Gambling Guide

Jerry Bo: 2018 Russia World Cup group predictions

Messi leads Argentina. Dennis Doyle/Getty Images

In the gambling realm, action junkies and anxious bettors engulf themselves in events that allow you to place an extra amount of wagers for an extended period of time. This summer, we get the FIFA World Cup in a month's span of chaotic betting. Gamblers around the world, as well as the die-hard, devoted fans, will be looking to wager something, anything, opening opportunities for finding value as novice bettors with deep pockets might dictate lines. In other words, if two countries are playing and the fan base of one is much larger, you can expect "loose" money on an individual side as citizens and fans of the country might back their teams with their hearts, opening doors to find mispriced lines.

To Win Group Odds:

Group A

Russia                     +175
Egypt                      +595
Saudi Arabia       +3740
Uruguay                  -130

I especially like the price for Uruguay to win the Group and it will be a MAX per-tournament plays.

Uruguay to win Group A   5U MAX

Group B

Portugal         +195
Spain               -205
Morocco       +1590
Iran               +3290

For me, Spain and Portugal go through, with Morocco being the dark horse in the group that could surprise. The key for Morocco will be defeating Iran and getting the full three points and then getting something out of the match vs. Portugal. The opening round match of Spain vs. Portugal is sure to be a cracker of a match! The scheduling is perfect, on the second day of the tournament, Friday, June 15th, the late game, for the world to relish.

Group C

France          -355
Australia   +1990
Peru             +945
Denmark    +445

The clear favorites to win Group C, France seems to be the obvious choice. My problem is the price being extremely steep for a team with a defense in question.  A team I think will make some noise in this group will be CONMEBOL representer Peru. The return of Paolo Guerrero after getting his ban lifted will serve as a massive boost to the team. The price for Peru to advance can be found in the +170 range, and I like the number quite a bit.

France + Spain Win Groups Parlay   -110 3U
Peru to Advance  +170 2U


Group D

Argentina       -175
Iceland        +1340
Croatia          +220
Nigeria          +995

The fan favorite, Argentina are favorites to win the group but I’m not sure they do. Are they the best team? Yes, but do they play the best as a unit? That’s in question after limping into Russia 2018, needing the last game win even to make it here. The team is led by no other than Lionel Messi, alongside with another world talent in Angel DI Maria, and the Dynamic Paulo Dybala, which manager Jorge Sampaoli will need to find a way to fit in.

Although I think Argentina is the best overall team in the group, I won't back them just yet. Instead, let's see if we can get lucky on Nigeria to advance a +255.

Nigeria to advance a +255    1U

Group E

Brazil                 -355
Switzerland     +620
Costa  Rica     +1790
Serbia               +795

Favorite Brazil is one of my horses I'll be riding this tournament, and the -355 price tag is justified. The question here is who will get second, and I cant choose between Switzerland or Costa Rica so we will pass. Instead, we’ll opt to do another heavy favorite parlay. Remember, in these international tournaments, the top dogs usually show up, and their prices are correct, making it tough to find value in this competition.

Brazil+ Spain  to win groups -110    3U

Group F

Germany .            -305
Mexico                 +520
Sweden                +645
South Korea      +1740

The defending Champions Germany, enter Russia as the overall favorites to win the FIFA World Cup, and deservedly so with all the talent at every position. Look for Germany to dominate once again, but I have a sneaky prediction for them later in this tournament.

No chance for upsets to win the tournament here, but I do find some value in Mexico to advance at -110. With Mexico facing off vs. the Germans in their first match of the group stage, I think they get two advantages.

1) The time to prepare for Germany, knowing the first match will be so pivotal.
2) Knowing where they stand early after their toughest game is also significant, as goal differential will maybe be the deciding factor to who gets second in this group.

Mexico to advance 2.5 U

Group G

Belgium           -130
Panama        +4490
Tunisia          +1790
England           +115

This group is relatively simple to me, Belgium and England both advance. The question is who takes the group; I'll go with Belgium at that price. England will be solid in the attack with Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, but the overall talent of Belgium will see them win the group.

Belgium to win Group   2U
 

Group H

Colombia    +135
Poland         +170
Senegal       +445
Japan          +745

Perhaps the most robust group to pick a winner, every team is a plus odds leading us to some value. I'll be backing Colombia to win the group for a small bet, with confidence in them being the best top to bottom team here. The return of Radamel Falcao will be the story line to follow, and I fancy him to be in the top goals scorers conversation at the end of the tournament.

Colombia to win the group 2U

** These are only pre tournament bets and will not be reflecting what I bet game to game. The way these teams come out and perform in certain situations is what will guide us to our wagers. These are purely for futures purposes.

World Cup Prop Bet extravaganza coming soon……

Any questions or comments reach me @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.

 

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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