Favorites restore World Cup order

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

World Cup soccer from multiple angles, plus a recap of Monday baseball. Coming at you at a very high speed…with a bit of English just to keep you on your toes. That’s how we play in VSiN City!

World Cup Soccer: Order restored as favorites sweep Monday tripleheader

No drama to report in terms of final scores in Monday’s World Cup action. Some sweating for chalk bettors, but no draws or upsets. We’ll run the key stats in the order the games were played. Numbers are from ESPN box scores.

Sweden 1, South Korea 0

Total Shots: Sweden 15, South Korea 5

Shots on Goal: Sweden 5, South Korea 0

Corner Kicks: Sweden 6, South Korea 5

Possession Pct: Sweden 52%, South Korea 48%

Estimated Goals: Sweden 0.8, South Korea 0.4

Remember, we’re using “estimated goals” as calculated by Michael Caley and posted on his twitter account @Caley_graphics. Final score appears to reflect the true power of chances created in this one. Sweden did a better job of getting shots on goal. But, neither of these teams played like they’re going to scare Germany or Mexico in the battle to reach the knockout round. Mexico will have to avoid the letdown tendency in its next outing with South Korea. Asian representative has to be disappointed it controlled possession 52% of the time but couldn’t get one shot on net.

Belgium 3, Panama 0

Total Shots: Belgium 15, Panama 6

Shots on Goal: Belgium 6, Panama 2

Corner Kicks: Belgium 9, Panama 3

Possession Pct: Belgium 60%, Panama 40%

Estimated Goals: Belgium 1.9, Panama 0.5

Extremely one-sided. Panama will continue to give Saudi Arabia a run for its money as worst team in the field. Those were the two most one-sided games to this point in the tournament according to estimated goals, Russia over the Saudis 1.9 to 0.2, and Belgium over Panama 1.9 to 0.5. This result broke a long string of World Cup Unders. A tribute to the soft defense of a team that shouldn’t really be competing on such a big stage. Only offenses to reach three goals in a game so far are those two favorites, plus both Portugal and Spain head-to-head. 

England 2, Tunisia 1

Total Shots: Tunisia 6, England 18

Shots on Goal: Tunisia 1, England 8

Corner Kicks: Tunisia 2, England 7

Possession Pct: Tunisia 39%, England 61%

Estimated Goals: Tunisia 0.1, England 3.1

And we have a new most dominant game of the tournament! Even though England had to sweat the ending with a late game-winner, it shouldn’t have come to that. It’s extremely difficult to win estimated goals by that much. Tunisia’s tally was a relative miracle in context. England almost went on the “dominated the game but settled for a tie” list with Brazil and Argentina.

Both Belgium and England are well-positioned to reach the final eight. Assuming they finish 1-2 in this group (a virtual lock since the day of the draw), they will face 1-2 from the group featuring Colombia, Poland, and Senegal. As friendly a bracket quarter as you can hope for barring upsets. Not saying either is a lock. Just well-positioned because no super powers can jump in the way until the quarterfinals. 

World Cup Soccer: Updating our “shots on goal plus corner kicks” combo stat 

We had some fun with this yesterday. Might as well keep updating because the numbers are telling an important story. A reminder that it can be hard for superior teams to break through and score even when they’re controlling flow of play and creating more chances. We’re already seeing that future betting odds are much more influenced by the ability to force action rather than scoreboard results. 

First, the three Monday games…

Shots on Goal Plus Corner Kicks (from ESPN box scores)

Sweden 11, South Korea 5

Belgium 15, Panama 5

England 15, Tunisia 3

Nothing scary about any of the three losers. Now we add those into the master list from all games played so far. We stack these in order of differential. Argentina, Germany, and England sit atop with plus 12. 

Shots on Goal Plus Corner Kicks (from ESPN box scores)

Argentina 17, Iceland 5

Germany 17, Mexico 5

England 15, Tunisia 3

Russia 13, Saudi Arabia 2

Belgium 15, Panama 5

France 11, Australia 2

Brazil 11, Switzerland 4

Sweden 11, South Korea 5

Uruguay 9, Egypt 3

Morocco 8, Iran 4

Spain 10, Portugal 7

Denmark 10, Peru 9

Croatia 8, Nigeria 7

Costa Rica 8, Serbia 7

Only Mexico was able to lose that stat and win its game. We may not ride herd on this category every day…but we’ll pop it in occasionally. To this point, it’s a “supplemental” score that’s often more informative than the final score. 

