Jerry Bo: 2018 World Cup Russia: The show must go on...

The chase for the Cup has taken some odd turns. @FIFAWorldCup verified Twitter account

This year, the FIFA World Cup in Russia has brought us loads of surprises and we are only a week in. Of the five pre-tournament favorites, only France was able to secure 3 points in their opening match, and that was due to a fortunate own goal.

Although many favorites aren't covering, they are winning straight up.
Favorites 10-4-3 SU
Over/Under  8-9

Unders have a slight lead overall, but where you can find value is on the 1st half unders. Of the 17 matches, only 5 have seen multiple goals in the opening 45 minutes.

Mexico shakes things up

CONCACAF representer Mexico pulled off a stunning upset knocking off the World Champions Germany. Backing El Tri at +600, is the upset of the tournament thus far. On a day that featured the other tournament favorite Brazil, many bettors tried to take the easy route and moneyline parlay Germany and Brazil. We all know how that worked out as neither powerhouse was able to secure 3 points.

The Swiss put cheese in your pockets

Not only were money line parlays destroyed when Mexico pulled off the impossible, but gamblers tend to chase losses and this again led to a disaster. After the final whistle in the Die Mannschaft defeat, action junkies pounded Brazil in the last match of the day. Brazil was over a -300 favorite money line and -1.5 goals on the spread. An early touch of magic from Philippe Coutinho, put bettors in a strong position to catch the second goal and clean up the mess from the first games. At halftime, Switzerland was in the +740 range in some places to come back and pull of a draw. That they did, and the books once again mopped the floor with Brazil backers who led 78% of the action that match.

11 is greater than 10

For 87 minutes, the Colombian national team was asked to play a man down after the cynical mistake by the South American Carlos Sanchez. A clear handball on a goal scoring opportunity left Los Cafeteros playing with 10. Colombia fought hard and even tied things up right before half with some trickery on a free kick, but it wasn't enough. Japan dominated the second half holding 65% possession while getting 11 free kicks to Colombia's 0. Peckerman's group opted to try and park the bus and secure a draw with the early misfortune, but they ultimately crumbled after a 73rd-minute header by Yuya Osako. Japan backers were a part of history as no Asian team had ever beaten a CONMEBOL team in a World Cup, all while cashing the upset at +450.

With Groups having slight uncertainty, the futures market has changed in some places. Find value by predicting where these teams finish in the group and what their paths to the final will be. For example, if Mexico goes on to win the group, Germany takes a tougher path having to play Brazil sooner than expected. Take advantage of that as Brazil odds haven't increased and actually have dropped to +400 in some places. That doesn't reflect the fact of the facing the Champions earlier due to the German's mishaps in the first match vs Mexico. If that happens, I still believe you are better off doing a mechanical parlay aka moneyline roll over from match to match on Brazil to better the odds of +400.

Updated odds

Brazil    +400
Spain    +450
France    +700
Germany    +750
Belgium    +900
Argentina    +1100
England    +1400
Portugal    +1800
Croatia    +2800
Uruguay    +3000
Colombia    +4000
Mexico    +4000
Russia    +5000
Poland    +8000
Switzerland    +8000
Denmark    +10000
Serbia    +12500
Peru    +15000
Sweden    +15000
Senegal    +20000
Iceland    +20000
Nigeria    +20000
Egypt    +30000
Japan    +30000
Australia    +30000
Iran    +50000
South Korea    +50000
Tunisia    +50000
Costa Rica    +75000
Panama    +100000
Morocco    +200000
Saudi Arabia    +200000

As you can see, Germany has dropped after the first match, reflecting our thought on their path. The biggest move in the futures market is Mexico, who went from 100-1 to 40-1 after the Father’s day gift.


Saudi Arabia vs Uruguay - FIFA World Cup - Group A
Uruguay -1.5   3U
Uruguay -2       2U
Uruguay  TT over 2 MAX

Spain vs Iran - FIFA World Cup - Group B
Spain -2  2U
Over 2.5    3U

Peru vs France - FIFA World Cup - Group C
Over 2.5              2U

Croatia vs Argentina - FIFA World Cup - Group D
Over 2     3U

Peoples Parlay  2U
Spain -1.5
Uruguay -1.5

Parlay   1U
Spain ML
Uruguay ML
France Peru over 2
Croatia vs Argentina Over 2

For any questions or comments reach me @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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