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  #1  
Old 06-11-2018, 05:35 AM
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Exclamation 2018 World Cup Betting Info

The highest handle props at Bovada ...


1. Top goalscorer (Werner, Neymar, Griezmann)

2. To reach the quarterfinals (BRA, ESP, GER)

3. Exact finals (GER-BRA, GER-FRA, FRA-ESP)

4. To reach the final (BRA, GER, FRA)

5. To reach the semifinals (ESP, BRA, GER)
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:41 AM
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World Cup futures handle percentages at Bovada ...


1. Germany 24.01%

2. Brazil 16.10%

3. Argentina 12.91%

4. France 11.07%

5. Spain 8.56%

6. Belgium 7.94%

7. Portugal 5.28%

8. England 3.31%

9. Mexico 2.09%

10. Colombia 1.53%
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:22 PM
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BetOnline ...


Top 5 bet counts to win ...

1. Germany +450
2. Brazil +400
3. Belgium +1000
4. Argentina +900
5. France +650
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:23 PM
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William Hill’s most popular bets in terms of money wagered ...


Germany 20%
Argentina 15%
Brazil 10%
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Old 06-12-2018, 03:19 PM
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BetOnline ...

Only exposed on three teams to win ...


1. Brazil - large exposure (+500)
2. Argentina - large exposure (+900)
3. Mexico - very small exposure (+8000)
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Old 06-12-2018, 03:56 PM
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Ultimate 2018 World Cup betting guide
James Eastham - ESPN INSIDER



The biggest betting event across the globe -- the 2018 World Cup -- is set to kick off Thursday in Russia.

With a dizzying amount of betting options, we're here to break down the best bets to advance from every group, the value bets to take home the title and some other props.

Here's our complete World Cup betting guide.


Note: All odds from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, unless otherwise listed, as of June 12.



Group breakdown


Group A

The tournament host is in this group, but Uruguay is understandably the favorite to win the pool. In Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, the South Americans have two of the most dangerous strikers in the competition, and it would be a big surprise if they didn't propel the team to the final 16. Egypt's chances of claiming a top-two berth against the odds will be highly dependent on Mohamed Salah, whose fitness is a concern after he suffered a shoulder injury in Liverpool's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid. Saudi Arabia are rank outsiders -- and their price, like everyone else's in this group, looks about right, hence there are no appealing selections.


•Uruguay -160
•Russia +220
•Egypt +550
•Saudi Arabia 40-1


Best bet: None



Group B


Iberian rivals Spain and Portugal are favorites to emerge from Group B, and their head-to-head clash on June 15 will be one of the group stage highlights. It would be a shock if either of these two sides failed to progress to the last 16. That said, group rival Morocco is a definite dark horse: The team has some talented players in its ranks (center-back Medhi Benatia, playmaker Younes Belhanda, attacker Amine Harit) and looks good enough to capitalize on any mistakes that the top two make. Morocco's team spirit has improved considerably under manager Herve Renard, too, making the North Africans an interesting selection to qualify for the second round at 3-1.


•Spain -240
•Portugal +220
•Morocco 16-1
•Iran 40-1


Best bet: Morocco to advance (3-1)



Group C


France has landed in one of the easiest opening-round groups. Boasting the tournament's most exciting collection of attackers (Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir, Olivier Giroud), les Bleus are a smart selection to win all three group games --- against Denmark, Peru and Australia. There are legitimate concerns over their defense, but they have enough attacking firepower to ensure they win even if they concede a goal. Looking to Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen for inspiration, Denmark are a sound bet to follow the French through to the second round, with Australia and Peru likely to lack the quality to trouble the top two.



•France -300
•Denmark +425
•Peru +750
•Australia 20-1


Best bet: France over 7.5 points in the group stage (+160)



Group D


Argentina's best XI looks average compared to that of the tournament's top teams, so the South Americans will rely heavily on star Lionel Messi to drive them toward the latter stages. He has some good attackers alongside him (Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain) but a lack of quality in defense and midfield is a concern for the two-time winners. Croatia is the second favorite, but Nigeria's and Iceland's chances of going through appear underrated. Nigeria has some players who have done well abroad this season, while Iceland gained crucial experience at Euro 2016, beating England during its impressive run to the last eight of the competition.



