World Cup Betting News and Notes Saturday, June 14

World Cup Betting News and Notes Saturday, June 14

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

England vs. Italy

England face Italy in what is surely the game of the day in Group D of the World Cup on Saturday. These two sides have five World Cups between them and have two of the world’s most famous and history national leagues. However neither national team is among the front-runners to win the World Cup, with England at 28/1 and Italy quoted at 20/1, both with Sportsbook.ag.

This group, with Uruguay and Costa Rica the other two teams represented, looks very likely to be a ‘two from three’ scenario, with few expecting Costa Rica to challenge the ‘big three’. This game will be played in the steamy heat of Manaus, albeit at nighttime when the heat will be less oppressive. The pitch does not look the best, and this could have an effect, particularly on Italy who are more comfortable on the ball than England.

Both teams have had dodgy pre-tournament qualifiers, with Italy’s 1-1 draw with Luxembourg particularly embarrassing, but it is dubious how important these matches are, and I would not advise paying too much attention to them. The World Cup is about who can perform on the big stage, and warm-up matches where players’ main concern is avoiding injury are certainly not that big stage.

Bookmakers have this down as a real low-scorer. However in the four games so far, we have seen an incredible 15 goals - the traditional slow start to the tournament has not happened at all with every team going for it. What a breath of fresh air. Italy are the slight favourites at 147/100, with England at 9/5 and the draw as short as 197/100.

It’s very short indeed, but I fancy the draw here. The two sides played out a 0-0 in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 (Italy went through on penalties), and there seems to be a lack of real magic in the final third from either team, particularly if Mario Balotelli has one of his off-days. In the end, this group may come down to who beats Costa Rica by the most goals, and a draw would be a decent result for both sides. Under 1.5 goals is as short as 13/10, illustrating how cagey the match is expected to be.

In the goalscorer markets, Mario Balotelli is at 6/1, but the leader in the market is Andrea Pirlo. Although he does take set-pieces and penalties, he is unlikely to threaten much from open play and this price seems based more on reputation that facts.

For England, Daniel Sturridge leads the line and is a 7/1 shot, but his finishing was poor in the warm-up games, despite a clinical season at Liverpool. Wayne Rooney is a continual underperformer at major tournaments and should be avoided at 9/1.

Top Bet: Draw at 197/100

Uruguay vs. Costa Rica

The other game in this group sees Uruguay, the winners the last time Brazil hosted the World Cup, in 1950, face group outsiders Costa Rica. Uruguay will see this game as a great chance to take the initiative in this group with both or one of their main rivals set to slip up. Three years ago, they were undoubtedly South America’s best team after they won the 2011 Copa America, but since then it has gone downhill for them and they needed a play-off victory against Jordan to secure a place in Brazil.

They are as short as 19/50 to win this game. Costa Rica are not the worst side at the tournament, but they stand very little chance of winning any of their games, and their main aim will be to frustrate. A draw is at 7/2 with a Costa Rica win an 11/2 chance.

The two bets I like here are a 2-0 Uruguay win - they rarely thrash teams but have great tournament know-how and will put in a professional performance. This is 9/2. The other one is for Joel Campbell, Costa Rica’s lightning-quick forward, to score. The Arsenal loanee is Costa Rica’s star player and has the quality to get in behind a slow Uruguay defence. If anyone will score for Costa Rica, it will be him. At 4/1 it’s worth a punt.

Top Bets: Uruguay to win 2-0 at 9/2, Joel Campbell to score anytime at 4/1

Greece vs. Colombia

The first game of the day sees Colombia take on Greece at the Estadio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte. Colombia are the South American equivalent of Belgium - a team that hasn’t qualified for the World Cup for a long time, but has suddenly found themselves blessed with a golden generation of players, particularly in attacking positions. Greece, meanwhile, will be what they always are: stubborn, defensive, and able to cause a shock.

Colombia are the big 71/100 favourites, but I think the 13/5 draw makes great appeal. Greece only conceded four goals in ten matches of qualifying, and Colombia’s ability to stick the ball in the back of the net will be greatly diminished with Falcao’s injury, even though it means Colombia will play five in midfield which suits their players better.

