World Cup Betting News and Notes Thursday, June 19

World Cup Betting News and Notes Thursday, June 19

Thursday's WCup Tips
By Toby Maxtone-Smith
VegasInsider.com

Uruguay vs. England

Uruguay face England in Thursday’s most important World Cup match at the Arena São Paulo. Both teams lost their opening group matches, but in very different circumstances. While England came out of an unlucky 2-1 defeat to Italy with some credit, there was some serious soul-searching to be done in the Uruguayan camp as the two-time champions went down 3-1 to Costa Rica.

Italy look very likely to qualify, and unless Costa Rica prove that their victory over Uruguay was no flash in the pan, this game could go a long way to deciding who follows Italy to the knockout stages. A defeat would be almost fatal. A draw would be a better result for Roy Hodgsons’s England side - they would back themselves to get a better result against Costa Rica than Uruguay do against Italy (assuming Italy beat Costa Rica on Friday).

The big team news is that Luis Suarez returns for Uruguay. He terrorised the English Premier League last year and will be the key if the South Americans are to unlock the English defence. For England, the main question comes over the role of Wayne Rooney. Will he play through the middle, or on the left. Will he play at all?

England’s good performance against Uruguay has seen them backed into 91/100 favourites with Sportsbook.ag, but this seems too short against a side that, whatever its faults, has good tournament experience. Uruguay are 14/5 with a draw chalked up at 27/10.

Traditionally, both these teams have had their strength in defence, but I’d question whether that is the case this year. England creative lots of chances against Italy, and they have a less formidable defence than at most past tournaments, with full-backs Glen Johnson and Leighton Baines particularly suspect defensively.

Likewise Uruguay aren’t great at the back. Diego Godin had a fine season with Atletico Madrid, but his partner is 33 year-old Diego Lugano. Never the quickest, Lugano’s lack of pace has now become a severe problem. It forces Uruguay to sit very deep and play too uncreative destroyers in central-midfield, both of whom have disciplinary problems. Daniel Sturridge, who leads the England attack, is very quick and can certainly exploit this lack of pace. I’m very keen on over 2.5 goals at 19/20.

The joint leaders of the First Goalscorer market are Liverpool duo Sturridge and Suarez, both at 4/1. With superior service and without a strike partner to take half his chances, Sturridge looks a better shout at the prices. Raheem Sterling, who almost broke the deadlock for England against Italy and was their outstanding player, is now as short as 7/1 to score first. Rickie Lambert will be England’s Plan B - it is easy to foresee him scoring late on.

Top Bet: Over 2.5 goals - 27/10

Colombia vs. Ivory Coast

In the first game of the day, Colombia meet Ivory Coast. Having been backed from 150/1 three years ago into around 25/1 now, Colombia are tipped by many to do well in Brazil. They were very convincing in a 3-0 win against a limited Greece side, and they are 11/10 favourites to all but seal qualification with a win in Brasília. Ivory Coast came from behind to beat Japan 2-1 in their first game, putting them in a great position to qualify.

Ivory Coast are available at 23/10 here, and a draw is 5/2, but I’d be inclined to get on Colombia. They have the attacking weapons to open up the ageing Ivorian defence. Juan Cuadrado was excellent on the wing against Greece, while James Rodriguez in behind Teofilo Gutierrez both have lots of goals in them.

In Kolo Touré and Sol Bamba, Ivory Coast have a defence that is vulnerable to pace, and Colombia certainly have that.

Top Bet: Colombia to win at 11/10

Greece vs. Japan

In a real ‘do or die’ game in Natal, both Japan and Greece know that a defeat is likely to end their participation at the World Cup, while a draw would not be of much more help. This is a must-win. Japan played some good stuff in their 2-1 defeat to Ivory Coast, but as so often, they were let down in both penalty areas. Their finishing wasn’t good enough, and their defending was naive. Everywhere else, they were excellent.

Greece were totally outplayed in a 3-0 defeat to Colombia in a match they did not for one moment look like getting anything out of. There is a chronic lack of creative players in their team, although their defence is not the worst.

