Belgium Heavily Favored Over Panama with World Cup Betting Odds

Belgium va Panama World Cup Betting odds and Predictions

At +45000 Panama is the biggest dog with the World Cup betting odds.   Meanwhile their World Cup opener against Belgium they are given little chance for success.  Belgium is respected as a capable team.  But not a top tier favorite.  However, compared to Panama they are a powerhouse.  Belgium is attempting to break through as a legitimate contender in fact.  That makes toying around with Panama not an option.  Panama is simply happy to be at Russia.  On the other hand, Belgium is there to win.  To sum up, those expectations explain the huge difference in prices.

2018 FIFA World Cup

 Date and Time: Monday, June 18, 2018, 11 a.m. ET

Location:  Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi

World Cup Betting Online Odds at your favorite sportsbook:  Panama +2 (-110), Belgium -2 (-105), Over 2 ½, (-125), Under 2 ½ (+110), Panama +2920, Belgium -655, Draw +700

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

Belgium

Belgium opened at +1200 with the World Cup betting odds to win the tournament.  They were utterly dominant in qualifying.  Actually, a superior goal differential of 43-6 caught a lot of eyes.  But the competition was undeniably inferior compared to other top teams.  Despite the powerful qualification worries remains around this.

First, defensive breakdowns are a perpetual fear.  Second, depth on the roster is as well.  Belgium cannot afford injuries the way Brazil or Germany can.  The one indispensable man on the team is Romelu Lukaku.  He is the country’s all time leading goal scorer.

Belgium Weakness

A friendly 3-3 draw against Mexico exposed the weaknesses of Belgium.  Especially on the issues of defense and depth.  Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was highly critical after the match.  De Bruyne railed about Mexico’s tactical advantage over Belgium.  He said Mexico made Belgium play virtually shorthanded.  It was a direct shot at head coach Robert Martinez in fact.

True, three top players were out of the lineup for Belgium.  But that doesn’t take away the fact that they were badly outsmarted.  Furthermore, De Bruyne is something of a mystery.  He has never been able to match his pro excellence on Belgium.

Robert Martinez

Robert Martinez was something of a surprise hire for Belgium in August of 2016.  That is because he lacked international coaching experience.  On the positive Martinez has considerable Premier League knowledge.  Half of the Belgian team is comprised of players that are pros in the Premier.  Another positive is the freedom that Martinez has given Eden Hazard.  Finally, hazard is a top forward that plays for Chelsea in the Premier League.

Panama

Panama fully understands what sportsbook longshots they truly are.  Head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has led four teams to the World Cup.  Yet the Columbian is emphasizing fun and competition for this group.  Gomez emphasizes defensive structure and solidity.

Lacking offensive skill depth, defense is Panama’s only hope at success.  In addition, the Canaleros are respected for their hard work.  They also have the advantage of playing together for a long time.  In addition, Roman Torres is team captain.  He fittingly scored the goal that clinched qualification for Panama.

Matchup to Watch

Belgium has a huge talent advantage with the World Cup betting odds.  Kevin De Bruyne could be key in the matchup.  He is due to breakout and match his professional prowess.

2018 FIFA World Cup Betting Odds Picks

Belgium should eventually wear down Panama due to their superior depth.

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Belgium

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Belgium 3, Panama 0

Check out a Belgium team preview! 

Poland Favored over Senegal with World Cup Betting Odds

Poland vs. Senegal World Cup betting odds and picks

Senegal is a huge World Cup betting odds underdog.  At +20000 they are among the biggest long shots.  Poland is a +7050 choice to win the World Cup.  That is hardly the price of a big favorite.  Yet the Poles do have some things going for them.  In fact, there are some punters that see Poland as a sleeper.  In qualifying there was little doubt about their success.  And with Robert Lewandowski they boast a legitimate star.  Vast improvement has been shown.  Conversely Senegal has trouble in getting past their qualification.  Poland would seem to have the edge over Senegal.

