Betting Favorite France Still Offers Value on World Cup Final Odds

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No matter how much the betting line moves into minus money, favored France offers plenty of value against Croatia in the World Cup championship game this weekend.

With the biggest sporting event in the world down to the last two teams, France is a -115 favorite on the World Cup final odds with Croatia coming back at +375, while the draw is priced at +230 and there is a 2.0 total, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

France went through the arguably tougher half of the knockout draw to make it to the final Sunday at Luhzniki Stadium in Moscow, defeating Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium. Croatia outlasted Denmark, Russia and England in knockout games that were tied 1-1 after regulation time, a World Cup first.

Six of the last seven World Cup finals have produced a clean sheet. However, with the playmaking talent on both side – think Paul Pogba for France, or Luka Modric of Croatia, who might be the world’s best midfielder – there’s a chance this won’t be the usual cautiously played final. The both teams to score / over 2.5 goals scored prop is priced at +220.

France has kept forward Antoine Griezmann and winger Kylian Mbappe supplied with scoring chances throughout the tournament, so they are 1A and 1B in all goal-scorer props. Bettors who are confident of France winning the midfield battle – which boils down to Pogba and N’Golo Kante against Modric and Ivan Rakitic – might want to back France at +275 to beat the minus-1.5 goals alternate spread.

Croatia defender Ivan Strinic (groin) has an injury issue and is slated to play across from Mbappe, which might make it worth taking a flier on the French teenager to add to his World Cup account.

Croatia has had a remarkable run, as it conceded the opening goal in each knockout game – a pattern that might continue Sunday – before rallying to pull out the win. Modric controls a game as well as anyone, while forward Mario Mandzukic (+300 to score anytime) has shown he doesn’t need a high volume of chances to get on the board.

The main question hanging over the first-time World Cup finalist is whether Croatia has enough left to go toe-to-toe with France after basically playing an extra game  – the 30 minutes of extra time, multiplied by three – to reach the final.

Bettors who believe they can hold France might want to pore over the method-of-victory prop, where a France extra-time win pays +850 and a Croatia extra-time win is priced at +1800. For victory by penalty kicks, it’s France at +900 and Croatia at +1000.

Mbappe (+300) has top prop to be man of the match, followed by teammate Griezmann (+600) and Croatia’s Modric (+750).

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.

Lakers move up NBA championship odds after LeBron James’ decision

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It’s important to remember the Golden State Warriors’ toughest challenge is just getting out of the Western Conference.

While four-time all-star forward DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins likely won’t suit up for Golden State until late in the regular season as he rebuilds strength in a surgically repaired Achilles tendon, his signing has moved the Warriors into minus money on the NBA futures.

The two-time defending champion Warriors are a -175 favorite on the NBA championship odds for 2019 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. However, the balance of power in the NBA has moved even farther westward with LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers, so it’s not a sure thing that the Warriors will be able to run a gauntlet through the conference to play in the NBA Finals for the fifth season in a row.

In both 2016 and 2018, the Warriors went the full seven games in the Western Conference Finals, going a combined 5-0 when facing elimination. That’s a tough margin to live on, even for a dynasty that will soon trot out five all-stars with Cousins, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.

James’ decision has led to the Lakers (+650) having the fourth-best odds, although Los Angeles will have to make further acquisitions – Kawhi Leonard, perhaps – in order to transform from a 35-win also-ran into a serious challenge to Golden State.

Unlike the Eastern Conference that James dominated for nearly a decade, there are more good teams to scale over on the climb to the top. The upshot of the Lakers drawing action is that it might protect the value on challengers that came almost sadistically close to making the 2018 NBA Finals.

The Boston Celtics (+550) were minutes away from the NBA Finals last season and are looking forward to a full season from small forward Gordon Hayward and point guard Kyrie Irving, who were out much of the season while their supporting cast gained valuable on-the-job experience.

The Houston Rockets (+600) also came close to dethroning the Warriors and their current odds to win the 2019 NBA championship are enticing since they have yet to make a major offseason move, as they still have to come to terms with center-forward Clint Capela, while also hoping to add veteran small forward Carmelo Anthony.

The Philadelphia 76ers (+1600) round out the top five and could be worth a flier in conference championship futures, where the Celtics will be favorites.

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.

Miocic favored against Cormier to highlight UFC 226 betting lines

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Stipe Miocic takes a significant size and reach advantage into a legacy fight against Daniel Cormier – and perhaps has more face to lose. Miocic is the -210 favorite with Cormier coming back at +170 in the co-main event on the UFC 226 betting lines, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

 

Miocic is on a streak of a record three heavyweight title defenses and Cormier, who is the light heavyweight title holder, will go into the Octagon at T-Mobil Arena in Paradise, Nevada on Saturday with a chance to become a two-weight world champion, a feat few other men have completed.

 

Holding a 7½-inch reach advantage over Cormier, Miocic may offer a combination of power, speed and boxing ability that Cormier hasn’t seen before. Cormier might rate better in the grappling department, which is a reason why it wouldn’t come as a shock if he pulled the upset, but Miocic’s edge in the stand-up game is certainly greater.

 

Miocic is also 35, still the typical peak period for a heavyweight, whereas Cormier, at age 39, might be at the point of his career where durability is becoming a factor, especially in a bout with a strong likelihood of going the full five rounds. At the end of the day, the figurative scales seem tipped in Miocic’s favor.

 

In the co-main event, Francis Ngannou (-370) is a hefty favorite against Derrick Lewis (+280) on the UFC 226 odds in a heavyweight matchup. Both are counter-punchers by nature, so it’s possible a feeling-out process takes the fight past Round 1, where Ngannou ended his last four victories. If the two keep the fight standing, then Ngannou should come out ahead against Lewis, whose last three losses have come by knockout or technical knockout.

 

Paul Felder (-155) took a fight on this card late, but is favored against Mike Perry (+125) in a  welterweight matchup. The 33-year-old Felder has scored three consecutive knockout victories whereas the 26-year-old Perry has lost his last two bouts, so it’s reasonable to think the elder fighter will be able to figure out an opponent who seems to have plateaued in his maturation process.

 

Michael Chiesa (-160) holds an edge in grappling technique over Anthony Pettis (+130) in a catchweight (157.5 pounds) matchup. Chiesa missed the cutoff weight for lightweight for this bout. Fighters who miss weight are 7-2 in the UFC in 2018. Chiesa’s route to victory involves getting the match to the ground or on the fence and grinding out a victory, making it worth considering taking him to win by decision, which was also the verdict in three of Pettis’s five defeats during his seven most recent fights.

 

And Gokhan Saki (-145), a converted kickboxer, has a striker-vs.-striker matchup against Khalil Rountree Jr. (+115) in a light heavyweight bout. Saki is an unknown as a grappler, but what is known about Rountree is that he has never landed a takedown in the UFC, so there is a strong likelihood of a high-volume striking matchup that Saki could end by knockout or technical knockout.

 

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.