cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/13/2014 01:14 AM

WCup Group Best Bets

June 11, 2014

By The SportsBoss

Group Analysis - A-D · Group Analysis - E-H

Regional Breakdown · Group Breakdown
In my final article prior to the World Cup competition kicking off let’s take a close look at some of the futures wagers available to us. Anyone that has followed me for any period of time knows I generally frown upon future type wagers as there are so many variables that can occur in the future that I feel the prudent sports investor should pass in most instances – but here for the World Cup it’s a smaller sample size we are playing futures on (compared to win totals in the four major sports that extend over months of action where the instances of injury or other variables greatly increases).

Format wise I will break down these wagers according to Groups – starting with A and ending with H. I will list teams in order of their current FIFA ranking (which was released on June 6th).

I also initially wrote down all prices for the futures discussed in previous pieces, and will thus comment where applicable changes in price.

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

To Win Group: Brazil is my favorite to win this tournament so I obviously believe they are going to win their group here. The price of -400 however is the second highest amongst all the groups, just short of Argentina’s -550 to win Group F. I very rarely play any money lines that high, especially on future wagers, but in this instance I feel strongly Brazil has no trouble in this group.

To Reach Knockout Stage: Brazil has gone from -1900 to -3500 to reach the knockout stage meaning you would have to lay three thousand five hundred dollars to win just one hundred on the chance they finish either 1st or 2nd in the group. I rarely use the term LOCK, but here this would appear to be one of those rare spots to apply it – however, I would never recommend a play at that price; plus you do not need a handicapper to tell you that’s a good play – the odds do it alone. Croatia & Mexico sit at +115, while Cameroon is the longshot at +500; all three teams have not seen their odds shift much. Mexico has reached the knockout stage in each of the last four World Cups, while Croatia has not advanced that far since 1998 – however I feel Croatia is the better team this year, especially with Mexico struggling. Cameroon has an outside shot since neither Mexico nor Croatia are juggernauts, but I will pass here.

To Not Reach Knockout Stage: Similar to the above breakdown I do not suggest any plays here.

To Win World Cup: Brazil currently sits at 3/1 to win the championship & I do like that play despite the fact there is little value in that price. The shortest price amongst the other three teams is 130/1 on Mexico – but considering the 2nd place team is likely to open their knockout stage against Spain there is no value on any other Group A team.

Group B: Spain, Chile, Netherlands, Australia

To Win Group: Right away I would knock Australia out of any potential future plays here as the only one that would make sense from a team perspective is To Not Reach Knockout Stage – but considering that price is -2000 to win 100 it’s much too high. Spain is a small favorite -140 to win this group which I also like – and would recommend a play on them.

To Reach Knockout Stage: Again like Group A, I like Spain to certainly reach the knockout stage but would not suggest laying -700 to win 100. However, I do see some value in playing Chile, currently even money to advance to the knockout stage over a Netherlands team that lost in the final to Spain in the last World Cup.

To Not Reach Knockout Stage: Tying into my comment above I do see value in Netherlands here +155 (plus money) to not make it out of the group stage this year.

To Win World Cup: While I do like Spain to go deep in this tournament (who doesn’t?) I do not think the value is there at +650 for them to win back-to-back World Cups. Chile, at 40/1 odds, does seem attractive as they will be playing on their home continent, have a lot of support, and are in solid form going 6-2-2 their L10 with a +11 goal differential. However, when considering the fact they will likely face Brazil in their opening knockout stage matchup, it’s hard to pull the trigger even at those odds.

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

To Win Group: Colombia is the favorite to win this group, however recent injuries in particular to key striker Radamel Falcao leave their chances in peril. The longest shot of the group is Greece at +800, and I love a play on them here. They are a defense first team that plays with a ton of discipline – which I feel will really stifle both Colombia & Ivory Coast’s more reckless, offense first game plan. Over the last five World Cups Japan is the only team in this group that has advanced past the group stage in any World Cup, but I feel this year they will fall short.

To Reach Knockout Stage: All four of these teams come into the World Cup with positive goal differentials in their last ten games; that being said, with Colombia the biggest favorite to advance at -450, along with Ivory Coast & Japan also laying money at -110, I would pass with a play already on Greece to win the group.

To Not Reach Knockout Stage: Although I am not bullish on Colombia’s chances in the competition due to injuries & inexperience (despite their high FIFA ranking) I am also not going to pull the trigger at +300 that they will not reach the knockout stage, although it tempted me.

To Win World Cup: Colombia sits at 20/1, the clear favorite amongst the group with the next team Japan checking in at 140/1! Based on the fact the two teams that reach the knockout stage will likely face some combination of Uruguay, Italy or England in their opening knockout stage matchup I will pass on any of these teams having value as far as winning the championship goes.

Group D: Uruguay, Italy, England, Costa Rica

To Win Group: This is clearly the strongest group top to bottom with an average FIFA ranking of 13.5 & all four teams settling inside the Top 28. Costa Rica is the clear longshot of the group, and also the only team heading into this competition with a negative goal differential over their last ten games. No value here as I could easily see any of the top 3 teams winning this group – all three have odds between +160 & +200.

To Reach Knockout Stage: The three favorites are all priced -175 to -225, too high for such even teams. It’s also hard to make a case for Costa Rica as discussed above, even at +1000.

To Not Reach Knockout Stage: Same comments as above.

To Win World Cup: The three favorites all have 25/1 odds to win the World Cup, and frankly the only team I could see winning the championship is Uruguay as they finished 4th in 2010, are playing on their home continent this year & perhaps no striker has played better this past season than Luis Suarez. There is however some concern about the health of Suarez heading into the competition which combined with the strength of this group is enough for me to lay off playing anyone from this group to win the championship.

Group E: Switzerland, France, Ecuador, Honduras

To Win Group: I am not a huge fan of this France team especially with the recent injury to Franck Ribery, while Switzerland is overrated sitting at #6 in the FIFA rankings; Ecuador has just 2 wins over their last ten games but are very explosive offensively, while Honduras has not enjoyed any success in prior World Cups. Oddly enough Honduras has been bet to win this group as their odds have dropped from +3300 to +2000, and with the uncertainty amongst the rest of the teams in this group they are worth a very small play at long odds. Along with Group C this seems to be the most wide-open. In every World Cup at least one group is turned upside down, and this may be the group in 2014.

To Reach Knockout Stage: This is the only group that doesn’t have a team that reached the knockout stage in the prior World Cup. France is -650, very rich in my opinion for a team that leaves a lot to be desired; Ecuador & Switzerland are laying small odds while Honduras is the longshot at +600. Again, like above, I do see some value in Honduras and would recommend another small play on them here.

To Not Reach Knockout Stage: Tying into my comment above I feel France has some value here at +450 to not escape the group stage.