Poland vs. Senegal

Date and Time: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 8 a.m. ET

Location: Otkritie Arena, Moscow

World Cup Betting Online Odds at your favorite sportsbook

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

What to Expect

Poland last qualified for the World Cup in 2006.  Their lack of historic success adds to their underdog status.  Yet their play in qualification shows their potential.  To start the Poles may be a top World Cup betting odds bargain.  There was a lot of excitement about their Euro performance.  In the Euro Poland made it to the quarterfinal.  But a 4-0 loss to Denmark did expose the team’s weaknesses.  Senegal has even less history going for them.  Their only World Cup qualification was in 2002.  That being said Senegal also has assets.

Senegal

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has emphasized pro players from Europe to fill his roster.  He was captain of the only other Senegal team to make the World Cup.  Among the top sportsbook threats are Sadio Mane and Kalidou Koulibaly.  Both players will be relied upon for any potential run.  Koulibaly is a defensive stalwart.  Mane is the key attack man.  Problematic is Mane’s lingering hamstring injury.  Cuisse can point to his team beating France in 2002.  As a result, they made the quarter final.  It shows what is possible for even unknown teams.

Poland

Coach Adam Nawalka is the respected Poland leader.  He has coached the national team for five years.  He led the Poles to the knockout state of the 2016 Euro.  Robert Lewandowski is a world class player.  He led the team with 16 goals during qualification.  Lewandowski is a pro for Bayern Munich.  Kamil Gliki is another key performer.  He is the rock of the defense.  Lukasz Pisczek is a superior attacker.  Few playmakers are as good as Piotr Zielinski.  There was once a perception that Poland was a one-man team.  But the qualifying round proved that was not the case.

Defense will be key for this match

Defense is the one area where there is concern about the Poles.  They permitted 14 goals in qualifying.  Senegal is considered to be a well-rounded team.  But Sadio Mane will be expected to carry them to glory.  He will be under considerable pressure to produce.

 Matchup to Watch

Stars Sadio Mane of Senegal and Robert Lewandowski of Poland are the key matchup.  Lewandowski gives Poland the World Cup betting odds advantage.  As good as Mane is Lewandowski is top shelf elite.  Beyond that Poland has shown better quality depth.

2018 FIFA World Cup Betting Odds Picks

Poland has proven more and against better competition.  They rate the call in their matchup with Senegal.

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Poland

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Poland 2, Senegal 1

Japan Small World Cup Sportsbook Betting Underdog vs. Colombia

Japan vs. Colombia World Cup betting odds and predictions

Few teams are as big of a World Cup sportsbook betting dog than Japan.  In fact, they opened at +25000 to win the championship.  Colombia opened at +4550 to win the World Cup.  Compared to Japan they look like a powerhouse.  Or so it would seem.  Yet the line for the match between Colombia and Japan does not show the expected disparity.  That opens the question up about value.  Is Japan underpriced for this game.  Are they not getting enough value from line makers?  Or is Colombia a bargain.  Should they actually be a bigger favorite than they actually are?

Japan vs. Colombia  

Date and Time: Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 11 a.m. ET

Location:  Mordovia Arena, Saransk

World Cup Betting Online Odds at available as your favorite sporstbook: Colombia – ½ (-130), Japan + ½ (+115), Over 2 (-140), Under 2 (+125), Japan +455, Colombia -130, Draw +250

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

Colombia

Colombia caught a lot of World Cup sportsbook betting attention in 2014.  That year they made it all the way to the Quarter Finals at Brazil.  They ended up finishing fifth in that World Cup.  It was their strongest performance in team history.  As a result, Colombia gained a lot of respect with punters.  But with that comes a more expensive price tag.  Beyond that the “Coffee Growers” are no longer taken lightly.  Surprise is no longer an element in their game.  Opponents will be fully ready.  Nor will they disparage Colombia any more.

Japan

Japan is a relative newcomer to World Cup competition.  Their first World Cup qualification was in 1998.  Their best finish was ninth two times.  Those finishes occurred in 2002 and 2010.  However, in 2014 the Japanese took a big step back.  At Brazil they limped home after a 29th place finish.  The “Samurai Blue” now must try and redeem their program.  And their self-respect.

