World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 13

World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 13

Friday's World Cup Tips
By Toby Maxtone-Smith
VegasInsider.com

Spain vs. Netherlands

With Brazil and Argentina so clearly leading the betting for the World Cup winner, it can be easy to forget about Spain, who have won their last three major tournaments. Spain are available at 13/2 with Sportsbook.ag, and the fourth favorite, although several bookmakers have them ahead of Germany in the betting.

Spain have not necessarily declined, although the influence of Xavi has certainly waned, but instead teams have gradually worked out how to combat their slow, patient passing style. This game against the Netherlands is a repeat of the 2010 final, which Spain won 1-0 after an extra time goal from Andres Iniesta. The Dutch approach then was to kick the Spanish out of the game and, while it got them lots of criticism after the game, it almost worked. The Netherlands had some wonderful chances to win the match before the decisive moment.

Just as in South Africa, Spain are the favorites and are 77/100, with Louis Van Gaal's Oranje at 3/1 and the draw a 5/2 shot.

Netherlands are everyone's favorites to be the big-name flop at this World Cup. A combination of a difficult group, a dreadful performance (three defeats from three) at Euro 2012 and a feel that their great players are getting slightly over the hill are the reasons for this. As often, the defense is the weakness, and while players like Bruno Martins-Indi and Ricardo van Rhijn are improving quickly, there is a lack of top level experience along the back line. The front three of Wesley Sneijder in behind Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie is the strength. However there is a chance they could get isolated against teams that dominate possession.

The common myth about Spain is that they simply thrash sides through their devastating passing play. In fact, their strength is in not conceding goals. Although their defenders are excellent, this is more because how much of the ball they have. They regularly top 70% possession, and this hugely limits what the opposition can do. 9 of their last 10 wins in major tournaments have been to nil, and this is why I like the 11/10 on Spain keeping a clean sheet.

Opening games in the group stages are generally cagey affairs with both teams prioritizing 'not losing' over winning. Bookmakers have certainly picked up on this, with over 2.5 goals at 29/20, with under 2.5 at 57/100.

I'm predicting 1-0 to Spain. They are not the most ruthless of teams and, even though the Dutch defense is suspect, don't expect Vicente Del Bosque's side to really fill their boots. Del Bosque is a surprisingly cautious manager, and will just want to get away from Salvador with a win.

Top Bet: Spain to keep a clean sheet at 11/10

Mexico vs. Cameroon

In Group A's other opening game Mexico face Cameroon in the searing midday heat of Natal, in the north-east of Brazil, not far from the equator. The temperature and the humidity will certainly have an effect on this game, and will lead to a slow-paced, patient game. As with ever opening group games between fairly even sides, a defeat spells disaster, as the vanquished would go into their fixture with Brazil needing at least a draw.

Mexico, incredibly, have been eliminated at the last 16 at each of the last five World Cups. Their World Cup qualification went dreadfully, and they needed a play-off win against New Zealand to reach Brazil. They will attempt to dominate possession, and in Oribe Peralta they have a ruthless finisher.

Cameroon have a strong defense and a dangerous, pacey attack. Their midfield, however, has a real lack of creativity with Alex Song, who often plays at center-back for Barcelona, the most likely to make chances. They will not be easy to play through, but much will depend on how efficiently they distribute the ball to their dangerous wingers, Aboubakar and Choupo-Moting.

Mexico are the 11/10 favorites, with Cameroon quoted at 9/4, but I'm very keen on the 11/5 draw. A draw would not be a total disaster for either side, and the conditions could make for a slow game with few chances.

Top Bet: Draw at 11/5
 
Chile vs. Australia

Poor old Australia. They've been given an absolute stinker of a group, with 2010 finalists Spain and Holland, and Chile - one of the most exciting, attacking teams at the tournament. The Socceroos are not a bad side, but with lots of high profile retirements since 2010, there is a sense that, while the new generation have potential, they are just not quite ready yet.

