**Betting odds from Betfair as at 22nd June 2014
Belgium ($1.98) versus Russia ($4.4), Draw ($3.7)
It was a bit of a rusty performance from the dark horse favourites Belgium in their first game against Algeria. It was probably a good reminder for them to know that any side is dangerous no matter their ranking, and Algeria gave them a bit of a scare going ahead with a penalty 24 minutes in and holding off the Belgian’s until the 70 minute mark when Fellaini headed in a goal. From there it looked like Belgium where going to run away with it and they did. I think they’ll be better for that by coming from behind and we should expect a much better performance here against Russia. Russia had a disappointing first up game against South Korea where a Akinfeev blunder gifted the lead to South Korea. To their credit they worked back into the game but they’ll need to work pretty hard to get over the line against this Belgium side. Belgium will be looking to get the 3 points to ensure their last 16 spot so I’m expecting a pretty clinical performance. Lukaku was largely invisible against Algeria so it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep his spot as a result.
Predicted score: Belgium 2-1
Best Bet: Belgium to win at $1.98 (80%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $2.2
South Korea ($2.48) versus Algeria ($3.2), Draw ($3.4)
This is a pretty interesting matchup but we should see a pretty attacking game with both sides keen to get 3 points to try and make the last 16. Algeria looked decent in their game against Belgium and have something to build on their despite their loss. That something though will need to be in the final third. They had just the 3 shots on goal with just the 1 on target (being their penalty) which isn’t going to be good enough here against South Korea so they’ll need to improve offensively. South Korea were gifted a goal against Russia to give them the lead but they only managed to hold on for a draw. They did have the majority of possession and enough chances on goal to take the game but it was perhaps a lack of cutting edge that didn’t give them the result they were after. Regardless though this is looking like it’ll be a pretty tight game. I quite like South Korea due to some of the attacking talent they possess which I think can cause this Algerian defence some problems. Algeria will be better in this game I’m sure but South Korea for me look the better team, just.
Predicted score: South Korea 1-0
Best Bet: South Korea Draw No Bet at $1.74 (85%)
Next Best: Under 2.5 goals at $1.74
USA ($5.3) versus Portugal ($1.75), Draw ($4.1)
The USA had a dream start against rivals Ghana in their first game scoring in the first 30 seconds but more importantly they managed to hold Ghana off to win 2-1. They perhaps have the upper hand here against Portugal in the form of confidence with the Portuguese enduring a tough encounter against Germany 4-0. They also have other concerns with injuries as suspensions with Fabio Coentrao injured and Pepe suspended after copping a deserved red card. Add to this an injury worry over Ronaldo with his knee and things are pointing towards a potential result for the USA. I’m sure Ronaldo will still play but how much the injury will impact him will be interesting to see. I can see the reasoning for looking at a draw here and I don’t doubt that USA will be stiff opposition but I also think Portugal can bounce back from that drubbing they had against Germany. A lot though will depend on Ronaldo’s fitness – If he starts then I expect Portugal can get away with a tight win, otherwise it opens up the door for the USA with the mental loss of Ronaldo to have an impact on the Portuguese players.
Predicted score: Portugal 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.97 (90%)
Next Best: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.86
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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