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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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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