Cruz Azul will try to finish the job and win its first Mexican Liga MX title since 1997 when it hosts Santos Laguna on Sunday at Estadio Azteca in the second leg of the Clausura playoff final. Cruz Azul took a 1-0 win on the road Thursday night and wants to complete a dominant run that put it at the top of the table to end the regular season. Santos Laguna was fifth in the regular season and had one of the league's best defenses. It is trying to win its seventh title, with six of those coming since Azul won its most recent one.
Kickoff is set for 9:15 p.m. ET in Mexico City. Cruz Azul is a 0.5-goal and -104 money-line favorite (risk $104 to win $100) in the latest Santos Laguna vs. Cruz Azul odds from William Hill Sportsbook, and the over-under for total goals scored is 2.5. Before finalizing any Cruz Azul vs. Santos Laguna picks, check out the Liga MX predictions from SportsLine's Martin Green.
After working in the sports betting industry for several years, Green became a professional sports writer and handicapper. Since then, his soccer picks have been spot-on. In fact, Green has generated nearly $19,000 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season.
Now, Green has broken down Cruz Azul vs. Santos Laguna in the Liga MX final. You can visit SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are several odds and trends for Santos Laguna vs. Cruz Azul:
- Santos Laguna vs. Cruz Azul spread: Cruz Azul -0.5
- Santos Laguna vs. Cruz Azul over-under: 2.5 goals
- Santos Laguna vs. Cruz Azul money line: Santos Laguna +290, Cruz Azul -104, Draw +230
- Cruz Azul: La Maquina had a league-high 500 shots in the 34 matches over the past year.
- Santos: GK Carlos Acevedo tied for the league lead with 111 saves over the two seasons.
Why you should back Cruz Azul
La Maquina has the edge, and playing at home will be even more motivation to break a long string of heartbreak in the Liga MX playoffs. This is Cruz Azul's eighth appearance in the final since it last won in 1997, and it has reason to believe this is its year. Cruz Azul tied for the league lead with 26 goals and allowed a league-low 11 in dominating the regular season. It has been grinding out victories in the postseason, allowing just three goals in the five games and posting clean sheets in the past three. Goalkeeper Jose Corona led Liga MX with 14 clean sheets in 31 matches and had an 81.5 save percentage.
Cruz Azul went on a 15-game unbeaten run in the Clausura after losing its first two games, and a 2-1 setback in the opener against Toluca is its only blemish in the playoffs. It was plus-15 in goal differential in the Clausura, while Santos scored just 18 goals (fourth-fewest in Liga MX) and hasn't scored in its past two games. Jonathan Rodriguez has been the league's top scorer over the past year with 21 goals in 31 matches, and he has a goal and two assists in the playoffs. Luis Romo scored the winner Thursday and tied for the league lead with 10 assists over the two seasons.
Why you should back Santos Laguna
Los Guerrerros dominated on the stat sheet in the first leg, holding the ball for 65 percent of the match and outshooting Azul 16-8. They beat Cruz Azul 1-0 in the regular season, with Diego Valdes scoring to settle a tight match, and Thursday's match was a battle as well. Valdes missed much of the season with a fractured foot but has a goal and an assist in the postseason. Goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo had 11 clean sheets and a save percentage of 79.6 in the 34 matches over both seasons, and Santos allowed the third-fewest goals in the Clausura with 13.
Santos has numerous scoring options, with 10 players posting multiple goals over the two seasons. Eduardo Aguirre and Juan Ferney Otero each had three, and they had several quality chances in the first leg. Santos found plenty of room down the flanks to put crosses into the box but could not find the back of the net. The 22-year-old Aguirre has had a breakout postseason with five goals, and Ayrton Preciado has three. Fernando Gorriaran led the squad with six goals and six assists in the regular season as he picked up the slack for the loss of Valdes.
How to make Liga MX picks for Cruz Azul vs. Santos Laguna
Green is going under on the total and he's also revealed two other best bets for Sunday's showdown, including a strong play on one side to win. He's only sharing his top picks here.
So who wins Santos Laguna vs. Cruz Azul? And where does all the betting value lie? Visit SportsLine now to see the top picks for Cruz Azul vs. Santos Laguna, all from the proven soccer expert who has generated nearly $19,000 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season.