2014 World Cup Betting: Belgium vs. Russia Picks & Odds

Steven Suarez

Thursday, June 19, 2014 3:37 PM GMT

Thursday, Jun. 19, 2014 3:37 PM GMT

The two biggest contenders from Group H will go head-to-head on Sunday, with Belgium and Russia eager to move to six points, and lock up their spot in the knockout stages. Who do we have confidence in when it comes to placing our sports picks?

Odds Overview
The Belgians are the clear-cut favorites at close to even money. They can be found in the -105 to +105 range at the moment. That means the Russians are underdogs for the first time in this tournament, with sportsbooks releasing a price of roughly +300. A draw's available at +250.


Belgium
Considered the best team in Group H, Belgium was expected to control the tempo in their opening match against Algeria and have little trouble getting the three points. That simply wasn't the case, though. The Algerians came to play, and actually went ahead in the 25th minute through a Sofiane Feghouli penalty. They held on to the lead for a majority of the match, but the Belgians kept plugging away and a couple impact substitutions helped swing momentum.

Marouane Fellaini came on and made an immediate difference, scoring the equalizer off a nice header in the 70th minute. Ten minutes later it was another sub that rose to the occasion, and this time it Dries Mertens' turn, who had a powerful finish to give Belgium the 2-1 win. Like many competing teams in the World Cup, the Belgians went with a 4-2-3-1, with Witsel and Dembele holding back and Chadli, De Bruyne, Hazard and Lukaku in attack. Lukaku was ineffective, as were Chadli and Dembele, with all three getting substituted. Belgium looked much more threatening with Fellaini and Mertens involved, while Divock Origi's pace offered the team a different dimension too. Will there be changes for Russia?


Russia
The Russians finished with a 1-1 draw against South Korea in their first match of their World Cup campaign. It could have been much worse though. Russia went down 1-0 after a horrendous goalkeeping error from Igor Akinfeev, who let the ball go through his hands, and into the back of his own net. It was a terrible mistake that could have had disastrous implications.

Credit to the Russians though. That could have taken the wind out of their sails, but it had the opposite effect. Russia came out with renewed energy and focus, and was rewarded for their determination, with Aleksandr Kerzhakov pouncing on a loose ball in the box to even up the affair. A draw was a fair result, as legitimate chances were few and far between. Fabio Capello's Russians looked disciplined in the back and they're going to have to be ready to put in another shift against a Belgium side that will try and dominate possession.]

We'll have to see if the likes of Kerzhakov or Dzagoev will crack the starting XI after making solid contributions to the side as substitutes against South Korea. Whatever Capello decides, we know this team will be prepared for a battle.


World Cup Prediction
Is there a chance Belgium is still perhaps a little over-valued?

We believe so. We weren't too impressed with what we saw against Algeria, and we're not sure they deserved to be favored at this kind of number against what we know what will be a well-coached Russia outfit.

We know the Russians aren't going to be broken down easily, so we like the look of another run-line World Cup pick which protects us. A Russia win or a draw gives us a winner here and we believe Capello's team will be ready to fight for their lives.

Free World Cup Pick: Russia +0.5 (-113)

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