To Win World Cup: This group is the least likely to produce the champion in my opinion, thus no value here

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

To Win Group: Argentina is the biggest favorite on the money in the competition to win their group at -550. I feel they will win this group but feel stronger about Brazil taking Group A than I do about Argentina taking Group F thus I will pass.

To Reach Knockout Stage: Again I do not see any value here as B&H is -140 followed by Nigeria +140; neither has enough value on the money to warrant a wager, and Iran’s odds at +750 do not tie into how big a longshot I feel they are to advance.

To Not Reach Knockout Stage: Same comments as above, no value here.

To Win World Cup: Argentina is the 2nd favorite (to Brazil) checking in at 4/1 to win the championship – too short IMO. B&H is next up in this group at a whopping 210/1 & I see value there as this team could be a solid sleeper – and the hedging opportunities would start early at those odds so long as they advanced to the knockout stage. Consider if they finished 2nd in Group F they would face the winner of Group E which I do not feel is a strong group; that would be a great opportunity to reach the QF round where hedging could easily commence, if not sooner.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, USA, Ghana

To Win Group: This is the 2nd strongest group (only behind Group H) in the competition with Ghana dragging the group’s overall rating down. Germany is a modest -175 favorite to win this group, and considering they have reached at least the semifinal round in each of the last three groups they are certainly worthy of that distinction. Portugal is next up at +270, then it’s a big drop-off to USA at +900 & Ghana +1000. Call me crazy but I do see some value in USA as I just have a hunch Germany is not going to be peaking in the heat of South America (and you know Klinsmann will have the red, white & blue ready to face the Germans), they have suffered numerous recent injuries & their front line is aging. Portugal is certainly more than formidable, but the US could get the inside track with a win over Germany. I will roll the dice on USA at 9/1 odds to win Group G.

To Reach Knockout Stage: No solid odds here as USA is just +200 while Ghana, the clear cut 4th best team in this group in my opinion, sits at +300.

To Not Reach Knockout Stage: Similar to my comments in the opening portion of the Group G analysis I feel playing Germany to not advance at +550 odds is a decent value play as well. In addition, although I do not like laying big numbers often, playing Ghana here to not advance to the knockout stage at -400 is worthy of a wager as well.

To Win World Cup: I think two teams have value here and they are Portugal at 30/1 & USA at 200/1. Portugal only lost one game in qualification and one game over their last 11 including a pounding of Ireland in their last match prior to the World Cup. USA has been downplaying their chances the last few months, which is just when teams typically sneak up and surprise folks. Plus, again, the hedging opportunities on USA at those long odds could start early – and considering they would be in the bottom portion of the bracket if they came in second place (facing teams from Groups E-H) things could really open up for a deep run with Argentina the only team they would like to avoid.

Group H: Belgium, Russia, Algeria, South Korea

To Win Group: I am not quite sold on Belgium despite being a Manchester City fan with Vincent Kompany my favorite player. They did not qualify for each of the last two World Cups, and have failed to get past the Round of 16 since at least 1990. They are the only team laying odds to win the group checking in at -175; following them is Russia at +200, the only other team in this group I feel can win it. I am a big fan of an underappreciated Russia team & like a play on them to win this group even at the short odds.

To Reach Knockout Stage: Oddly South Korea is the only team from this group to reach the knockout stage since 2002. The two teams discussed above are big favorites to advance with the aforementioned South Korea squad up next at a short price of +180, with Algeria bringing up the rear at +450. No value here.

To Not Reach Knockout Stage: Considering recent injuries to the Belgian squad I see value here on them not reaching the knockout stage at +500. Although I consider this a three team group as far as who has a chance at legitimately advancing to the knockout stage, I think 5/1 odds is attractive enough to fade a banged up and inexperienced Belgium team.

To Win World Cup: The only team from this group whose odds I find attractive is Russia, who checks in at 75/1 odds to win the championship. Russia has not allowed more than 1 goal in a match since November of 2012 vs. USA, and has only lost once in their last ten games. As mentioned in Group G analysis I like the chances of teams in Groups E-H as they will be pitted against each other in the knockout stage, and whoever can avoid Argentina will have value & could make a deep run. Keep in mind the deeper the run, and the longer the odds the bigger the profit you can lock in from hedging.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/13/2014 01:15 AM

Friday's World Cup Tips

June 12, 2014

By Toby Maxtone-Smith


Spain vs. Netherlands (ESPN2, 3:00 p.m.)

With Brazil and Argentina so clearly leading the betting for the World Cup winner, it can be easy to forget about Spain, who have won their last three major tournaments. Spain are available at 13/2 with Sportsbook.ag, and the fourth favorite, although several bookmakers have them ahead of Germany in the betting.

Spain have not necessarily declined, although the influence of Xavi has certainly waned, but instead teams have gradually worked out how to combat their slow, patient passing style. This game against the Netherlands is a repeat of the 2010 final, which Spain won 1-0 after an extra time goal from Andres Iniesta. The Dutch approach then was to kick the Spanish out of the game and, while it got them lots of criticism after the game, it almost worked. The Netherlands had some wonderful chances to win the match before the decisive moment.

Just as in South Africa, Spain are the favorites and are 77/100, with Louis Van Gaal's Oranje at 3/1 and the draw a 5/2 shot.

Netherlands are everyone's favorites to be the big-name flop at this World Cup. A combination of a difficult group, a dreadful performance (three defeats from three) at Euro 2012 and a feel that their great players are getting slightly over the hill are the reasons for this. As often, the defense is the weakness, and while players like Bruno Martins-Indi and Ricardo van Rhijn are improving quickly, there is a lack of top level experience along the back line. The front three of Wesley Sneijder in behind Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie is the strength. However there is a chance they could get isolated against teams that dominate possession.

The common myth about Spain is that they simply thrash sides through their devastating passing play. In fact, their strength is in not conceding goals. Although their defenders are excellent, this is more because how much of the ball they have. They regularly top 70% possession, and this hugely limits what the opposition can do. 9 of their last 10 wins in major tournaments have been to nil, and this is why I like the 11/10 on Spain keeping a clean sheet.

Opening games in the group stages are generally cagey affairs with both teams prioritizing 'not losing' over winning. Bookmakers have certainly picked up on this, with over 2.5 goals at 29/20, with under 2.5 at 57/100.

I'm predicting 1-0 to Spain. They are not the most ruthless of teams and, even though the Dutch defense is suspect, don't expect Vicente Del Bosque's side to really fill their boots. Del Bosque is a surprisingly cautious manager, and will just want to get away from Salvador with a win.

Top Bet: Spain to keep a clean sheet at 11/10

Mexico vs. Cameroon (ESPN, 12:00 p.m.)

