Jun 16, 2018
Matchday 4 - Best Bets
World Cup Betting Results
World Cup: Matchday 4 Betting Preview
Group E & F Best Bets
Sunday, June 17
Costa Rica vs. Serbia (FOX, 8:00 a.m. ET)
Group D is a section with one obvious favourite to win it in Brazil, one fairly long outsider in Costa Rica, and two European teams who look very hard to split in Serbia and Switzerland.
Serbia were very impressive in qualifying, bullying their reasonably strong group opponents. But as so often happens with them, their pre-tournament preparations have been disruptive, with a change of coach and an overhaul of their style, switching from three at the back to four at the back in order to fit in the supremely gifted Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
At previous tournaments Serbia just have not got going. But they have the perfect opening game against the group’s weakest team. Should they see off Costa Rica, they may forget any rumbling discontent in the squad and seize their chance.
Costa Rica are unlikely to repeat their exploits of 2014. The squad remains similar, but simply older - and expectations are higher. Their wing-backs, so crucial to their success in Brazil, have also declined.
Serbia look good value here at 19/20 to steal a march on their likely group rivals in Switzerland.
Prediction: Serbia 2-0 Costa Rica
Top Bet: Serbia to win at 19/20
Brazil vs. Switzerland (FS1, 2:00 p.m. ET)
World Cup favourites Brazil open their tournament with a match against an often underrated Switzerland side who had a very good record in qualifying.
There are a few reasons to believe this might be tricky for Brazil. If Switzerland adopt a similar high-pressing system to Croatia’s approach in the recent friendly at Anfield, the Seleção may find that they struggle to get the ball to their ultra-talented front men.
However they should come through this. Switzerland lack a natural goalscorer, and if Brazil take an early lead - and they will start right on the front foot - then it is easy to see them being picked off just as they were during their first game of the last World Cup, a 5-1 loss to France.
Brazil’s attack steals the headlines, but Tite’s men conceded just 11 in 18 South American qualifiers. At centre-back is the PSG pairing of Thiago Silva and Marquinhos, while Daniel Alves’s injury may actually help their balance as a steady right-back comes in to complement Marcelo on the left.
Prediction: Brazil 3-0 Switzerland
Top Bet: Brazil to win to nil at 6/5
Germany vs. Mexico (FS1, 11:00 a.m. ET)
You can never write off the Germans, but it may pay to be sceptical of Joachim Löw’s men in what looks like a difficult opening World Cup match against Mexico.
Mexico’s last five tournaments have all panned out the same way: they qualify from the group and then fail to get any further. But Juan Carlos Osorio’s side have only lost two of their last 15 World Cup group games.
There are a few reasons to be nervous about Germany. Results in friendly matches are usually quite irrelevant, but a defeat to Austria and a narrow win over Saudi Arabia may show that Germany do not come into this tournament in the best of form.
They are still likely to last the course as they always do, and with Sweden and South Korea coming up in the group they will still back themselves to top it. The game promises a lot of goals. Mexico’s strongest point is their strike partnership of Javier Hernandez and Carlos Vela, while Germany always score bundles in the group.
This could be closer than the odds suggest.
Prediction: Germany 2-2 Mexico
Top Bet: Mexico +1 at 21/20