Jose Pekerman

Colombia lost some sportsbook online esteem in qualifying.  In fact, coach Jose Pekerman admitted as much.  He confessed that qualification was hard.  Also, he attributed the increased challenge to parity.  He lamented that so few points separated so many teams.  A defense in need of youth was a problem for Pekerman’s team. Another problem was lack of playing time for star players.  This was due in part their pro team commitments.  Pekerman relied on defense to survive.  The idea was to counter attack from defensive turnovers.  While not exciting it did get the job done.

Vahid Halihodzic

Japan has gone through a team cultural revolution.  New head coach Vahid Halihodzic prefers to counter attack.  Japan has always played a possession-oriented game.  The changes caused the two biggest stars on the team to be dropped.  Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa preferred the old way.  Enthusiasm for the changes was not to be found, however.  All of this has caused a lot of debate in Japan.  Halihodzic did lead Ivory Coast to the 2010 World Cup.  He also led Algeria to the 2014 tournament.

Matchup to Watch

Japan was already shorthanded before losing two top stars.  Meanwhile, Colombia has the World Cup sportsbook betting depth advantage.  They may not go as far as they did in 2014.  But they also have the upper hand on Japan.

World Cup Betting Odds Picks

Colombia should have just enough to get the win here.

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Colombia

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Colombia 1, Japan 0

 Check out a team profile on Colombia!

Sweden vs. South Korea Odds and Picks – 2018 World Cup

Sweden vs. South Korea Odds, and Picks - 2018 World Cup

South Korea is a huge World Cup sportsbook betting longshot.  Nobody in their wildest dreams expects a deep run from them.  Sweden is also a longshot.  But they are +15000 compared to the South Korean price of +35000.  Yet despite the stark difference Sweden is not a huge power chalk in their match.  South Korea has the problem of an anemic offense.  That is because of a lack of top shelf talent.  Even home fans are thinking ahead to future World Cups.  Sweden is hard working and disciplined.  They are not deep with world class talent either.

Sweden vs. South Korea

Date and Time: Monday, June 18, 2018 8 a.m. ET

Location: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod

World Cup Betting Online Odds :  South Korea + ½ (-130), Sweden – ½ (+115), Over 2 (-129), Under 2 (+114), South Korea +275, Sweden +115, Draw +230

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

Sweden went through a big transition after Euro 2016.  The Zlatan Ibrahimovic era came to and end.  Manager Erik Hamren departed afterwards as well.  New coach Janne Andersson has emphasized effort and structure.  A potential wild card is Ibrahimovic coming out of retirement.  Some fear if he does it would disrupt new team unity.  Not to mention Andersson’s style of play with the 4-4-2.  Sweden is now ranked 23rd by FIFA.  That does not make for World Cup sportsbook betting appeal.

Recent history is also unimpressive for the “Blue-Yellow.”  They last qualified in 2006.  Their best recent finish was third place in 1994.  If Sweden is to advance Emil Forsberg will be a major reason as to why.  The midfielder is the star of the team.  Forsberg has six goals and 34 caps for the Swedes. He is celebrated for an element of imagination.  Another midfielder figures to play an important role as well.  Viktor Claesson is emerging as one of the best at his position.

Sweden impressed in the group phase of qualifying.  They took apart Holland.  Defeating a good team from France added credibility.  And their playoff win over Italy was inspiring. Under Andersson defense prevails as priority.  Seven clean sheets in qualifying indicate the players have bought in.  Of concern to an already limited offense is Jakob Johansson.  He scored the winning goal against Italy.  But damaged cruciate ligaments may limit his ability in the tournament.

South Korea has had to deal with a lot of sportsbook online negativity.  Their qualification was among the least impressive of the 32 teams.  They won only four out of ten games.  The South Koreans were lucky to play in such a weak group.  The poor results caused head coach Uli Stielike his job.  Shen Tae Yong is the new head man.  He is respected and known as a motivator.  Tactics wise he is nowhere near elite.  The World Cup stage is not a friendly class room.  Yet that is Shen Tae Yong’s predicament.