In Group A's other opening game Mexico face Cameroon in the searing midday heat of Natal, in the north-east of Brazil, not far from the equator. The temperature and the humidity will certainly have an effect on this game, and will lead to a slow-paced, patient game. As with ever opening group games between fairly even sides, a defeat spells disaster, as the vanquished would go into their fixture with Brazil needing at least a draw.

Mexico, incredibly, have been eliminated at the last 16 at each of the last five World Cups. Their World Cup qualification went dreadfully, and they needed a play-off win against New Zealand to reach Brazil. They will attempt to dominate possession, and in Oribe Peralta they have a ruthless finisher.

Cameroon have a strong defense and a dangerous, pacey attack. Their midfield, however, has a real lack of creativity with Alex Song, who often plays at center-back for Barcelona, the most likely to make chances. They will not be easy to play through, but much will depend on how efficiently they distribute the ball to their dangerous wingers, Aboubakar and Choupo-Moting.

Mexico are the 11/10 favorites, with Cameroon quoted at 9/4, but I'm very keen on the 11/5 draw. A draw would not be a total disaster for either side, and the conditions could make for a slow game with few chances.

Top Bet: Draw at 11/5

Chile vs. Australia (ESPN, 6:00 p.m.)

Poor old Australia. They've been given an absolute stinker of a group, with 2010 finalists Spain and Holland, and Chile - one of the most exciting, attacking teams at the tournament. The Socceroos are not a bad side, but with lots of high profile retirements since 2010, there is a sense that, while the new generation have potential, they are just not quite ready yet.

Chile have their weaknesses - they don't perhaps score as many as they should, and the defense is suspect - but they have some fantastic strengths as well. Manager Jorge Sampaoli plays a fascinating formation. There are three center-backs, with two attacking wing-backs in Mauricio Isla and Jean Beausejour. Eduardo Vargas and the fantastic Alexis Sanchez play as wide-forwards, with Arturo Vidal powering forward from midfield through the middle. The emphasis from Sampaoli is enormous width - their game is all about firing quick balls out to the flanks and stretching teams all over the pitch.

Chile are the big 2/5 favorites with Australia out at 5/1 and a draw at 7/2. The bet I like here is over 2.5 goals at 21/20 - Australia's defense has a huge job dealing with Chile's vast array of attacking options, and I think they'll struggle.

Top Bet: Over 2.5 goals at 21/20

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/13/2014 12:13 PM

Spain hits the field

June 13, 2014


Group B: Spain vs. Netherlands

Sportsbook.ag Line
Spain -135, Netherlands +350, Tie +250
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals under -175/over +145

Group B play of the 2014 World Cup begins on Friday afternoon when Spain begins its defense of its 2010 World Cup title against the Netherlands, the team that fell one goal short of a World Cup four years ago.

Tipping world and double-European champions Spain to fail in Brazil has been all the rage since last year’s 0-3 Confederations Cup final loss to the hosts. However, their place as fourth favorites to win the World Cup again suggests that the bookies aren’t fully convinced that their era is over.

Vicente del Bosque's options have increased since La Roja's Euro 2012 victory, with defender Cesar Azpilicueta, midfielder Koke and Brazil-born striker Diego Costa barging their way into the coach's first-team thoughts. That emerging trio complements an uber-experienced core roster of winners who will not relinquish their hard-fought crown without a fight, and the mustachioed manager will be eager to avoid a repeat of Spain's 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the championship game in South Africa four years ago.

The Netherlands will draw inspiration from Switzerland's 1-0 defeat of Del Bosque's side in their opening fixture at World Cup 2010, but that was against a far less-medaled Spanish outfit with a heavy weight of expectation that they would fall short again on their shoulders.

Louis van Gaal's Oranje breezed through a particularly poor European qualifying Group D and have looked disconcertingly ordinary in several friendlies since, losing 2-0 to France and drawing against Colombia and Japan. They made the 2010 final in Johannesburg, losing 1-0 to Spain after extra-time, but their dreadful, pointless campaign at Euro 2012 indicated that the aging generation of Dutchmen are in decline.

Group A: Mexico vs. Cameroon

Sportsbook.ag Line
Mexico even money, Cameroon +260, Tie +240
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals Under -208/over +165

The 2014 World Cup continues on Friday afternoon when Mexico and Cameroon complete the opening round of Group A play.

After only just emerging from a shambolic Hexagonal qualifying campaign in which they won just 2-of-10 matches, this strife-torn Mexico outfit cannot be backed with any confidence to prosper in Brazil.

The Mexican Football Federation scrambled for the panic button during the Hex, releasing three different coaches from their duties between last September and October alone before placing 46-year-old Miguel Herrera in charge for the second chance play-off double header against New Zealand. Herrera's brave decision to ignore all non-Mexico-based players in favor of a roster comprised largely of his former Club America charges paid off with a 9-3 aggregate win over the All Whites. However, the coach has since abandoned that approach by recalling Manchester United's Javier Hernandez, scorer of five goals in his last 27 club appearances, and Giovani dos Santos of Spanish team Villarreal back into his striking ranks.

The return of seven European-based players risks creating factions within the camp, and a Cameroon side that won five and lost one of their eight qualifiers will know that only an opening-fixture win will do if they are to get past the group stage for the first time since 1990. The Indomitable Lions' 0-1 reverse against Japan in 2010 was the first time that they kicked off a World Cup campaign by losing in six participations.

Group B: Chile vs. Australia

Sportsbook.ag Line
Chile -277, Australia +750, Tie +367
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals Under -135/Over +105

Group B play of the 2014 World Cup continues on Friday afternoon when heavy underdog Australia tries to upset Chile.

It seems strange that Europe are the shortest-priced continent to produce the World Cup winners considering no country from outside South America lifted the trophy on the four prior occasions that the competition was held there. The host continent will be represented by Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador this time round, and the first five of that sextet all look capable of strong showings in familiar surroundings.

Chile would have hoped for friendlier Group B bedfellows than World Cup 2010 finalists Spain and the Netherlands, but an opening fixture against significantly weaker Australia should ensure that Jorge Sampaoli's side is brimming with confidence for its clash with champions Spain. Alexis Sanchez and company lost just two of their 14 games in 2013, earning excellent victories over Uruguay, Paraguay and England and claiming credible draws against Brazil, Spain and Colombia.

