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What the betting markets tell us about final 16 in World Cup

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

June 28, 2018 11:26 PM

Colombia closes hard…Japan backs in…World Cup knockouts now set…plus MLB trend updates. One last report before the weekend from VSiN City!

World Cup Soccer: Bizarre conclusion to group play has world ready for the knockouts 
Soccer fans spent more time complaining than enjoying the action on Thursday. It takes a unique set of circumstances to encourage a team to unabashedly stall to protect a 1-0 LOSS in its group finale. That was Japan’s late-game approach, knowing that another goal allowed would ruin its tie-breaker sequence with Senegal. 

Poland 1, Japan 0
Total Shots: Japan 10, Poland 11
Shots on Goal: Japan 3, Poland 2
Corner Kicks: Japan 5, Poland 7
Possession Pct: Japan 54%, Poland 46%
Estimated Goals: Japan 0.5, Poland 1.2

Japan was priced as the favorite on “need,” but played more like a scared puppy all day. Poland did a better job of creating chances according to Michael Caley’s expected goals calculation (available in his twitter posts @Caley_graphics). Japan basically stopped trying to create chances when Senegal fell behind Colombia in the simultaneous Group H closer. Japan goes through, priced as the worst team in the Sweet 16 by quite a good bit.

Colombia 1, Senegal 0
Total Shots: Senegal 8, Colombia 4
Shots on Goal: Senegal 3, Colombia 2
Corner Kicks: Senegal 1, Colombia 3
Possession Pct: Senegal 44%, Colombia 56%
Estimated Goals: Senegal 0.2, Colombia 0.3

Colombia needed a win to advance, but doesn’t have the resources to create multiple great chances without James Rodriguez on the pitch. (He gave it a go for 30 minutes, but either re-aggravated a calf injury or suffered a new injury that put his status for the knockouts in doubt.) Senegal only needed a tie. For some reason, Senegal played like 0-0 was the only acceptable final score! Barely any attack at all until desperation time. And even desperation only created 0.2 expected goals. Tough to force a scoreless tie from a position of fear. Colombia wins the group, but must now face England as a clear underdog. 

Belgium 1, England 0
Total Shots: England 13, Belgium 15
Shots on Goal: England 1, Belgium 4
Corner Kicks: England 7, Belgium 2
Possession Pct: England 48%, Belgium 52%
Estimated Goals: England 0.6, Belgium 1.0

Did you ever watch an adult playing a game against a kid…and “act” like he’s trying before purposely botching something so the kid can win? That’s how BOTH teams looked through the first half. Plausible failure-bility. Belgium finally decided it wasn’t afraid of Brazil, and scored the game winner. 

Tunisia 2, Panama 1
Total Shots: Panama 9, Tunisia 15
Shots on Goal: Panama 4, Tunisia 7
Corner Kicks: Panama 0, Tunisia 6
Possession Pct: Panama 36%, Tunisia 64%
Estimated Goals: Panama 0.2, Tunisia 2.1

Meaningless game. While that viral video of the studio hosts in Panama crying during the national anthem of the team’s World Cup opener was extremely cool…a team this bad shouldn’t be allowed within miles of a championship tournament. 

Caley’s Expected Goals
Belgium 1.9, Panama 0.5 (Belgium scored 3)
England 1.0, Panama 0.7 (England scored 6)
Tunisia 2.1, Panama 0.2

Panama was outscored 11-2, and was lucky to get the two. 

No games on the Friday schedule, so Las Vegas bettors can sleep in!

World Cup Knockouts: Saturday brings four straight days of “Round of 16” doubleheaders
Because VSiN City doesn’t run on weekends, we won’t be back with you until the Round of 16 is halfway through. So, let’s run our estimated “market” Power Ratings for the full field to set the stage for your handicapping efforts. 

These are based on global prices as of Thursday night. (Note that Uruguay has been taking some action against Portugal, causing a tweak from our last report.)

