By Patrick Callaghan of Sporting Index
With the group stages now behind us, it’s fair to say that Brazil 2014 has been a resounding success so far. We’ve been treated to a veritable feast of high-scoring free-flowing football which will have been a sports spread bettor’s delight, with goalless draws in mercifully short supply.
It was possible to buy total tournament goals at 158.5 pre-tournament with Sporting Index but, so far 137 have flown in. The spread has moved right up to 175-176.
There has been some big shifts with the Outright 100 Index too. This index offers bettors the chance to predict where a team will finish (100pts for winning, 75pts for runner-up, 50pts for semi-finalists, 25pts for quarters, and 10pts for reaching the last 16).
Even before the opening games, we advised steering clear of Brazil at 47-50 and that looks a shrewd tip based on the evidence of their opening games.
The hosts look shaky under the weight of expectation, and have been unconvincing in their group games. The Selecao have been usurped by neighbours Argentina at the head of the index (50-53), although they are trading slightly higher than that original quote, at 49-52.
Yet, on current form, reaching the semi-finals looks a stretch. They meet Chile tomorrow, a side who have arguably been one of the strongest on show so far. They look well capable of beating Scolari’s charges.
Brazil will have to improve markedly to justify a supremacy quote of 1-1.2 versus a country that played Spain off the park and went down 2-0 to Netherlands, desperately trying to grab the win that would have seen them top Group B. Selling total goals at 2.8 looks the bet.
Costa Rica have been this year’s standout surprise package ─ their Outright Index spread of 1-3 before the tournament was the lowest of all 32 teams ─ and they have every chance of beating dour Greece on Sunday. However, this is another tie to have all the hallmarks of a low-scoring affair and again selling total goals at 2.2, or buying the time of the first match goal at 45 could be profitable – Costa Rica have found the net just once in their last two games and the Greeks are renowned for their defensive stubbornness.
France have stood out as one of the fancied teams yet to endure an upset this summer, putting in some absolutely fearsome performances in the group stages, so buying their spread on the Outright Index at 40 appeals.
Having successfully avoided Argentina in the last-16, they should ease past Nigeria on Monday, and an underwhelming Germany will presumably lie in wait in the quarters.
The Golden Boot Index is heating up. Even if your pick doesn’t scoop the grand prize, points are awarded right down to eighth (winner 100pts, runner-up 75pts, third: 50pts, fourth: 33pts, fifth: 25pts, sixth 20pts, seventh 10pts and eighth 5pts).
Lionel Messi finally looks like he’s clicking into gear on the international stage, and a buy at 63 still offers value. He’s hit four already and Switzerland have looked very suspect at the back. He should find plenty of opportunities to add to his current tally.
It’s been a far cleaner competition than many expected and the pre-tournament spread of yellow cards has tumbled from 270-280 to 190-197. There have been 128 yellow cards so far.
Though you might expect nerves to get more fraught come the knockout rounds, the leniency shown by the officials means a small sell of bookings should still prove worthwhile.
Remember, with sports spread betting, losses may exceed your initial deposit or credit limit.