World Cup Wagers: Day 4

Whew! What a day! We witnessed arguably the biggest upset in World Cup history. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds. 

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 the wonderful return of the World Cup. 

Spain struggles to score

Of all the European teams to qualify for the World Cup, Spain scored the second-fewest goals during qualifying. La Roja dominates possession, just like the elite Spanish team from a decade ago. Converting that possession into goals presents a problem for this generation. 

Spain is 15-3-2 in their last twenty matches with 12 clean sheets. They are still winning games, but often by 1-0 and 2-0 scorelines. They have not hung more than two goals on a top 60 FIFA-ranked country in 15 matches.
With Kaylor Navas in net, Costa Rica should keep the scoreline low. Offensively, Los Ticos will struggle to play their way out of an aggressive Spanish high press. Joel Campbell is experienced up top, but he will not trouble Spain’s young, athletic center-back pair, Eric Garcia and Pau Torres.

Wager

  • Total Goals Under 2.5 (+105) – 1 unit

Wave those Maple Leaf flags

I am going to be upfront. I did not have Canada advancing out of the group in my official Fotmob predictions. Nevertheless, I won’t let that stop me from betting on our neighbors to the north. 

The betting markets currently see Belgium and Croatia as the favorites to advance out of Group F (+140). The Checkered Ones are a footballing nation that should not be taken lightly. They proved as much four years ago with a miraculous run to the World Cup final. That being said, Croatia failed to move on from the group more often than they have made the knockout stage. 

Canada may not be deep, but there is formidable talent in the starting XI. They proved their worth throughout Concacaf qualifying. If this was March Madness, Canada would be a mid-major conference champion that scares a favorite to death. 

I used the same analogy to discuss Senegal, prior to the Sadio Mané injury, for a good reason. Tactically, both nations can stay compact defensively and spring lightning-fast counterattacks when the Goliath finds itself out of position. It’s a proven recipe for upsets in international football. 

Every World Cup there are upsets. Where the books give you value on a potential giant killer, you have to at least consider it. The bet here is that Canada finds a way to finish second in Group F, ahead of Croatia.

Wager

  • Straight Forecast Belgium / Canada (+700) – 1 unit

Croatia starts strong

This pick is fairly simple. I simply like the odds. Croatia is coming off a World Cup final appearance with a large portion of the core still together and playing at high levels in their club careers. Morocco will be expected to show better than their 0-point performance in 2018, but it is a tough group.

Near even money in this match is tough to pass up. Plus, it serves as a mini-hedge on our Canada play from earlier. If Croatia beats Morocco, their chances of advancing ahead of Canada will increase. The profit from this wager would reimburse any loss on the other. On the flip side, I am more than happy to take the “L” on this bet if it significantly increases our chances of scoring the longer odds elsewhere.

Wager

  • Croatia win (-104) – 1 unit
Author: Chris IveyChris is a senior writer covering Nashville SC. His work includes his "Three Thoughts" piece after every Nashville match that highlights the important storylines and incorporates key video clips from the match. Chris' other articles often navigate the complexity of roster building around the myriad of MLS roster rules. Outside of Broadway Sports Media, Chris resides in Knoxville and is a licensed attorney serving as in-house counsel for a large insurance company. Beyond NSC, he is always willing to discuss Tennessee football and basketball, Manchester United, Coventry City, and USMNT. Follow Chris on Mastodon

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