Greece are devoid of any real creativity, but in Kostas Manolas and (breathe in) Sokratis Papastathopoulos they have two fine centre-backs. They will rely on Colombia committing too many men forward and breaking into space. Over 2.5 goals is 8/5, with the under option quoted at 1/2.

Top Bet: Draw at 13/5

Japan vs. Ivory Coast

The last game of the day sees Ivory Coast and Japan meet in Recife at the Arena Pernambuco. Both teams have been among the best in their continent for several years now. Japan have one of the most underrated midfields in the World Cup, with Shinji Kagawa, Yasuhito Endo and Keisuke Honda all capable of dominating the midfield. In Shinji Okazaki the Japanese have finally found a regular goalscorer.

This is the last chance for the Ivory Coast team of Didier Drogba and Yaya Touré to really make a splash at the World Cup after group stage exits in 2006 and 2010. However their team is a collection of individuals with little cohesion between the players, while the defence is old and creaking. While Yaya Touré had a great season at club level, for the national team he is often played out of position

The bookies have got the prices a bit wrong here, for me. I’m all over Japan at 7/4 - they have a great team ethic to go with their individual quality, and I think they could be one of the real surprise packages in Brazil. Ivory Coast are far too short to touch at 29/20 with the draw at 53/25.

Top Bet: Japan at 7/4

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Saturday, June 14

World Cup Game of the Day: England vs. Italy
By Covers.com

England vs. Italy (-108, +101, DRAW +207)

If the English soccer team hopes to end a 48-year World Cup title drought, it will need to be sharp right from the get-go as it faces off against Italy on Saturday in the tournament opener for both teams. England stumbled early in qualifying but pulled out victories over Montenegro and Poland to ease fans' concerns heading into the World Cup. The English side was pummelled 4-1 by Germany in the round of sixteen at the previous tournament.

Up first in Brazil is a sensational Italy side that will be seeking its fifth World Cup championship. The Italians have qualified for the tournament every four years since 1962, and had absolutely no trouble this time around with an undefeated showing in the qualifying round. Italy would love nothing more than to erase the memory of its dismal showing in 2010, when it was sent home early after drawing Paraguay and New Zealand and losing to Slovakia.

WORLD RANKINGS: England: No. 10; Italy: No. 9

INJURY REPORT: England: F Danny Walbeck is dealing with a thigh injury and is considered questionable for the match; F Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injured his knee in Wednesday's friendly with Ecuador and is questionable for Saturday. Italy: D Mattia De Sciglio has a strained thigh and will miss the game against England; MF Riccardo Montolivo suffered a broken leg against Ireland earlier this month and will miss the tournament.

WHAT THE SHARPS SAY: "England come into this game as 2/1 underdogs against the Azzurri with the last two meetings between the sides ending in a draw, We expect a conservative approach from both teams tomorrow,  the Tropical heat in Manaus will also play a key role." - Covers Experts' Footy Tipster

WHAT THE BOOKS SAY: "Always one of the favorites to win the World Cup at (+2,000) and (+160) to win Group D, Italy opens the tournament against a difficult opponent in England. We have seen solid two-way action leading up to this game and 98 percent of the action on the Over on the 1.5-goal total." - Michael Stewart, CarbonSports.ag.

ABOUT ENGLAND: Roy Hodgson's club faces unusually low expectations as veterans move out and a host of young players take over. With an eye toward future tournaments, the English hope their youthful core - led by Raheem Stirling and Daniel Sturrige of Liverpool and Ross Barkley of Everton - will gain some valuable experience against one of the toughest groups in the tournament. England will be looking to exact revenge after being knocked out of Euro 2012 by the Italians, though it did prevail 2-1 in a friendly back in August 2012.

