GAMBLING GUIDE

Jerry Bo: World Cup 2018 Russia: The calm before the storm

While you can't win this trophy, you can sure win some bets. @FIFAWorldCup verified Twitter account

There is an obsession with possessing the 11 pounds of 18-carat gold that is only offered every four years. Some say playing for your country is the greatest feat one can accomplish, a chance to represent your roots and homeland.

No stage is more significant than that of the FIFA World Cup; the wait is over. Welcome to Russia!

LATEST ODDS TO WIN 2018 WORLD CUP

Brazil              +450
Germany        +475
Spain              +600
France            +650
Argentina      +950
Belgium         +1200
England         +1800
Uruguay        +2500
Portugal        +2800
Croatia           +3300
Colombia       +4000
Russia             +5000
Poland            +8000
Mexico            +10000
Denmark        +10000
Switzerland    +10000
Sweden           +15000
Senegal           +15000
Egypt .            +15000
Serbia .           +20000
Iceland           +20000
Japan              +20000
Nigeria .         +20000
Peru                +20000
Costa Rica     +30000
Australia        +30000
Iran                 +50000
Morocco         +50000
South Kore    +50000
Tunisia           +50000
Panama .       +100000
Saudi Arabia +100000

Some of the odds have changed with some places having Brazil as slightly the lone favorite.

Be attentive of the news coming out of Spain as news is breaking that they might sack their manager before the start of the World Cup. Julen Lopetegui announced recently that he would be taking over the Real Madrid vacancy, the way he went about the process didn't sit well with the Spanish FA and there are rumors of him being fired with less than 24 hours until the kickoff of the tournament.

PROPS

Mexico - Team Stage of Elimination
Round of 16   +200

I like this wager for the reason I think that Mexico will advance out of this group with the second spot. Although this would be a great accomplishment, failing to win Group F matches you up with no other than tournament Favorite Brazil. El Tri advance and lose in the round of 16 to Brazil.

Brazil reaches the semifinal        -102
As mentioned above, I think Brazil wins their group matching them up with CONCACAF representer Mexico. A win there matches them up potentially with Belgium. Playing a Roberto Martinez led team that is historically known for attacking and leaving spaces will be the end of Belgium, seeing Brazil through to a South American clash with Uruguay.

Uruguay stage one points over 6½        -104
Listed as a MAX pre-tournament bet, Uruguay to win the group will be tied into over 6.5 group points. In this tournament, a win is worth 3 points a draw 1. With that in mind, I see the South Americans winning their first two group games, seeing them face up against the host in the final group game. The only worry here will be that if Uruguay has already clinched the top spot in the group, they may opt to rest players in the final group game. Still, I think they have enough to pull out a draw vs. a Russian squad who will potentially be eliminated at this point.

Brazil stage one points over 7½        +150 3U
This bet, plain and simple. Brazil will run through the group stage accumulating 9 group points. Even if qualified for the round of 16 going into their third match, Serbia is a very favorable match-up to get the final 3 points to win this wager. I like this bet quite a bit.

Peru total World Cup goals over 3      -160
Group C is one I see plenty of high scoring affairs in. I also have expressed my love for this Peruvian team, and I think they can score more than three goals through the group stage. Paolo Guerrero's return will be a story line to follow in Russia, look for him to be one of the top goal scorers of the tournament.

Belgium stage one points over 6½        
This comes back to my predictions of Belgium taking the group. The first two matches I see as a relatively easy 6 points. The final game of the group stages will see England and Belgium fight for the top spot in the group. A draw in the final game will see this bet cash if Belgium wins the first two games as predicted.

Neymar wins Golden Ball       +795
This is Neymar's tournament to shine, and he will do just that. Look for the Brazilian start to light up the pitch, find different props on him as he will be a stud this tournament. The Golden Ball goes to the best player, the Golden Boot, to the top goal scorer. We like this bet rather than the top goal scorer as he is likely to see extra attention at times, leaving him open to also get assists throughout the tournament. Goals and assists on a team that will be playing deep in the tournament is the perfect recipe for the best player in the Cup. Another bet I saw was will the top goal scorer in the tournament be Brazilian? -300. If Brazil is favored that heavily to have the top scorer than Neymar should top the list.

Argentina - Top Team Goals corer
Messi       -150

Juicy, but justified. The horse for the Argentine National team, the world best #10 is known to carry this team time after time. Four goals in Brazil 2014, look for Lionel Messi to pick up where he left off and lead Argentina through the tournament.

Peru - Top Team Goalscorer
Paolo Guerrero   +200 2U

Another value bet, as he is the teams leading scorer and we saw that in his return after getting his ban lifted. Nothing short of spectacular netting two goals.

Paolo Guerrero - Total Goals O/U   .5 Over 2U

The wager is basically will he score this World cup with the total sitting at .5

England - Top Team Goalscorer
Harry Kane

Fresh off the big resigning with Tottenham, we take a shot with the English top target. A lethal finisher from any spot, look for Kane to put his stamp all over Russia in 2018. Raheem Sterling is the other player who could lead the team, but I see Kane being the beneficiary of Sterling's pace and ability to get England out in open space with the ball.

Colombia - Top Team Goalscorer
Radamel Falcao    +250

El Tigre waited four years to get his chance once again to represent Colombia in a World Cup. Remember a time going into Brazil 2014, where Falcao was deemed as one of the best finishers in the world at that moment, and James Rodriguez was more of a sidekick. An injury vs. a third division player in one of his last games with his club team before getting ready for Brazil 2014, saw him miss his chance to play in a World Cup. Look for a Tigre to be reborn in Russia.

The World's greatest sporting event is finally here, and a wise man once told me: “Soccer, is a sickness we are all born with, but in sickness and in health, ALWAYS TOGETHER “

RIP DAD, wherever you are…...

 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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