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Betting Blog: CL returns

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Round of 16 betting preview

A round up of the best bets ahead of the round of 16 at the World Cup...

Brazil eased through the group stages but the overwhelming feeling regarding the hosts is that they are no world-beaters. That doesn't mean they won't go very close to winning the World Cup -- if that's not an immediate contradiction -- but they have been remarkably unimpressive and Chile will go into their round of 16 clash on Saturday believing that they can win.

- 50-50 Challenge: Brazil vs. Chile

That's not something many South American nations have felt in recent years and to do so they will have to break an incredible record. Brazil have not lost a competitive match at home in 39 years. But -- and it's a significant but -- they are under real pressure and an attacking Chile side could well push them very close.

Bet365 make the Chileans 21/4 to produce the shock that would break a nation's hearts and 3/1 just to go through whether it's in normal time, extra time or on penalties. The Asian handicap looks good at 1.975 with a one-goal start and that might be a good shout. However, I'm going to stick my neck out and say Chile, at a very big-looking 21/4, is the bet to have.

James Rodriguez has seized the spotlight at the 2014 World Cup with a string of superb performances.
James Rodriguez has helped inspire Colombia to a round of 16 tie against Uruguay, who will be without Luis Suarez.

Colombia have arguably been the surprise package of the World Cup so far and they are screaming out to be backed at even money to beat a Uruguay side reeling from the banning of Luis Suarez. The Liverpool striker was the difference in their group stage campaign and they are likely to be distraught at not having their talisman to take on a Colombia side full of goals. Colombia at evens is a great price.

Netherlands have been superb so far and avoided a clash with Brazil by winning their group at the expense of Spain, Chile and Australia. They look united, for once, and with Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie firing on all cylinders, they should be too good for a decent Mexico team, so long as they don't get complacent. Bet365 go 11/10 and that's worth taking.

Greece have been solid and obstinate but lack a cutting edge, while Costa Rica have been a revelation. However that match is too close to call, while Argentina are no value against Switzerland, who have been quite impressive. Instead, try USA to upstage Belgium. Marc Wilmots' men have flattered to deceive so if the US don't chase the game early on against their counter-attacking rivals, they have a big chance to make the quarterfinals. Bet365 make them 15/8 to qualify and that's worth a go.