World Cup Odds and Picks: Slovakia Vs. New Zealand Predictions
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 6/13/2010
Get more World Cup betting information including betting bonuses, World Cup odds and our famous World Cup picks, which in 2006 earned $100 bettors over ten times their initial investment. ($100 bettors earned $1,820 click here for details)
ESPN is advertising these World Cup games with the slogan “One Game Changes Everything.” It’s hard to imagine the marketing executives at ESPN were talking about the New Zealand/Slovakia game as one of those games that would change everything.
The next World Cup point either country earns will be its first. These will be the first games for Slovakia as an independent nation after breaking away from Czechoslovakia in 1993. New Zealand makes its second World Cup appearance after a 0-3 showing in the 1982 World Cup.
Still, both lightly regarded countries will have all eyes on them when they take the pitch June 15 at 7:30 a.m. EST at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg. Slovakia enters the game as a heavy favorite despite being ranked No. 34 in the FIFA rankings entering the tournament. That mostly has to do with New Zealand playing the role of the opponent. They are ranked No. 78 by FIFA.
To put that No. 78 ranking in perspective, it ranks behind such non-World Cup qualifiers as Wales, Togo, Senegal, Bahrain, Macedonia, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Peru, Mali and Tunisia, to name a few. According to the FIFA rankings only South Africa and North Korea rank behind New Zealand, but many other national publications have the Kiwis ranked as the worst team in the World Cup field this year.
In most groups this game would be a battle for third place, but in Group F, one of the easiest draws in the tournament, anything is possible. If you pencil in the defending World Cup champions Italy into the Round of 16 then you have three teams fighting for the second spot.
Paraguay is looked upon as the second-best team in the group but they are hardly considered a shoo-in. If a country is able to get three points out of this game, that country will be in prime position to make an improbable run to the Round of 16.
Even though Slovakia is far from a highly regarded team, it will still take a big-time upset for New Zealand to get points out of this game. The All Whites, as New Zealand is known in the soccer world, owe Australia a debt of gratitude. Australia used to rule the roost in the Oceania Football Confederation. Now the Socceroos have moved on to the Asian Football Confederation so the path to the World Cup is an easier one for New Zealand, but also one that leaves it untested.
While the All Whites had an easy time qualifying against competition from Oceania, Slovakia navigated a far tougher path to the World Cup. It got out of a group that featured fellow World Cup-qualifier Slovenia as well as Czech Republic and Poland.
The tougher road to get to the World Cup will be a major difference in favor of Slovakia in this game. On top of that Slovakia has a major advantage in personnel. Coach Vladimir Weiss will mark his second anniversary in charge of the national team when the World Cup begins this year. He took over after yet another failed Slovakia bid to qualify for the UEFA Euro 2008.
While Slovakia is making its World Cup debut, actually its international debut, the country was used to plenty of success back when it was part of the former Czechoslovakia. Since then the Czech Republic has made strong showings on the international level and now it is time for Slovakia to try to make a name for itself.
There are far from any household names on this Slovakia team but some close soccer observers may recognize Martin Skrtel, a defender for Liverpool. The scoring will have to originate from Marek Hamsik (Napoli of Italy’s Serie A), Robert Vittek (Lille OSC of France’s Ligue 1) and Stanislav Sestak (VfL Bochum of Germany’s Bundesliga 2). It was Sestak who led the Slovaks with six goals in the qualifying stage.
Slovakia will not dazzle you with flash, but they have shown consistency throughout qualifying and the New Zealand game provides the perfect opportunity for Slovakia to start its maiden World Cup voyage off with a positive result.
Of course, New Zealand is also looking to earn its first World Cup points. Most of the players on the team were not alive the only time New Zealand reached the World Cup in 1982. Coach Ricki Herbert actually played for that team in 1982. Since then rugby has surpassed soccer as the national sport, but the country began to rally around the Kiwis after a climatic play-in win over Bahrain to punch their ticket to South Africa.
While the New Zealand flag may resemble the Australian flag, no one is expecting a run to the Group of 16 like the Socceroos pulled off four years ago in Germany. Outside of New Zealand, the only name of recognition on the squad is Ryan Nelsen. Playing center-back, Nelsen currently plays for Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League where he has been for five years since transferring from D.C. United of the MLS.
If the All Whites hope to push a goal across in this World Cup it will likely have to come from Shane Smeltz, who was named the Oceania Player of the Year. He is a striker for Gold Coast United of the Australian A-League. New Zealand also has a solid netminders who can keep them in games longer than they otherwise may deserve to be in them. Goalie Mark Paston came up with numerous shutouts in qualifying and turned away a penalty kick in the scoreless World Cup play-in game against Bahrain.
Tactically Slovakia has advantages throughout the pitch, a claim they would be unable to make against most teams in the field. But a key to an upset is strength up the middle and with Paston in net, Nelsen at center-back and Smeltz up top at striker, the Slovaks would be wise to put the Kiwis away early and not let them stay in this game. Much like Australia in 2006, the only other Oceania Federation team to qualify for the World Cup, New Zealand will surely be a sentimental favorite around South Africa. With that comes plenty of crowd support, especially if they remain competitive into the second half.
Slovakia vs. New Zealand World Cup Odds:
In three-way betting Slovakia is the overwhelming favorite at -300 with New Zealand the third-biggest first-round underdog at +1000. The odds for a ‘Draw’ are set at +340. The goal line on the game has Slovakia at -1.5 and -105 and New Zealand +1.5 at -115. The total for the game has been set at 2.5.
Slovakia vs. New Zealand Picks and Predictions: Take ‘Over’ 2.5
Getting three points out of this game is imperative for Slovakia if it wants to keep hopes alive to escape the group stage. New Zealand will be more than content to earn its first World Cup point ever with a draw. That being said, expect the Slovaks to push the tempo and they have the talent to do exactly that and dictate the flow of this game. New Zealand will be forced to try and keep up with the more skillful and attacking Slovakia team. This game could develop into a 3-0 or 3-1 game if New Zealand lets Slovakia get out and run early on.
In Confederations Cup games and friendly games, within the past two years, New Zealand allowed top teams to score in droves. Against the last five World Cup qualifying teams (Italy, Spain, South Africa, Mexico and Australia) New Zealand has conceded 15 total goals, an average of three per game.
The ‘over’ is the play here because of the sense of urgency Slovakia will enter the game with. Anything less than three points is not an option for Slovakia and with that mindset and the Kiwis playing with nothing to lose, this should be one of the more wide-open and entertaining World Cup games.
LOOKING FOR WINNING WORLD CUP PICKS and PREDICTIONS? Doc’s Sports has been professionally handicapping all major sports since 1971 and we have a great reputation for winning in our industry. In 2006 our World Cup picks clients hit 71% winners and $100 bettors made $1,820 in profit (1,482% ROI). Click here for World Cup picks from Doc's Sports, Robert Ferringo and Vegas Sports Informer and get live World Cup odds from top sports books.
Most Recent World Cup Betting
- World Cup Betting Advice: Handicapping Host Country Russia
- Netherlands Vs. Spain Predictions
- Uruguay Vs. Germany Predictions
- World Cup Betting Trends for Semifinals
- Germany Vs. Spain Predictions
- Netherlands Vs. Uruguay Predictions
- Paraguay Vs. Spain Predictions
- Argentina Vs. Germany Predictions
- World Cup Players to Watch
- Uruguay Vs. Ghana Predictions