Monday,June 23rd 2014
I’m enjoying this World Cup like none before. And I did attend few. The number of goals (94 in 32 games) and overall atmosphere is really like it should be in a country where everyone breathes soccer. I’m at Rio now and after attending 3 games played at Salvador where I saw 17 goals I hope to have the same rate of “success” in Rio as well. The only thing that bothers is a fact that in a final group stage round – there will be games played in pairs, so instead of seeing another 16 single games – we will only see 8 pairs with two games in each group played simultaneously to avoid a situation when the teams – that otherwise would be play a later game in the group – would know what result they need to qualify based on the outcome of another game.
So, the first day presents us with 4 games – Holland vs Chile – which is a head to head battle for the first place in a Group B between the teams that already have qualified. Hard game to handicap as the South American teams have a tremendous advantage on those from Europe for several reasons: the Chileans did not play as intense season as the Dutch, the Chileans will be enjoying almost a home advantage being used to climate and getting great support from their fanatic fans who overran the press room prior to the game against Spain. I have an opinion about the game where the Dutch need a draw to qualify from a first place avoiding meeting head to head with Brazil which most probably will qualify as a leader from Group A. The best pick seems Holland +0.5 which goes for -210 and is suitable to be used as a part of a parlay. The second game of the group between Spain and Australia is totally meaningless to both and although the logic says Spain – I would be careful with Australia being highly motivated not to be overran by angry Spaniards. I’d advise to stay away from that game Win wise or Asian Handicap wise and focus on number of the goals. But here too – the juice is high on Over 2.5 Goals (-175) , so the pick can be considered as part of a parlay only.
The later games of the evening will be a Group A games. Brazil vs Cameroon presents the locals with an opportunity to redeem themselves after a goalless draw against the Mexicans. Therefore – Brazil -1.5 for -215 can also be considered for a part of a parlay. Brazil can easily win by 3 to cover an original Asian Handicap line of -2.25, but then the whole world knows that they can – but will they? Winning by two goals seems safer than that although I that still is far from being an ideal pick. In a second game at the Group A Croatia needs a win against Mexico to qualify. Any outcome of this game will be received as expected and I do not see a value in any of the regular picks here, but the First Card of the Game Before 34:00 for -120 seems a fair offer by the books.
To be continued…