Matchup to Watch

Fans of offense won’t likely find much to enjoy in this match.  This could be among the most defensive World Cup sportsbook betting games.  But Sweden at least has some skill.  Not to mention a coherent plan.

World Cup Betting Odds Picks

South Korea has nothing to offer here.  Sweden is the call by default.

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Sweden

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Sweden 1, South Korea 0

2018 World Cup Betting: Germany Opens Title Defense Against Mexico

Germany vs. Mexico 2018 World Cup betting odds, tips and expert predictions

Germany is a World Cup sportsbook betting co-favorite with Brazil to win the tournament.  Working against “DFB Eleven” is history.  1962 Brazil is the last team to repeat as World Cup champions.  1938 Italy is the only other repeat champion.  The proud Germans are loaded of course.  They certainly have the material to make a deep run.  And few teams can match their confidence.  Mexico has been considered to be something of an underachiever.  They have made the round of 16 in six straight World Cups.  But their best finish in that span was tenth.  Thus “The Tri” is a longshot.

Germany vs. Mexico   

Date and Time: Sunday, June 17, 2018, 11 a.m. ET

Location: Luzhniki Stadium, Москва, Russia

World Cup Betting Online Odds:  Mexico +1 (+110), Germany -1 (-125), Over 2 ½ (+105), Under 2 ½ (-120), Mexico +780, Germany -225, Draw +350

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

Among the many riches that Germany boasts none is more important than coach.  Joachim Low is the most accomplished manager in this tournament.  He is a difference making World Cup sportsbook betting asset.  Yet when Germany lost to France in the 2016 Euro he caught heat.  Low has created a monster.  Germany is expected to not just win every game.  Instead it is now demanded that they dominate each match.  Expectations have grown out of whack.  And that leads to legitimate concerns about betting value.  No other team will bring as much public action as the Germans.

Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio can relate to Low in some ways.  Fans have been calling for his head due to a couple of embarrassments.  Mexico was killed 7-0 by Chile in Copa America Centenario.  Germany mauled them 4-1 in the Confederations Cup.  But Osorio leads an experienced team that looks to be peaking.  An elusive fifth World Cup game is within reach.  Osorio has also shown flexibility as needed.  He recently abandoned his preferred 4-3-3 in a couple of friendlies.  He instead went with a couple of midfield enforcers.

Javier Hernandez is one of the aforementioned peaking players for Mexico.  The forward has 49 goals and 100 caps.  Hirving Lozano is garnering attention as a relative new comer.  He has seven goals in 26 caps and a lot of upside.  Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa has 92 caps.  Captain Andres Guardado is an important midfielder.  He has a team high 144 caps with 25 goals.

For qualification Germany put together a terrifying run.  In ten games they were perfect with ten wins.  With 43 goals they set the European record.  “Die Mannschaft” also won the Confederations Cup.  Best of all they did so without numerous injured key players.  Such depth is the envy of the World Cup.  Forward Mario Gomez is the leading active goal scorer for Germany.  Gomez has posted 31 goals and 73 caps.  Midfielder Leon Goretzka is a young sportsbook online asset to watch.  Goretzka has six goals and 14 caps.  Star midfielder Tony Kroos has 12 goals and 82 caps.  Kroos is a pro for Real Madrid.

Matchup to Watch

Germany has an overload of depth for this match.  Their World Cup sportsbook betting status as chalk will be verified here.

World Cup Betting Odds Picks

Germany should steamroll Mexico yet again.

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Germany

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Germany 3, Mexico 1

Check out why Germany can repeat as World Cup champs!

Brazil Begins Title Quest vs. Switzerland in the 2018 World Cup Betting

Brazil vs. Switzerland World Cup updated odds, tips and betting picks

Ironically enough Brazil is the last team to ever repeat as World Cup Champions.  They turned the trick in 1962.  The relevance to now is in relation to the team they are favored with.  Germany is the World Cup betting odds co-chalk with Brazil.  And the Germans are trying to repeat as World Cup champions.  Most observers believe that only Brazil can stop them.  Switzerland is a long shot to win the tournament.  And they will serve as Brazil’s first opponent.  Brazil and Switzerland open Group E play.  Bargain hunters consider the Swiss a quality dog.

