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Market projects tight tugs-of-war in Cup semifinals

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

July 8, 2018 10:56 PM

Final Four set at the World Cup…second week begins at Wimbledon…a truly magnificent stretch for baseball’s projected powers…plus the latest from the WNBA and CFL all right now in VSiN City!

World Cup: It’s down to FOUR…France, Belgium, England, and Croatia
All four quarterfinals were played since the last time we were together Friday. Let’s review the key stats that sent four European teams through to the final week. Games are presented in the order they were played. 

France 2, Uruguay 0
Total Shots: France 11, Uruguay 11
Shots on Goal: France 2, Uruguay 4
Corner Kicks: France 3, Uruguay 4
Possession Pct: France 57%, Uruguay 43%
Estimated Goals: France 0.4, Uruguay 0.7

France didn’t do a very good job of creating chances according to Michael Caley’s “expected goal” calculations (available after every game on twitter @Caley_graphics). But, they sure drilled a couple of low-percentage opportunities. As was the case in the prior round, stats often reflect “who was trailing” most of a game rather than expressing superiority. That’s a key here for Uruguay winning “shots on goal plus corner kicks” 8-5. France focused more on running clock with a lead, as suggested by possession percentage. Uruguay became a longer shot when Edinson Cavani was unable to play. 

Belgium 2, Brazil 1
Total Shots: Brazil 26, Belgium 8
Shots on Goal: Brazil 9, Belgium 3
Corner Kicks: Brazil 8, Belgium 4
Possession Pct: Brazil 57%, Belgium 43%
Estimated Goals: Brazil 2.5, Belgium 0.5

Fantastic game. Great entertainment from a high energy start to a “hold on tight” finish. Talented Brazil attacked relentlessly…combining skill and “playing from behind” to post a huge 17-7 edge on shots on goal plus corner kicks. Caley’s estimated goals suggest a ROUT. But, Brazil couldn’t score at the level suggested by opportunities…and Belgium is brilliant on the counter-attack. Certainly a “championship caliber” affair, though other teams remaining are similar to Belgium in “market” Power Ratings. 

England 2, Sweden 0
Total Shots: England 12, Sweden 7
Shots on Goal: England 2, Sweden 3
Corner Kicks: England 6, Sweden 1
Possession Pct: England 57%, Sweden 43%
Estimated Goals: England 1.1, Sweden 0.5

Clear dominance for the Brits, as they managed an 8-4 edge in shots on goal plus corner kicks while playing from ahead much of the way. Sweden just isn’t that scary, the weakest team in the final eight. English fans may be getting ahead of themselves assuming the world championship is imminent. 

Croatia 2, Russia 2 (Croatia advances on penalty kicks 4-3)
Total Shots: Croatia 17, Russia 13
Shots on Goal: Croatia 3, Russia 7
Corner Kicks: Croatia 8, Russia 6
Possession Pct: Croatia 64%, Russia 36%
Estimated Goals: Croatia 1.1, Russia 0.9

Not a work of art…but certainly a dramatic masterpiece. Both teams scored once in regulation. Both teams scored once in 30 minutes of extra time. Russia wasn’t quite as experienced as needed in a high-pressure penalty kick tie-breaker. It “felt” that Croatia was in control much of the way…playing with a lead and owning possession time. Russia found a way to break through and last until the very end. 

World Cup Semifinals: Market projects tight tugs-of-war Tuesday and Wednesday 
Odds were up for the Final Four shortly after this past weekend’s action was in the books. Let’s take a look at early numbers. The three-way odds come from the Westgate by way of the soccer odds page on our website. Money lines and goal lines come from the respected offshore site Pinnacle. 

Tuesday: France -0.1 goals over Belgium
Three-way: France plus 150, Belgium plus 200, draw plus 215
Money line: France -132, Belgium plus 121
Goal line: France -0.25 goals (Belgium -123, France plus 115)

France is a slight favorite, even though Belgium just knocked off Brazil. That’s fairly consistent with pricing throughout the event. France has always been priced as a “#1 seed” conceptually in a March Madness format. Won its group, was favored over Argentina in the round of 16. Belgium was certainly on the short list of potential winners from the outset. France is the slight favorite to advance, but Belgium is a slight favorite at plus 0.25 goals. Just a smidge separating them in the market’s view. 

Wednesday: England -0.2 goals over Croatia
Three-way: England plus 130, Croatia plus 240, draw plus 210
Money line: England -156, Croatia plus 143
Goal line: England -0.25 goals (Croatia -108, England plus 101)

Not much difference here in terms of a projected nailbiter. At that 0.25 goal price, Pinnacle’s very close to even…while England is higher than France to advance. So…a tenth of a goal higher here for our goal supremacy representation. 

For now, we’ve got it like this on the scale we’ve been using the whole tournament….