•Argentina -200
•Croatia +225
•Nigeria 14-1
•Iceland 14-1


Best bet: Nigeria (+250) and Iceland (+325) to advance



Group E


Brazil deserves to be a short-priced favorite as it's difficult to see Switzerland, Serbia or Costa Rica stopping a Neymar-inspired team from topping the pool. Switzerland is the second favorite, although this is harder to understand why; Serbia's starting XI looks just as strong as Switzerland's, while Costa Rica can count on several players that were part of the side that came within a penalty shoot-out of making the semi-finals four years ago. Serbia and Costa Rica are available at odds-against prices to qualify from the first round to make the last 16, so you'll make money from backing the pair at level stakes as long as one of the two goes through.



•Brazil -450
•Switzerland +750
•Serbia 8-1
•Costa Rica 16-1


Best bet: Serbia (+115) and Costa Rica (+400) to advance



Group F


Germany is expected to cruise through, and it's difficult to see Joachim Low's highly experienced players slipping up. With quality and talent in all areas of the team, the group favorite should be too strong for its rivals. There is little separating Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, so the teams at longer odds are worth considering. South Korea's price in particular makes little sense given the talent in its ranks. It has a poor World Cup record outside Asia, but reached the knockout stages in South Africa (2010) and will look to Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min to inspire the side.



•Germany -400
•Mexico 6-1
•Sweden +750
•South Korea 20-1


Best bet: South Korea to advance (+425)



Group G


Belgium and England look set to battle it out for the top spot, with Roberto Martinez's Diables Rouges the favorites to hold off Gareth Southgate's Three Lions. That's a fair assessment given the individual and collective quality in Belgium's squad, with Martinez able to count on the likes of Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku. In the build-up to the finals, the young England side has shown signs of promise, but its odds of +115 to top the group look about right. Tunisia and Panama are the group outsiders, and both appear too limited to upset the predicted pecking order.



•Belgium -135
•England +115
•Tunisia 20-1
•Panama 50-1


Best bet: None



Group H


This is the most open group, with odds-on favorite to win the pool. Colombia has the narrow edge, ahead of Poland, Senegal and Japan, in that order. With little to pick between the teams, outsiders Senegal and Japan may provide the best value, with Senegal a particularly interesting selection. Manager Aliou Cisse's squad is packed with talented players, with the likes of center-back Kalidou Koulibaly, midfielder Idrissa Gueye and attackers Keita Balde and Sadio Mane -- the latter scored for Liverpool in its 3-1 Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid last month -- capable of thriving at this level. With eight or nine players of international standard in total in their 23-man party, the Lions of Teranga have a better chance of making the second round than their odds suggest.



•Colombia +110
•Poland +180
•Senegal 5-1
•Japan +850


Best bet: Senegal (+115) to advance
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Old 06-12-2018, 03:57 PM
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Title futures bets


Looking through the list of contenders to lift the World Cup trophy, it's obvious four teams are stronger than the rest of the finalists in Russia.

Brazil, Germany, Spain and France top the betting odds at most shops between 7-2 and 6-1. Sometimes the market gets it wrong, but not this time: The "Big Four," as you might label them, really are the best four teams in the competition.

Argentina (a best-priced 10-1 with European Bookmakers) and Belgium (11-1) are next in the betting. Behind those two, there's a big gap to seventh-favorites England (16-1), and then the chasing pack is even further behind.

As well as having star-name players, Brazil, Spain, Germany and France have high-caliber performers throughout their sides. Squad strength will be crucial as the tournament unfolds, and all four nations have outstanding deputies waiting on the touchlines, as well as vital recent experience of having gone deep in major competitions.

Despite such obvious strengths, there are also reasons to oppose all four, however.

Brazil has a problem at right back as Dani Alves is out of the competition because of injury. Neymar's fitness is a talking point, too, as the PSG superstar has only recently returned from a three-month injury lay-off.

Spain lacks a consistently effective central striker and goal-scorer. The squad boasts outstanding defenders and midfielders, but the absence of a reliable finisher means there's a chance that the team will fail to turn possession and scoring chances into goals.

For Germany, the issue is retaining the trophy, as the last team to do so was Brazil in 1962. Are the Germans really equipped to follow suit, especially considering they've lost two key players from their 2014 triumph, with Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger having retired?