World Cup Soccer: Updating our “market” Power Ratings 

Lines have started to settle globally for all the “second” games coming up this week. Debuts finish Tuesday with Colombia-Japan and Poland-Senegal. Russia kicks off a new sequence vs. Egypt in Tuesday’s final start. The numbers you see below are goal supremacy representations of settled odds. You can use them to project future lines. For example, should Uruguay (2.0) and Portugal (2.0) meet in the Round of 16, the game should be very close to pick-em (pending new information). Belgium and England would both project to be slight favorites over Columbia in a knockout. 

Group A: Uruguay 2.0, Russia 1.5, Egypt 1.2, Saudi Arabia 0.0

Group B: Spain 2.5, Portugal 2.0, Morocco 1.2. Iran 0.7

Group C: France 2.6, Denmark 1.7, Peru 1.5, Australia 1.1

Group D: Argentina 2.4, Croatia 2.0, Iceland 1.3, Nigeria 1.2 

Group E: Brazil 2.8, Switzerland 1.6, Serbia 1.4, Costa Rica 0.9

Group F: Germany 2.7, Mexico 1.8, Sweden 1.4, South Korea 0.9

Group G: Belgium 2.3, England 2.1, Tunisia 0.7, Panama 0.2

Group H: Columbia 2.0, Poland 1.8, Senegal 1.6, Japan 1.2

The most significant market development is that Mexico has jumped forward and South Korea backward. A pre-tournament market price of Mexico -0.4 goals is now up to -0.9 goals. Mexico impressed the market with its ability to counter-attack in is upset of the Germans (expected goals actually showed Mexico as a clean winner despite its loss in the combo of shots on goal and corner kicks), while South Korea was disappointingly docile vs. the Swedes. 

Of course, the most significant tournament development is that Brazil might have to play Germany in the Round of 16 (!!!) in an E1 vs. F2 matchup. Germany needs some help to rally past Mexico after that weekend shocker. 

Both Germany and Brazil were given a little oomph in recent betting, possibly from the market expecting bounce backs off a loss and a tie. That may settle back a tick once the powers are all playing each other next month. 

We’ve also lifted some of the pre-tourney “tweeners” up to 2.0 based on new pricing. Clear hunk of danger teams just below England who are likely to be in the Sweet 16. Knockouts will be a lot of fun one the dozen-plus pretenders have cashed their appearance fee checks. Here’s the view from the blimp.

2.8: Brazil

2.7: Germany

2.6: France

2.5: Spain

2.4: Argentina

2.3: Belgium

2.1: England

2.0: Portugal, Uruguay, Croatia, Columbia

1.8: Mexico, Poland

1.7: Denmark 

1.6: Switzerland, Senegal

1.5: Russia (counts home field edge), Peru

1.4: Serbia, Sweden

1.3: Iceland

1.2: Nigeria, Egypt, Costa Rica, Morocco, Japan

1.1: Australia

0.9: South Korea

0:7: Tunisia, Iran

0.2: Panama

0.0: Saudi Arabia

Now, snapshot previews of Tuesday’s games. Three-way odds are from the Westgate by way of Vegasinsider.com. Money lines (where draws are refunded) are from an offshore composite.

*Colombia -0.8 goals over Japan

Three-way: Colombia -145, Japan plus 475, draw plus 250

Money line: Colombia -420, Japan plus 280

*Poland -0.2 goals over Senegal

Three-way: Poland plus 130, Senegal plus 245, draw plus 205

Money line: Poland -160, Senegal plus 145

*Russia -0.3 goals over Egypt

Three-way: Russia plus 110, Egypt plus 295, draw plus 210

Money line: Russia -220, Egypt plus 195

Why do we have Russia -0.3 goals and Poland -0.2 goals? From this offshore handicap…

*Poland -0.25 goals (Poland even, Senegal -106)

*Russia -0.25 goals (Russia -127, Egypt plus 118)

Senegal is a very slight favorite at plus 0.25, while Russia is a clearer favorite at -0.25. That’s how we create the full board, trying to get it down to the fraction for each team.

Back Wednesday to run Tuesday’s box score summaries.  

MLB Monday: Juan Soto busts time continuum, but Yankees win later while keeping Under streak intact

You’ve probably heard about this already. If not, 19-year old Washington Nationals rookie Juan Soto kinda/sorta hit a home run five days before he became a major leaguer Monday night. That home run came during the finish of a suspended game that was started just before Soto was called up from the minors. It will go down in the books as a key blast in a May 15 victory. (Thank goodness they didn’t find THAT in that almanac in “Back to the Future.” We might never have been born.)