Finishing second – four points behind Japan – in an Asian qualifying group that also contained Jordan, Oman and Iraq will prove poor preparation for what Australia, who lost four of six fixtures between July 25, 2013 and May 25, 2014, are about to face. Crack Chile goal-getters Sanchez and Arturo Vidal have scored over 40 goals between them for club and country since last August, and Sampaoli's men conceded just three times across recent friendlies against fellow World Cup attendees England, Brazil, Costa Rica and Germany.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/14/2014 11:30 AM

Saturday's World Cup Tips

June 13, 2014


England vs. Italy (ESPN, 6:00 p.m. ET)

England face Italy in what is surely the game of the day in Group D of the World Cup on Saturday. These two sides have five World Cups between them and have two of the world’s most famous and history national leagues. However neither national team is among the front-runners to win the World Cup, with England at 28/1 and Italy quoted at 20/1, both with Sportsbook.ag.

This group, with Uruguay and Costa Rica the other two teams represented, looks very likely to be a ‘two from three’ scenario, with few expecting Costa Rica to challenge the ‘big three’. This game will be played in the steamy heat of Manaus, albeit at nighttime when the heat will be less oppressive. The pitch does not look the best, and this could have an effect, particularly on Italy who are more comfortable on the ball than England.

Both teams have had dodgy pre-tournament qualifiers, with Italy’s 1-1 draw with Luxembourg particularly embarrassing, but it is dubious how important these matches are, and I would not advise paying too much attention to them. The World Cup is about who can perform on the big stage, and warm-up matches where players’ main concern is avoiding injury are certainly not that big stage.

Bookmakers have this down as a real low-scorer. However in the four games so far, we have seen an incredible 15 goals - the traditional slow start to the tournament has not happened at all with every team going for it. What a breath of fresh air. Italy are the slight favourites at 147/100, with England at 9/5 and the draw as short as 197/100.

It’s very short indeed, but I fancy the draw here. The two sides played out a 0-0 in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 (Italy went through on penalties), and there seems to be a lack of real magic in the final third from either team, particularly if Mario Balotelli has one of his off-days. In the end, this group may come down to who beats Costa Rica by the most goals, and a draw would be a decent result for both sides. Under 1.5 goals is as short as 13/10, illustrating how cagey the match is expected to be.

In the goalscorer markets, Mario Balotelli is at 6/1, but the leader in the market is Andrea Pirlo. Although he does take set-pieces and penalties, he is unlikely to threaten much from open play and this price seems based more on reputation that facts.

For England, Daniel Sturridge leads the line and is a 7/1 shot, but his finishing was poor in the warm-up games, despite a clinical season at Liverpool. Wayne Rooney is a continual underperformer at major tournaments and should be avoided at 9/1.

Top Bet: Draw at 197/100

Uruguay vs. Costa Rica (ABC, 3:00 p.m. ET)

The other game in this group sees Uruguay, the winners the last time Brazil hosted the World Cup, in 1950, face group outsiders Costa Rica. Uruguay will see this game as a great chance to take the initiative in this group with both or one of their main rivals set to slip up. Three years ago, they were undoubtedly South America’s best team after they won the 2011 Copa America, but since then it has gone downhill for them and they needed a play-off victory against Jordan to secure a place in Brazil.

They are as short as 19/50 to win this game. Costa Rica are not the worst side at the tournament, but they stand very little chance of winning any of their games, and their main aim will be to frustrate. A draw is at 7/2 with a Costa Rica win an 11/2 chance.

The two bets I like here are a 2-0 Uruguay win - they rarely thrash teams but have great tournament know-how and will put in a professional performance. This is 9/2. The other one is for Joel Campbell, Costa Rica’s lightning-quick forward, to score. The Arsenal loanee is Costa Rica’s star player and has the quality to get in behind a slow Uruguay defence. If anyone will score for Costa Rica, it will be him. At 4/1 it’s worth a punt.

Top Bets: Uruguay to win 2-0 at 9/2, Joel Campbell to score anytime at 4/1

Greece vs. Colombia (ABC, 12:00 p.m.)

The first game of the day sees Colombia take on Greece at the Estadio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte. Colombia are the South American equivalent of Belgium - a team that hasn’t qualified for the World Cup for a long time, but has suddenly found themselves blessed with a golden generation of players, particularly in attacking positions. Greece, meanwhile, will be what they always are: stubborn, defensive, and able to cause a shock.

Colombia are the big 71/100 favourites, but I think the 13/5 draw makes great appeal. Greece only conceded four goals in ten matches of qualifying, and Colombia’s ability to stick the ball in the back of the net will be greatly diminished with Falcao’s injury, even though it means Colombia will play five in midfield which suits their players better.

Greece are devoid of any real creativity, but in Kostas Manolas and (breathe in) Sokratis Papastathopoulos they have two fine centre-backs. They will rely on Colombia committing too many men forward and breaking into space. Over 2.5 goals is 8/5, with the under option quoted at 1/2.

Top Bet: Draw at 13/5

Japan vs. Ivory Coast (ESPN, 9:00 p.m. ET)

The last game of the day sees Ivory Coast and Japan meet in Recife at the Arena Pernambuco. Both teams have been among the best in their continent for several years now. Japan have one of the most underrated midfields in the World Cup, with Shinji Kagawa, Yasuhito Endo and Keisuke Honda all capable of dominating the midfield. In Shinji Okazaki the Japanese have finally found a regular goalscorer.

This is the last chance for the Ivory Coast team of Didier Drogba and Yaya Touré to really make a splash at the World Cup after group stage exits in 2006 and 2010. However their team is a collection of individuals with little cohesion between the players, while the defence is old and creaking. While Yaya Touré had a great season at club level, for the national team he is often played out of position

The bookies have got the prices a bit wrong here, for me. I’m all over Japan at 7/4 - they have a great team ethic to go with their individual quality, and I think they could be one of the real surprise packages in Brazil. Ivory Coast are far too short to touch at 29/20 with the draw at 53/25.

Top Bet: Japan at 7/4

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/14/2014 11:47 PM

Sunday's WCup Action

June 14, 2014


Group E: Switzerland vs. Ecuador (ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Sportsbook.ag Line
Switzerland +135, Ecuador +190, Tie +205
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over +170, Under -222)

Group E play of the 2014 World Cup opens on Sunday afternoon with what should be a tight matchup between Switzerland and Ecuador.

Ecuador made it to their third World Cup in four renewals by finishing above well-fancied Uruguay in CONMEBOL qualifying, and can land decent outsider odds by beating Switzerland in Group E's opening fixture. The South Americans improved on their early exit in 2002 when emerging from a group containing hosts Germany, Poland and Costa Rica four years later. They've won three and lost four of seven World Cup matches since debuting in 2002, prevailing in their first in Germany against Poland, so backing a draw in Brazil seems a fool's errand.

Reinaldo Rueda's men pit their wits against a Switzerland outfit managed by wily former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, but the Europeans could arrive in Brazil somewhat undercooked after an undeniably straightforward preliminary campaign.Seven wins and three draws from 10 qualifiers launched the Swiss into the FIFA world rankings top-10, but the fact that Iceland – who have never qualified for the World Cup – finished a distant second in their group tempers that form line. Erratic recent performances offer little indication as to how they might fare in the land of samba, with a 1-0 autumn win against Brazil and a 2-2 March draw with Croatia sandwiching a 2-1 loss to South Korea among other results.