France's concern is a supposed lack of character. Didier Deschamps has picked arguably the tournament's most exciting squad, but the lack of on-field leaders means it'll need to grow up quickly once the tournament gets under way in order to come through moments of adversity when facing the competition's better sides.

The Germans are marginal outsiders of the four on the basis that successfully defending a World Cup is such a difficult feat. They do not appear to have the exceptional quality required to secure a second consecutive global victory.

If you backed Brazil, Spain and France, you'd make a profit as long as one the three turns out winners, as all three are available at odds of 7-2 or bigger. Brazil (7-2) are much shorter than France (6-1) and Spain (6-1) for no apparent reason, however, so focus your attention on the European duo.



Recommended bets: France (6-1) and Spain (6-1)
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Old 06-12-2018, 03:58 PM
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Golden Boot


Based on previous World Cups, the top scorer is likely to play for one of the teams that makes the semifinals. That may sound all too obvious -- after all, the more games a player plays, the more opportunities he has to add to his overall goals tally -- but it's worth reiterating in order to dissuade you from backing one of the strikers who plays for an outsider team and is available at super-long odds.

As noted above, Brazil, Spain, Germany and France are the top four teams in the competition. It makes sense to focus your attention on these four teams in the Golden Boot market.

We've mentioned Spain lacks a reliable goal scorer, so no one in that camp stands out. Neymar has a fantastic scoring record for Brazil, but concerns over his fitness are an issue heading into the tournament.

Germany has a reliable international finisher in Thomas Muller. He was the World Cup joint-top scorer in 2010 and has netted 10 goals in 13 World Cup tournament appearances. At 20-1, the Bayern Munich striker will attract attention.

The France squad and its array of highly capable attackers draw the eye even more. Antoine Griezmann was the top scorer on home soil at Euro 2016 and will be many bettors' selection at 9-1. Yet teammate Kylian Mbappe may be a smarter choice.

At 19, Mbappe is playing at a major tournament for the first time. Blessed with pace, dribbling ability, tremendous finishing skills, a maturity beyond his years and reserves of self-confidence, he's adapted to international football effortlessly over the past 12 months. He has looked especially sharp in France's final warm-up friendlies and has netted three goals in his past 331 minutes of international action. At larger odds, Mbappe's our pick.



Recommended bet: Kylian Mbappe (20-1)
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:00 PM
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Five first-round matches to follow



Morocco vs. Iran (June 15, Group B)

Morocco goes into the tournament quietly confident they can trouble Group B top dogs Spain and Portugal. To do so, it'll need to collect three points from the opening game. It's a minor surprise to see the North Africans available at a good odds-against price vs. a well-organized but limited Iran team.

Recommended bet: Morocco (+125)



France vs. Australia (June 16, Group C)

France will look to put down a marker in its opening match and has an abundance of attacking talent to trouble Australia's defenders. But France's back four, plus goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, looked ill at ease in les Bleus' final warm-up friendly vs. the U.S. (1-1), so it would be no surprise to see France's back line breached. Given the favorites' strengths and weaknesses, over 2.5 goals is our pick.

Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals (-120)



Germany vs. Mexico (June 17, Group F)

Germany was once regarded as a slow starter in major competitions, but anything other than a win for Joachim Low's side would be surprising considering the quality and experience here. As you'd expect, the Germans are short-priced favorites to collect all three points, but there's little downside to backing them on the Asian handicap as they seek the perfect start to their title defense.

Recommended bet: Germany -1 (-125)



Brazil vs. Switzerland (June 17, Group E)

There have been moments of real class from Brazil in its warm-up friendlies, and it should be far too strong for an unremarkable Switzerland side. Brazil's depth of quality and competition for places in attack should ensure it continues to go forward if and when it takes the lead, making the Selecao an appealing Asian handicap selection.

Recommended bet: Brazil -1.5 (+115)



Poland vs. Senegal (June 19, Group H)

Poland's clear favoritism is a surprise given the individual quality in the Senegal ranks. Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye, Keita Balde and Sadio Mane are all as good, if not better, than their direct Polish equivalents. And while talent alone does not make a team, there's enough about the Lions of Teranga to suggest they're a smart bet to avoid defeat.

