World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 20

World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 20

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

France vs. Switzerland

In a match between the two sides most heavily fancied to get out of Group E, Switzerland face France at the Arena Fonte Nova, in Salvador. Both teams won their first match, but while France had it easy in a 3-0 win against Honduras, Switzerland needed Admir Mehmedi’s last gasp winner to see off Ecuador. A win for either team would all but guarantee progress to the last 16.

France were one of the most impressive teams in the first round of matches as they weaved around some crunching, over-physical Honduran tackling to record a good 3-0 win. Karim Benzema looked very sharp, and was unlucky not to bag a hat-trick. The defence was untested, and the midfield trio of Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba worked well together, despite many similarities between the two players.

After years of being stereotyped as hard-working and organised, Switzerland’s squad in Brazil is rich in young, vibrant attacking talent. Their main man, Xherdan Shaqiri, is still only 22, but he now has lots of experience at the highest level of European football. Josip Drmic, Granit Xhaka and Ricardo Rodriguez are all highly promising for the future.

These two sides met in a turgid group stage encounter in 2006 that ended 0-0. Another draw is priced up at 29/10, with France leading the betting at 69/100. A Switzerland win, which would make them very likely to win the group with a match against Honduras to come, is at 7/2. The price on France looks a bit too short to me. While they are an excellent side, Switzerland are no mugs and France have a history of making things unnecessarily difficult in the group stages.

With both sides in good positions, there is a old chance of a nice, open game with plenty of goals. Switzerland’s strength is on the wings, and Mathieu Debuchy and Patrice Evra are not the best full-backs France have ever had. In Mathieu Valbuena, the French have a man capable of unlocking doors behind defences. France create lots of chances in lots of different ways. Over 2.5 goals looks a good shout at 91/100. For more ambitious punters, over 3.5 is quoted at 9/4

In the first goalscorer market, it is hard to ignore Real Madrid front-man Karim Benzema at 4/1. He scored 24 in 52 last season, and looks to have hit peak form for this World Cup. The finish for his second goal in the opening game was particularly impressive.

For Switzerland, Drmic will lead the line and is at 15/2. The 21-year old burst onto the scene with Nürnberg of the German Bundesliga this year, scoring 17. Shaqiri is slightly longer at 10/1, while attacking midfielder Xhaka is a 12/1 chance.

Top bet: Over 3.5 goals at 9/4

Costa Rica vs. Italy

Italy play Costa Rica in another match between two sides that won their opening fixtures. Italy edged past England 2-1, while Costa Rica caused a big shock by defeating Uruguay 3-1. A win for the Central American side against Italy would see them progress to the last 16. The game takes place at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife - a city near the equator. The humid conditions will suit Costa Rica more, and if they frustrate the Italians, they could find themselves within reach of another historic result.

Italy are the 51/100 favourites, with Costa Rica at 5/1 and a draw 15/4. Bookies are completely split on whether to expect goals or not, with both over 2.5 and under 2.5 at 87/100.

The bet I like here is Italy to win 2-0. The Azzurri have a history of grinding out unspectacular, but solid wins against lesser sides. They rarely thrash sides, but their defence is usually too strong to be exposed by weak sides. Italy know any win will be a huge result in their aim to win the group, and they will not feel under too much pressure to improve their goal-difference by a bigger win.

Top bet: Italy to win 2-0 at 5/1

Ecuador vs. Honduras

In the final game of the day Honduras meet Ecuador with both sides needing a win to keep hopes of qualifying for the last 16 in their own hands. Honduras seemed more intent on kicking lumps out of their opponents than actually trying to win the game as they went down 3-0 against France with 10 men. Ecuador, having taken the lead, went down 2-1 to Switzerland, with the Swiss winner coming with virtually the last kick (or head) of the game.

This is one match that would be tempting to write off as a 0-0, but I think Ecuador are value to get a win at 61/100. Honduras are dreadful going forward, and in wingers Antonio Valencia and Jefferson Montero, Ecuador have the tools to hurt the Honduran back line. Honduras are 9/2 to win, with a draw 63/20.

