Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

Rd 16 - Monday's Best Bets

Round of 16 Matchups | World Cup Betting Results

World Cup: Round of 16 Preview - Day 3

Brazil vs. Mexico (FOX, 10:00 a.m. ET)

Brazil face Mexico in the only last 16 match not to feature a European side. The Seleção are 1/2 favourites with Mexico 7/1 and the draw 16/5.

After their opening game win against Germany, people were talking about Mexico as serious contenders to win the World Cup. That continued after a more workmanlike win over South Korea.

But they spectacularly failed to top the group after a previously unspectacular Sweden side beat them 3-0, meaning that Mexico were somehow left to rely on South Korea not losing to Germany just to qualify. And so here we are at Mexico’s dreaded fourth game. They have gone out of the last 16 at every World Cup since 1994, and a match against tournament favourites Brazil has seen a sense of déjà vu sweep through the minds of Mexicans everywhere.

7/1 is a big price - but I worry for Mexico here. The last 16 has become a disastrous mental block. They are bottlers, and this was never more evident than in their 7-1 defeat to Chile at the centenary Copa America in 2016.

Brazil have played very well at this World Cup - and they can still show more. Neymar has yet to hit top form, but it has been Philippe Coutinho who has been their star. The defence is solid and well protected by a creative midfield.

Germany lost to Mexico by being incredibly open at the back; Tite will not allow his charges to do this.

If Brazil go in front early, this could get ugly for Mexico as they resign themselves to yet another World Cup without that fabled “fifth game.”

Prediction: Brazil 3-0 Mexico
Top Bet: Brazil -1.5 at 6/4

Belgium vs. Japan (FOX, 2:00 p.m. ET)

Monday’s late match looks like the least interesting of all the eight last 16 games. Belgium are the shortest price of any team to progress at 2/5 against Japan, almost certainly the weakest side left in the competition.

Japan are the only team from outside Europe and Latin America left in the competition, but they are very lucky to be here ahead of Senegal.

Their only win came in the first game against Colombia - a match where the opposition had 10 men from the third minute onwards. They then drew 2-2 with Senegal in an even game before losing 1-0 to Poland and relying on Colombia to edge past Senegal. And even then they only qualified thanks to having fewer yellow cards than Senegal.

Belgium have the huge benefit of effectively not playing for eight days - they fielded an almost entirely reserve side in the 1-0 win over England on Thursday. This will help them hugely throughout the tournament. But even if they were a little fatigued, they would have easily enough to overcome Japan.

Romelu Lukaku returns to the starting line-up, and having bagged braces against both Tunisia and Panama, this seems like the perfect opportunity for the Manchester United striker to draw back level with Harry Kane at the top of the goalscoring charts.

He is 14/5 to score the game’s first goal. Japan are vulnerable in the air and Lukaku’s finishing has been excellent so far.

Prediction: Belgium 3-0 Japan
Top Bet: Romelu Lukaku to score first at 14/5

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