Recommended bet: Senegal (+220)



The Asian handicap betting eliminates the draw and provides the possibility of getting your stakes back (depending on the bet you place). For example, if you back a team at 0 Asian handicap, your stakes will be returned if the game ends in a draw (as the handicap has been equaled). If you back a team -1 Asian handicap and the team you've backed wins by a single goal, your stakes will be returned (as the handicap has been equaled). This safety net of having your stakes returned is the primary difference between Asian handicap and handicap betting.
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Old 06-12-2018, 05:22 PM
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Pre-tournament odds of the World Cup winners since 1986

1986: Argentina +300
1990: West Germany +600
1994: Brazil +250
1998: France +700
2002: Brazil +600
2006: Italy +800
2010: Spain +350
2014: Germany +600
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:15 PM
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According to the oddsmakers at BetOnline, here are two of the most popular teams to win the World Cup that the sharps are on


France (+650): France is a clear favorite at -300 to win Group C. Les Blues have an implied probability of 75.0% to win their group and advance to the knockout round, tied for the best chance in the tournament with Brazil. With talented forward Antoine Griezmann and midfielder Paul Pogba, France is setup to make a deep run.


Belgium (+1000): Is this the best Belgian squad ever? Many, including pro bettors, think that the Red Devils’ golden generation has a chance to win the World Cup thanks to loads of talent. Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best playmakers in the world, Romelu Lukaku is a proven striker and Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens are wonderful wingers backed by capable defenders and Thibaut Courtois in goal.
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:23 PM
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World Cup MVP


The Golden Ball was first awarded in the 1982 World Cup to Paolo Rossi. The Italian forward scored six goals, the most in the tournament, and led Italy to the World Cup title. One might think the best player on the team that wins the tournament would also earn the Golden Ball honor, but in the eight World Cups since 1982 it has happened only twice.

Brazil is the favorite to win the World Cup and Neymar is the chalk for the Golden Ball, but bettors have their eyes on another forward. Timo Werner is only 22 years old but has already made his mark on the German national team. In 14 appearances for his home country, he has scored eight goals, and 9% of all dollars wagered at BetOnline are backing the German at +2500 to be the tournament MVP.


Golden Ball Most popular bets by dollars ...

Werner 9%
Neymar 8%
Muller 5%
Griezmann 5%
Messi 4%
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:36 PM
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The Action Network and Big Cat (Barstool) Pick the World Cup Winner


Those Who Actually Follow Soccer

Michael Goodman: Brazil +415
It’s never fun to pick the favorite, but I’m picking Brazil. They have a stacked squad, and a simple game plan to match their talent. Take the ball from the other team, pass the ball to the good attacking players and let the good attacking players try to score. Rinse and repeat.

A midfield of Paulinho, Fernandinho and Casemiro combines the ball-winning prowess of starters from Barcelona, Manchester City and Real Madrid. Neymar is a singular attacking force on the wing, and for the first time in his career, he has a goal-striking forward to work with in Gabriel Jesus. Those two are complemented nicely by whoever starts on the opposite wing. Simple, effective and fun to watch. It’s Brazil’s World Cup to lose.


Martin Laurence: Spain +595
Ahead of the shock announcement that Julen Lopetegui would replace Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager after the World Cup, I was confident Spain would regain their crown. And I’m sticking with my instincts. After all, the Champions League supremos’ decision to appoint the current International boss is based on his excellent job with La Roja, unbeaten since the former U21 coach took the reins in 2016.

Lopetegui’s work with youth teams has transferred into the senior side, making the step up with a number of players who are still playing key roles under his tutelage. Rejuvenated and with a point to prove having crashed out at the group stage in Brazil, Spain have played some irresistible soccer this year. With a favorable route to the quarterfinals at the very least — and the pedigree and experience to go all the way — the 2010 winners are not only my favorites to win, but offer great value in the odds.


Michael Leboff: France +645
There’s just so much to like about Les Bleus. Sure, the usual narratives about the French will surround this team. The press loves to raise red flags around France’s camp. Sometimes, like in 2010, it’s warranted. Other times, it’s just a way to get column inches.