Ecuador’s defense is not the best, but Honduras have just looked so unimaginative going forward that it is impossible to ignore the 27/20 available on them not scoring. Their over-physical approach may well yield another red card, forcing them into their shell and curbing their attacking threat even more.

Top bet: Ecuador to keep a clean sheet at 27/20

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 20

France vs. Switzerland Betting Preview and Pick
By: Al Hain-Cole
Goal.com

After collecting maximum points in their respective World Cup openers, France and Switzerland come face to face in Salvador on Friday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN), hoping to put one foot in the knockout stages.

A convincing 3-0 victory over Honduras in their first game earned Laurent Blanc’s men numerous impressed admirers, and they are -140 favorites with the LVH SuperBook to increase the hype with another win here.

Meanwhile, Switzerland left it late to secure a dramatic 2-1 triumph against Ecuador and are 4-to-1 longshots to make more headlines by coming out on top against their neighbors.

Each of the last three meetings between the sides have resulted in draws, and you can get odds of +275 on them sharing the spoils once again this time out.

William Hill U.S. is offering props on this game, which can be viewed in the document below.

It’s no wonder that Haris Seferovic’s last-minute winner in Brasilia was celebrated so jubilantly by his teammates, as that result leaves the Swiss in an extremely strong position to progress.

With only an unimpressive Honduras side to overcome in their final group game, Ottmar Hitzfeld will know that a point vs. France will probably prove enough to put one foot in the knockout stages regardless of Ecuador’s result later on in the evening.

With this in mind, the canny German boss is unlikely to leave much to chance as they look to frustrate their opponents and try to take advantage of the strong counter-attacking ability that was devastatingly effective last match.

Having memorably masterminded a 1-0 smash-and-grab victory over Spain at the last World Cup, the former Bayern Munich boss is more than capable of orchestrating a similarly defensive performance with a back four that kept clean sheets in seven of their 10 qualifiers on the road to Brazil.

Considering Les Bleus have kept clean sheets in nine of their last 12 matches, odds of -110 at CG Technologies look very tempting on UNDER 2.5 goals being scored in an edgy match, in a bet that would have paid out in 10 of Switzerland’s last 13 competitive fixtures.

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 20

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

After coming out on top in their respective World Cup openers, Italy and Costa Rica will be hoping to put one foot in the last 16 when they come face to face in Recife on Friday (12 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Having secured an important 2-1 victory against England, Cesare Prandelli's men are clear -210 favorites with the LVH SuperBook to collect maximum points here. For those willing to lay a goal, Italy is available at -120.

Los Ticos defied their label as Group D whipping-boys by running out 3-1 winners against Uruguay in their first match but are considerable +600 underdogs to pull off another shock against the four-time world champions. With the full goal cushion,Costa Rica is even money.

The Central Americans have only ever drawn one fixture at the World Cup finals but you can get odds of +315 on them picking up a valuable point this time out.

After labeling the shock result against Uruguay an "alarm bell", Azzurri midfielder Daniele De Rossi insists that this is his side's "most dangerous" fixture due partly to an early kick-off that sees them take to the field at 1:00 PM local time.

The Roma midfielder pinpointed the heat as a major factor in Italy's sloppy defensive display during last summer's 4-3 Confederations Cup victory over Japan in Recife and it would be no surprise should they look less than solid once again on their return to the Arena Pernambuco.

With just one clean sheet to their name in the last 10 matches, the Italians have looked less than convincing at the back recently, even conceding to a modest Luxembourg team in their final warm-up match on home soil.

Jorge Luis Pinto's men will therefore come into the match with some confidence of showing the same attacking intent that earned them three goals last time out, meaning that the even money offering on the OVER 2.5 goals offers solid value.

That bet would have paid out in Italy's last four competitive matches, as well as Costa Rica's previous five at this competition.

Goal.com best bet: OVER 2.5 goals

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 20

Honduras vs. Ecuador Betting Preview and Pick
By: Phil Kitromilides
Goal.com

Both Honduras and Ecuador lost their respective opening World Cup matches, but in extremely different circumstances.