Switzerland exited early in 2010 despite beating eventual winners Spain in their opener, but Ecuador – who have held Argentina twice since last June – have enough quality to ensure that only the former of those eventualities can occur in their home continent.

Group E: France vs. Honduras (ESPN, 3:00 p.m. ET)

Sportsbook.ag Line
France -400, Honduras +750, Tie +450
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over +120, Under -149)

Group E play of the 2014 World Cup continues on Sunday with France heavily favored to breeze past Honduras.

France travels to a fifth successive World Cup with their usual roster full of talent, but Didier Deschamps' side's chaotic qualifying campaign – allied with their erratic tournament form – makes them a tough team to trust in Brazil. Deschamps' best 11 will feature seasoned performers Hugo Lloris, Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery, while much is expected of World Cup debutants Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane.

However, being a gifted bunch hasn't stopped France imploding at recent World Cups. The last time Les Bleus won their opening fixture was against South Africa 16 years ago, when they went on to become champions for the first and only time. A farcical trophy defense in Japan and South Korea four years later began with Fabien Barthez, Marcel Desailly, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and company going down 1-0 against Senegal, who were playing in their first World Cup. A brace of opening-day 0-0 ties against Switzerland and Uruguay then followed in the last two editions.

However, though betting on another low-scoring bore draw is a tempting prospect, the 12 fixtures featuring either France or Honduras between September 10 and mid-May produced a whopping combined total of 43 goals.

With that in mind, a split-stake strategy on 2-2 and 3-3 draws should be implemented for this match, but Deschamps' men are worth tracking as their campaign unfolds. France followed up World Cup final appearances in 1998 and 2006 with group-stage exits in 2002 and 2010, a pattern that suggests they'll go well again in Brazil.

Group F: Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina (ESPN, 6:00 p.m. ET)

Sportsbook.ag Line
Argentina -277, Bosnia-Herzegovina +550, Tie +350
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over -125, Under -105)

Group F play of the 2014 World Cup begins on Sunday afternoon with Argentina heavily favored to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Despite the exile of Juventus' Carlos Tevez from their roster, Argentina have the firepower to justify their status as second favorites at neighbors Brazil's World Cup party, and Alejandro Sabella's men should possess too much class for Group F second favorites Bosnia-Herzegovina. A frightening Albiceleste forward contingent containing Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi will be unleashed upon the tournament debutants, with goals expected to rain down on Safet Susic's side.

The Europeans only lost one qualifier and in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, midfielder Miralem Pjanic and striker Edin Dzeko, they possess individuals worthy of their places among the planet's finest. Subsequent clashes with Iran and Nigeria should see them accrue two wins that deliver them to the last 16 at the first attempt, but a 2-0 loss to Argentina before the World Cup draw was made gives an accurate reflection of their chances against Sabella's side in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

The aforementioned Argentine forward trio’s combined club strike tally came in at just under 100 during the 2013-14 season and the last winners on South American soil will frighten every defense that they encounter in Brazil, but their own backline proved far from impregnable in qualifying. Argentina conceded seven goals in their final four fixtures when topping the CONMEBOL preliminary section. With that in mind, backing Messi and company to win a match in which both teams score, looks the way to squeeze as much value as possible from this fixture.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/16/2014 01:01 AM

Monday's World Cup Tips

June 15, 2014


Germany vs. Portugal (ESPN, 12:00 p.m.)

Germany face Portugal in what is definitely Monday’s Game of the Day at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. The game pits two of Europe’s most likely winners against each other, and the result will probably determine the winner of Group F, unless either Ghana or USA causes a shock.

After arriving on the world stage in 2010, this German generation has reached two semi-finals before going out. It is a generation rich in attacking talent - very different from what they used to be like: defensive, physical, five in defence. Many people earmarked this tournament as one where Germany might be the team to beat, but the hype has cooled over the last six months. The squad does not look as good as the one Joachim Löw took to Euro 2012, but a succession of injuries has robbed Germany of some of their best players. Marco Reus will be a particularly big loss.

They only go into the competition with one recognised striker, and although Miroslav Klose’s World Cup record is stellar, he is now 36. Travel times, as well have locations and times of games, have conspired against Germany.

Portugal’s main strength is the interesting link-up play between midfielders…. ah who am I kidding? It’s Cristiano Ronaldo. While they are not quite a ‘one-man team’, their whole strategy is set up to get the best out of the current World’s Best Player. The rest of the team is competent, with João Moutinho and Fabio Coentrão particularly good. With Cristiano in the side, Portugal will have a chance in any match they play.

Germany are the 19/20 favourites with Sportsbook.ag, but I can’t have any of that. Not one area of the team is hugely convincing, and I’m swaying towards backing Portugal at 5/2. The draw is a 13/5 shot. Interestingly there have been no draws in the ten games so far in Brazil.

Let’s have a look at the goalscorer markets where, despite representing the underdog, Cristiano Ronaldo leads the betting at 4/1. He scored 51 goals in 47 matches this year and is now probably just ahead of arch-rival Lionel Messi. The German goalscorer I like is 6/1 Thomas Müller, the joint winner of the 2010 Golden Boot. He is a strange, ungainly type of player, but he has the intelligence to be in the right place at the right time, and is a fantastically hard worker.

This World Cup has been much more open than people expected, and I predict this game will be similar. Both teams to score is a 20/27 shot, but I prefer over 2.5 goals at 4/5. It has been very refreshing seeing proactive attitudes from most teams in Brazil, and I see no reason why Germany and Portugal will be any different.

Top Bet: Portugal to win at 5/2

United States vs. Ghana (ESPN, 6:00 p.m.)

We are still waiting for our first draw of the 2014 World Cup. And while the tournament has been much more open than expected, I am all over the 5/2 on Ghana and USA to draw. With Portugal and Germany the other teams in the group, this is a game neither team can afford to lose. It would all but end their tournament. Bookmakers are finding it almost impossible to split the two teams, with USA the very slight favourite at 8/5 against the 17/10 Ghanaians.

I would have Ghana as slight favourites. Although the USA’s long travel schedule will not yet have taken its toll, the conditions in Natal will be more favourable towards Ghana. Kwesi Appiah’s Black Stars are a real team, and they have a strength in depth virtually unrivalled on their continent. They were the most impressive team in African qualifying, scoring 26 in 8 games and conceding just 5.

This is a more youthful USA side than in previous World Cups, but I have a concern as to where the goals are going to come from, particularly after Jozy Altidore suffered a confidence-sapping season in the English Premier League at Sunderland.