France have an enviable attack up front, headlined by Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe. If they need to switch gears and go with a target man up front, in steps Olivier Giroud. That kind of adaptability is not common for international teams.

As good as their forwards are, France’s true strength lies in the middle of the pitch. Paul Pogba is a game-breaking talent and should be free to pull the strings up front with the support of N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi. Kante and Matuidi are proven ball-winners and will serve as a great shield in front of two great centerbacks in Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti. If Les Bleus play to their strengths, they have as good of a chance as any to hoist the trophy.


Sean Newsham: France +645
Going into the World Cup, no team possesses the talent that the French have up and down their roster. The key for the French will be finding a lineup and tactical formation that provide an identity in the tournament. I think Antoine Greizmann provides the ability to handle all of the top attacking positions, which, in turn, gives France the stability they will need to progress throughout the tournament and put their skill on full display.


Dan McGuire: Argentina +945
I took Argentina to win in 2014 and was let down in the final, but I’m not giving up on them in 2018. Lionel Messi is the key, but the entire team needs to step up and play better overall to make another run. They weren’t great in 2014 and still made a final — so I’m keeping the faith. Take a gander at my entire card below if you missed it earlier.


Jason Sobel: Belgium +1095
Little-known fact: I’m a huge soccer guy. Still play in a few adult leagues, own season tickets to my local MLS team and watch games whenever I can. All of which means I’m just as qualified to offer a terrible World Cup pick as I am for any other sport. I hate playing favorites and I’m always looking for some value, so I’m driving the Belgium bandwagon for the next month. I like the combination of a few superstar talents and plenty of experience — and even better, I love ‘em at their pretourney price.


Daniel Scotti: Belgium +1095
Super high on Belgium. Love the squad; tons of class up and down it. With Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku up top, Kevin De Bruyne holding down the midfield and Thibaut Courtois in net, this team should be hard to beat. Although perhaps I’m a little biased as a proud “Rent Boy” (Chelsea fan), wondering what could’ve been had we just held on to Lukaku and KDB. Sigh.



Those Who Only Watch The World Cup


Chris Raybon: Brazil +415
They have the best odds and the best player. Plus, Germany’s victory in 2014 marked the first time that three straight World Cup winners came from the same continent, which is bound to regress.


Stuckey: Germany +445
I want a rooting interest and could name only a few players in the competition — if you let me use Google. I simply picked Germany because nobody else did, I can speak the language, and I like German beer. Sharp.


Chad Millman: France +645
I’m going with France. It’s not because I’ve examined the odds for every team or even because I know the French roster all that well. (I didn’t even eat the Brie offered as a snack on a flight I took Monday morning.)

I’m simply going with France because I’ve read nearly every paragraph of our World Cup preview content, and Michael Goodman made a compelling case for the talent on their roster. They seem to play like I imagine the French live: with remarkable ease and indifference. Life goals.


Big Cat: Russia +5990
As a fan of conspiracy theories, I don’t understand how Russia isn’t the odds-on favorite to win this tourney. They have home-field advantage and natural goal-scorer Vladimir Putin — who averaged six hockey goals per game on his birthday over the past two years. Russia will shock the world with a little bit of grit and a whole lot of match-fixing. … And that was talking soccer.


Tim Livingston: France +645
Leboff won’t shut up about this team. He came into the office yesterday wearing a beret, quoting Voltaire and gushing over Olivier Giroud as the “ruggedly handsome Zac Efron.”

But since he didn’t steer me wrong with the Caps to win the Stanley Cup, I’m not ashamed to piggyback his World Cup pick, as well. Beignets all day, baby. Vive la France!


Matthew Freedman: France +645
I’m pulling for France since I’ll be there for a week in July, and it would be awesome to see them in a World Cup game while I’m there.


Paul Lo Duca: Spain +595
Somehow it feels like Spain are coming into this one a little under the radar. Everyone else is picking Germany, Brazil and France — give me La Furia Roja.


Scott Miller: Argentina +945
I refuse to live in a world where the best soccer player (footballer?) of my lifetime goes 0-for-4 at the World Cup. Come on, Leo!


Evan Abrams: Argentina +945
If Argentina get through one of the tourney’s tougher Groups, which includes a bona fide dark horse in Nigeria, they should find a rhythm after heartbreak in 2014 vs. Germany.