Brazil vs. Switzerland

Date and Time: Sunday, June 17, 2018, 2 p.m. ET

Location: Rostov Arena, Rostov on Don

World Cup Betting Online Odds :  Switzerland -1 ½ (-134), Brazil -1 ½ (+119), Over 2 ½ (-110), Under 2 ½ (-110), Switzerland +885, Brazil -265, Draw +400

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

Brazil will be gunning for their sixth ever World Cup championship.  They own the most titles of any nation with five.  The Germans and Italy are next with four.  2014 proved to be a major letdown when they were host team.  It was disappointing that Brazil fail to win the title.  Even more frustrating was that they failed to make the title game.  Switzerland could prove to be a dangerous World Cup betting odds foe.  FIFA has the Swiss ranked sixth overall.  That serves to catch a lot of attention.  If not respect.  Meanwhile Brazil is ranked second.

Worrisome for Switzerland’s sportsbook prospects are the high expectations.  Brazil of course will be a consistent name brand power chalk.  Public money will drown out their value.  But the Swiss may not get full value either.  Nobody is taking them lightly anymore.  Opponents will not be napping for a match vs. Switzerland.  Surprise is the element needed for a good wagering price.  Sadly, that factor has disappeared for the Swiss.  A berth in the final 16 is considered a given.  Yet gamblers know all too well about such forgone conclusions.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Steven Zuber are creative and quick.  They give the Swiss a much-needed playmaking element lacking in their past.  This tandem of wingers has strong support.  Fullbacks Stephan Lichtsteiner and Ricardo Rodriguez free them up.  Central defense is provided by Fabian Schar and Manuel Akanji.  Weakness, if there is one, comes from center forward.  Haris Seferovic patrols that position.  Star Granit Xhaka plays professionally for Arsenal.  He has nine goals and 63 caps for the Swiss.

The most important man on Brazil is not a player.  Rather it is their head coach.  Tite took over a mess and has quickly got the talented Brazilians to play up to capability. Among the changes Tite uses is a 4-1-4-1 alignment.  Neymar is a star like few others.  He has 53 goals and 83 caps for Brazil.  Paulinho is a favorite of Tite.  He plays professionally for Barcelona.  Paulinho has 12 goals and 48 caps in his career.

Matchup to Watch

Most any other team would be a dog to Switzerland.  Brazil is a World Cup betting odds favorite with good reason.  Depth of skill and ability give them a big advantage here.

2018 FIFA World Cup Betting Odds Picks

Tite will have Brazil ready for a big opening win.

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Brazil

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Brazil 2, Switzerland 0

Check out why Brazil can win the World Cup! 

World Cup Betting Odds – Costa Rica vs. Serbia

Costa Rica vs. Serbia World Cup Odds, picks and trends

Costa Rica and Serbia are prohibitive World Cup betting odds longshots.  Yet much excitement is generated by such matchups.  No game is too small to be ignored on soccer’s largest stage.  In fact, many punters are eager to handicap such matchups.  Assessing the value of two dogs is a challenge most find enticing.  Beyond that betting value can often be found when lesser teams meet.  Key of course is unlocking potential hidden gems.  Thus, there is a risk reward factor unrivaled in sports.  And why Costa Rica vs. Serbia will command betting activity.

Costa Rica vs. Serbia

Date and Time: Sunday, June 17, 2018, 8 a.m. ET

Location: Cosmos Arena, Samara

World Cup Betting Online Odds:  Serbia – ½ (-101), Costa Rica + ½ (-116), Over 2 (-113), Under 2 (-102), Serbia even, Costa Rica +305, Draw +245

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

Serbia is a +17500 choice with the World Cup betting odds.  “The Eagles” are currently ranked 35th by FIFA.  It’s been quite a fall from their sixth ranking in 1998.  It got so bad that Serbia did not even qualify for the 2014 World Cup.  Prior to that was an uninspiring 23rd place finish in 2010.  It has been 56 years since Serbia’s best finish.  1962 saw them post a final finish of fourth.  It matched their effort of 1930.  1998 saw the Serbs climb into the round of 16.  They ended up in tenth place.

