The Portuguese Primeira Liga, or NOS, as many call it nowaday due to its sponsors, is a competition that had a massive impact on European football. Not only because of their clubs and the national team, which played a gigantic role on the international stage, but also because it created so many legendary footballers, regardless of the fact whether they are domestic or foreigners.
They would go through this competition, establishing themselves as stars, before conquering the entire world. Just think of the names like Eusebio, Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc. It does tell a lot, wouldn’t you agree.
Although it is not popular as any of the top five European leagues, Primeira Liga definitely deserves a lot of respect, because it is much greater in some elements than any of them.
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The first glances of this competition appeared in 1934 when clubs played a competition on a round-basis. The winner of the same would be named as a champion. Parallel with it, there was a tournament based on a cup system, which the majority acknowledged as the real battle for the Portuguese title. Although unofficially, they would consider the winner as the best team in the country.
However, in order to avoid such messy situations, the football association decided to establish the Primeira Division in 1938. It was a competition in which all clubs played on a round-robin system with the winner being crowned as the best team in Portugal. The first one had 8 sides participating, and the champion was Porto, who also defended the title next year.
In 85 editions played, Benfica won 37 titles and is by far the most successful club when looking at Primeira Liga history. Porto is second with 28, while Sporting has 18. Apart from them, Belenenses in 1946 and Boavista in 2001 were the only two teams that managed to squeeze their name on the list of champions.
The Big Three
The Big Three, or in the Portuguese language Os Tres Grandes, is the nickname for their biggest teams, Benfica, Porto, and Sporting. Throughout history, these sides dominated Portuguese football but were also very noticeable on the international stage. All of them won European trophies in the past, and they are also cornerstones of the national team, with numerous players who represent the country coming from their youth academies.
Although Porto isn’t the most successful club in the country, it is the best Portuguese club on the international stage, with 7 major trophies won. They have two European titles, two Europa League, and one European Super Cup trophy, along with two Intercontinental Cups.
Benfica won back-to-back European titles in 61 and 62, but after that played eight European finals and lost all of them. They are considered to be one of the most unlucky teams in football because of that, and their last defeat came against Chelsea in EL finals in 2013 when they lost the trophy during the final minute. That year, the Eagles lost three critical games in a span of just a week, dropping the domestic title, EL trophy, and Taca de Portugal.
Sporting has one Cup Winners’ Cup from 1964. But they produced Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, and they take a lot of pride in that fact.
The league has 18 clubs, and all play twice against one another following round-robin system. The champions are directly transferred to the Champions League, while the runners-up have to play qualifications. The third and the fourth are playing the Europa League.
As for the relegation, unlike many other competitions, there aren’t any playoffs, and also, only the two-last placed teams are relegated to the Segunda Liga.
Betting on Primeira Liga
Betting on individual matches is like anywhere else, and there aren’t any differences between this and any other football competition. The same applied to the in-play betting. As for the most popular markets, there are three of them:
- Full-time result
- Total goals Over/Under
- Both teams to score
Outright betting is very interesting, mainly because of the Big Three. Although one side might seem to have the best team of them all, winning the championship in Portugal is not an easy task, especially since Braga became competitive. They aren’t capable of capturing the title, but can disrupt everything and spoil the plans of other sides.
Two outright betting markets which stand above other are:
- Primeira League Winner
- Primeira League Top Goalscorer (Bola de Prata)
When you have three close rivals competing for the title, the fun is guaranteed, and on the other hand, they always have great goalscorers. Do know that after Spanish La Liga, who is dominant because of Messi and Ronaldo in recent years, Primeira Liga gave seven Europan Golden Boots, the second-most.
Tips and Tricks for Betting on Primeira Liga
The first thing you need to know is that apart from these three teams, and occasionally Braga, depending on the current roster, you won’t find an efficient team in this league. The style of football of other clubs is defensive-minded, so you better remember this.
The difference in quality between the Big Three and the other sides is enormous, so don’t be amazed if you see their massive wins at home when facing some rival from the lower part of the table. Asian handicaps are a perfect choice in situations like these.
Now, this is something you would need to know also. Both Benfica and Porto have “friendly clubs,” and you will easily recognize them when looking at their rosters. There would be several loaned players from one or another member of the Big Three or frequent transfers in the past few years. Usually, those sides are don’t make any trouble when they face their business partners but are very ferocious when meeting their rivals. So, you might need to do a little research and get to know who are these clubs.
- All members of the Big Three have a player who won the Golden Boot Award twice – Porto has Fernando Gomes, Sporting Mario Jardel, and Benfica the legendary Eusebio.
- In 1972/73 season, Benfica won 96.7% available, and in 30 games, they won 28 times and had two draws.
- The Eagles haven’t lost a match in Primeira Liga From 24 October 1976 to 1 September 1978 – 56 games
- Eusebio won Bola de Prata 7 times.
- Héctor Yazalde scored the most goal in one season – 46 in 1973/74
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