World Cup First Round of Fixtures Betting Tips
With the World Cup now just around the corner, we look at each match of the first round of fixtures, stating what we think the outcome will be, and any potential in play bets you may wish to consider. All odds listed below are with Bet365 – should you wish to place any of the bets yourself, you should sign up to Bet365 here for a £200 matched bonus.
Matchday 1 – 12 June
Brazil v Croatia – Brazil WIN (1.33)
Brazil will be fired up and raring to go, and we can only see a Brazil win here, despite Croatia possessing some very talented individuals including Champions League winner Luka Modric, former Champions League winner Mario Madzukic and the evergreen Darijo Srna flying down the right flank.
Possible match bets include Draw-Brazil (Half Time/Full Time, odds of 3.50) as we expect the match to start off fairly cagey with this new look defensive minded Brazil team not wishing to ship any goals at the start of the tournament. With that in mind, we like the look of Brazil to score the first goal (1.22), and Brazil -1 Asian Handicap is also very tempting.
Matchday 2 – 13 June
Mexico v Cameroon – DRAW (3.10)
Despite being marshalled by the excellent but ageing Rafael Marquez, Mexico just don’t have the fear factor they had a few years ago, with players looking talented but lacking an end product. Despite having the likes of Hernandez and Dos Santos in their ranks, we can see them struggling to break down a stubborn Cameroon side. Having said that, we can’t see Cameroon posing too much of a threat either, with Eto’o not quite having the pace or movement of old, despite still being a very efficient finisher. With that in mind, we fancy under 2.5 goals (1.47), Mexico clean sheet YES (2.37).
Spain v Netherlands – Spain WIN (1.85)
Holland simply aren’t the same side that reached the 2010 final: Robben and Sneijder are both getting older (although Robben has had another terrific season), van Persie has had his own injury and fitness issues and they are even more suspect at the back. Conversely, Spain essentially are the same side – Casillas will continue in goal on the back of a successful Champions League campaign, Ramos and Pique will continue to be the key defenders at the back, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Iniesta, Fabregas and Busquets can all expect to feature. One key addition to the Spain ranks is Diego Costa – he has the big boots of David Villa, who was excellent in 2010, to fill, but on the back of the season he has just enjoyed, he can expect to do so.
If you’re wanting a safe bet to add to your accumulator, Spain or Draw (Double Chance) offers generous odds (1.22). With the match promising to be conservative, and Holland more likely to defend with everything on the line than try to breach the Spain defence we also are encouraged by under 2.5 goals (1.53).
Chile v Australia – Chile WIN (1.50)
Outside the two runaway favourites, Chile are among the frontrunners of the outside bets to go far for us, alongside the likes of Portugal and Uruguay. Australia have arrived at the World Cup once more almost as a formality, without having to face a top class team to get here. Chile -1 at 1.900 is a good bet, given the ability they will have to push quality players such as Sanchez and Vidal right on top of a questionable Australian defence.
Matchday 3 – 14 June
Columbia v Greece – Draw (3.40)
Columbia are a strong team, particularly in South America, but we fancy Greece to do what they do best, and sit in and make themselves difficult to beat. Greece at +0.5, +1 Asian Handicap looks promising for us (1.80), and an alternative goal line of under 2.5 (1.45) is also a solid bet.
Uruguay v Costa Rica – Uruguay WIN (1.44)
Uruguay have so much firepower in their ranks, we’re amazed the odds for this match are so high. We watched Forlan and Cavani combine excellently in their final warm-up game against Slovenia, easing fears that Uruguay could struggle without Suarez; having said that, it may be worth waiting to see if Suarez is fit for this match or not, and if he is, over 2.5 match goals (2.10) could look a very promising bet.
England v Italy – England WIN (3.00)
We watched England get dominated by the masterful Pirlo last time these two sides met, but expect it to be a completely different game this time around; England have a far fresher, youthful but attack minded team going out, and with the likes of Sturridge, Lallana, Sterling, Barkley and Wilshere all expected to play a part, it is a very different looking team. Following their draw at lowly Luxembourg, Italy have now failed to win in seven international matches dating back to October 2013, a run which they are fortunate occurred at the end of the World Cup Qualifiers. We expect the match to be tight, but are backing an England win, and under 2.5 goals (1.44) also looks good. For the less risk averse amongst you, England to win and both teams to score at 8.00 looks delightful.
