What a spectacle the opening game of the WC was. The stadium was covered in yellow and the crowd were in full support of their home nation. It was a real tough defeat to take for our pick, especially after Croatia taking the lead. A highly controversial penalty in the second half, along with Croatia being unable to convert on their late dominance led Brazil to a last minute 3-1 win, which push our bet into the L.
Only the hosts, Brazil, will definitely go off as shorter favourites to win their opening game than Chile. That says a bit about Jorge Sampaio’s men, who have performed impressively in recent friendlies with European nations, but quite a lot more about Australia. Sent into Group B with both of the 2010 finalists and some dangerous South Americans, the Socceroos are but a hop, skip and a jump from the plane home. Australia’s three goalkeepers have 17 caps between them; their trio of recognized forwards have 21. Coach Ange Postocoglu got the job less than a year ago. Optimistically, you could say this is a tournament too early for them. Realistically, you could say they’re simply not good enough. Crystal Palace’s Mile Jedinak shores up midfield manfully and Tim Cahill’s still got game at 34, but anything more than no points would be a good return from Brazil 2014.
Only Argentina scored more goals than Chile in Conmebol qualifying. Eleven of La Roja’s 16 games went Over 2.5 Goals, which is a +112 (2.12) outsider on Friday. Although many teams are risk-averse in their opening games, Sampaio is unlikely to let Chile sit back. Happily for him, Postocoglu tends to take a similar approach, despite the inexperience of his defence. Although Australia lack firepower upfront, they can help make this an open game – and one in which three goals is as likely as not.
The South Americans are fast starters. Eight of their nine wins in qualifying saw them leading at the interval (in contrast, Australia were ahead at the break in just three of their 14 qualifiers). They also netted early against England and if they get ahead early here, I fear for the Aussies. Couple that with the fact Chile conceded 1.56 goals per game in the qualifiers, more than any other of the 32 participants in the 2014 edition. I feel the over 2.5 goals here offers tremendous value, and should be backed at odds against.
2 units – Over 2.5 goals +112
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Tournament P+L to date:
-2 units (0-1)