Geoff Schwartz: Belgium +1095
I’m going with Belgium. I was listening to a podcast with a soccer commentator, and he mentioned Belgium as being a maybe not-so-popular winner. So that’s my team. Plus, who doesn’t love waffles?!?!


Mark Gallant: England +1695
England have never won a World Cup (Editor’s Note: Yes, they have), but something tells me they’re in it to win it for the old bag Queen Elizabeth, as it may be the last chance before she croaks. England is also the only country of the 32 that I’ve visited. I even bought some random soccer jersey when I was there because literally everyone on my school trip did. Peer pressure. I don’t even remember the team, but it’s white and has the O2 oxygen logo on it.


BlackJack Fletcher: Uruguay +2790
I think Uruguay have a lot of young talent on defense and in the midfield. I’ve also long been a fan of Edinson Cavani up front. This team is as talented as any other in the field. If they can get consistent play, they could surprise and deliver on some longer odds. I also love them to win Group A at -150.


Peter Jennings: Russia +5990
I’m taking a longshot with Russia. I especially like them if you can get anything over 70-1. Group A looks very weak outside of Uruguay, so given Russia’s home-field advantage, I like their odds.


Jonathan Bales: Russia +5990
I know nothing about soccer. I can name one player, and that’s really only because I’m so envious of his tan. My buddy Ed Feng (ThePowerRank.com), however, models World Cup games and recently emailed me his analysis. It actually matches up with the current futures odds quite well, outside of being higher on the mid-tier teams in the 50-1 to 100-1 range.

Remember that with futures bets, you don’t need to win outright to collect; you just need the bet to improve to be able to get out ahead by hedging. Give me Russia at just under 60-1, despite their lack of great tans.


Collin Wilson: Peru +19950
Who cares if they haven’t been in the World Cup since the Expos hosted the All-Star Game in 1982? This is the scrappiest and most cohesive team in Group C. Denmark can’t play defense, France are overvalued with injuries, and Australia will get a participation ribbon. Peru was the last qualifier for Russia without star striker Paolo Guerrero, who will now return after an overturned drug suspension.



Secondary Longshots


Dan McGuire: Belgium +1095
Is Belgium finally poised to make a deep run in an international tournament? They’ve got the talent to do so, but some have questioned the cohesiveness and coaching. I personally couldn’t pass up the 14-1 odds offered on them.


Sean Newsham: Croatia +3290
They’ve been a dark horse for years, but have never fulfilled their destiny. To make it deep in a big International tournament like this, you need great chemistry, which the Croatians certainly possess, having played so many games together.

You also need to have great talent in the middle of the pitch to pull strings and control the game, and Croatia rival any team in the world with their midfield play. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic provide the playmaking ability from the midfield to allow the rest of the offense to flourish. I think Croatia have the most futures value in the market.


Paul Lo Duca: Croatia +3290
I’m also grabbing Croatia as my sleeper.


Michael Leboff: Peru +19950
Full transparency: I originally bet Peru because of a great Peruvian chicken spot on my block. For the past two years, I became buddies with a few guys who work there, and they told me this was the strongest squad they’ve ever seen. At first, I chalked it up to patriotic bias, as Peru were still a longshot to even qualify back then. But after watching a few qualifiers, I came away impressed with Los Incas.

Peru then went on a little run in the last half of CONMEBOL qualifying to put themselves in position to get to Russia. On the night of Peru’s last CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying match against Colombia, I strolled into the joint thinking it’d be pretty busy — but I severely underestimated the insane atmosphere. They had music blaring and three people behind the counter taking phone orders. It looked like a telethon to benefit Peruvian cuisine. When I saw my buddy, he told me they even ran out of chicken.

That night, Peru drew with Colombia and Brazil defeated Chile 3-0, which meant Peru would play New Zealand in a home-and-home playoff for the last spot in the World Cup. A few weeks later, Peru headed to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years.

World Cup dark horses usually fit a certain mold. They like to sit back, hold on for dear life and take their chance. Los Incas don’t fit that mold, and that’s part of the reason I think they are worth a shot. This team can score and aren’t to be counted out if they fall behind a better team. I’ll take a team with this much skill at these odds.

