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 6 Premier League odds feature Fulham as a favorite

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The form suggest Fulham and Watford, in their first Premier League match in 12 seasons, could produce some offensive fireworks.

Fulham, a freshly promoted side that boasts Aleksandar Mitrovic, is a +145 favorite on the Premier League odds for this weekend with Watford coming back at +195 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +245 on the three-way moneyline and the total is 2.5 goals.

While Watford is the slight underdog, it has four common opponents with Fulham and has won all four games, compared to Fulham being 1-1-2 (wins/draws/losses).

The both teams to score and over (-125) on the total look like promising picks, as both Fulham and Watford have only played in one game apiece so far this season that had a clean sheet. Both Mitrovic (+115 anytime goal scorer, +400 first goal scorer) and Watford’s Troy Denney (+180, +600 respectively) should have favourable matchups against two less than stingy defenses.

Crystal Palace (+115), which has been a consistently inconsistent side, hosts  Newcastle United (+270, draw +230), which has one-goal losses against four of last season’s top six teams. The drop down in calibre of opponent makes Newcastle a value play, perhaps even for the outright win. Four of these teams’ last five matches have finished with fewer than 2.5 goals.

Brighton and Hove Albion (+395) looks to be lying in wait at home against a tattered Tottenham Hotspur (-130, draw +290), which had a gutting Champions League away loss to Inter Milan on Wednesday and has several players, including Harry Kane, possibly dealing with post-World Cup fatigue. At minimum, Brighton is worth taking on the win/draw double chance.

Burnley (+190), winless in the league, is a slight underdog at home against Bournemouth (+155, draw +240). Both teams have scored in the last six games of this matchup, making the over (+105) on the 2.5-goals total inviting. Burnley have been allowing a plethora of chances, so Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser (+300 anytime goal scorer) should have a slew of opportunities to get on the board.

West Ham (+475) will have a tough task trying to limit Chelsea (-180, draw +340) in a Sunday betting matchup, as the Hammers have struggled to avoid fouls and the Blues, led by Eden Hazard, thrive off set pieces. The over on the 3.0-goals total has good value at even money.

And Arsenal (-215) has won three on the bounce ahead of welcoming Everton (+575, draw +390) for a Sunday matchup. On top of the win streak, Arsenal’s first-choice talents such as Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka are well-rested for a derby where both teams have scored in six of the last eight matchups. Arsenal is worth considering at minus-1.5 goals (+120) and totals bettors might want to look at alternate lines.

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.

Liverpool favored at Tottenham on Premier League odds for week

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Liverpool and its high-octane offense, up against a spotty Tottenham defense, yields excellent opportunities for bettors this weekend.

Liverpool is a +135 away favorite on the Premier League odds with host Tottenham Hotspur coming back at +200 for Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +270 on the three-way moneyline and the total is at 2.5 goals.

Liverpool has either won or drawn in 11 of its last 12 matches against Tottenham in all competitions, while Tottenham has had the total go over 2.5 goals in its last five EPL games.

Being below Liverpool in the standings, Tottenham will likely try to be aggressive and press for goals, mostly likely through Harry Kane. However, Liverpool is fluent in counter-attacking; that, coupled with issues Tottenham has had defensively, mean that either Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah are strong plays in the first goal or anytime scorer props.

Elsewhere, Watford (+330) has four wins in as many starts in EPL but could be in tough at home against Manchester United (+105, draw +260), who have won in 11 of their last 12 matchups against Watford in all competitions. Both teams are wont to attack through the middle, which means first-goal and anytime scorer prop bettors might want to look at wingers such as Watford’s Roberto Pererya and Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez.

Neither Bournemouth (+140) nor Leicester City (+200, draw +250) have scored more than one goal in any of their past six matchups, five of which have finished in draws. With a one-point separation in the standings, another tie is a strong possibility, and since Leicester City has Jamie Vardy back to full match fitness, there’s a good chance of open play and both teams scoring.

Wolverhampton (-140) and Burnley (+450, draw +255) are trending in disparate directions going into a Sunday matchup. Wolverhampton, whose last three matches have all gone under 2.5 goals, has nearly everyone of consequence healthy. Burnley, depleted in morale (five losses in six games) and health with Robbie Brady, Ben Gibson and Stephen Ward questionable for this weekend, might have severe trouble scoring.

Everton (+105) is favored against West Ham United (+265, draw +230) but possibly vulnerable with Richarlison among six contributors who are out injured. Both teams have scored in all five of Everton’s games, suggesting there could be some openings for West Ham to make good on a double chance bet by wringing out a draw.

And Southampton (+120) takes on Brighton (+275, draw +230) in a Monday matchup. Brighton has failed to win in its last 15 away matches in the league, meaning Southampton might be a strong parlay possibility thanks to the favorable matchup.

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.