Best bets for the Brazil-Croatia match
Friday, 10 a.m. ET
The quarterfinals of the World Cup begin Friday and Brazil, the tournament favorite, faces the 2018 runner-up Croatia for a place in the final four.
The Brazilians head into this game as a very heavy -275 favorite after showing their class in the last game saw a 4-1 demolition of South Korea that solidified many people’s view that Brazil is the team to beat in Qatar 2022 – a match that I was very lucky to be in attendance.
Brazil’s golden boy, Neymar, returned from injury and scored in that win against South Korea and he is +125 to add to his goal tally on Friday.
Croatia comes into this match after qualifying against a spirited Japan team on penalties which would’ve taken so much out of this aging team.
A goal from Ivan Perisic saw the Croatians take it to penalties, but it was Croatian keeper Livakovic who became an overnight national hero saving three penalty kicks. Croatia arrives here unbeaten but starts as a +800 underdog.
Brazil coach Tite will take great heart for the fact Brazil is unbeaten against Croatia with their four meetings bringing Brazil three wins and a draw. Brazil beat Croatia in 2006 and 2014 and they will be very confident they can do it again and so am I.
Tite will be disappointed that Gabriel Jesus will miss the rest of the tournament with a knee injury. That is not his only injury concern as Alex Telles and Alex Sandro are both doubtful starters.
Zlatko Dalic, the Croatian boss, has less injury concerns but will be worried as Josip Stansic, the attacking right back, is doubtful with a muscle injury.
Brazil are rightfully favored and I see them winning comfortably here. Against Serbia, they had 23 shots and against Cameroon they had 21 shots. The performance against South Korea was almost chilling as they took apart their opponents. They had 0 yellow cards and were caught offside 0 times and it was the performance of a World Champion.
I see Croatia, which is a better team than South Korea, putting up more of a fight, but the extra time and penalties success over the Japanese must have taken its toll. In addition, Brazil is full of confidence with Neymar front and center putting this Croatian team to the sword.
The Samba dance will be on view in the stadium and that is bad news for Croatia. The pick has to be Brazil by multiple goals.
Pick: Brazil -1.5 on the Asian handicap at Evens (+100)