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World Cup Group Odds Roundup: Powerhouses set as betting favorites

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Only three countries won their group in each of the previous two World Cup tournaments, one of which did not even make it this time, which suggests that pool play can offer some pleasant payoffs for bettors.

With the World Cup in Russia set to begin next month, Uruguay is an even-money favorite on the World Cup group odds for Group A at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Host Russia (+125) is the second favorite in the group, which is rounded out by Egypt (+550) and Saudi Arabia (+3300).

Russia’s defense has struggled in pre-tournament friendlies, so laying chalk with Uruguay might be prudent. Egypt, with Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah, could be a darkhorse, or a possible threat to advance into the Round of 16.

The Group B lines on Spain (-200) and Portugal (+185) have been steady for months, with Spain stacking up well in the middle with Andres Iniesta playing in his final World Cup. Morocco (+1600) and Iran (+2500) might be sacrificial lambs.

France (-350) has stars such as Paul Pogba, but has played down to the level of competition. Denmark (+450), led by Christian Eriksen of Tottenham fame, could be a darkhorse in Group C.

Struggles in qualifying has helped Argentina (-180) and Lionel Messi keep some value in Group D. However, Luka Modric-led Croatia (+225) has an outside chance of winning the group, which also includes Nigeria (+1000) and Iceland (+1200).

In Group E, Brazil (-400) is a lock who could help accentuate the value of parlay, since it has a big edge in scoring punch over Switzerland (+600), Serbia (+800) and Costa Rica (+1800). Brazil is also the co-favorite on the overall 2018 World Cup odds, with Germany.

And the Germans (-310) have a chance to take all nine points in Group F, where the defending champions are up against Mexico (+500), Sweden (+600) and South Korea (+2000). Sweden, pending the health of goalkeeper Robin Olsen (shoulder), has a chance to qualify out of the group.

In Group G, Belgium (-125), led by erstwhile star Eden Hazard, has an outside shot at winning it all; its value might be depressed by having to contend with England (+120). For what it might be worth, England won eight of 10 qualifying matches, just as it did in the qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, the last time that it won its group.

Last but not least, Group H has the lone plus-money favorite on the World Cup group betting lines with Colombia (+120) rating a slim edge over Poland (+175), with Senegal (+500) and Japan (+700) filling out the foursome. Poland is a stout defensive side that might be able to upset the order and go through first.

Defending champion Germany, Brazil and the Netherlands (which did not qualify) were the only teams to win their groups in both 2010 and 2014.

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.

Matchweek 14 Premier League odds: Arsenal-Tottenham toss-up

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It takes a lot to discount the home advantage Arsenal will take into a north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, one of the Premier League’s top away teams.

Arsenal is a narrow +160 favorite on this week’s Premier League odds with Tottenham coming back at +170, while the draw is at +265 on the three-way moneyline and there is a 3.0-goals total for Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Arsenal is undefeated in its last six home matches against Tottenham; the Spurs have won five away matches in a row.

Each team has sufficient offensive capability and motivation to attack to prevent a clean sheet on either side, which is a starting point for bettors who would like to focus on totals with the match result so close to call. Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (+333 first scorer, -110 anytime) and Tottenham’s Harry Kane (+375, +105) stand good chances of tallying. In both teams to score props, tie/yes (+300) offers more payout than the draw on the moneyline.

Leicester City (+125) and Watford (+255, draw +235) carry some strong UNDER trends, as Leicester’s last five matches in all competitions have gone UNDER 2.5 goals, while the same is true in eight of Watford’s last nine away games in the league. There is little separating the teams in capabilities or in the standings, so Watford rates a look on the double chance (-145).

Newcastle United (+145) takes on West Ham United (+210, draw +235) having won three games on the bounce. West Ham is having great difficulty winning many games, but it is a pesky road team whose last three away matches have all gone UNDER. West Ham on the double chance (-170) could be the percentage play, and Marko Arnautovic (+450 first scorer, +150 anytime) should get some scoring chances off of counter-attacks.

Relegation-threatened Southampton (+340) hosts Manchester United (-110, draw +265), whose last six away matches in all competition have all gone OVER 2.5 goals. There is value in a powerhouse that’s maddeningly inconsistent, as Yes/Over 2.5 (+125) and Man United win/yes (+275) offer value in the myriad both teams to score props.

Chelsea (-600) and Fulham (+1500, draw +700) have a 3.5-goals total in a Sunday matchup, but their last five games at Stamford Bridge have all gone UNDER 2.5 goals and Fulham has also failed to score in four of its last five away matches. Chelsea is even money for both a clean sheet and a shutout win.

And Liverpool (-260) is undefeated against city rival Everton (+750, draw +400) in their last 21 matchups in all competitions, but the visiting Toffees come into this Sunday matchup on a three-game shutout streak in the league. Liverpool and Sadio Mane (+150 anytime) should be able to break through eventually, but No/Under 2.5 (+200) might have the best value in both-teams-to-score props.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Matchweek 12 Premier League odds: Manchester Derby highlights weekend

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The disparate fortunes of the teams involved in this weekend’s Manchester derby might lead bettors to seek out ways to restore betting value to Manchester City.

Playing at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City are the -250 moneyline favorite on this week’s Premier League odds with Manchester United coming back at +700, while the draw is at +400 with a 3.0-goals total for Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The away team has had a result in the last six games in this matchup (four wins and two 0-0 draws). The law of averages alone indicates it would be tough for that to continue, but there have also been OVER 2.5 goals scored in 21 of Man City’s last 24 home games, as well as OVER 2.5 goals scored in Man United’s last five Premier League games.

Taking Manchester City win/yes (+150) in both teams to score (BTTS) props is a higher-yield play, as they are an aggressive team at home and will work to set up Sergio Aguero (+275 first goal scorer, -145 anytime). Manchester City has also been leading at halftime in six of its last seven games. On the Man United front, Romelu Lukaku’s absence might make for a slow start, but at minus-1.5 (-125) on the goals line, the Red Devils might recoup some value.

Elsewhere, Cardiff City (+155) has not fared well over the years against Brighton & Hove Albion (+210, draw +215), which has drawn or won 11 of the last 12 matchups (all competitions). Since Brighton has won only one of its last 19 away matches in EPL play, its double chance odds (-185) could be a more secure play.

Leicester City (-200) visits Burnley (+650, draw +325) having shown, by winning its previous outing, that it is channeling grief over the tragic helicopter death of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha two weeks ago. There have been OVER 2.5 goals (-120 on the betting line) in five of Burnley’s last six games, so Leicester might be able to pounce.

Crystal Palace (+355) and Tottenham Hotspur (-120, draw +270) has been a low-scoring fixture. Crystal Palace has failed to score in their last four tries against Tottenham and the teams’ last five matchups have been under 2.5 goals (in all competitions). Taking No/Under 2.5 (+175) in both teams to score props covers the possibility of Tottenham grinding out another win.

Liverpool (-950) takes on Fulham (+2400, draw +1000) in a Sunday matchup that is a mismatch on paper, with a rare 4.0-goals total. Liverpool has kept clean sheets in seven of its last eight games against Fulham in all competitions, and Fulham is on a five-game losing streak. Smarting from a Champions League loss on Wednesday, Liverpool could take out its frustrations and go OVER (+110) on its own 3.5-goals total.

And Chelsea (-240) hosts Everton (+650, draw +400) on Sunday with the expectation of a fully fit squad, save for Cesc Fabregas (illness), after playing a Champions League match on Thursday. Both Chelsea’s last four games and five of Everton’s last six games have gone OVER 2.5 goals, so this matchup’s 3.0-goals total could be bested.

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 Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.