Getty Images

Brazil, Germany are now co-favorites on 2018 World Cup odds

Leave a comment

A dip in their price has brought Brazil level with defending champion Germany at +450, making them co-favorites on the odds to win the 2018 World Cup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

With the quadrennial competition for global soccer supremacy just more than one month away from kicking off in Russia, the top of the World Cup betting lines also includes Spain (+600), France (+700), Argentina (+900), Belgium (+1100), England (+1600) and Portugal (+2500).

While no nation has won back-to-back since Brazil did so with a young Pelé in 1958 and ’62, Germany remains the team to beat, with Leroy Sane of EPL champion Manchester City drawing into a lineup that includes main holdovers from their triumphant 2014 team.

Brazil has its strong history with a record five World Cup titles, but there is the troubling matter of star Neymar, of Paris Saint-Germain, having been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in February.

The debate over the joint favorites could draw heat away from Spain. The 2010 champion has a potential X factor in goalkeeper David de Gea of Manchester United and looks strong along the back line and through the midfield, where Andres Iniesta has one last shot at glory.

The major question about Spain is whether it will have enough natural offense, since neither striker option, Alvaro Morata or Diego Costa, has had much international success.

France has lost key defender Laurent Koscielny to a major Achilles tendon injury, which might be reason enough to fade Les Bleus. Argentina has the star power of Lionel Messi, but the manner in which it struggled just to qualify for the tournament – going down to the last game, in fact – hardly seems auspicious.

Each of the top six teams on the board has won the World Cup at least once. Belgium has the lowest odds of any non-champion, but it was a quarterfinalist in both 2014 and at Euro 2016 and has strong leadership from forward Eden Hazard. Belgium is worth considering for a darkhorse play.

England is in the same group with Belgium and last got past the quarterfinal in 1986. Similarly, Portugal has only been to the semifinals once in the last eight World Cups.

A true darkhorse worth considering is Croatia (+3300), whose price owes to being drawn into the tough Group D that also includes Argentina, Iceland (+15000) and Nigeria (+20000). Croatia, which has Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic shoring up the midfield, was undefeated at the group stage of Euro 2016 before losing out against eventual winner Portugal.

The World Cup begins June 14, with the final set for July 15 in Moscow.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal in spotlight on Premier League Matchweek 2 Betting Lines

Leave a comment

With both teams under new sideline leadership, it could be a good time to take a chance on Arsenal flipping the script against Chelsea.

Chelsea is a -130 favorite on the EPL Matchweek 2 betting lines with Arsenal coming back at +335 for Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +285 on the three-way moneyline and the total is 3.0 goals. Chelsea is 5-0-1 in its last six EPL home games against Arsenal, but that trend took place under Arsene Wenger and the Gunners are now adapting to new manager Unai Emery.

Chelsea, which is also adapting to new manager Maurizio Sarri, won comfortably in its opener against lightweight Huddersfield Town, with Eden Hazard (+150 to score any time, +500 to score the first goal) showing great form. Laying chalk is defensible, but there is something to be said for being experimental in the early phase of the season.

Both newly promoted Cardiff City (+210) and Newcastle (+145, draw +205) could be anxious to avoid having nothing to show after two games, which could lead to a low-risk game. The host Bluebirds are -180 on the double chance as manager Neil Warnock attempts to get his first win against Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez, coming in 0-4-1 all-time.

Tottenham at -400 on the Premier League odds this weekend, hopeful that Harry Kane has played off some of the post-World Cup rust, could open the floodgates against Fulham (+1000, draw +475), which is still adjusting to the top flight. There is good value with Tottenham at minus-1.5 goals (-130) and over on the 3.0 total (-125).

Everton (-115) has some relief on the injury front since Richarlison (calf) might be good to go against Southampton (+350, draw +235). Everton also has six clean sheets in its last 13 home fixtures against the Saints, suggesting there’s value with the under on the 2.5 goals total (-145) and on Everton keeping a clean sheet (+125).

Burnley (+135) hosts Watford (+230, draw +200) in a Sunday matchup which will be just three days after the Clarets won an Europa League match. Burnley has three clean sheets in a row and has won or drew seven of its last eight matches against Watford, whose away record last season would make a skeptic of anyone. Whether playing in Europe for the first time in 52 years affects Burnley likely won’t come into play just yet.

Brighton (+425) beat Manchester United (-135, draw +245) in their home fixture last season, albeit for it only the second time in 19 tries. Brighton (+110 on the double chance) might have a nothing-to-lose attitude while heavily favored Manchester United works to rebuild cohesion as Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young re-integrate into the lineup.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Man City v. Arsenal Clash Highlights EPL Matchweek 1 Odds Slate

Leave a comment

Manchester City at even money is hard to pass on, since its recent form against Arsenal might offset the absence of stars trickling back into training after the World Cup last month.

Manchester City is a -110 away favorite with Arsenal getting +280 at home on the EPL Matchweek 1 odds on Sunday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +275 on the three-way moneyline and the total is 3.5 goals. The defending champions are 5-2-0 (wins-draws-losses) in their last seven matches against Arsenal in all competitions, and every match had either three or four goals scored.

While Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are unlikely to get the start, Manchester City can still count on Fernandinho to keep its midfield together. Leroy Sane has also scored in three of his last six starts against Arsenal.

Arsenal, playing its first competitive game under manager Unai Emery, could have some element of surprise going for it in the form of new tactics built around playmaking midfielder Mesut Ozil. Arsenal believers might want to look at the percentage play of a win/draw double chance at -110. A draw with both teams scoring offers +325.

Manchester United (-190) hosts Leicester City (+600, +280 draw) in the lone Friday betting matchup. With big names such as Paul Pogba and Jamie Vardy on post-World Cup breathers, it could be a scrambly game with ample scoring chances at each end. The price on Manchester United to win with each team scoring and the total going over 2.5 is +150.

Newcastle United (+275) is a home underdog against Tottenham Hotspur (+100, +240 draw), which is waiting on the fitness of no fewer than six mainstays who have myriad aches and pains, including striker Harry Kane. Newcastle is worth taking on the double chance (win/draw) and the under on the 2.5 total offers -125.

Bournemouth (-120) shouldn’t have any reason to stay in low gear against newly promoted Cardiff City (+335, +250 draw), whose roster upgrades have mostly come from lower leagues. The Cherries are offering +250 to cover the minus-1.5 goals line.

Wolverhampton (+130) was aggressive in the transfer market after winning promotion from the championship, while Everton (+220, +220 draw) expects to push for the top six after its big summer of signing of Richarlison in the midfield. Each team should be capable of scoring in what could become a wide-open game.

And talk that Liverpool (-450) might challenge for the title has zapped their moneyline betting value against West Ham United (+1200, +525 draw) in a Sunday betting matchup. With Fabinho and Naby Keita shoring up their midfield, Liverpool should be more a cohesive team than last year’s offense-oriented, defensively-dodgy iteration and they’re offering +105 for a shutout win.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.