2014 World Cup Betting: Costa Rica vs. England Picks & Odds

Nila Amerova

Monday, June 23, 2014 1:44 PM GMT

England are set to wrap up their World Cup campaign against surprise package Costa Rica in round three of Group D action. England are headed home; Costa Rica eye top spot in the table. Find out what odds are currently trading across sportsbooks and where the value soccer picks are to be had.


England Homeward Bound
Costa Rica served notice with a victory over Italy at the competition, their second straight win in Group D which effectively also served England their pink slip for the World Cup finals in Brazil. Earlier, England’s hopes had been ripped apart by Uruguay on the back of a 2-1 defeat; their destiny delicately entrusted to Italy so, England needed a win by the Azzurri to have a mathematical shot in the last lap. Alas, Costa Rica delivered the final blow with a surprise 1-0 victory over Italy.

England have no stake in the outcome of the final match. To them it’s a dead rubber. The irony of it all, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. At the start of the competition it was expected to be the other way round. Predictions had Costa Rica losing to Uruguay, then to Italy, only to enter the final match with the intention of salvaging some pride and perhaps having a spot of fun. As it so happens, Costa Rica transcended those expectations, leaving England in its wake to assume the loser role. In order to have a sense of just how badly things have gone: England were the second favourites at +225 to win Group D, but now they are the -250 favourites to finish bottom of the section’s pile.


Costa Rica Surprise
To say Costa Rica have been a delightful revelation in Brazil is an understatement. They’ve gone above and beyond expectations. Not only are they safely through to the last 16, but also they have a stake in top spot. In fact, Costa Rica are now -700 favourites to win Group D, down from a whopping +5000 to win Group D at the start of the competition. Indeed, those that took a chance on this underdog in pre-World Cup betting markets have to be well pleased with how things turned out. Costa Rica are a draw away from winning Group D and handing out one of the biggest payouts in this World Cup yet.


Costa Rica vs. England Match Betting Tips and Picks
Despite Costa Rica’s advantageous position in the table, and their convincing play throughout the group stage, odds makers send them into this clash as the whopping +333 underdogs to win outright. A rather disingenuous market stance, if ever there was one in World Cup betting markets, indeed.

England, by contrast, are listed as the firm favourites at -118 to win outright. Why? That’s anybody’s guess. They haven’t played particularly well in either defeat. What’s more, to expect they’d all of a sudden play superbly is a bit optimistic. There is nothing in it for them, save for pride. But if they raise the level of their game now, won’t they do themselves a disservice. Imagine the backlash by English fans, who will wonder why the Three Lions, one of several favourites in the competition proper to go deep, didn’t punch at their weight class right from the start. This isn’t an underdog that was always expected to lose and, therefore, playing for pride in the last match has a certain special significance. This is a favourite that simply imploded. Failed to live up to expectations.

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World Cup Betting Verdict
It’s difficult to decide what to make of these odds. It’s interesting that odds makers aren’t giving Costa Rica a better shot at the win with +333 odds or, for that matter, a decent shot at the draw, which is trading at +290. After all, Costa Rica needs but a draw to win Group D.

There is speculation about what starting XI Jorge Luis Pinto will field for the final match, after all, he needs to be mindful of the knockouts and resting some players will be key. But if he does chose to rest some of his top players, does that automatically weaken Costa Rica? Those that get some unexpected playing time will surely want to impress Pinto as well. Play their hearts out for their coach; their teammates that put them into this advantageous position; and their country, which is delighted by their magical run. They wouldn’t want to let all down, surely. In which case, it would be foolish to assume they won’t continue punching at a high level.

Then again, it might make no difference what sort of team Pinto fields if England isn’t motivated. Most likely, players are already mentally back in their posh UK mansions, planning summer vacations and dusting off golf clubs. What’s more, Roy Hodgson’s team selection isn’t known as yet either, so how are we to decide whether they merit such favourable odds to win outright at -118.

All in all, if you are keen to place a bet on this matchup, Costa Rica smack of better value at +333 to win outright and, as such, they are our recommended soccer pick. They have the momentum, the motivation and the confidence. They are vested in the outcome while England simply aren’t, in our opinion.

World Cup Picks: Costa Rica to win outright at +333 or Draw at +290 or combined double result Costa Rica or draw at -105