Costa Rica is an even higher +25000 pick to win the World Cup.  “La Tricolor” is currently ranked 25th in FIFA.  Their highest ranking was 13th in the spring of 2015.  On the positive they are coming off their best ever finish.  In 2014 they made the quarterfinals.  A final finish of eighth out of 32 teams did impress.  And cause hope for the future.  Problem is the team became too much of a sensation.  This increases the worry about betting value.  Public knowledge was not on Costa Rica four years ago.  It is now.  Beyond that teams will be ready for them.  Taking “Los Ticos” for granted is not going to happen.  Opponents will pay full attention.  Nobody will be caught napping in 2018.

Head coach Oscar Ramirez will lead Costa Rica in his first World Cup.  He replaced Jorge Luis Pinto.  Ramirez led “La Sele” to a successful qualification.  Costa Rica won with two games to spare.  Ramirez has maintained the 5-4-1 alignment that Pinto employed so successfully.  The strategy places a lot of pressure on Bryan Ruiz and Celso Borges.  Ruiz coordinates the attack. Borges keeps things balanced.  Star Keylor Navas is one of the world’s top goalkeepers.  Navas plays for real Madrid.  He has sportsbook bona fides of dealing with pressure.  Overall Costa Rica should have enough for a credible knockout phase run.

Serbia has shown strong qualifying momentum.  They lost only one out of ten matches.  Of concern is the departure of head coach Slavoljub Muslin.  Muslin was fired due to a conflict about playing style.  New coach Mladen Krstajic opened things up.  Consequently, star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic Savic was appeased.  Savic has starred since the change.

Matchup to Watch

Costa Rica is a compelling World Cup betting odds dog.  They have the more solid resume.  Serbia is aging and overvalued here.

2018 FIFA World Cup Betting Odds Picks

Costa Rica is the value-based pick!

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Costa Rica

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Costa Rica 1, Serbia 0

Check out a preview of Costa Rica’s World Cup prospects!

Iceland vs. Argentina 2018 World Cup Odds, Betting Analysis and Picks

Iceland vs. Argentina Latest Odds for the 2018 World Cup in Russia

For Argentina the 2018 World Cup will be something of a farewell party.  An end of an era that many consider unfulfilling is at hand.  While Argentina is a consistent World Cup sportsbook betting favorite they never quite finish.  In fact, they are considered to be the ultimate underachiever.  For superstar Lionel Messi this is a final shot at World Cup glory.  Messi is likely to be unleashed in the quest of a championship.  The question is if there will be enough defense for the Argentines.  Meanwhile Iceland is the smallest populated country to make the World Cup.

Iceland vs. Argentina  

Date and Time: Saturday, June 16, 2018, 9 a.m. ET

Location: Otkritie Arena, Moscow

World Cup Betting Online Odds:  Iceland +1 ½ (-132), Argentina -1 ½ (+117), Over 2 ½ +127, Under 2 ½ (-147), Iceland +1145, Argentina -270, Draw +372

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

While not a power Iceland is renowned for toughness and discipline.  Mental resiliency is a team trait opponents respect them for.  Beyond that, they actually boast good players.  Indoor facilities have helped their national program take off.  However, the reality is that Iceland is a +15000 World Cup sportsbook betting long shot.  Having qualified for the first time ever there is no history of success for this club.  Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson is a practicing dentist.  He has led Iceland for two years.  Hallgrimsson was promoted internally as an assistant coach.  Tactical flexibility is his strength.

Iceland captain Aron Einar Gunnarsson supplies much of the heart of the team.  He has two goals and 77 caps as midfielder.  Never giving in or quitting is how he leads by example.  Gylfi Sigurdsson was the top scorer in qualifying.  He has 22 goals and 44 caps in his career.  Sigurdsson is one of the most intelligent players on the team.  Of concern is a knee injury sustained while playing for Everton.