France (2.5) vs. Belgium (2.4)
England (2.4) vs. Croatia (2.2)

Some futures odds out there suggest the winner of France/Belgium is going to be a favorite over the winner of England/Croatia…meaning we should consider making France 2.6 and Belgium 2.5. We’ll see how the market dust settles over the next day. France doesn’t have a stat pedigree that would suggest 2.6 is right. But, their style isn’t one that necessarily wows box scores. 

We’ll have more for you tomorrow. Don’t forget to watch “Russia 2018: The Tournament Show” on VSiN every afternoon this week for the latest from this huge global sports betting event.

Wimbledon: Serena Williams and Roger Federer now well clear of field in betting markets 
Upsets continued since our last report, particularly on the ladies side. Though neither is priced as a lock, Serena Williams and Roger Federer are now clear favorites to lift trophies this coming weekend. 

Here are the latest odds from the Betfair exchange for Serena and her top threats (click here to get live numbers as you read)…

Serena Williams: risk $1 to win $1.88, risk $1.90 to win $1 that she won’t win
Angelique Kerber: risk $1 to win $4.20, risk $4.30 to win $1 that she won’t win
Karolina Pliskova: risk $1 to win $9.00, risk $10.00 to win $1 that she won’t win
Jelena Ostapenko: risk $1 to win $10.50, risk $11.50 to win $1 that she won’t win
Daria Kasatkina: risk $1 to win $16.00, risk $17 to win $1 that she won’t win

Sunday night prices on the men (click here for live numbers)… 

Roger Federer: risk $1 to win $0.94, risk $0.98 to win $1 that he won’t win
Novak Djokovic: risk $1 to win $5.60, risk $6 to win $1 that he won’t win
Rafael Nadal: risk $1 to win $6.00, risk $6.40 to win $1 that he won’t win
Juan Martin del Potro: risk $1 to win $9.50, risk $10.5 to win $1 that he won’t win

Monday morning’s schedule (US time) is LOADED in both draws. Be sure to watch VSiN broadcasts for the very latest results and market developments. 

MLB: Two sweeps for “The Magnificent 7,” and a combined 31-11 record despite Washington’s recent woes
The “Magnificent 7” teams we’ve been monitoring for you on Mondays all season…the seven MLB franchises projected to win at least 90 games according to “Regular Season Win Totals” back in March…were so great this week that 4-2 felt like a slump! Two teams went 6-0 (Boston and Houston). Another went 4-1 (Chicago Cubs). Three different teams played .667 ball with 4-2 records (NY Yankees, Cleveland, and the LA Dodgers). 

Current records entering the new week…
Boston 62-29…plus 19.5 units after a 6-0 week
NY Yankees 58-29…plus 11 units after a 4-2 week
Houston 61-31…plus 8 units after a 6-0 week
Chicago Cubs 51-36…even after a 4-1 week
Cleveland 49-39…minus 9 units after a 4-2 week
Washington 45-44…minus 16.5 units after a 3-4 week
LA Dodgers 48-41…minus 18.6 units after a 4-2 week

We’ve been talking a lot about the Yankees on these pages…because we try to focus on winning teams playing each other and they’ve had a brutal schedule stretch. We should take a moment to think about what Boston’s accomplished here. With no secrets about the Red Sox excellence in the media nor the marketplace, the Red Sox are up almost TWENTY UNITS just past the halfway point of the season! 

A 62-29 record is on pace for 110 wins. And, the American League elites may drive each other that high in the battle to avoid a Wildcard (particularly in the East), and the battle for home field throughout the playoffs (featuring the best from the East and the West). 

The composite is still minus units for the season because the Dodgers started so poorly, and the Nationals had a lousy last few weeks of June. Prices are getting astronomical when the powers play the peasants. Can the big three in the AL keep cashing tickets?

For the second straight week, only one matchup coming up featuring the M7 head-to-head…

Magnificent 7 Head-to-Head This Week
NY Yankees (58-29) at Cleveland (49-39) (Thursday-Sunday)

Cleveland’s in such a bad division that the Indians would be comfortably in first place with a .500 record. Some good tests this week for teams still in the playoff discussion. 

Teams with Winning Records Squaring Off
Early Week

Chicago Cubs (51-36) at San Francisco (47-45) (Monday-Wednesday)
Oakland (50-40) at Houston (61-31) (Monday- Thursday)
Arizona (50-41) at Colorado (46-44) (Tuesday-Thursday)

Weekend (all start Friday)
Arizona (50-41) at Atlanta (50-39) 
Seattle (57-34) at Colorado (46-44) 
Oakland (50-40) at San Francisco (47-45) 

Just one more week until the All-Star Break. Starting lineups were announced late Sunday. Watch VSiN programming Monday for reaction and context. 

WNBA: Phoenix upset, New York still struggling, and Seattle/Washington combine to shoot 26 of 49 on treys
Just three games on the Sunday card. So, we have room to run the boxes.  

