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 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.

Matchweek 9 Premier League odds: Chelsea in position to add to Man Utd misery

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Chelsea has typically had the edge against Manchester United, even when the Red Devils were playing at a much higher level than they have of late.

Chelsea is a -140 favorite on the Premier League odds for Matchweek 9 with Manchester United coming back at +400 for Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw offers +285 on the three-way moneyline and the total is at 2.5 goals.

On top of being undefeated in eight EPL starts so far this season, co-leader Chelsea has won seven of their last eight matches against Manchester United and has had clean sheets in its last four home games against them at Stamford Bridge.

Eighth-placed Manchester United’s desperation for a result as it tries to keep in range of the top four might dictate a more offense-oriented game, contradicting a trend where eight of these teams’ last 10 matches have finished UNDER 2.5 goals

Manchester United’s defensive issues also provide ample opportunity for Chelsea winger Eden Hazard (+400 first goal scorer, +125 anytime).

Elsewhere this weekend, West Ham United (+315) often rises to the occasion against Tottenham Hotspur (-115, draw +290) and will be looking to avoid a second consecutive home loss against the Spurs for the first time since 2009. West Ham (-110 on the double chance) is burdened with some injuries, so steering clear of upset predictions and focusing on the OVER (+110) on the 3.0-goals might be the more prudent play.

Tottenham’s Harry Kane (+250 first goal scorer, -145 anytime) should be in the thick of a high-chance game.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (-135) and Watford  (+425, draw +270) each have strong totals trends, as the Wolves’ last seven matches have been UNDER 2.5 goals, as have five of Watford’s last six away games. Moreover, Wolves have had a propensity for scoreless first halves – seven in their last 10 games – and a draw (+110) might be the most likely outcome from the first-half moneyline.

Huddersfield Town (+1000), which hosts co-leader Liverpool (-325, draw +425), is burdened with several dubious trends, including six consecutive home matches without a goal and 12 consecutive league games. Liverpool is even money to win by more than 1.5 goals, while the Reds’ Roberto Firmino (+400 first goal scorer, +125 anytime) is facing a team he scored against during both league fixtures last season.

Everton (-115) is undefeated in its last seven matches against Crystal Palace (+360, draw +255), which it hosts in a Sunday matchup. Eight of Everton’s 10 matches (all competitions) this season have seen both teams score, so someone looking for more value than the moneyline offers might consider the both teams to score and OVER 2.5 goals prop (+125).

Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha (hamstring) is listed as doubtful, which hurts the upset potential.

And Arsenal (-190) hosts Leicester City (+550, draw +355) in a Monday matchup with a high potential of going OVER the 3.0-goals total, as the Gunners have scored at least two goals in every league outing so far while the Foxes are having issues defending. The Arsenal to win/both teams to score prop (+160) restores some betting value for Arsenal.

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.