Chile have their weaknesses - they don't perhaps score as many as they should, and the defense is suspect - but they have some fantastic strengths as well. Manager Jorge Sampaoli plays a fascinating formation. There are three center-backs, with two attacking wing-backs in Mauricio Isla and Jean Beausejour. Eduardo Vargas and the fantastic Alexis Sanchez play as wide-forwards, with Arturo Vidal powering forward from midfield through the middle. The emphasis from Sampaoli is enormous width - their game is all about firing quick balls out to the flanks and stretching teams all over the pitch.

Chile are the big 2/5 favorites with Australia out at 5/1 and a draw at 7/2. The bet I like here is over 2.5 goals at 21/20 - Australia's defense has a huge job dealing with Chile's vast array of attacking options, and I think they'll struggle.

Top Bet: Over 2.5 goals at 21/20

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 13

Spain vs. Netherlands Betting Preview and Pick
By: Phil Kitromilides
Goal.com   

Spain begin this World Cup in the same way they ended the previous tournament; with a game against the Netherlands.

The final of the 2010 competition in South Africa is imprinted on the brain of every fan of La Rojas as Andres Iniesta's extra-time winner gave them the title for the first time ever, yet four years and another European Championship later, the holders are far from the favorites to retain their World Cup crown.

Indeed Brazil, Argentina and Germany are all ahead of them on Las Vegas futures boards, although that might have something to do with the tricky looking group that Vicente Del Bosque's men are in, with Netherlands and Chile set to provide stern opposition for the defending champions.

Nevertheless, Spain are the clear favorites to claim a victory in their opening game, offered at -115 at William Hill US, with the Dutch available at +360 and the draw priced at +235.

As their last meeting was, this should be an extremely tight game, and while Spain have the better starting 11, they still do not have a clear idea how they will play up front.

Cesc Fabregas is likely to start in the false nine position (a center forward playing more like a midfielder), and while on occasions this has proved fruitful, it leaves La Rojas at times devoid of a killer edge up front.

A low-scoring game is highly likely, although only the most hardened of bettors will go UNDER the 2 goal total posted in Las Vegas.

That number may come as a surprise given how many impressive attacking talents are going to be on the pitch in Salvador, but even though a tight game is predicted, we’d like to see better than +105 on the UNDER.

Instead a more attractive option could be backing the draw at half time, which is available at a better-than-even-money +105 at William Hill US.

Spain often take a while to break sides down, and particularly in the first game of a major tournament they may take a while to find their rhythm against high-caliber opposition.

Recent history is on the side of this bet too, Spain's first game of both Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup were both 0-0 at halftime.

The Dutch, meanwhile, have looked a little lackluster in their warm-up matches, and while they remain a threat, this is one of the weakest Dutch squads for a long while.

Backing a draw at halftime has paid out in each of Spain's last four matches, and allows bettors the chance to more than double their money.

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 13

Mexico vs. Cameroon Betting Preview and Pick
By: Al Hain-Cole
Goal.com

After Brazil’s high-profile opening game against Croatia, Group A underdogs Mexico and Cameroon fight it out for three points at Natal’s Arena das Dunas on Friday (12 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Despite qualifying for the competition via a continental playoff victory over New Zealand, Miguel Herrera’s men are +125 favorites at the LVH SuperBook to come out on top in their opening match.

With just seven wins in the last 21 matches to their name, the Indomitable Lions are +250 outsiders to secure only their second World Cup victory since 1990.

The North Americans have drawn twice against Nigeria within the past year, and you can get odds of +210 on them at the LVH playing out another stalemate against more African opposition here.

With Brazil and Croatia expected to dominate in a difficult group, both teams will view this match as their greatest opportunity to collect maximum points. Mexico can be backed at +125 to qualify from Group A, while Cameroon are the rank outsiders to make the knockout stages, priced at +400.

However, some underwhelming friendly performances in the build-up to the tournament suggest that neither side will come into this game in particularly confident spirits.

Having suffered consecutive friendly defeats against Portugal and Bosnia-Herzegovina prior to landing in Brazil, El Tri appear struggling to shake off the bad atmosphere that surrounded their stuttering qualification campaign as they head south.