Argentina is one of the best known sportsbook online teams in this tournament.  Along those same lines Lionel Messi is one of world’s best known players.  Messi has 61 goals and 123 caps for his career.  Fellow forwards Sergio Aguero and Gonzal Higuain also contribute.  Aguero has 36 goals with 84 caps.  With 70 caps Higuain has scored 31 goals.  Dependence upon Messi is considered a team weakness.  Argentina was vastly inconstant in qualifying.  Reliance on Messi was a big reason as to why.

Head coach Jorge Sampaoli could be exactly what Argentina needs.  He fits well with this current veteran group of players.  Everyone knows the roster will be quite different four years from now.  Accordingly, Sampaoli will unleash this crew with pressing and attacking.  What has to be solved is the lack of defensive pace required for this style.  Developing structure that brings in help for Messi is a full-time job.  Despite finishing second in 2014 Argentina is no longer considered top tier.

Matchup to Watch

Iceland is a respectable World Cup sportsbook betting choice.  However, they are outclassed here.  Despite the constant negativity Argentina is a high-quality team.  They will have the best player on the pitch.  And plenty of help to go with him.  Too much depth for Argentina is the matchup edge.

World Cup Betting Odds Picks

Argentina will eventually wear down plucky Iceland.

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Argentina

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Argentina 2, Iceland 0
For Lionel Messi it’s now or never!

Nigeria vs. Croatia 2018 World Cup Picks and Betting Odds

Nigeria vs. Croatia Latest World Cup betting odds

Nigeria is one of the biggest underdogs in the 2018 World Cup.  They are a +18000 World Cup sportsbook betting longshot.  Croatia is not exactly a favorite either at +3050.  But they are regarded as a far more capable team.  Both teams are considered the bottom pair of Group D.  Without question Argentina is the class of the field.  Iceland also garners respect.  So to many the question is who will finish second to the Argentines.  Croatia is relatively new to World Cup competition.  Nigeria has a longer history.  But they bring no real record of success either.

Nigeria vs. Croatia  

Date and Time: Saturday, June 16, 2018, 3 p.m. ET

Location: Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad

World Cup Betting Online Odds:  Nigeria + ½ (-103), Croatia – ½ (-112), Over 2 ½ (+132), Under 2 ½ (-152), Nigeria +360, Croatia -110, Draw +245

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

Recent play makes Croatia a slight favorite in their match with Nigeria.  To Nigeria’s credit they have qualified in four of the last five World Cups.  In 2014 they finished 16th in the round of 16.  Croatia finished 19th in in the group stage in 2014.  Many fans remember Croatia’s third place finish in 1998.  Their current team is considered every bit as good.  Nigeria has shown vast improvement under German coach Gernot Rohr.  Croatia has also gone through plenty of turmoil.  Nigeria had a much smoother World Cup sportsbook betting path.

Croatia is known for volatile qualifiers and this season was no different.  Head coach Zlatko Dalic was hired two days before the decisive final.  The team quickly responded to Dalic to salvage qualification.  The roster is comprised of a core aged in their late 20’s and early 30’s.  Labeled as an extraordinary generation it has not actually moved the needle.  And realistically this is their last shot at World Cup glory.  Problematic is a national program divided by debates and politics.  Media and fans have been unreliable.  Focus has been a constant challenge.

Midfielder Luka Modric is the kingpin for Croatia.  With 104 caps he has 12 goals.  Professionally he plays for Real Madrid.  Captain Ivan Rakitic is another top midfielder.  He has posted 14 goals with 90 caps.  Dalic previously coached the under-21 team.  He earned the permanent job in November 2017.

Young Nigeria has plenty of sportsbook online upside.  The question is if they are ready for a big step.  It may be too soon to expect much.  A friendly win over Argentina may have set unrealistic dreams.  Head coach Gernot Rohr has earned acclaim for skillfully handling the young team.  Rohr has designed a ruthless counterattack that maximizes team ability.  Alex Iwobi and Victor Moses have taken full advantage of the strategy.  Defensively Nigeria has played with excellent structure.  Moses plays for Chelsea in the Premier League.  The forward has 11 goals and 32 caps for the Nigerians.