In the make-up of a full nine-inning game…

NY Yankees (-125) 4, Washington 2

Total Bases Plus Walks: New York 20, Washington 12

Starting Pitchers: Gray 5 IP, 2 ER, Fedde 5.1 IP, 3 ER

Bullpen: New York 4 IP, 0 ER, Washington 3.2 IP, 1 ER

Typical Yankee fare of late. Starting pitcher gets them to the middle of the game with a lead. Bullpen locks down the victory. Aroldis Chapman picked up save #21. The Yankees offense is loaded, and is doing a good job lately of consistently getting runs on the board rather than alternating explosions with off nights. New York moves to 47-22 in what might be a season long race with Boston to win the AL East. Washington falls to 38-32 in the NL East. 

Don’t forget that a very interesting series between Seattle and the NY Yankees begins Tuesday night in the Bronx. This was just a one-day make-up sequence because both the Yanks and Nats originally had the day off. 

We talked about three recent Under trends in yesterday’s report, as flagged by Pauly Howard. The Yankees play another Under here. Also Monday, the Chicago White Sox stayed Under again in a 6-2 loss to Cleveland (Under 8.5). Tampa Bay failed to play a road Under at Houston, blowing a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning that would have pushed the Over/Under of seven. By the way, that was win #12 in a row for the Astros.  

We had hoped to run the numbers from the marquee game of the night in the National League, Dodgers/Cubs. That was postponed due to weather. An early finisher matching two teams with winning records that we wanted to report on…

Philadelphia (pick-em) 6, St. Louis 5 (in 10 innings)

Total Bases Plus Walks: St. Louis 22, Philadelphia 18

Starting Pitchers: Mikolas 5 IP, 4 ER, Pivetta 7.1 IP, 2 ER

Bullpen: St. Louis 4.2 IP, 2 ER, Philadelphia 2.2 IP, 3 ER

Both teams blew the game. Philadelphia was up 4-2 with two outs in the ninth inning, when a wild pitch on a third strike scored a run, and extended the inning so the tying run could score later. St. Louis blew a 5-4 lead with two outs in the bottom of the tenth. Starting pitcher Nick Pivetta of the Phils deserved better. Thirteen strikeouts on 108 pitches. 

Both teams entered the night 37-32. Philly’s win moves them into a tie with Washington for second place in the NL East behind Atlanta. St. Louis falls to 37-33, in third place in the NL Central behind the Cubs and Brewers. 

No WNBA on the Monday schedule, so we’ll pick up with that sport again tomorrow. 

VSiN Business Center

*Click here to sign up for a calendar year of our Point Spread Weekly digital publication at a great price. A paid subscription of $149.99 takes you into June of 2019. Note that VSiN City will be authoring a special “Total Handicapping” article each week that focuses on Over/Unders which is exclusively available in PSW. This week, we’ll look at “base” totals for all 30 stadiums through weekend action. We’re also providing weekly box score analysis for Arena Football League action. Scoring has really picked up in recent weeks!  

*If you haven’t yet taken advantage of our FREE subscription to the VSiN City newsletter, please click here. You’ll receive every issue in your morning email, along with links to those very handy betting sheets from the South Point. You’ll really enjoy those during the World Cup. Do you have the hang of three-way betting yet? Plenty of group play action still to come.

*Click here to download the VSiN app that always keeps you connected to “the news you need to win.” 

*Click here to follow us on twitter for video and audio clips from the morning shows…as well as guest bulletins for our afternoon adventures. 

*If you have any questions or comments about anything in the VSiN universe, please click here to drop us a note, or leave a comment in the Facebook widget below.

See you Wednesday. 

back to news

Subscriber Only News  Vsin Exclusive

View All


A Numbers Game: Keep an eye out for diminishing returns on teams that you were high on at the beginning of the season like the Colts. Know when to sell on these teams.

Follow The Money: QB play is down in the NFL, according to Michael Lombardi. Worth looking at more Unders until it changes.

View tips for Pro subscribers


Tim Murray: Florida -10 vs Mizzou

Dave Tuley: Texans +7 at Jaguars

View new sortable Picks at a Glance page for Pro subscribers



Betting Splits: Percentage of handle & tickets from DraftKings, updated every 10 minutes. GO HERE.

NFL Power Ratings: 3 sets of numbers from Steve Makinen. GO HERE.

CFB Power Ratings: 3 sets of numbers from Steve Makinen. GO HERE.

View more CFB tools for Pro subscribers

View more NFL tools for Pro subscribers