Top Bet: Draw at 5/2

Nigeria vs. Iran (ESPN, 3:00 p.m.)

Iran face Nigeria in the middle game on Monday. The game comes from Group F, where Argentina and Bosnia are the other sides. Iran are simultaneously the most unknown and the least highly rated team at this World Cup. They are coached by the vastly experienced Carlos Queiroz, who is an expert in the art of building a solid defence. They scored only eight goals in eight games when they won their qualifying group, but conceded just twice. Their pre-tournament friendlies ended 0-0, 0-0, 1-1 and a 2-0 win.

It is easy to see them frustrating Nigeria who look short of creative talent. Their most creative midfielder is Jon Obi Mikel, who plays a very defensive role for Chelsea, and they may struggle to break down an unambitious Iranian side. My favourite bet here is under 2.5 goals at 69/100.

Nigeria go into the match as the 19/20 favourites - they have a strong and quick front three, but the question is how often they can get the ball to them. A draw is available at 5/2, with an Iran victory a 3/1 shot.

Top Bet: Under 2.5 goals at 69/100

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/18/2014 01:27 AM

Wednesday's WCup Tips

June 17, 2014


Chile vs. Spain (ESPN, 6:00 p.m. ET)

Spain vs Chile is surely the biggest game of Wednesday’s trio of soccer matches. After an astonishing 5-1 humbling at the hands of the Netherlands on Friday night, Spain are in the last chance saloon if they are to prove to the world that their style of patient passing football, ‘tiki-taka’, is still competitive at the highest level. Chile, meanwhile, got past Australia 3-1. They started the game in rip-roaring fashion, going two nil up inside the first quarter of an hour, but struggled to deal with Australia’s crossing thereafter. They only sealed the game thanks to a last minute strike from Jean Beausejour.

Spain are the 61/100 favourites with Sportsbook.ag, but after their traumatic result of just a few days ago this seems far too short, and I find the 4/1 about a Chile win much more appetising. The Chileans have the same devastating pace on the counter-attack that the Netherlands do. Their defence is suspect, but the primary weakness there is height, however Spain don’t put in many crosses at all, so this disadvantage may not be preyed upon by Spain. Spain are not a team that takes any notice of the opposition; they play their way, whoever the opponent may be.

A draw is available at 13/4 - this would be a great result for Chile, and would all but see them through. These are two very bold teams, and the game could be high-scoring. Chile aren’t a ‘grinding out a draw’ kind of side, but the price isn’t bad.

The most interesting tactical question of the match is whether Spain persist with Diego Costa as a centre-forward. He has just had a blistering season at Atletico Madrid, but Spain simply do not play to his strengths. Do they try and adapt their game to him, or do they play Cesc Fabregas as a ‘false number 9’? Spain’s attack was very blunt against a relatively inexperienced Dutch defence. Someone like Pedro, a real winger with more penetration and directness than many in the team, would be a good addition from Del Bosque.

In the First Goalscorer market, Diego Costa leads the way at 9/2, but this price looks much too short with Costa’s lack of fitness and how he doesn’t fit into the Spanish system. A better bet for a Spain goalscorer would be 10/1 Xabi Alonso, who takes penalties. Chile’s defence is not the most careful, and it is easy to imagine them diving into rash challenges in the box.

The nicest bet here, however, is Alexis Sanchez of Chile to break the deadlock at 8/1. While he often becomes a secondary star at Barcelona, he is well and truly the main man for Chile. He broke the deadlock against Australia, and with 23 goals from 66 internationals, he looks well placed to plant a dagger into Spanish hearts with the first goal.

Top Bet: Alexis Sanchez to score first at 8/1

Netherlands vs. Australia (ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET)

The first game of the day sees Australia meet Netherlands in Porto Alegre. Australia are comfortably the weakest-looking team in the group. They are an inexperienced bunch but, apart from a nightmare first 15 minutes, gave much-fancied Chile a bit of a scare in their first game, despite going down to a 3-1 defeat. The Netherlands stunned Spain 5-1 and are now in pole-position to win the group. They are the 9/50 favourites, with Australia all the way out at 25/2 and the draw a 13/2 chance.

None of these make a huge amount of appeal, and there is more interest in the goalscorer markets. Apart from defenders from set-pieces, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder are the only real Dutch goal threats. Of these, Robben at 4/1 looks the most attractive after his brace on Friday. Tim Cahill plays up front for Australia and is renowned as one of the best jumpers in world football. Cross it to him and there’s always a chance he’ll leap up onto the end of it. He’s a 10/1 shot.

Top Bet: Arjen Robben to score first at 4/1

Croatia vs. Cameroon (ESPN, 3:00 p.m. ET)

The last game of the day is from Group A and sees Cameroon meet Croatia in the Arena Amazônia in Manaus. Both teams lost their first game, but in very different ways. Croatia were hugely unfortunate to lose 3-1 to hosts Brazil in the tournament opener, having taken the lead; Cameroon, meanwhile, were extremely poor in a 1-0 (with two perfectly decent goals disallowed for offside) defeat to Mexico that left them with a huge uphill task to qualify.

Croatia are the 49/100 favourites. Cameroon are 5/1 and a draw is available at 7/2. Croatia are clearly better, but I’m happy to leave their price and instead look at prices opposing Cameroon goals. Alex Song, who often plays at centre-back for Barcelona, is the Indomitable Lions’ most creative midfielder, which says a lot. The team frequently looks lost in the final third.

Many people saw Croatia’s defence as a potential weakness, but they managed to keep out Brazil for much of their game in Sao Paulo, and 20/21 on Niko Kovac’s side keeping a clean sheet seems like a good bet.

Top Bet: Croatia to keep a clean sheet at 20/21

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/19/2014 01:36 AM

Thursday's WCup Tips

June 18, 2014


Uruguay vs. England (ESPN, 3:00 p.m. ET)

Uruguay face England in Thursday’s most important World Cup match at the Arena São Paulo. Both teams lost their opening group matches, but in very different circumstances. While England came out of an unlucky 2-1 defeat to Italy with some credit, there was some serious soul-searching to be done in the Uruguayan camp as the two-time champions went down 3-1 to Costa Rica.

Italy look very likely to qualify, and unless Costa Rica prove that their victory over Uruguay was no flash in the pan, this game could go a long way to deciding who follows Italy to the knockout stages. A defeat would be almost fatal. A draw would be a better result for Roy Hodgsons’s England side - they would back themselves to get a better result against Costa Rica than Uruguay do against Italy (assuming Italy beat Costa Rica on Friday).

