I am not sure Thursday can top the drama of Wednesday, but never count out the World Cup from delivering the unexpected.
Both Germany and Belgium face potential elimination, a shocking turn of fortunes from pre-tournament expectations. By the end of the day, I expect one of these two to be on a morning plane ride back to Europe. There are some enticing bets to be made.
Feel free to hop on the bandwagon with me or get in my mentions about how dumb my picks are. Either way, know your limits, enjoy yourself, and strap in for another day of exciting World Cup action.
Croatia tarnishes Belgium’s golden generation
Consider this the final blow to Belgium’s golden generation. Thursday will bring a loss to Croatia and an embarrassing end to their tournament. Every World Cup, there is a seeded European team or two that fail to advance. The Red Devils are on the verge of such an infamous ending. Belgium has looked a step slow all tournament.
Against the two perceived weaker teams of the group, Belgium managed to produce only 1.8 xG. I don’t expect that to improve against the reigning World Cup finalists.
After a slow start in Matchday 1 and conceding an early goal to Canada in Matchday 2, Croatia flipped a switch. They punished the Canadians on way to a 4-1 victory pushing The Checkered Ones to the top of the group standings. I expect more of the same. A ruthless performance against a tepid and increasingly desperate Belgian side.
- Croatia Win (+160) – 1 unit
Costa Rica keeps it tight
In betting on the last group stage matches, the game state is everything. Understanding motivations and the most probable path to advancing is vital.
For Costa Rica, the road to the Round of 16 is found by holding Germany to a 0-0 draw while hoping that Spain takes care of business in Al Rayyan. As in their other matches, they will sit deep and hope to frustrate the Germans and steal a goal if the opportunity arises. If you want to have some real fun, place a Costa Rica 1-0 Correct Score wager (+6000).
Germany needs to win and help from Spain. There is a highly improbable route, even with a Japan win, but Germany is not going to implement a game plan to erase an eight-goal gap in goal differential. Tactics like that risk Germany leaving themselves exposed jeopardizing three points.
Therefore, I think we are likely to see a buttoned-up, professional performance. They will stick to their identity but not force things unless still in search of a lead in the second half. A 2-0 or 3-0 win feels most likely here.
- Total Goals Under 3.5 (+100) – 1 unit
Japan gets a goal but falls short of advancing
Samarui Blue comes into the match needing a win. They cannot count on Costa Rica to hold Germany at bay. As the match wears on, it will increasingly enter the tactics-free zone creating opportunities for both teams to score. Just don’t expect a barrage of goals.
Spain’s primary goal here is to ensure that they win the group and a one-goal victory accomplishes it regardless of what happens elsewhere.
- Correct Score Spain 2-1 (+900) – 1 unit
As a bonus, I am adding quick picks for all matches each day.
- Canada v. Morocco – Draw (+215)
- Croatia v. Belgium – Croatia (+160)
- Japan v. Spain – Spain (-265)