Similarly, under some pressure, Volker Finke was forced to play down rumors of a players’ strike over bonus payments prior to landing in Brazil -- hardly ideal preparation for such a key encounter.

With this in mind, it would be a surprise if either team took to the field in particularly flowing form on Friday, when the pressure of the occasion is likely to guarantee a tense start to the match.

Considering the majority of goals have been scored after half-time in five of Cameroon’s last six matches and three of Mexico’s last four, odds of +105 seem to offer excellent value on that coming to pass once again in a nervous opening exchange. While this bet is not offered in Vegas, the first-half total is set at the LVH at a half-goal, with the UNDER priced at juicy +140.

The total for the game is 2 goals (OV -105, UN -125).

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 13

World Cup Game of the Day: Netherlands vs. Spain
By Covers.com

Netherlands vs. Spain (+450, -120, Draw +240)

The Netherlands and Spain are no strangers when it comes to World Cup competition as they prepare to square off Friday in their respective tournament openers. The Spaniards vanquished their Dutch counterparts four years ago on an extra-time goal from Andres Iniesta in one of the more thrilling World Cup finals in recent memory. The teams also combined for a World Cup championship-record 28 fouls, including 14 yellow cards.

Spain comes in as a prohibitive favorite, not only having prevailed in 2010 but as the two-time European champion. But the Spaniards should expect a major challenge from a Netherlands side that rolled through the qualifying stage, racking up 34 goals en route to a record of nine wins, zero losses and one draw. Spain was no slouch in its qualifying stage, posting six victories and two draws despite seeing many of its stars moving past their respective primes.

WORLD RANKINGS: Netherlands: No. 15, Spain: No. 1.

KEY INJURIES: Netherlands - MF Kevin Strootman is out with a torn ACL; F Robin van Persie is playing through a groin injury but says he'll be okay for the tournament. Spain - GK Victor Valdes was left off the club after injuring his knee in March; F Diego Costa says he has fully recovered from a hamstring injury.

WHAT THE SHARPS SAY: "We've got a rematch of the 2010 Final, and although Spain look less sharp then four years ago, they still remain a formidable opponent. The Dutch come into this game with a lot of confidence. They have made it clear they're not intimidated by 'La furia roja' and are confident they can get a result. Holland made it to the WC scoring a remarkable 34 goals while the Spaniards conceded a mere three goals in qualifying. This should be a great match-up." Covers Expert Footy Tipster

ABOUT THE NETHERLANDS: Things looked bleak after the Dutch dropped all three of their group matches to meekly bow out of Euro 2012. But fans breathed easy after the Netherlands ripped through qualifying, a stretch that included a pair of one-sided triumphs over Romania and an 8-1 evisceration of Hungary. Robben is joined by fellow national hero van Persie, while the emergence of Jonathan De Guzman and Bruno Martins-Indi should provide an infusion of young talent the Dutch need to compete.

ABOUT SPAIN: As expected, Iniesta will be the key to Spain's quest for a fourth straight major international championship. He was the man of the match in both the 2010 World Cup victory and the Euro 2012 triumph, and his creativity and versatility should give the Dutch fits. He'll be joined by a who's-who of international stars, including Xavi, Fernando Torres, Diego Costa, David Villa and Cesc Fabregas, who set up Iniesta's winning goal in the 116th minute of the last World Cup final.

TRENDS:

* The teams have met three times in the 21st Century, with the Netherlands owning a 2-1 edge.
* Spain has gone three games without allowing a goal, blanking Italy, Bolivia and El Salvador.
* Costa racked up 36 goals across all games for Atletico Madrid, La Liga champions.

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 13

Spain hits the field
By Sportsbook.ag

Group B: Spain vs. Netherlands

Sportsbook.ag Line
Spain -135, Netherlands +350, Tie +250
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals under -175/over +145

Group B play of the 2014 World Cup begins on Friday afternoon when Spain begins its defense of its 2010 World Cup title against the Netherlands, the team that fell one goal short of a World Cup four years ago.