The big team news is that Luis Suarez returns for Uruguay. He terrorised the English Premier League last year and will be the key if the South Americans are to unlock the English defence. For England, the main question comes over the role of Wayne Rooney. Will he play through the middle, or on the left. Will he play at all?

England’s good performance against Uruguay has seen them backed into 91/100 favourites with Sportsbook.ag, but this seems too short against a side that, whatever its faults, has good tournament experience. Uruguay are 14/5 with a draw chalked up at 27/10.

Traditionally, both these teams have had their strength in defence, but I’d question whether that is the case this year. England creative lots of chances against Italy, and they have a less formidable defence than at most past tournaments, with full-backs Glen Johnson and Leighton Baines particularly suspect defensively.

Likewise Uruguay aren’t great at the back. Diego Godin had a fine season with Atletico Madrid, but his partner is 33 year-old Diego Lugano. Never the quickest, Lugano’s lack of pace has now become a severe problem. It forces Uruguay to sit very deep and play too uncreative destroyers in central-midfield, both of whom have disciplinary problems. Daniel Sturridge, who leads the England attack, is very quick and can certainly exploit this lack of pace. I’m very keen on over 2.5 goals at 19/20.

The joint leaders of the First Goalscorer market are Liverpool duo Sturridge and Suarez, both at 4/1. With superior service and without a strike partner to take half his chances, Sturridge looks a better shout at the prices. Raheem Sterling, who almost broke the deadlock for England against Italy and was their outstanding player, is now as short as 7/1 to score first. Rickie Lambert will be England’s Plan B - it is easy to foresee him scoring late on.

Top Bet: Over 2.5 goals - 27/10

Colombia vs. Ivory Coast (ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET)

In the first game of the day, Colombia meet Ivory Coast. Having been backed from 150/1 three years ago into around 25/1 now, Colombia are tipped by many to do well in Brazil. They were very convincing in a 3-0 win against a limited Greece side, and they are 11/10 favourites to all but seal qualification with a win in Brasília. Ivory Coast came from behind to beat Japan 2-1 in their first game, putting them in a great position to qualify.

Ivory Coast are available at 23/10 here, and a draw is 5/2, but I’d be inclined to get on Colombia. They have the attacking weapons to open up the ageing Ivorian defence. Juan Cuadrado was excellent on the wing against Greece, while James Rodriguez in behind Teofilo Gutierrez both have lots of goals in them.

In Kolo Touré and Sol Bamba, Ivory Coast have a defence that is vulnerable to pace, and Colombia certainly have that.

Top Bet: Colombia to win at 11/10

Greece vs. Japan (ESPN, 6:00 p.m. ET)

In a real ‘do or die’ game in Natal, both Japan and Greece know that a defeat is likely to end their participation at the World Cup, while a draw would not be of much more help. This is a must-win. Japan played some good stuff in their 2-1 defeat to Ivory Coast, but as so often, they were let down in both penalty areas. Their finishing wasn’t good enough, and their defending was naive. Everywhere else, they were excellent.

Greece were totally outplayed in a 3-0 defeat to Colombia in a match they did not for one moment look like getting anything out of. There is a chronic lack of creative players in their team, although their defence is not the worst.

Japan should win this one. They are the 11/10 favourites and rightfully so. Greece are at 11/4 with a draw at 5/2. While Greece’s centre-backs are good, their two full-backs (particularly left-back Jose Holebas) often get caught far too high up the field. Japan have the pace and the quick passing to exploit that. Shinji Okazaki, who can play both wide right and up front, looks a good pick for first goalscorer at 6/1. He has scored 38 in 76 goals, and has recently become the regular goalscorer Japan have craved.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/23/2014 02:40 AM

Monday's WCup Tips

June 22, 2014


Croatia vs. Mexico (ESPN2, 4:00 p.m. ET)

Croatia play Mexico in what is effectively a play-off for who qualifies for the last 16 of the World Cup. The game takes place at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife and Croatia need to win to qualify. A draw or a defeat, and Mexico will progress.

Both sides have been impressive at the World Cup so far: Croatia were hugely unlucky to lose 3-1 to Brazil in the tournament’s opening game. They matched the Brazilians until a highly dubious penalty went against Niko Kovac’s side in the 71st minute. They then dismantled an appalling Cameroon side 4-0 in a ruthless display of attacking football. Mario Mandzukic, the wantaway Bayern Munich striker, scored twice.

Mexico faced Cameroon first up and, after having two perfectly good goals ruled out for offside, eventually broke through to win 1-0 thanks to Oribe Peralta’s strike. El Tri then put in a superb display to frustrate Brazil to a 0-0 draw, with goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa sensational.Their two results have been particularly notable because their defence was seen as a weakness before the tournament.

Neither team has any issues with injury or suspension, although there is a chance Mexico boss Miguel Herrera could introduce Manchester United forward into the team. However, this looks unlikely given that a draw would send his team through.

Croatia is the very slight favourites at odds of 3/1 with sportsbook.ag, and given the confidence with which they played when needing a win against Cameroon, this price looks quite attractive. Worries about a vulnerable defence have been eased a bit with impressive performances from Dejan Lovren and Sime Vrsaljko, while the midfield is packed with invention and creativity. Wingers Ivica Olic (naturally a striker) and Ivan Perisic (normally plays out wide, but has the physique of a centre-forward) both have plenty of goals in them.

Mexico is available at 8/5, but given that a draw would see them through, fanciers of the Mexicans will be more tempted by quotes of 5/2 about a stalemate. However the pace of Croatia’s attack could give them a hard time, and their centre-backs, while strong and brave, are not quick.

Over 2.5 goals at 11/10 looks much too long. Both sides’ strength is arguably their attack, and given the way teams have approached crucial matches at the World Cup so far, it is surprising to see anything longer than evens on a high-scoring game.

In the first goalscorer market, Mario Mandzukic leads the betting at 9/2, but my favourite bet here is the 6/1 Ivica Olic, who just seems to keep on going. His fantastic work rate means he gets a lot of chances, and he gave Benoît Assou-Ekotto of Cameroon a torrid time the last time Croatia played. For Mexico, Oribe Peralta is 6/1 with Giovani Dos Santos 8/1.

Top bets: Over 2.5 goals at 11/10, Ivica Olic to score first at 6/1

Brazil vs. Cameroon (ESPN, 4:00 p.m. ET)

The other match in Group A sees probably the biggest mismatch of the tournament. Brazil, needing a point to qualify and a win to all but guarantee winning the group, play a Cameroon side that has been the worst team at the World Cup so far.

Having offered nothing in a 1-0 defeat by Mexico, Cameroon, nicknamed the ‘Indomitable Lions’ disintegrated completely in an indisciplined 4-0 loss to Croatia. Alex Song was sent off, and Assou-Ekotto and Benjamin Moukandjo started fighting each other on the pitch. Even at 21/1, Cameroon make no appeal.