Atlanta (plus 4.5) 76, Phoenix 70
2-point Pct: Phoenix 40%, Atlanta 44%
3-pointers: Phoenix 10/31, Atlanta 5/17
Free Throws: Phoenix 6/9, Atlanta 13/17
Rebounds: Phoenix 34, Atlanta 43
Turnovers: Phoenix 16, Atlanta 15

Nice upset for the home dog. Keyed by defense, as Atlanta managed to deny Phoenix good looks while not putting them on the free throw line. Sloppy in terms of shooting and turnovers for both. Muscular win for Atlanta thanks to two-point defense and rebounding. Atlanta moves to .500 at 9-9. Phoenix still stellar at 14-6. 

Dallas (-3.5) 97, New York 87 
2-point Pct: Dallas 57%, New York 43%
3-pointers: Dallas 7/21, New York 8/24
Free Throws: Dallas 26/32, New York 19/28
Rebounds: Dallas 40, New York 30
Turnovers: Dallas 9, New York 6

We alerted you to New York’s demise early on, after the Liberty had posted unimpressive results as 10-point favorites in consecutive games. Will be awhile before they’re double-digit favorites again. New York is 3-10 ATS its last 13 games, 5-14 straight up for the season. Dallas moves to 10-8. 

Seattle (-6) 97, Washington 91
2-point Pct: Washington 43%, Seattle 45%
3-pointers: Washington 14/29, Seattle 12/20
Free Throws: Washington 13/16, Seattle 23/26
Rebounds: Washington 30, Seattle 36
Turnovers: Washington 8, Seattle 10

Look at those three-pointers! Must have been a great game to watch. Both teams lighting it up from long range. Tough back-to-back spot for Washington. Still managed to push. Seattle is 15-5 on the season in the very toughest Western Conference. Washington leads the Eastern Conference despite the loss with a 12-7 record. 

Here’s an update of our estimated “market” Power Ratings for the WNBA, using a standard three points for home court advantage.

85: Minnesota, Los Angeles
84: Phoenix, Seattle
82: Washington
81: Dallas
78: Connecticut
77: Atlanta
75: Las Vegas, Chicago
74: New York
73: Indiana

New York is finally getting disrespected to the degree it deserves. Usually chemistry issues are involved when the market misses a team by THAT much for SO long. Liberty not playing to their perceived talent. We might have to do some home/road splits here soon. Some of the better teams may be getting more than three points of home value in the point spreads. 

Canadian Football League: Quarterback carousel 
Some unheralded quarterbacks getting playing time this past weekend north of the border. James Franklin won his starting debut for Toronto. That will be in the middle of our sandwich as we take the games in Nevada rotation order. 

Ottawa (-6) 28, Montreal 18
Total Yardage: Ottawa 481, Montreal 323
Yards-per-Play: Ottawa 6.9, Montreal 7.5
Rushing Yards: Ottawa 139, Montreal 43
Passing Stats: Ottawa 28-42-0-342, Montreal 18-30-0-280
Turnovers: Ottawa 0, Montreal 0

Ottawa led 28-8 until the worst team in the league tacked on some garbage time points. Huge edge in total yardage was the result of a big advantage in “plays run.” Ottawa with 70, compared to just 43 for Montreal. Ottawa is 2-1 on the season after opening with a bye. Montreal starts a new losing streak straight up and ATS. QB Jeff Mathews of Montreal wasn’t particularly productive until the game had been decided. 

Toronto (plus 3) 20, Edmonton 17
Total Yardage: Edmonton 426, Toronto 362
Yards-per-Play: Edmonton 7.1, Toronto 6.8
Rushing Yards: Edmonton 56, Toronto 145
Passing Stats: Edmonton 28-40-1-370 Toronto 16-24-1-217
Turnovers: Edmonton 2, Toronto 1

James Franklin was kept on a pretty tight leash in his Toronto debut considering those conservative passing stats. He did lead a game-winning drive with the Argos down 17-12 in the fourth quarter. Toronto’s ability to move the ball on the ground also allowed it to win the turnover category. Edmonton’s going to see this as one that got away for awhile. Eskimos are 2-2. First win of the young season for 1-2 Toronto.

Winnipeg (-6.5) 41, B. Columbia 19
Total Yardage: B. Columbia 280, Winnipeg 359
Yards-per-Play: B. Columbia 5.2, Winnipeg 6.5
Rushing Yards: B. Columbia 107, Winnipeg 152
Passing Stats: B. Columbia 20-30-3-173, Winnipeg 19-34-0-207
Turnovers: B. Columbia 3, Winnipeg 0

Matt Nichols returned to quarterback for Winnipeg after Chris Steveler held down the fort in early weeks. Not a passing explosion. But, effectively grinding out an easy win while BC self-destructed on the road. Horrible start to 2018 for the Lions. They have a 1-2 record, but the win was over lowly Montreal…and BC was outgained 359-300 at home in that one. Then, a bye followed by losses of 41-22 at Edmonton and 41-19 here. Winnipeg moves to .500 at 2-2. 

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