Japan should win this one. They are the 11/10 favourites and rightfully so. Greece are at 11/4 with a draw at 5/2. While Greece’s centre-backs are good, their two full-backs (particularly left-back Jose Holebas) often get caught far too high up the field. Japan have the pace and the quick passing to exploit that. Shinji Okazaki, who can play both wide right and up front, looks a good pick for first goalscorer at 6/1. He has scored 38 in 76 goals, and has recently become the regular goalscorer Japan have craved.

Top Bets: Japan to win at 11/10, Shinji Okazaki to score first at 6/1

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Thursday, June 19

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

England vs. Uruguay (+120, +260, Draw +240)

Luis Suarez will be back in the lineup - and back in the spotlight - as Uruguay looks to keep its World Cup hopes alive Thursday with a pivotal Group D matchup with England. Suarez missed Uruguay's tournament opener as he continues to recover from a knee injury, and was forced to watch his side put together a dismal effort in a stunning 3-1 loss to Costa Rica. The English were considerably stronger in defeat, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Italians.

With a loss by either team effectively knocking them out of the competition, Suarez will need to show he is fit following a month-long injury absence. Thursday's opponent knows him well; six of his Liverpool teammates will dress for England, and will be tasked with slowing down a talent that scored 31 goals for the Premier League runner-up. Neither team defended well in its opening match, and both spent plenty of time in the video room afterward.

WORLD RANKINGS: England: No. 10; Uruguay: No. 7.

INJURY REPORT: England: MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, recovering from a knee injury, practiced this week and is expected to return to the lineup; Uruguay: D Diego Lugano will miss the game with a knee injury; F Luis Suarez missed the opener with a knee injury but has been declared fit to face England; D Maxi Periera earned a red card against Costa Rica and will not play in the final two group stage games.

WHAT THE BOOKS SAY: "Both of these teams are coming off opening match losses, with the loser of this match surely eliminated from the tournament. England is the favorite in this match is (+600) to win Group D and (-110) to qualify for the next round. At (+110) England is seeing 86 percent of the action in this match against Uruguay while with the trend of overs hitting so far, the over 2.5 goal total is seeing 99 percent of the action." Michael Stewart, CarbonSports.ag.

ABOUT ENGLAND: After much fussing and hand-wringing, it appears Roy Hodgson is prepared to put Wayne Rooney back where he is most comfortable. Rooney played the opener on the flank but, while he did set up Sturridge's goal against Italy, he didn't generate much on his own and is still looking for his first career World Cup tally. Hodgson had his players practice penalty kicks with no goalkeeper present, using a special net with target holes the players had to hit.

ABOUT URUGUAY: While Suarez's return should buoy Uruguayan spirits - the star striker appeared comfortable during passing and dribbling drills with Forlan - but the loss of a pair of key defenders could cause problems for the South American side. Suarez believes his familiarity with several of the England players could prove valuable. "England have really good players who I played against all year," Suarez told reporters. "I know their defenders, the strikers and the coach as well."

TRENDS:

* Uruguay has four wins, three losses and three draws in their 10 previous meetings.
* England hasn't failed to reach the second stage at the World Cup since 1958.
* Just four of England's 22 shots against Italy came from inside the box.
* Forlan and Edinson Cavani had seven of Uruguay's nine shots in the opener.

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

After coming away empty-handed from their respective opening World Cup clashes, Uruguay and England are under major pressure to collect maximum points when they come face to face in Sao Paulo on Thursday (3 p.m ET, ESPN).

Roy Hodgson’s men drew plenty of plaudits but no points against Italy but are marginal +110 favorites at the LVH SuperBook to record a priceless victory this time out.

Meanwhile, La Celeste were extremely disappointing in slipping to a 3-1 defeat against Group D underdogs Costa Rica and are available at +250 odds to bounce back by coming out on top here.

The Three Lions actually shared a 0-0 draw with these opponents on their way to winning the competition back in 1966, and you can get odds of +245 on them cancelling each other out once again almost 50 years on.

Undoubtedly the most encouraging aspect of England’s opener was their lively attacking play, with the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling at times looking capable of reproducing the form that saw them light up the Premier League for Liverpool last season.

Having seemingly shaken off his traditionally defensive mentality against the Italians, Hodgson appears certain to attack from the off once again against a team that looked ragged against modest opposition in their opener.