Top Quarter (Saturday)
1C France (2.5) vs. 2D Argentina (2.3)
1A Uruguay (2.0) vs. 2B Portugal (1.9)

Second Quarter (Monday)
1E Brazil (2.7) vs. 2F Mexico (1.6)
1G Belgium (2.5) vs. 2H Japan (1.2)

Third Quarter (Sunday)
1B Spain (2.5) vs. 2A Russia (1.8) 
1D Croatia (2.3) vs. 2C Denmark (1.7)

Bottom Quarter (Tuesday)
1F Sweden (1.6) vs. 2E Switzerland (1.7)
1H Colombia (2.0) vs. 2G England (2.4)

Any recent market respect for Japan evaporated after Thursday’s wake-up call. We had to drop them all the way down to 1.2 with Belgium solidly laying 1.3 goals across the map. That’s where Japan began the tournament. Similar to Mexico in that regard. 

We talked last night about trying to map out rolling parlay possibilities for every remaining team. Too ambitious a goal. You can use those to at least map out ranges. Use the following “odds to advance” lines from the South Point as guidance for estimating future prices.

France -150, Argentina plus 130 (France -0.2 goals)
Uruguay -115, Portugal -105 (Uruguay -0.1 goals)
Brazil -450, Mexico plus 350 (Brazil -1.1 goals)
Belgium -650, Japan plus 475 (Brazil -1.3 goals)
Spain -340, Russia plus 280 (Spain -0.7 goals)
Croatia -245, Denmark plus 205 (Croatia -0.6 goals)
Switzerland -125, Sweden plus 105 (Switzerland -0.1 goals)
England -180, Colombia plus 160 (England -0.4 goals)

You can see the prices rise FAST as the fractions go up. Anything at a half-goal and up is a big favorite, one goal and up a prohibitive favorite. 

Use those in projecting pathways to check on a parlay calculator. Mexico is plus 350 vs. Brazil, and would probably be around plus 300 apiece vs. Belgium, France, and Spain if favorites held through the brackets. Helps us pin down our example from yesterday with more accuracy. Parlay calculator shows 286/1 (meaning, bet on Mexico to advance past Brazil…take all the money that comes back to you including the initial stake and bet that on Mexico to advance past Belgium…then do the same two more times). 

Obviously, that’s an insane pathway that Mexico isn’t likely to survive. If you WANT to take a flyer, better with the rolling parlay than futures prices, as you’ll see in a moment. 

South Point World Cup Futures
Brazil 3/1
Spain 9/2
England 6/1
Belgium 7/1
Argentina 8/1
France 9/1
Croatia 12/1
Portugal 15/1
Mexico 20/1
Uruguay 25/1
Colombia 35/1
Switzerland 40/1
Russia 50/1
Denmark 80/1
Sweden 80/1
Japan 100/1

Japan and Mexico have the same projected pathway (order reversed in the first two), but the Asian side is priced down at 100/1. Of course, Japan is inferior to Mexico. The rolling parlay approach on Japan would return just under 1200/1. Mexico gets a lot of betting support in Nevada that appears to be overly enthusiastic. 

What would a rollover parlay pay for host Russia? A pathway of Spain, Croatia, England, and Brazil would return a bit over 150/1 thanks to being in the easier half of the brackets.

We appreciate Chris Andrews sending us these prices Thursday evening. Chris has explained often that futures odds at the South Point are strongly influenced by betting action at the windows. 

Don’t forget to watch “Russia 2018: The Tournament Show” Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons for a recap of team and individual player props from a market perspective. 

MLB Thursday: Trends and tendencies continue all over the card
Fasten your seat belts. This is going to go fast.

*Arizona won at Miami 4-0. That’s three-out-of-four for the Diamondbacks in this series, after sweeping a four-game series at Pittsburgh. D-backs are now 15-6 their last 21 games overall, 12-2 their last 14 on the road. Looking once again like serious playoff threats after a temporary slide not too long ago…Arizona is now 47-34 on the season, with the third best run differential in the National League. 

*The Chicago Cubs won at the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-5. That earned a split in this much-anticipated four-game series out West. Both still highly respected in futures prices as potential playoff foes. Cubs are still 2.5 games behind Milwaukee, but lead the NL in run differential. Dodgers trail the D-backs by 3.5. 

