Football Bet of the Day: Al-Hilal to defend King’s Cup with distinction

 | Thursday 30th May 2024, 9:00am

Thursday 30th May 2024, 9:00am

The Saudi Professional League drew to a close on Monday, with runaway champions Al-Hilal Riyadh crowning a glorious campaign with a 2-1 win at Al-Wehda.

Jorge Jesus' side still have one game left to play this season, however, as they face Al-Nassr Riyadh in the Saudi Arabia King's Cup final on Friday, May 31, and it is from the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah where we go to for our football bet of the day.

Football Bet of the Day - Friday, May 31

  • Al-Hilal Riyadh to beat Al-Nassr Riyadh & both teams to score (90 mins) @ 11/5

Al-Hilal's 2023/24 season included a stunning 34-game winning streak which was only brought to an end on April 17 by UAE outfit Al-Ain in the first leg of their Asian Champions League semi-final.

The Blue Waves subsequently won eight of their last nine games, and that defeat to Al-Ain is still the only one they have suffered this season as Jesus' side went unbeaten in the league, winning 31 and drawing just three times.

Now, Al-Hilal will look to defend the King's Cup, which they won for the 10th time last year after defeating Al-Wehda on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time.

At 19/20, Al Hilal are certainly the favorites to retain their crown on Friday, but they will have their work cut out to deprive a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Al-Nassr (9/4) from upsetting the odds.

Al-Nassr finished runners-up to Al-Hilal in the Saudi Professional League but ended the campaign 14 points behind the champions, who were levels above any other side in the division.

However, Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr have met four times already this season, and the latter have avoided defeat on two occasions, winning 2-1 after extra time in the Arab Club Champions Cup final on August 12 and drawing 1-1 in their final league head-to-head on May 17, where they led from the first minute until the 100th minute when Aleksandar Mitrovic converted from the penalty spot.

Al-Hilal to beat Al-Nassr & both teams to score at 11-5

In between those contests, Al-Hilal beat their Riyadh rivals twice - 3-0 in the league on December 1, and 2-1 in the Super Cup semi-final on April 8 when Ronaldo was sent off and Sadio Mane grabbed a consolation in the dying embers.

Luis Castro will hope that his team has learned from their past mistakes against Al-Hilal, but that's easier said than done.

Al-Hilal are the superpower of Saudi football, and even without the injured Neymar, boast the best squad in the country.

Mitrovic has been their main source of goals this season, with the big Serbian plundering 28 in the league alone, and a further 11 in cup competitions, including three in the King's Cup.

Former Barcelona winger Malcom also has 25 to his name this term, while there is further star quality in their ranks in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Ruben Neves, Renan Lodi, Kalidou Koulibaly and Bono.

Al-Nassr have a few stars of their own in Ronaldo, Mane, Otavio, Marcelo Brozovic and Aymeric Laporte, but they are further back in their project compared to Al-Hilal, who have won six of the last eight league titles.

I'm backing Al-Hilal to do the business within 90 minutes on Friday, but I do expect Al-Nassr to get on the scoresheet. Al-Hilal have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last five games, and in just two of their last 16.

Al-Nassr, meanwhile, have scored in their previous 15 games, and in three of the four head-to-heads between the sides this season, two of which Al-Hilal won in regulation time.

You can read all our latest Football Bets of the Day at our dedicated Betfred Insights content hub.

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