France need only a draw to be sure of securing top spot in Group E, and the latest reports emanating from the French camp suggest coach Didier Deschamps will name a weakened starting XI. Taking into account these two issues, it’s no surprise les Bleus are as big as -120 to win the game. Even with a bit of rotation France are likely to be a stronger side than Ecuador but there’s always a risk attached to backing a side to win when they can afford to settle for a point. Ecuador go into the game level on points with Switzerland, which means they have no choice but to play to win as they look to clinch a place in the last 16. Ecuador’s coaching staff may change their approach to the game at some point if they hear Switzerland are losing to Honduras in the group’s other game – but from a betting point of view, the safest thing to do is to assume Ecuador will treat this as a game they must win. Given that Ecuador have every reason to be 100% motivated whereas a weakened France may settle for a draw, the Match Odds look about right. I’d leave this market alone.
As this is such a high-scoring World Cup – 25 of the opening 36 games (69%) have had over 2.5 goals – there’s a temptation to blindly back overs in all games and expect the cash to keep rolling in. While that policy may be flawed, I’m prepared to back overs in this game. France have shown what a fine attacking side they are by scoring eight times in their opening two games, and their defence is obviously imperfect: they wobbled on a few occasions against Honduras, then conceded twice against Switzerland, and the rotation that is predicted in the France back four certainly won’t make their team any more solid. Throw in the fact that Ecuador have conceded 12 times in six fixtures this year and I can see this being yet another open World Cup encounter. Backing Both Teams to Score is an alternative to the Over 2.5 Goals market, but I can’t see much point in taking odds of around -130 on both teams finding the net instead of the considerably bigger price on the game having three goals or more. Yes, a point would be good enough for France to top the group so the 1-1 scoreline cannot be ruled out, but it’s simply not in the nature of Deschamps’ team to sit back and play for a point. The fact Ecuador have to chase a win means there are likely to be plenty of chances at both ends, so Overs makes more sense than Both Teams to Score.
2 Units – Over 2.5 goals (-105)
+2.9 Units (8-8)