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2014 World Cup Betting News and Notes

Re: 2014 World Cup Betting News and Notes

Brazil vs. Croatia Betting Preview and Picks
By: Hugh Wilson 

The hosts and outright tournament favorites Brazil get the World Cup underway on Thursday when they take on Croatia (4 p.m. ET, ESPN). Luiz Felipe Scolari's side have a huge amount of pressure on their shoulders, with a whole nation expecting a successful tournament and a quick start against Niko Kovac's men.

Brazil come into this match after convincingly winning the Confederations Cup in the country last summer. Scolari's side won all five matches, beating the likes of Mexico, Italy and Uruguay, before thrashing Spain 3-0 in the final in a dominant display, confirming they will be the team to beat over the next month.

In preparation for the finals this year, Brazil have played three recent friendlies, winning all of them, scoring 10 goals in the process and conceding none.

William Hill prices Brazil at -365 odds to beat Croatia in the Group A opener.

Croatia had a struggle to reach the finals this summer, having to progress through the playoffs to qualify. With the Croatians finishing second in their qualifying group with an unconvincing display over their 10 matches, Kovac took over just before their playoffs after Igor Stimac was sacked.

A 2-0 aggregate win over Iceland was good enough to see them qualify, with Kovac yet to taste defeat in his five matches as head coach. William Hill prices them at +1115 to pull off the upset, with a draw offered at +440.

While playing in the Confederations Cup last Summer, Brazil were quick starters in their matches, leading at half time and full time in every game.

With Scolari's side keen to start with a bang and show some serious intent in front of a passionate home support, it's worth backing them at -125 to lead after both the first half and second half, especially as their outright price is too skinny to back as a single bet for many bettors.

As well as paying out for Brazil, this bet has landed against Croatia in their last five defeats, including all losses in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

For those looking for a longer price to back in this opening fixture, Brazil to score three or more goals stands out with at 7-to-4 odds. The Selecao have been in sensational form in-front of goal, with the likes of Neymar, Oscar, Fred and Hulk in fine form.

This bet would have cashed in five of their last nine matches, and with the host nation averaging just under three goals scored per game in the Confederations Cup, it's certainly worth a small investment on them making a dominant start to the tournament.

While that bet is not offered in Las Vegas, OVER William Hill's posted total of 2.5 goals (-110) is worth your consideration.

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