*Philadelphia beat Washington 4-3. That continues a slide for the Nats that now sits at 8-16 their last 24 games. Bats continue to be missing in action. Philadelphia is two games clear of the Nats at 43-36, and took two of three at DC last weekend. 

*Milwaukee won at Cincinnati 6-4. The Reds are still 9-2 their last 11 games. Who would have thought that Brewers/Reds would feel like Yankees/Red Sox at this stage of the season?! Best team in the NL Central thus far this season visiting the hottest NL Central team of the past few weeks. 

*Seattle won at Baltimore 4-2. We’ve been riding this story all week. Seattle is now 36-13 its last 49 games when not facing Houston, Boston, or the New York Yankees. Both Arizona and Seattle were playoff contenders laying very affordable prices this week against disinterested doormats. Seattle has a seven-game lead on Oakland for the second Wildcard spot. Baltimore has lost five in a row, is 4-16 its last 20, and 6-23 its last 29 games.

*Boston beat the LA Angels 4-2. Now six straight losses for the Halos, who are 4-13 their last 17 games. Talk today of Shohei Otani returning to hit even though he can’t pitch with a ligament injury. That may be about selling tickets, because LAA is now way off the pace for a Wildcard. Boston will carry a one-game lead over the Yankees into their huge weekend series in the Bronx that begins Friday night. 

*Houston beat Tampa Bay 1-0. You probably remember that Houston swept its last road trip 10-0. Make it 11 straight road wins, and 30-11 for the season away from home for the Astros. Tampa Bay pitching is still terrific since they started experimenting with relievers as starters. That’s now 3-11 to the Under the last 14 games for TB. 

CFL: Calgary stays undefeated with Thursday night football victory over Ottawa
A defensive struggle most of the night. Calgary only led 10-7 entering the fourth quarter. Two touchdowns broke it open to 24-7. Ottawa scored a late TD with a backup quarterback to get within 10 points. 

Calgary 24 (-7.5), Ottawa 14 
Total Yardage: Ottawa 299, Calgary 356
Yards-per-Play: Ottawa 6.0, Calgary 6.2
Rushing Yards: Ottawa 123, Calgary 105
Passing Stats: Ottawa 18-36-1-176, Calgary 19-35-1-251
Turnovers: Ottawa 2, Calgary 2

Very even stats, though that garbage time drive helped the Redblacks tighten up the numbers. Great defense from Calgary this season…holding Hamilton to 14 points in the season opener (which looked even better then the Tiger-Cats scored 38 points on 528 yards at Edmonton the next week)…then holding Toronto to 7 points…followed by 14 allowed tonight. 

That’s 3-0 straight up and against the spread for the team markets had favored to win the championship. Ottawa is 1-1 after an opening week bye.  

This weekend’s remaining schedule…

Friday: Winnipeg (plus 4) at Hamilton
Friday: British Columbia (plus 6.5) at Edmonton
Saturday: Montreal (plus 10) at Saskatchewan
Bye: Toronto

A new crack at estimated “market” Power Ratings. May take awhile to get in sync with the market, as it tries to get in sync with these teams. 

85: Calgary
82: Edmonton
81: Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto
80: Winnipeg (with Streveler), 
79: Saskatchewan (QB Zach Collaros out)
78: British Columbia 
72: Montreal

When the World Cup winds down, we’ll have more room for “in advance” previews of CFL action. Don’t forget that we run weekend box scores every Monday (and that Arena Football League box scores run exclusively in our Point Spread Weekly newsletter as a perk for subscribers).

Sports Betting: Chris Andrews tells Brent Musburger about $130K bet on Germany over South Korea
The danger of laying big chalk! Here’s a link to Chris Andrews talking to Brent Musburger Thursday about a bettor who laid $130K at the South Point to win $20K on Germany to beat South Korea. There are no sure things in sports! Now you’ll understand why if you see the South Point hot dog cart serving kimchi this weekend.

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Have a great weekend!

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