However, Luis Suarez’s claim that he is 100 percent fit to start on Thursday will have been ominously received by an English backline that conceded twice against a far less star-studded Ecuadorian attack recently.

With this in mind, odds of-125 at William Hill U.S. are surely worth backing on both teams finding the net when they take on more South American opposition, in a repeat of their respective opening matches (a full list of props offered at William Hill U.S. for this game is below).

Realistically though, it will take more than a semi-fit Suarez to resolve all of the issues Oscar Tabarez bore witness to during his side’s abject display against Costa Rica, meaning England are surely worth backing at 10-to-3 odds to win while both teams score, which can be found outside of Las Vegas.

OVER the 2.5 goal total can be backed at even money at William Hill U.S.

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Thursday, June 19

Colombia vs. Ivory Coast Betting Preview and Pick
By: Hugh Wilson
Goal.com

Colombia and Ivory Coast both recorded impressive wins in their first group matches. Whereas Jose Pekerman's side dispatched Greece 3-0, Didier Drogba and Co. came from behind to beat Japan 2-1. With six points likely to be good enough to secure qualification into the next round, expect both these sides to go for the win.

Ivory Coast showed a lot of character to come back against Japan after starting the game as underdogs. That was only their third victory in eight matches, with Sabri Lamouchi's side really struggling to put a string of results together. The LVH SuperBook prices them at +255 to win.

Colombia were tipped by many before the finals to do well and progress through this group. Pekerman's men finished above Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador to qualify second behind Argentina in the South American qualification.

The South Americans have an impressive side that cruised past Greece, with goals from Pablo Armero, Teofilo Gutierrez and James Rodriguez. The LVH prices them at +105 favorites to win again, with the same sports book pricing the draw at +220.

With Colombia unbeaten in their last eight matches, winning half of those games, it is tempting to back them to win this match outright but, with Ivory Coast also boasting a strong squad and defying the odds against Japan, it's worth avoiding that wager.

Instead, it's worth backing both sides to score at a fantastic 4-to-5 outside of Las Vegas.

This price won't stay around for long when you consider that it landed in 12 of Ivory Coast's last 13 matches. With Colombia netting an average of two goals per game in their last eight fixtures, expect this match to go the way of many this World Cup and see plenty of goals.

Applying the same logic, bettors can side with OVER the 2.5 goal total posted at the LVH for +115.

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Thursday, June 19

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

Following defeat against Ivory Coast and Colombia, respectively, in their opening group games, Japan and Greece meet in Natal on Thursday night (6 p.m. ET, ESPN) knowing that victory is essential to their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup.

Alberto Zaccheroni’s men squandered a 1-0 lead as they lost 2-1 against the African side on Saturday, but the Asian champions are favorites to bounce back by claiming three points from their clash with the 2004 European champions, with the LVH SuperBook offering +115 odds for a Japanese win.

Greece lost 3-0 to Colombia last Saturday, and Fernando Santos’ side will need a significantly better performance here if they are to stand any chance of keeping their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.

The SuperBook is offering chunky +240 odds for a Greece victory in Natal, while the same book has the draw priced at the same +240 number.

Keisuke Honda broke the deadlock for Japan in their defeat against Ivory Coast, and the Milan midfielder is likely to be a key protagonist for Zaccheroni’s charges once again when they face Santos' men.

The 28-year-old has notched three goals in his last two appearances for the Asian champions, and Honda looks to be a solid selection at a juicy 17-to-10, which can be found outside of Las Vegas, to score at any time against Greece, while the Milan star opening the scoring is priced at 5-to-1.

Theofanis Gekas came closest to finding the net for Greece against Colombia with a second-half header that came back off the crossbar, and the veteran front man can be backed at a chunky 8-to-1 to open the scoring in Natal.

Greece, though, have drawn a blank in four of their last five matches and, with a tight encounter anticipated when these two sides meet, it is little surprise that Las Vegas oddsmakers have UNDER 2.5 goals priced at -140 for Thursday’s match.

Better value lies in backing Japan’s star man – Honda – to make his mark against Greece, and bettors should snap up the juicy 17-to-10 odds for the 28-year-old midfielder to find the net at any time on Thursday.

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