While Luis Fernando Suarez's men were utterly outclassed by France in a 3-0 defeat, La Tri were good value for at least a draw against Switzerland before conceding a goal with practically the final touch of the game to lose 2-1.

Defeat, therefore, will mean elimination, and Ecuador are the clear favorites to triumph with the LVH SuperBook pricing them at -165 for the win, while Honduras are offered at +450, and the draw available at odds of 3-to-1. ESPN has coverage of the game, which kicks off at 6 p.m. ET Friday.

The total is 2.5 goals, with the OVER priced as the small favorite at -115 and the UNDER at -105.

One bet stands out clearly, however, in this fixture, and that is backing over 4.5 cards at 9-to-10, which can be found outside of Las Vegas.

Honduras have shown themselves to be one of the most aggressive teams in the tournament and even before the competition began, attracted criticism for their overly rugged approach in the friendly they played against England in the United States.

Furthermore, their physical nature seems to rub off on their opponents, who in turn get wound up, leading to – more often than not – flare-ups on the pitch.

Ecuador are a better team than Honduras and should beat them – and that could lead to frustration, which in turn should lead to cards.

This bet has easily paid out in each of Honduras' last two games, while there were two red cards when these two teams met in a friendly back in November.

There may well be one or two scores to settle here and backing at least five cards in the game should be a nailed on selection for punters to profit from.

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Re: World Cup Betting News and Notes Friday, June 20

World Cup Game of the Day: Switzerland vs. France
By Covers.com

Switzerland vs. France (+375, -118, Draw +260)

Switzerland and France face off Friday afternoon in a World Cup Group E match in Salvador, with the winner likely booking a spot in the second round. The Swiss earned a dramatic 2-1 victory over Ecuador in their tournament opener on Haris Seferovic's incredible header in the 93rd minute. They should expect a much stiffer challenge in their second match of the competition, facing a formidable French squad that rolled to a 3-0 triumph over Honduras.

It didn't take long for the French side to put its disastrous 2010 showing behind it, exhibiting an offensive flair against the overmatched Hondurans that was missing under Raymond Domenech's guidance four years ago. That should be a significant concern to the upstart Swiss, who looked strong in their opener against a game Ecuadorian side but showed cracks in the defense. France leads the all-time series 15-12, with the teams drawing nine times.

WORLD RANKINGS: Switzerland: No. 6; France: No. 17.

INJURY REPORT: Switzerland: None; France: None.

WHAT THE BOOKS SAY: "The top two teams in Group E, France and Switzerland, come into this match looking to lay claim to the top spot in the group. France is the favorite to win the group at (-300) and Switzerland sit at (+175). For this match, France is the favorite and is seeing 59 percent of the action and the over on the 2.5-goal total is seeing 96 percent of the action, with the trend of overs in this tournament so far." Michael Stewart, CarbonSports.ag.

ABOUT SWITZERLAND: Defensive struggles versus Ecuador has coach Ottmar Hitzfeld concerned, but not every member of the team is worried about the relentless French attack. Seferovic, in particular, believes that France's approach may actually serve as a hindrance, telling reporters: "There will surely be more space (than versus Ecuador) because the French like to play more. They are strong in attack, but it may be their weakness to want to attack too much." Seferovic may be moved into the starting XI after scoring as a substitute against Ecuador.

ABOUT FRANCE: Coach Didier Deschamps is reportedly leaning toward using the same starting lineup that humbled Honduras, led by Karim Benzema's two-goal performance. The French will be hoping for a less physical match Friday than the one they played in their opener, when seven yellow cards and one red card - to Honduras' Wilson Palacios - were handed out. France will also be looking to break out early and hold on late against a Swiss side that has traditionally been a dangerous second-half squad.

TRENDS:

* The teams have met just once at the World Cup, playing to a 0-0 draw in their 2006 opener.
* France has 99 goals in World Cup history, fifth all-time behind Brazil, Germany, Italy and Argentina.
* Switzerland hasn't defeated France since earning a 2-1 win in a friendly at Lausanne back on May 27, 1992.
* Eight of Switzerland's previous 10 World Cup goals have come in the second half.

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