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

Nila Amerova

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 6:24 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jun. 25, 2014 6:24 PM GMT

The most unexpected of R16 matchups features Group D’s surprise winners Costa Rica and Group C’s late-gasp runners-up Greece. Join us as we preview this highly anticipated matchup of the unpredicted, complete with free World Cup picks for your consideration.

Costa Rica Favoured
Finally, Costa Rica receives the benefit of a favourable nod in World Cup betting markets, entering their R16 clash as the favourites to win outright, albeit on the short side of even money at +163 to win outright.

Costa Rica stunned Uruguay 3-1 in their Group D opener, and since have continued to upset the odds. They beat Italy 1-0 and then held England to a scoreless draw, effectively denying the Three Lions a respectable send-off. The keys to Costa Rica’s success in a group steeped in heavyweights and former champions has been a) strong defending, b) unified play and c) energetic and opportunistic attacking. The best bit, it didn’t even appear as if they had to labour at all to come through on ridiculously large odds to win Group D, which were matched at whopping +5000 at the start of the competition. Hands up those who placed a World Cup pick on Costa Rica then. Hats off. World Cup betting markets went ballistic in this section.


Greece Advance by the Skin of their Teeth
All and sundry were predicting World Cup extinction for both Greece and Japan in the last round of Group C action. Tale told that prediction was only 50% correct. The Blue Samurai are on a flight back to the land of the rising sun. Greece, however, delayed what seemed as imminent departure.

Greece needed to beat Ivory Coast in order to advance. All in all, a big ask for a side that embodied the word “challenged” on both defence and offense. Greece hadn’t scored a goal in two group matches, all the while conceding three. Ivory Coast needed all but a draw to advance, but many were predicting the easy win. The nation’s president even promised to double players’ bonuses should the Elephants beat Greece – all the incentive that proved to be.

In what would make for an excellent instructional guide on how to flip the script, the Greeks stunned Ivory Coast. All of a sudden, their attack, previously dubbed comatose, showed life, imagination and creativity. Heck, they even opened scoring in the first half. Although Bony equalised for Ivory Coast, which was all the Elephants really needed to advance, there was an inescapable feeling the Greeks wanted it more. They were on the front foot from the start, and they kept probing, looking for opportunities to score. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast –doing exactly what a side should never do – appeared to just trying to ride the draw to the end.

In added time, Ivory Coast finally cracked under Greek pressure. A delightful cross into the box found Samaras, but before he could do anything with it he was fouled. The long short of it: whistle, penalty shot and goal. Game Over.

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World Cup Betting Verdict
Given the separate accounts of both sides in group play, the R16 match betting line seems appropriate. Costa Rica are the correct favourites at +163 while Greece, the tournament dangerous floaters, are aptly priced close at +210 to win outright. Not only are the Greek dangerous floaters, they are hard to read. Would the real Greece please stand up?

Handicapping this matchup is going to be a bit tricky because the first question that springs to mind in most betting circles is: which Greece will show up in the R16? Will it be the Greece of the first two matches, conspicuous for a comatose offense and uncertain defence? Or will it be the lively, energetic Greece that showed up to snuff Ivory Coast’s World Cup dreams? You can bet it’ll make a difference.

What we do know is what we can expect from Costa Rica. Los Ticos have been inspiring, stoic and brave throughout the competition so far. They’ve played within themselves, showing admirable intuition and poise on the pitch. We know to expect no less from them in the R16. Not only that, when they’ve received a bit of a boon from the World Cup gods by drawing Greece, they must be optimistic about their chance to go deeper than anybody would have predicted. Of all the opponents to draw in the R16, a beatable Greece is definitely a “good” draw.


World Cup Picks
Given this fortuitous development, Costa Rica would appear to be on the verge of scripting a poignant Cinderella run for their nation, a possible quarterfinal berth, if not even the semis. Can you imagine? Take Costa Rica at tempting +163 odds on your World Cup Picks to win this match, along with a side bet on -120 odds to reach the quarterfinals.

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