Betting Blog: Belgium backed for win
The World Cup gets its first look at Belgium on Tuesday night and they've been heavily backed as a dark horse -- if not to win the thing, but to at least reach quarterfinals and perhaps beyond. Their matches are in a part of Brazil where conditions are less humid and they have an abundance of quality talent.
Simon Mignolet, Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku is proof their spine is strong. However, Lukaku has only just returned from injury and their strike-force is perhaps not as good as the rest of their team. They take on Algeria in their opener and though they should win, it may take them some time to break down the opposition, who are tough to beat and will want to keep it tight for as long as possible. Bet365 go 13/5 that it's a draw at half-time and Belgium win in the end and that looks reasonable.
Brazil may have won their opening match but they were not that impressive and they may have to work even harder to break down Mexico on Tuesday. The Mexicans look organised and technically sound and it's clear this Brazil side lack the flair of previous sides down the years, Neymar's skill notwithstanding. They should win but there may be only the odd goal in it, so take Bet365's Asian handicap price of Mexico with a 1.5 goal advantage on offer at 7/8.
No matter how tough their qualification route is, Russia always tend to impress when the World Cup comes round and they could be good value at 4/5 to beat South Korea in the late match on Tuesday. The Koreans lost to Iran in their most recent friendly and we've seen how poor they are.
Australia must be living in fear as to what might happen when they take on Netherlands on Wednesday; the Dutch fresh from their 5-1 mauling of champions Spain in their opener. Louis van Gaal's men should win this easily enough but that's all they need to do, so no need to expect five goals.
First goal scorer is not a bet that usually leads to more money in your pocket but Robin van Persie is the kind of striker who goes on runs that last a while. The Manchester United man is 12/5 to net first so take up bet365's offer, as he'll be thinking about the Golden Boot already.
There were plenty of people who had a dabble at backing Spain to win the tournament in the wake of their 5-1 humiliation to Netherlands on the premise they would get longer odds. Me? I don't think so, certainly not if we see the kind of tired legs we did in their first match. They take on Chile on Wednesday needing at least a draw to stay alive but I fancy Chile, who were solid in beating the Aussies in their opener.
Bet365 go 20/21 for Chile with a one goal start on the Asian Handicap and that might just be the call.