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Jerry Bo's bookie busters 2018 World Cup quarterfinals analysis: Break on through to the other side

Eight countries are still chasing this. @FIFAWorldCup verified Twitter account

Eight countries left, all chasing the 18 for 18; I refer to pounds in karats of gold. Well, not all of it is solid, but 75% happens to be.

The current trophy has been around since 1974, replacing the Jules Rimet Trophy, which was kept by Brazil in 1970, after winning the tournament for their 3rd time (1958, 1962, 1970).

Valued at approximately  $161,000, will one of the underdogs manage to steal a few games and take home the coveted prize? We use the term "steal," as thats what ultimately happened to the original Jules Rimet Trophy, when it was stolen on December 19th, 1983, in Rio De Janiero. The trophy has yet to be recovered until this day, but it is said to have been melted down and sold.

Enough about the prize, first these teams must handle business, and four teams will break through into the semifinals; the question,  which flags will they carry?

Break on through.....

If trends are your type of thing, 17 of the past 20 semi-finalists in this tournament have been group winners. The last team to be runner-up and be crowned Champion was Italy in 1986. Again, these are just numbers.

Women lie, Men lie, but the numbers don't. We have six group winners and two runner-ups; keep these things in mind.

Updated odds

Brazil    +300
France    +400
England    +400
Belgium    +500
Croatia    +600
Uruguay    +1600
Russia    +2000
Sweden    +2500

When picking some of these futures, make sure you get a better price playing it now rather than doing a moneyline roll over. The possible semifinal match-ups have been released, and at many spots, you can find the projected lines, so use them to your advantage. Dig into the numbers to make sure you're getting the most value per wager.

Quarterfinals

Friday 7/6    
France vs. Uruguay     
     
France   +106
Uruguay +367
Draw +214
Over       
Under   2 -119

Advance
France -215
Uruguay +185

Belgium vs Brazil
Belgium   +275 +.5   -127
Brazil   +116
Draw +246
Over     2.5 +102
Under

Advance
Belgium  +150
Brazil   -165

Saturday  7/7

England vs Sweden
England   -103
Sweden +375       +.5 -108
Draw +233
Over
Under   2 -115

Advance
England -230
Sweden   +200

Croatia vs Russia
Croatia +124     
Russia +302     +.5 -136
Draw +209
Over
Under    2 -117

Advance
Croatia  -165
Russia   +150

Friday plays

Uruguay/ France Under 2   1U
First-half draw   1U
France Advance 1U

MAX PLAYS

Brazil/Belgium Both teams to score  -130 MAX
Over 2  -178   MAX
Over 2.5  +102 MAX

Total corners over 9½     3U
Philippe Coutinho scores a goal   +330 1U
Penalty kick awarded   YES +170 1U

Peoples Parlay   1U (4 spots leave 2 open)

France Advance

Brazil/Belgium BTTS

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

 

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The Astros play Game 1 of the ALDS Tuesday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

With a nod to Charles Dickens, October is the best of times (Astros) and the worst of times (Texans and Rockets) for Houston sports fans. At least this October.

October is the one month when all three of Houston’s major sports teams are guaranteed to be in full swing at the same time. It’s possible, if the Astros make the World Series that November will have all three teams in action, too. But let’s not jinx things.

The Astros start their playoff run Tuesday on TBS. Since the Yankees also play that day, also on TBS, we can assume the Astros will get the daytime slot, the Yankees in prime time. Now before Astros fans start screaming east coast bias, it really only applies to TV. Fun fact: no New York Met has ever won an MVP Award, and only one Yankee has won it in the past 37 years – Alex Rodriguez in 2005 and 2007. How’d that work out for him? Most important, a New York team has won the World Series only once in the past two decades – the Yankees in 2009.

The Astros could play as many as 15 more games in October, five in the Division Series, seven in the League Championship Series and three in the World Series before the calendar flips to November.

Meanwhile, the Texans plod on with three more games in October, and the Rockets have 11.

The winless Texans are at home against the Titans at NRG Stadium, on the road against the Jaguars and Raiders.

The Rockets, coming off the worst record in the NBA last season, have three games at home at Toyota Center and eight on the road.

This presents a problem of abundance, an embarrassment of riches, for Houston sports junkies. Who are you going to watch on TV? Which team will you pay to watch in person? Who are you rooting for the most? Whose jersey will you buy?

David Puddy is right, you “gotta support the team,” but who will own Houston this month?

What to do? If it’s true that nothing succeeds like success, and everybody loves a winner – it’s an obvious choice.

The Astros.

The Astros just completed their regular season with 106 wins, second most in franchise history, another American League West title, the best record in the American League and will have home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Even though fans had high hopes for the Astros entering 2022, the team smashed everybody’s expectations. Vegas put the Astros over/under wins at 92 games. The Astros seemingly flew by that number during spring training.

They are the first team in American League history to win 100 games in four of their last five full seasons. Not even Babe Ruth’s Yankees of the 1920s and 1930s did that. This core of Astros has won five of the last six American League West titles. They’ve played in three of the last five World Series. This is a dynasty right before our eyes. We’re witness to greatness. How ‘bout them Astros?

What a season it was. Who could have figured that 39-year-old Justin Verlander, out of action for two seasons after Tommy John surgery, would have a career year, a ridiculously skinny earned run average and the overwhelming pick for the Cy Young Award? Jose Altuve would return to a .300 batting average, Cristian Javier would lead the team in strikeouts, Yordan Alvarez would finish No. 2 between Aaron Judge and Mike Trout in OPS, and rookie Jeremy Pena would slug 22 home runs, the same number as Carlos Correa? Remember last offseason and cries of “pay the man!” Some of a team’s best deals are the ones they don’t make.

Strap yourself in for an October to remember. The storylines are endless. There’s bad blood between the Astros and the Yankees, between the Astros and Dodgers, between the Astros and boo birds in every stadium not named Minute Maid Park.

It’s going to be fun.

As for the Texans, Deshaun Watson returns to action Nov. 4 against the Texans here at NRG Stadium. And we’ll catch up with the Rockets when the NBA season starts for real on Christmas Day. But until then … play ball!

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