Brazil is as short as 9/100, with a draw at 19/1, but there is no appeal in this market. Brazil is 2/1 just to keep a clean sheet. There may be more value in the first goalscorer market. Neymar is the market leader at 5/2, but for someone who isn't a centre-forward this should be avoided.

Fred has lived up to his reputation as Brazil’s weakness with two poor performances. The best bet here is to get on Oscar to score first at 9/2. He was Brazil’s brightest spark against Croatia and plays with more freedom for Brazil than for Chelsea.

Top bet: Oscar to score first at 9/2

Netherlands vs. Chile (ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET)

The Netherlands face Chile in one Group B at the Arena Corinthians in São Paulo. Both teams have already qualified, notably at the expense of Spain, so this match is a decider for who wins the group. Chile need to win, or they face the likely task of a game against the hosts Brazil in the last 16, so there is plenty to play for.

Before the tournament started, Netherlands was the favorites for this game, but Chile have been backed into very slight favouritism at 31/20. There is good reason for this - Sampaoli’s men were more convincing in their defeat of Australia than the Dutch were, and they probably afforded Spain fewer chances than Holland. A Dutch victory is at 8/5 with a draw a 5/2 shot.

Bookmakers are expecting a high-scoring game, and with less at stake than usual in World Cup matches, they should not be disappointed and over 3.5 goals is as short as 17/10. This is a decent price given that these are two teams with much better attacks than defences. Chile is highly vulnerable to crosses, and the Netherlands should send many more of these over than Spain did. Chile has more attacking options than almost anyone in the tournament, and their attacking movement is a joy to behold.

Top bet: Over 3.5 goals at 17/10

Australia vs. Spain (ESPN2, 12:00 p.m. ET)

Well, who would have thought it? The game between Australia and Spain, instead of being a match between the group winners and the whipping-boys, is in fact a battle to avoid the wooden spoon. Spain, whatever the outcome here, will leave Brazil embarrassed. They have utterly failed to realise that their tiki-taka style of football has been worked out, and they have been well and truly blasted off their perch.

Australia has lost twice, but scorelines of 3-1 and 3-2 demonstrate that Australia have made an excellent account of themselves. Their side is young, and they have given defences some real problems. having been around 18/1 to win this match before the tournament started, the two sides’ contrasting fortunes has seen Australia shortening into 11/2. Spain are 2/5 with a draw 17/4.

Spain’s defense has been so porous, with seven conceded from two games, that Both Teams To Score simply cannot be ignored at 10/13. They struggle to deal with crosses, and in Tim Cahill Australia have one of the best jumpers in world football. He could give Pique and Ramos some serious problems.

Top bet: Both Teams To Score at 10/13

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24371 Followers:32
06/23/2014 02:42 AM

Monday's Group A Action

June 22, 2014


Group A: Cameroon vs. Brazil (ESPN2, 4:00 p.m. ET)

Sportsbook.ag Line
Brazil -909, Cameroon +1900, Tie +850
Over/Under: 3.5 Goals (Over Even, Under -120)

Brazil was a heavy favorite to win the 2014 World Cup, but they have not fared as well as many expected them to in group play. They face Cameroon on Monday in a match that could shake things up in the knockout rounds.

Cameroon was given the worst odds to advance to the knockout rounds out of Group A and they have shown why with two losses in a row. They will not be advancing in the tournament, but could throw things off for the home team with a shocking win Monday.

Cameroon played a close game against Mexico in their first game of group play, but they came away with a 1-0 loss and were much worse in their second match. Cameroon played against Croatia and they were dominated right from the start. Eleven minutes into the game, Ivica Olic scored to put Croatia up 1-0 and that goal would have been all Croatia needed, but they wound up pounding their opponent by a 4-0 score. Cameroon had just seven shots on goal compared to Croatia’s 14 and they have not scored in the tournament so far. Croatia added goals at the 48-minute, 61-minute and 73-minute marks in the blowout. Cameroon will be sent home after their match with Brazil, but they could make a mark on the tournament by upsetting the home favorites.

Brazil played against Mexico in their second game of group play and despite being expected to win, they were able to only come away with a 0-0 tie. They ran into a hot goaltender and couldn’t find the back of the net. A win over Cameroon is now monumental for Brazil’s chances to win this tournament as the host and pre-World Cup favorite to win it all.

Brazil was able to create some opportunities in their match against Mexico, but the efforts of Guillermo Ochoa were too much for them to handle. Ochoa made some stellar saves in the first half, and not many goaltenders around the world could’ve done what Ochoa did. Brazil outshot Mexico 8-3 on goal and had possession of the ball for 53% of the game. They must, however, simplify things in the offensive zone. Chances are good for the heavily-favored squad, but they need to be able to finish. If Brazil does not beat Cameroon, they could be in serious jeopardy of advancing.

Group A: Croatia vs. Mexico (ESPN, 4:00 p.m. ET)

Sportsbook.ag Line
Croatia +150, Mexico +160, Tie +250
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over +115, Under -135)

Croatia and Mexico meet Monday afternoon in what will be a Group A match with massive implications in terms of who will be advancing to the knockout round.

Croatia was unable to pick up a victory over Brazil in its opening match of group play, but the club certainly competed throughout the course of that game. They followed up that loss with a dominant showing against Cameroon and have at least given themselves a chance to advance to the Round of 16. Mexico may not have beaten Brazil in their last game, but they were able to come away with a 0-0 draw. They are now in position to advance past the group stage if they are able to defeat Croatia.

After losing their World Cup opener 3-1 to Brazil, Croatia needed to defeated Cameroon, and they had no problem doing that with a 4-0 blowout. Croatia was dominant in their performance, as they outshot Cameroon 14-7 on goal. They didn’t have much of an edge in time of possession with just 51%, but they made the most of their time with the ball. Eleven minutes into the game, Ivica Olic scored to give Croatia a 1-0 lead, and they piled it on once the second half started. Ivan Perisic made it 2-0 at the 48-minute mark and Mario Mandzukic added two goals at 61 minutes and 73 minutes to give Croatia an impressive victory. A win over Mexico would have them advancing to the knockout round.

Not many people gave Mexico much of a chance against Brazil, but they stood their ground and were able to come away with a scoreless tie. Guillermo Ochoa was monumental in securing that tie for his team, coming away with some really outstanding saves. Brazil was flying all over the field for the entire game, outshooting Mexico 8-3 on goal in the contest. They also had possession for 53% of the game compared to Mexico who had it for just 47%. Ochoa, however, was able to blank Brazil and that now puts Mexico in a great position to advance to the single-elimination round. They will need to beat a Croatia team that can also advance with a victory, so both of these teams will be hungry.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: