World Cup powers crushing it . . . except on scoreboard

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

Projected powers survive Monday soccer mayhem. The dust still hasn’t settled from the wild finishes involving Spain and Portugal! Numbers and notes from the World Cup including early knockout odds right now in VSiN City.

World Cup Soccer: Uruguay beats Russia in Group A, Spain and Portugal finish 1-2 in Group B

How it finished was no surprise. How it got there was one of the most intense side-by-side sequences in World Cup history. Spain had to score late just to tie Morocco. Portugal thought it had won the group, then allowed a late tying goal to Iran. Because the thrills were in Group B, we’ll begin our coverage with those later starts.

Spain 2, Morocco 2

Total Shots: Spain 16, Morocco 6

Shots on Goal: Spain 4, Morocco 3

Corner Kicks: Spain 7, Morocco 1

Possession Pct: Spain 69%, Morocco 31%

Estimated Goals: Spain 2.7, Morocco 1.2

If you’re a stathead, the most dominating trend of group play is how the power countries are CRUSHING lesser teams in the stats…in games that go right down to the wire or end up tied anyway. If wins and losses were based on shots on goal plus corner kicks, or Michael Caley’s “expected goals” (see those on the fly on his twitter account @Caley_graphics), we’d all have been yawning the past two weeks. Instead, Spain had to rally from 1-0 early, and 2-1 down late, scoring to knot it at two in the first minute of injury time (90 1). 

Here, an 11-4 win in shots on goal plus corners to go with huge edges in possession and forcing the action. So, Spain remains a virtual co-favorite with Brazil in futures prices despite tying Portugal and Morocco, and only beating Iran 1-0. Spain was favored by 0.4 goals, 1.8 goals, and 1.3 goals; but could only post a composite 6-5 scoreboard victory. 

Portugal 1, Iran 1

Total Shots: Iran 8, Portugal 14

Shots on Goal: Iran 2, Portugal 5

Corner Kicks: Iran 1, Portugal 5

Possession Pct: Iran 33%, Portugal 67%

Estimated Goals: Iran 0.5, Portugal 0.5

Odd, in that Portugal pretty clearly controlled its own destiny in game flow, yet wasn’t creating enough serious chances to get distance in expected goals. This really isn’t a special team if Ronaldo isn’t finishing. Caley’s data has them losing to Spain 1.6 to 0.5, beating Morocco 1.4 to 0.9, and knotted here at 0.5 apiece. Not likely to be enough in the “bracket half of death.” Iran scored at 90 3 to force the tie. Big underdogs needed an upset win to sneak through. 

Uruguay 3, Russia 0

Total Shots: Uruguay 17, Russia 3

Shots on Goal: Uruguay 7, Russia 1

Corner Kicks: Uruguay 4, Russia 2

Possession Pct: Uruguay 56%, Russia 44%

Estimated Goals: Uruguay 2.0, Russia 0.1

Russia played so badly here that you had to wonder if it was tanking to get into the friendlier “bracket half of life,” which it managed to do. Of course, getting Spain is no bargain! But, they didn’t know that at the time, and came very close to getting Portugal instead. Uruguay scored at 10 minutes and 23 minutes. Then, Russia lost a player to a red card 36 minutes in. You can’t script a tank job any better, if that’s what it was. Either Russia is going to get obliterated by Spain, or this was truly a red herring.

Saudi Arabia 2, Egypt 1

Total Shots: Saudi Arabia 22, Egypt 7

Shots on Goal: Saudi Arabia 7, Egypt 1

Corner Kicks: Saudi Arabia 7, Egypt 2

Possession Pct: Saudi Arabia 62%, Egypt 38%

Estimated Goals: Saudi Arabia 1.1, Egypt 0.9

Saudi Arabia was much more aggressive about trying to get the win, with a stunning 14-3 edge in shots on goal plus corner kicks. But, it wasn’t forcing high percentage opportunities according to Caley’s goal estimate. That effort did ultimately yield the game winner at 90 5.

World Cup Tuesday: Group finales in Group C and D, featuring France/Denmark and Argentina/Nigeria

Day-to-day thrills this week as the knockout brackets are filled up. Here are market prices as of Monday evening for Tuesday’s four games.

Group C: France -0.4 goals over Denmark

Three-way: France plus 110, Denmark plus 370, draw plus 175

Money line: France -260, Denmark plus 220

Goal line: France -0.25 goals (France -127, Denmark plus 114)

Group C: Peru -0.2 goals over Australia

Three-way: Peru plus 130, Australia plus 210, draw plus 240

Money line: Peru -133, Australia plus 124

Goal line: Peru -0.25 goals (Australia -116, Peru plus 108)

Group D: Argentina -1.1 goals over Nigeria

Three-way: Argentina -215, Nigeria plus 550, draw plus 360

Money line: Argentina -520, Nigeria plus 370

Goal line: Argentina -1 goal (Argentina -118, Nigeria plus 109)

Group D: Croatia -0.3 goals over Iceland (lack of need for Croatia)

Three-way: Croatia plus 120, Iceland plus 240, draw plus 230

Money line: Croatia -167, Iceland plus 148

Goal line: Croatia -0.25 goals (Croatia -106, Iceland plus 102)

Croatia has been docked in the market because it may not play full out for a result. It will win Group D unless a Croatia loss...combined with a Nigeria upset of Argentina...also erases a five-goal deficit for Nigeria in differential. Nigeria obviously isn’t expected to upset Argentina…and if they do, its not supposed to be that kind of rout!

We’ll keep those teams where they were in our prior estimate of “market” Power Ratings, leaving us with…

Group C: France 2.4, Denmark 2.0, Peru 1.7, Australia 1.5

Group D: Argentina 2.4, Croatia 2.1, Iceland 1.6, Nigeria 1.3 

It’s possible that Croatia will move to 2.2 once the knockouts begin. Maybe France and Denmark should be 2.5 and 2.1. Denmark hasn’t getting results consistent with a team over 2.0. We learn as we go. Knockout odds will tell us a lot. 

Here are updated estimates for Wednesday (E and F) and Thursday (G and H) group “market” Power Ratings.

Group E: Brazil 2.6, Switzerland 1.7, Serbia 1.6, Costa Rica 0.9

Group F: Germany 2.6, Mexico 1.8, Sweden 1.6, South Korea 0.7

Group G: England 2.4, Belgium 2.3, Tunisia 1.0, Panama 0.3

Group H: Columbia 2.0, Japan 1.6, Senegal 1.6, Poland 1.4

England is now the slight betting favorite over Belgium, in the game both teams may try to lose. 

Before we wrap up soccer coverage for the day, we can place four teams into the knockout brackets. We included estimated “market” Power Ratings in those spots based on advance lines. 

Top Quarter

1A Uruguay (2.0) vs. 2B Portugal (2.0)

1C (France) vs. 2D (Argentina, Iceland, or Nigeria)

Second Quarter

1E (Brazil) vs. 2F (Germany or Mexico)

1G (Belgium or England) vs. 2H (Japan, Colombia, or Senegal)

Third Quarter

1B Spain (2.4) vs. 2A Russia (1.7) 

1D (Croatia) vs. 2C (probably Denmark)

Bottom Quarter

1F (Mexico or Germany) vs. 2E (Switzerland or Serbia)

1H (Colombia, Senegal, or Japan) vs. 2G (England or Belgium)

Uruguay and Portugal opened about as pick-em as pick-em gets (plus 185, plus 185, plus 195 on the three-way…which is still in play for bets through the end of “added” time in advance of any overtime periods or penalty kicks that might be needed). That’s consistent with our pricing all along. Spain looks to be about -0.7 goals over Russia based on a variety of metrics. If you’re wondering about that three-way, it’s Spain -165, Russia plus 575, draw plus 270. 

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. Coverage from a stathead and market perspective continues in VSiN City tomorrow. 

MLB Monday: Yankees still a machine, though bullpen wasn’t perfect

There are only so many variations of this story we can write. But we want to talk about games matching teams with winning records (that finish before our late-night publication deadlines). We want to talk about important trends that are developing across the league. We want to talk about important betting developments. 

The New York Yankees…

*Have played a tough schedule this month, running into a lot of quality teams

*Are dominating the sport with great pitching in innings 7-8-9 

*Are making Under bettors a fortune!

Let’s start with the key boxscore stats from Monday night’s low scoring win at Philadelphia. 

NY Yankees (-150) 4, Philadelphia 2

Total Bases Plus Walks: New York 17, Philadelphia 11

Starting Pitchers: Loaisiga 5.1 IP, 0 ER, Velasquez 6 IP, 2 ER

Bullpen: New York 3.2 IP, 2 ER, Philadelphia 3.2 IP, 1 ER

Offense does enough to build a lead, while not exploding for a zillion runs. Starter throws as many quality innings as he can. Bullpen gets the save. Only difference here is that Philadelphia did manage to score in inning #7 and inning #9 (solo shot off Aroldis Chapman). Lately a lot of games have been “ending” after six innings. 

Yankees move to 51-25 as they continue trying to avoid a Wildcard. Philadelphia falls to 41-35, in what is still a very surprising campaign. Another Under in a Yankees game. That’s now 18 of the last 20.

How common has “Yankees and Under” been in recent weeks? Beginning with their game on June 4…

12 Yankees and Under combinations

1 Yankees and Over combination

6 Opponent and Under combinations

1 Opponent and Over combination

Not bad to hit 60% on your parlays! You already know Unders are 90% during that run.

Philadelphia stayed ahead of Washington for second place in the NL East race. Some quick results from other games of interest.

*Washington (even) lost big at Tampa Bay 11-0. Brutal schedule spot, having to fly out of DC after that very late Sunday night finisher on ESPN. Philadelphia was in the same boat, but it’s a shorter trip back home. The Nats are now 8-14 their last 22 games, 4-12 when not playing Toronto or Tampa Bay. Futures markets still have them winning the NL East. Been awhile since we’ve seen quality form.

*NL West leading Arizona (-125) lost at Miami 9-5. Diamondbacks games are 15-7-2 to the Over the last 24 outings.

*Seattle (-115) got back to its winning ways against a weak opponent, beating Baltimore 5-3. Mariners road tests at NYY and Boston are in the rearview mirror. Seattle moves to 48-31, and picks up a game on first-place Houston in the AL West.

*Toronto (plus 210) won at Houston 6-3. Astros haven’t figured out how to be “road warriors” at Minute Maid (!) to the dismay of everyone who loves putting all the big favorites in parlays (LA Angels also lost as -185 favorites at Kansas City). Houston falls to 52-28, still 3.5 ahead of Seattle. 

We’ll close Tuesday out with some NBA awards news you missed if you went to bed early.

MVP: James Harden, Houston

Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia

Coach of the Year: Dwane Casey (was as Toronto, now with Detroit)

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See you Wednesday. 

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