World Cup quarterfinals betting preview: Brazil among odds favorites

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It could be a case of bettor beware in the first set of World Cup quarterfinals, since neither of the favorites have reached what is believed to be its peak form.

Brazil is the +110 betting favorite with Belgium coming back at +265 while the draw is priced at +235 on the three-way moneyline, and there is a 2.5 total in their World Cup quarterfinal matchup in Kazan, Russia on Friday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

History – Brazil is a five-time World Cup champion and Belgium last advanced past the quarterfinal in 1986 – might favor Neymar and the talented South Americans. The form, at least with each team’s comparative offensive efficiency during the tournament, might say otherwise.

Brazil has not allowed a goal during open play in its four matches (the only goal it has conceded was via a corner kick). It has been less than the sum of its parts – Neymar, Roberto Firmino, et al. – offensively, however. Belgium, with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne generating opportunities in the midfield, is one of the highest-scoring teams in the tournament and has the potential to pull off an upset.

The amount of natural offense on both sides means taking the over, at even money, is advisable. Both teams’ attacks have tended to heat up after halftime and there is a +175 prop on no goals being scored in the first half.

France (+100) will encounter the tautest defensive team left when it faces Uruguay (+350, draw +210) in Nizhny Novgorod in another quarterfinal matchup on Friday.

Uruguay’s defending built around center backs Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin give it a reasonable chance of holding France for the regulation 90 minutes or perhaps the 120 that would trigger penalty kicks. The draw with under 2.5 goals offers +250 on the World Cup odds.

England (-110) takes a curious history against Sweden (+370, draw +225) into a Saturday matchup in Samara, having won only two of the last 15 matchups since 1968. England has the edge in depth and potent scoring through Harry Kane – who is +105 to score any time, and +275 to score the first goal – and Raheem Sterling. Sweden’s ability to suppress deeper opponents warrants looking at the -120 under on the 2.0 total.

And Croatia (+120) hosts Russia (+285, draw +205), and each survived 120-minute marathons and penalty shootouts in the Round of 16. That outcome could happen again. Taking Croatia and midfielder Luka Modric requires a small leap of faith that they have a level to their game they did not show in their last fixture against Denmark.

Russia’s strategy will be containment. Croatia offers +135 for a clean sheet and +220 to win-to-nil, compared to +200 and +400 for Russia respectively.

During the Round of 16, favorites advanced from six of the eight matches. England, however, needed penalties against Colombia, while Belgium needed a three-goal comeback capped by a stoppage-time deciding goal against Japan.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top World Cup betting news check out the OddsShark FC podcast with Andrew Avery, Rob Trites, and Craig Cormier. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsSharkFC.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.