ABOUT ITALY: One of the most experienced teams in the tournament, the Azzurri won't be intimidated by the grand international stage. Superstars Mario Balotelli, Andreqa Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon highlight a veteran squad that features several high-level club team pairings - creating a comfort level that should give Italy a decided advantage over other rosters. The Italians have yet to win in 2014, dropping a 1-0 decision to world No. 1 Spain before settling for draws with Ireland in May and Luxembourg earlier this month.

TRENDS:

* Italy and England last faced off at a World Cup in 1990, with the Italians prevailing 2-1 in the third-place game.
* The Italians own a slim 9-8-7 edge in the all-time series.
* The average age of the English side is 26, the lowest such total since 1958.

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Saturday, June 14

Colombia vs. Greece Betting Preview and Pick
By: William Duncan
Goal.com 

One of the so-called dark horses for World Cup 2014 open their campaign on Saturday when Colombia take on 2004 European champions Greece in their first Group C fixture (12 p.m. ET, ABC).

Jose Pekerman’s men will certainly come into the competition in confident mood, having lost just one of their last 12 matches, although the loss of key striker Radamel Falcao is a massive blow for the South Americans.

Despite the absence of the Monaco star, Colombia are considered favorites to get their campaign off to a winning start and can be backed at -125 at the LVH SuperBook to get the better of Greece.

Fernando Santos' side defeated Romania 4-2 in a playoff to reach Brazil and, given their vast experience in major tournaments, they are likely to attract plenty of support at a chunky +425 to get the better of the South Americans. The draw can be backed at +225 with the same Las Vegas sports book.

More World Cup betting information: Goal.com has you covered

Colombia have found the net in 10 of their last 11 matches, but it is worth noting that Greece conceded just four goals in 10 group matches on the road to Rio de Janeiro and they will be keen to keep things tight on Saturday.

The total is set at 2 goals in Las Vegas, with the UNDER the -125 favorite at the LVH and -120 at William Hill.

Bettors are instead advised to keep things simple, and the LVH’s -125 odds for Colombia to claim all three points from this Group C encounter represent sufficient value to be worthy of support here.

Editor's note: AccuScore, which uses a quantitative approach to handicapping, does not agree on that there's value with Colombia on Saturday.

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Saturday, June 14

Italy vs. England Betting Preview and Pick
By: Al Hain-Cole
Goal.com

Revenge is there for the taking when England take on Italy in a high-profile World Cup clash on Saturday (6 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Having crashed out of Euro 2012 on penalties against these opponents, Roy Hodgson’s side are 2-to-1 underdogs at William Hill and the LVH SuperBook to make amends with a victory that would set them up perfectly for one of the the so-called ‘Groups of Death’.

Despite winning just one of their last eight games coming into the tournament, the Azzurri are +160 favorites to come out on top when it matters in Manaus.

The sides have recorded draws in each of their last two competitive meetings, and you can get 2-to-1 odds on them canceling each other out once again here.

More World Cup betting information: Goal.com has you covered

While they may only have lost on penalties, the Three Lions were thoroughly outclassed when these sides met at the European Championships two years ago.

So defensive were Hodgson’s tactics that evening that his side’s most successful passing move was a long ball from goalkeeper Joe Hart to second-half substitute Andy Carroll, with the possession statistics weighed heavily in the Italians’ favor and England could have few complaints about the eventual result.

However, the former West Brom and Liverpool boss is unlikely to take such a negative approach this time out considering their opponents’ evident defensive frailty and the influx of talented attacking players now at his disposal.

With the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling all joining the squad after extremely successful seasons for their clubs, the English attack should prove too hot to handle for a backline that has kept just one clean sheet in their last nine.

Having conceded at least twice against Denmark, Armenia, Nigeria and Fluminense in that period, Cesare Prandelli’s side are unlikely to shut out a frontline that has been renewed with youthful vigour since 2012.

If England’s unconvincing defending in the 2-2 draw against Ecuador is anything to go by, albeit there are likely to be some changes in personnel, odds of +130 are certainly not to be missed on both sides finding the net for the eighth time in 10 matches featuring an adventurous Italy team.

The same way of thinking suggests playing OVER the total of 2 goals at +110 warrants consideration.

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