Expert World Cup Soccer Picks for First Week of Tournament
The World Cup is finally starting, and it should be a great month. It's tougher getting excited about this tournament than it is sometimes because of the time zone issues, the host. the lack of a certain team, and so on. But even a less-than-totally captivating World Cup is better than most sporting events. We've looked at the event from 100 different angles over the past months. Now that we are down to the start, though, it makes sense to look at the bets in individual games. Over the next week we will see all 32 teams play their first game of the tournament. From among those 16 games here are the six best that stand out as the most interesting. ( Odds are from Bovada ):
June 15, Egypt and Uruguay, +270 to draw: Uruguay is a very heavy favorite in this game, and most people expect them not only to win here but also to advance. While the team is easy to respect in many ways, I question their toughness and their readiness to shine under pressure. Egypt is not a great team, but they had some strong moments in qualifying, and they do have some talent. I was tempted by their +575 to win the game, but that could be too much to ask. Instead, they seem to have at least a chance to keep things close - enough of a chance to make this bet attractive.
June 15, Portugal +305 vs. Spain: Spain is the better team on paper. And they are typically better under the pressure of this tournament. But they have all sorts of drama swirling around them as they have fired their head coach just two days before this game. He took a job for after the tournament without telling his federation, and for some bizarre reason that was a deal breaker. That's clearly not ideal, and their willingness to do so this close to a big tournament has to call into question just how competitive the federation thinks they are. And you also have to wonder how ready they will be and how distracted they will be. With Portugal going off at a fat price, and having no shortage of talent on their own, this seems like a spot that is definitely worth a shot.
June 16, Peru +220 vs. Denmark: Peru is a quietly underappreciated team. They have plenty of talent, and they play a style that can create tough matchups if they are on their game. Denmark is a fine team, and they have talent as well, but it's not like they are unbeatable or that they don't have flaws and faults. I don't have an issue with Denmark being favored. But in my mind that's backwards - Peru should be given a slight edge here. And given that, this price is obviously very attractive. This is my favorite play of the opening week.
June 17, Mexico (+1) +105 vs. Germany: Germany is very good, and as defending champions they are here to prove that that was no fluke. But Mexico is a very good team as well, and they come into this one with nothing to lose. No one expects them to win this game, so they can play loose, and do what they do best. That could very easily be enough to keep this one close, and they have a legitimate shot at a draw. Besides which, having a rooting interest against a strong favorite is always fun.
June 18, Sweden +105 vs. South Korea: In my view neither of these teams are advancing because of Mexico and Germany. But the winner here will have the best position to take advantage if either of those top two teams falters. And I don't think that it is particularly tough here to see that Sweden has a strong edge here. They have more top-end talent, more depth, and are just plain better situated to win. The price here is more than fair.
June 19, Poland +135 vs. Senegal: Senegal is not the strongest team out of Africa this year by any means, and it is tougher to get excited about them than most teams. Poland has one of the top scorers in the league, and they have a good deal of depth and sound coaching. They are not a threat to win it all, but they are a strong team that looked good in qualifying and comes in ready to make something of a statement. Poland should win this game comfortably.
The World Cup is the biggest betting event worldwide, and Doc's Sports expert handicappers have been handicapping the matchups for months. They will have winning picks all throughout the tournament, and you can get $60 worth of premium members' picks free .
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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