fancied to top group
World Cup betting experts have earmarked Colombia for a potential Cinderella run in Brazil, on account of their favourable group, in which all four teams are deemed to have a shot at advancing. Although this notion isn’t enough to suggest they are worth backing in outright win markets as the
+3300 soccer pick – advancing into the knockouts is one thing, winning the whole competition another entirely – it is enough to suggest they are worth backing to win Group C at -125.
Colombia’s chances to win the group should be augmented by strong support on their home continent at the finals. What’s more, on paper, they are the strongest side in Group C, and it’s difficult to see the rest of Group C’s field challenging them.
Colombia secured qualification convincingly, on the back of a 9-3-4 mark and 30 points, just two points behind Argentina. Of the CONMEBOL nations, they allowed the fewest goals (13) and with 27 goals netted they had the second best goal differential (+14) – once again, behind Argentina (+20).
Radamel Falcao, tipped at +3300 to become the top goal scorer at the finals, is reportedly training with the squad, which is a huge boost for Colombia’s chances. The Monaco striker has been out since January with a knee injury and for a while it was touch and go whether he would participate at all.
Greece strike an interesting pose as the group’s underdogs. Notorious for stoic defending, Greece present a stout challenge for all sides in Group C; breaking down their defence was extremely difficult in European qualification, as the four goals conceded (a goal more than Spain) indicates, and so it should be in the finals.
If there were a downside to Greece’s chances, it’s their gun-shy offense that contributed just 12 goals; incidentally, it represents the lowest tally of all the European nations arriving in Brazil. If you are a proponent of the maxim, ‘defence wins games’ however, Greece at + 750 odds to win Group C could prove to be a savvy soccer.
Ivory Coast at +375 rank amongst the popular soccer picks in Group C straight forecasting. After the disappointment of their 2010 campaign, The Elephants are keen to do better. Boasting established talent from top to bottom – not least of all Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Salomon Kalou, to name a few, that could carry them into the knockouts – they could potentially shake things up in this section.
Finally, Japan round out this group at +375 odds to win outright. Although they are a solid team with genuine talent, one wonders whether they merit such favourable odds. Their qualification was convincing, but without incident given a rather lightweight World Group, so they could be slightly underprepared. Case-and-point: The 2013 Confederations Cup where Japan put forward a valiant effort yet failed to win a match. They finished bottom of Group A behind Brazil, Italy and Mexico with a 0-0-3 mark.
World Cup Betting Verdict: Colombia certainly look to be the smart choice for your 2014 World Cup picks in this section at -125 to win the group, or at the very least to advance into the knockouts (a happenstance that can also be backed at -400 in group qualification markets). If there were a side with a shot to usurp Colombia in this group, it would have to be Greece (+750) in our humble opinion, simply because they can stifle opposing teams with their stoic defending. You can back Colombia and Greece (in that order) to advance at +550 in group forecast markets.
Group qualification markets serve up tighter odds, which give a more appropriate sense of the closeness of the competition between Ivory Coast (-110), Japan (+110) and Greece (+200) to advance. While Greece remain on the short end of the stick, this market is most revealing. Bookmakers are clearly giving Ivory Coast the slightest of edges over Japan, despite listing the pair on identical +350 odds to win Group C. Colombia and Ivory Coast to advance is tipped at +350 while Colombia and Japan to advance in the top two spots is listed at +400.Recommended Soccer Picks: Colombia to win outright at -125; Greece to finish second and advance, which can be backed at +200 in group qualification. Both soccer picks are available at +550 in Group Forecast markets.