Matchday 4 – 15 June
Ivory Coast v Japan – Ivory Coast WIN (2.60)
Ivory Coast may be an ageing team, but they are ageing gracefully. Yaya Toure has reached his prime, and Drogba is still a considerable threat to have to defend against. Japan may contain the likes of Kagawa and Honda, two excellent players, but we think Ivory Coast will just be too strong for them. If you don’t want to lose your money with a draw, Ivory Coast at an Asian Handicap of 0.0 (essentially the same as draw no bet, but at better odds) at 1.875 looks very good.
Switzerland v Ecuador – DRAW (3.10)
Switzerland and Ecuador are two teams with a few decent players, but nobody who we expect could really set the heather alight. Ecuador will employ a shoot-on-sight policy, whereas Switzerland will look to players such as the young Shaqiri out on the left for inspiration. All in all, we can see both teams just cancelling each other out and making for a bore draw here. Back a draw and both teams not to score at 7.00.
France v Honduras – France WIN (1.33)
Trying to predict how France will perform at a major tournament is almost like trying to predict the British weather on a typical June day: it may start off bright and sunny, but within minutes it can soon turn wet and windy. France go into this tournament with an air of positivity, taking some of the most exciting youngsters around in Varane and Pogba, augmented by the experience of the likes of LLoris, Evra, Benzema and Ribery. We fancy France to do quite well this time, not least because it could be the last time Ribery gets to make his mark on a world cup. Honduras will offer little threat, and France at an Asian Handicap of -1, -1.5 is very tempting.
Argentina v Bosnia – Argentina WIN (1.40)
Don’t be underestimated by Bosnia – with the likes of Pjanic and Dzeko in their ranks, we can say for certain that they will find goals, certainly against their other opponents in this group. However, Argentina in midfield and up front are outstanding, and boast a number of players who can claim to be world class. They should certainly be able to overwhelm the Bosnian defence, and the majority of teams in this tournament – we’re hoping for a match up for Argentina against the likes of Brazil, Spain or Germany to truly test their mettle.
Back to this match, we’d expect Argentina to score at least two or three goals – therefore a goal-line of over 2.5 is extremely promising. Closer to the time, you may also wish to back a Sergio Aguero goal at any time, once goalscorer odds become available.
Matchday 5 – 16 June
Iran v Nigeria – DRAW (3.20)
We have watched both teams in warm up matches prior to this tournament, and both teams have looked somewhere between poor and average. We resent having to pick a winner for what will undoubtedly be a snoozefest, so have opted for another draw here. Having seen Nigeria crumble against Scotland, offering little before coming up with a late equaliser, Iran at an Asian Handicap of +1 at 1.30 does look tempting. However, we will most likely be staying away from this match unless we’re looking for something to help put us to sleep.
Germany v Portugal – DRAW (3.30)
This match certainly will be anything but boring – the efficient, ruthless football of Germany against a steady Portugal side containing the best player in the world at the moment. We have to mention Ronaldo, but this game will be anything but Germany v Ronaldo; Portugal have a plethora of players who are more than capable and have a point to prove on the world stage – keep your eye out for Joao Moutinho in centre mid, as he is a player that has impressed us. If, as expected, he partners Miguel Veloso in there, we hope he will push further up the pitch to support Ronaldo as they are a pairing who could cause the German defence problems; if allowed to run at Mertesacker and Boateng, we can see them crumbling. Having said that, Germany will have enough in attack themselves; we like the look of both teams to score at 1.83.
Ghana v USA – USA WIN (2.87)
Neither Ghana nor USA will trouble the organisers in the latter stages of the World Cup; however, we expect the US to edge this game, with their players being more used to these conditions, and ‘soccer’ in the country certainly being a sport on the rise. The likes of Clint Dempsey will be looking to prove he still has it in this game, and should be able to find some space to show his skills against what we perceive to be an average Ghana side, containing some ageing figures.
Matchday 6 – 17 June
Belgium v Algeria – Belgium WIN (1.44)
Belgium could not have hoped for a better opening match for their young but talented players, and the likes of Hazard and Lukaku should have enough opportunity to combine against a poor Algeria team who only qualified for this World Cup on the back of a penalty ensuring they got through on away goals. Belgium are very strong in defence, so back them to keep a clean sheet at 1.80.
Russia v South Korea – Russia WIN (2.15)
Russia no longer have the steely Tymoshchuk, or the skilful Arshavin in his prime in their ranks, but they should still have a team that can show enough to overcome South Korea. Indeed, they remain well organised, well drilled and should prove difficult to beat. We can’t see too many goals in this match, so under 2.5 goals at 1.44 is worth backing before the odds fall in play.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!