfica Champions League picks and predictions for Wednesday, April 19.  

Inter Milan vs Benfica best odds

Inter Milan vs Benfica picks and predictions

It’s rare to have a Champions League knockout stage, much less a quarterfinal, where neither team is in good form heading into the second leg. But that’s exactly what we have on Wednesday. Inter’s win over Benfica is their only victory in their last eight matches, and their shocking 1-0 home defeat to Monza saw their Serie A winless streak stretch to five matches. 

For a side that scored seven goals over two legs against Club Brugges in the Round of 16, the goals have dried up recently for Benfica. Their only goal during their three-match losing streak was courtesy of an own goal, and they’ve scored just once over their last four matches. 

For Inter, the offense has been quite lacking as well — managing just four goals in their last seven matches. Romelu Lukaku has been responsible for two of those, both from the penalty spot, as he’s gotten no help from his fellow attackers. 

To their credit, Inter aren’t conceding much either. They’ve allowed just five goals in that span, and have not allowed a team to score multiple goals against them since losing 2-1 to Spezia on March 23. 

One major theme with Inter’s matches of late is the fact much of the action comes late in the match. Of the 15 goals scored in Inter’s last 11 matches in all competitions, only three have come prior to the referee’s whistle for halftime.

That includes both goals against Benfica, with Nicolo Barella opening the scoring six minutes after the interval. Much like Inter, the visitors have been a second-half team with five of their last six goals scored coming after the break.

I’m not sure either side is going to find a goal in this match given the way they’re finishing. What I do know is that I don’t expect much to happen in the opening half. I expect both teams to play it safe while Benfica likely goes for broke after halftime, and that will lead to the best scoring chances for both teams. 

My best bet: Half with most goals - second half (+114 at FanDuel)

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Inter Milan vs Benfica side analysis

Given Inter’s two-goal advantage and the fact that neither team looks particularly dangerous going forward, it makes sense that the home side is heavily favored in the 3-way line. The draw and the Benfica win are evenly priced, as both are unlikely due to how much the Portuguese side must push forward if they hope to overcome their deficit.

History is on Inter’s side to advance. Benfica have played Inter four times in European competition and managed to score in only one of those fixtures — losing three times while drawing the other. Inter have also never been eliminated from Europe in eight previous instances after winning the first leg of a tie by at least two goals. 

As for the match result, Inter have lost their last three matches at the San Siro by identical 1-0 scorelines, but in Champions League, they’ve won three straight at home since losing to Bayern Munich. Milan Skriniar will again miss out in defense, and he could be joined by Stefan de Vrij who was hurt on the weekend. Hakan Calhanoglu could return, however.

Benfica will be happy to see Nicolas Otamendi back after he was suspended for the first leg. Julian Draxler is set to be on the sidelines yet again for a side that has won eight of their last ten matches on the road.

I don’t see anything I personally want to play in this match result, but I believe the draw offers solid value. Inter’s price sees them favored at a higher percentage than they should be, and I could easily see this ending in a stalemate — which would suit Inter just fine. 

Inter Milan vs Benfica Over/Under analysis

The total of 2.5 goals is as evenly split as you can have, with nearly every book offering -110 on both sides. That’s because it’s a difficult total to predict given the talent on offer in both attacks and the struggles for them to convert chances.

Inter’s nine Champions League matches so far have seen just two instances with three or more goals, while three have seen no more than a single goal. None of their last five matches at the San Siro have gone Over, and just once in their last 10 has that happened.  

Benfica’s last 10 away matches have featured seven Unders, including four of their last five. Against EFIGS teams in the Champions League this season, they’ve seen two of five totals go Over. 

I’ll be on the Under in this match. A 1-0 or 1-1 scoreline makes a lot of sense to me given how poorly both teams have finished, along with how well Inter defends in knockout matches this year. The 1H Under 0.5 is also a tempting play to look at. 

Inter Milan vs Benfica game info

Location: San Siro Stadium, Milan, Italy
Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
TV: Paramount+

Inter Milan vs Benfica key injuries

Inter Milan: Milan Skriniar D (Out), Stefan de Vrij D (Doubtful).
Benfica: Julian Draxler M (Doubtful), Alexander Bah D (Out), Mihailo Ristic M (Doubtful). 

Inter Milan vs Benfica weather

It’ll be a beautiful evening in the north of Italy, with temperatures at kickoff in the mid 60s. A light breeze will do nothing to impact play, and less than a 10% chance of rain means things should remain dry throughout. 

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