Tipping world and double-European champions Spain to fail in Brazil has been all the rage since last year’s 0-3 Confederations Cup final loss to the hosts. However, their place as fourth favorites to win the World Cup again suggests that the bookies aren’t fully convinced that their era is over.

Vicente del Bosque's options have increased since La Roja's Euro 2012 victory, with defender Cesar Azpilicueta, midfielder Koke and Brazil-born striker Diego Costa barging their way into the coach's first-team thoughts. That emerging trio complements an uber-experienced core roster of winners who will not relinquish their hard-fought crown without a fight, and the mustachioed manager will be eager to avoid a repeat of Spain's 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the championship game in South Africa four years ago.

The Netherlands will draw inspiration from Switzerland's 1-0 defeat of Del Bosque's side in their opening fixture at World Cup 2010, but that was against a far less-medaled Spanish outfit with a heavy weight of expectation that they would fall short again on their shoulders.

Louis van Gaal's Oranje breezed through a particularly poor European qualifying Group D and have looked disconcertingly ordinary in several friendlies since, losing 2-0 to France and drawing against Colombia and Japan. They made the 2010 final in Johannesburg, losing 1-0 to Spain after extra-time, but their dreadful, pointless campaign at Euro 2012 indicated that the aging generation of Dutchmen are in decline.

Group A: Mexico vs. Cameroon

Sportsbook.ag Line
Mexico even money, Cameroon +260, Tie +240
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals Under -208/over +165

The 2014 World Cup continues on Friday afternoon when Mexico and Cameroon complete the opening round of Group A play.

After only just emerging from a shambolic Hexagonal qualifying campaign in which they won just 2-of-10 matches, this strife-torn Mexico outfit cannot be backed with any confidence to prosper in Brazil.

The Mexican Football Federation scrambled for the panic button during the Hex, releasing three different coaches from their duties between last September and October alone before placing 46-year-old Miguel Herrera in charge for the second chance play-off double header against New Zealand. Herrera's brave decision to ignore all non-Mexico-based players in favor of a roster comprised largely of his former Club America charges paid off with a 9-3 aggregate win over the All Whites. However, the coach has since abandoned that approach by recalling Manchester United's Javier Hernandez, scorer of five goals in his last 27 club appearances, and Giovani dos Santos of Spanish team Villarreal back into his striking ranks.

The return of seven European-based players risks creating factions within the camp, and a Cameroon side that won five and lost one of their eight qualifiers will know that only an opening-fixture win will do if they are to get past the group stage for the first time since 1990. The Indomitable Lions' 0-1 reverse against Japan in 2010 was the first time that they kicked off a World Cup campaign by losing in six participations.

Group B: Chile vs. Australia

Sportsbook.ag Line
Chile -277, Australia +750, Tie +367
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals Under -135/Over +105

Group B play of the 2014 World Cup continues on Friday afternoon when heavy underdog Australia tries to upset Chile.

It seems strange that Europe are the shortest-priced continent to produce the World Cup winners considering no country from outside South America lifted the trophy on the four prior occasions that the competition was held there. The host continent will be represented by Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador this time round, and the first five of that sextet all look capable of strong showings in familiar surroundings.

Chile would have hoped for friendlier Group B bedfellows than World Cup 2010 finalists Spain and the Netherlands, but an opening fixture against significantly weaker Australia should ensure that Jorge Sampaoli's side is brimming with confidence for its clash with champions Spain. Alexis Sanchez and company lost just two of their 14 games in 2013, earning excellent victories over Uruguay, Paraguay and England and claiming credible draws against Brazil, Spain and Colombia.

Finishing second – four points behind Japan – in an Asian qualifying group that also contained Jordan, Oman and Iraq will prove poor preparation for what Australia, who lost four of six fixtures between July 25, 2013 and May 25, 2014, are about to face. Crack Chile goal-getters Sanchez and Arturo Vidal have scored over 40 goals between them for club and country since last August, and Sampaoli's men conceded just three times across recent friendlies against fellow World Cup attendees England, Brazil, Costa Rica and Germany.


Check out more World Cup Odds & Props at Sportsbook.ag!

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