2014 World Cup Betting: Brazil vs. Croatia Picks & Odds

Steven Suarez

Monday, June 9, 2014 3:48 PM GMT

The hosts of the World Cup, who are also listed as top overall soccer betting favorite to win the tournament, will play Croatia in their group opener. What kind of odds are on offer for Thursday's match at the Estadio do Maracana?


Odds Overview
Brazil is the heavy favorite, as everyone expected, to win come Thursday, with sportsbooks installing them at anywhere from -300 to as high as -370. The Croatians are humungous underdogs at +1000 to +1200, while a draw can be found at roughly +450 if you look around.

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Brazil
Since a 1-0 loss to Switzerland in a friendly back in August of 2013, Brazil has won nine consecutive matches, which includes victories over the likes of Portugal, Chile and Serbia. Sure, they were all friendlies, but it just shows you how dominant this Brazil side can be, even when not playing at full strength like they had to do at times. The Brazilians only played two warm-up matches, beating Panama 4-0 at home, and then Serbia (1-0) in Sao Paulo three days later. Neymar, Dani Alves, Hulk and Willian scored against the Panamanians, while Fred had the winner against the Serbs. Just look over Brazil's World Cup roster, and you'll see why they're favored to win it all. Neymar is getting most of the attention, but Thiago Silva is equally, if not more important, to the cause in the heart of the defense. Then there's the likes of Alves, Hulk, Oscar, Marcelo, David Luiz, Luis Gustavo, Willian and Julio Cesar in goal. The list goes on and on. Brazil will be a terror for opponents to deal with throughout the competition, barring a total collapse.


Croatia
The Croatians, ranked 18th in the world by FIFA, completed their World Cup reparations by picking up two wins and a draw in their three warm-up friendlies. They first tied with Switzerland 2-2 (away from home) before overcoming Mali in Croatia, and then Australia 1-0 in Salvador, Brazil. In Group A, Croatia will likely be competing with Cameroon and Mexico for the second spot in the group, though anything can happen and even a point in this first encounter with Brazil would be a huge scalp.Niko Kovac has no shortage of talented players to call upon come Thursday. The most recognized names are Luka Modric, who just completed a fabulous season with Real Madrid, as well as captain Darijo Srna, Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic. The Croatians have quite a bit of experience in their attacking force and that strength in depth could certainly come in handy in the World Cup. Along with Mandzukic (13 goals in 50 caps), Ivica Olic, Eduardo, Nikica Jelavic and young Ante Rebic could all be called upon. Croatia could be very dangerous indeed.


World Cup Pick
This Croatia side is no pushover, and Brazil would be foolish to take them even the slightest bit lightly, especially in the World Cup where anything can happen. That being said, it's tough to pick against the Brazilians, who have the amazing support of the fans behind them, and simply have more attacking firepower within their ranks, as well. There's a lot of pressure on Neymar to perform, but we think he'll rise to the challenge, and it all starts with the opening match. Three points in the first group stage match would give Scolari's men a huge boost in confidence for the rest of the tournament. With close to 100,000 supporters cheering them on, we look for Brazil to win in what should be a very entertaining opener.

Free Soccer Pick: Brazil 3 Croatia 1 for your soccer pick.

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