Matchup to Watch

Stability gives Nigeria a World Cup sportsbook betting advantage.  They are a well-coached team that is prepared.  Rohr has provided the discipline and structure for a potential surprise run.  Croatia boasts experienced skill.  Offsetting that is their team turmoil.  Matchup wise Rohr is the advantage.

World Cup Betting Odds Picks

Nigeria is the pick to upset Croatia.

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Nigeria

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Nigeria 1, Croatia 0

Check out highlights of Nigeria’s upset win over Argentina!

Denmark vs. Peru World Cup Betting Odds

Both Peru and Denmark are long shots with the World Cup betting odds.  Denmark opened as a +9000 to win the event.  Peru is an even bigger dog at +15000.  So when these teams match up there is both opportunity and peril.  Sharper gamblers will evaluate the potential value.  Casual public money is unlikely to flow in games like these.  Big name teams like Germany and Brazil is where the public flocks.  Thus, the prices for Denmark and Peru tend to be more reality based.  With neither team picked for glory the handicap is more challenging.

Denmark vs. Peru

Date and Time: Saturday, June 16, 2018, 12 p.m. ET

Location: Mordovia Arena, Saransk

World Cup Betting Online Odds available at your favorite sportsbook:  Denmark – ½ (+115), Peru + ½ (-130), Over 2 ½ (+131), Under 2 ½ (-151), Denmark +115, Peru +265, Draw +245

2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: Check Listings

Peru

Peru does not have a strong World Cup betting odds history.  In fact, the last time they qualified was 1982.  Their best finish ever was seventh in 1970.  The distinctive red stripe on their kits is their best-known feature.  Denmark’s history is not much better.  Their last qualification was in 2010.  Overall the Danes have failed to qualify in four of the last eight World Cups.  1998 was their best run with a finish of eighth in the round of 16.

Denmark

Denmark earned sportsbook respect last fall with a pair of dominating wins.  Defeating Poland 4-0 and Ireland 5-1 caught attention.  Christian Eriksen electrified all with 11 goals in 12 qualifying matches.  Ericksen makes Denmark a tough out for anyone they face.  New head coach Age Hareide struggled early to implement his new system.  But once things began to click the improvement was noticeable.  Hareide took over in 2016 for longtime leader Morten Olsen.  Skepticism abounded due to his past poor record in Norway.  But 2017 changed all of that.  Consequently, Hareide got a contract extension through 2020.

Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen is a midfielder with 21 career goals and 78 caps.  His professional team is Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League.  Hareide has labeled him as one of the top ten players in the world.  In Premier League action he had 10 goals and 32 aps last season.

Ricardo Gareca and his Team

Peru has gone back to the future.  Head coach Ricardo Gareca emphasizes short passes and ball possession.  With a young roster it’s a smart strategy that eliminates mistakes.  Gareca is not afraid to impose discipline on his young team.  Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese is respected and confident.  Gallese has 36 caps for the team.  Without his great play Peru simply would not have qualified.  Alberto Rodriguez is a top defender with skills.  Midfielder Yoshimar Yotun is both intelligent and tough.  Up front Jefferson Farfan and Paolo Guerrero lead.  Farfan has 24 career goals and 81 caps.

Matchup to Watch

Youthful Peru must stay within themselves to have a shot at success.  Ricardo Gareca has been an astute leader.  Demark likely has the difference maker in Eriksen.  In this World Cup betting odds matchup, he is the best player on the pitch.  Peru has shown improvement.  But they lack a reliable closer.  Eriksen is the difference.

2018 FIFA World Cup Betting Odds Picks

Denmark should prevail over Peru in the end.

World Cup Betting Online Pick: Denmark

World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction:  Denmark 2, Peru 0

Check out highlights of Denmark’s Christian Eriksen!