“I told you,” my friend at the restaurant boasted to me a couple of days after Los Incas qualified. “We’re going to surprise a lot of people. You’re just the first.”

And just like that, I had a horse in the race.



Evan Abrams: Peru +19950
For my longshot, I’m rolling with Peru. Qualifying out of South America proves their stability and stamina. I like them to finish second in Group C, which means they would play the winner of Group D in the round of 16 — most likely my favorite Argentina.


Stuckey: Peru +19950
I have to have a dark horse, so I naturally picked the country that has my favorite cuisine. If you’ve never tried authentic Peruvian Ceviche, Causa, Arroz Chaufa or Choritos a la Chalaca — you’re missing out. And you can never go wrong with Peruvian chicken and plantains for a casual lunch. You can find some legit spots in the New York and D.C. area. And always wash it down with one or five Pisco sours.




Bonus Section: Non-Futures


Jason Awad: Croatia +325 over Argentina
To start, I like Croatia (+325) to beat Argentina in their second match of the group stage. I just don’t believe Argentina are as strong as many people believe. And with a midfield full of class and creativity — plus a solid starting XI — I like the Croatians to top Messi and Co.


Jason Awad: Egypt to make R16 +140
I’ll also take my guy Mo Salah and Egypt to advance to the round of 16 at +140, while cheering for Liverpool’s star man: “Mo Salah, Mo Salah, running down the wing, Salah la la la la la la la Egyptian King.”


PJ Walsh: Sweden to finish last in Group F +250
While I played soccer growing up, I know nothing about betting it. Luckily, I do know the Ctrl-F function on a keyboard. To find my favorite bet of the 2018 World Cup, I visited The Action Network’s soccer guru Dan McGuire’s full futures betting card.

A simple search for the word “love” quickly lands on Sweden to finish last in Group F at +250 odds. I’ll save the actual analysis portion for McGuire, but when someone as sharp as him loves any wager, I listen.

My true love is cashing tickets, which I’ve already done plenty of times by following McGuire’s EPL and MLS analysis, so how about a little love for Sweden crapping the bed in Group F?
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:12 AM
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Sports Insights ...


Betting breakdown for the opener


RUS -215 (64%)

KSA +825 (20%)

Draw +335 (16%)
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:47 AM
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Over the past five World Cups, only 5/80 (6%) first round group-games ended 0-0, suggesting it's around a 15/1 chance.

20 (25%) were drawn and 28 (35%) were won by 2+ goals.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:48 AM
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From 2002 onwards, 56% of first round group-games at the World Cup were won by favorites - 20% were won by underdogs.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:49 AM
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Since 2002, the biggest-priced winner in the first round group-games at the World Cup was Switzerland v Spain at 16/1 in 2010.

Costa Rica were 10/1 winners v Uruguay four years ago, while 15/1 shots Trinidad & Tobago held Sweden in 2006. Senegal were 8/1 in 2002.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:50 AM
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Since 1966 – 10/13 (77%) of opening World Cup games have featured Under 2.5 Goals

8 (62%) produced no more than one goal.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:53 AM
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LV SuperBook ...


Teams getting the most money wagered to win the World Cup

Brazil
Germany
Argentina
France
Spain
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:54 AM
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5dimes ...


Teams getting the most money wagered to win the World Cup ...

Germany
Argentina
France
Spain
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:01 AM
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World Cup hosts are 15-0-6 in their World Cup openers.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:03 AM
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Pinnacle ...


Spread
RUS (-1) 57%
KSA (+1) 43%


ML
Russia 51%
S Arabia 25%
Draw 24%


Total (2 & 2.5)
Over 61%
Under 39%
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:13 AM
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Top 5 teams that will have to cover the most distance for their group games:


1. Egypt ... 2836 miles
2. Nigeria ... 2790 miles
3. Denmark ... 2305 miles
4. Brazil ... 2293 miles
5. Korea Rep ... 2277 miles
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:32 AM
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Russia is winless in their last five World Cup matches and its last win was in 2002 against Tunisia in its group stage opener.

South Africa in 2010 is the only World Cup host to not advance from its group.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:35 AM
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85% of the teams that win the opener advance to knockout stage.

Draw: 55%

Loss: 12%


*Numbers dating back to 1998
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