2014 World Cup Betting: Russia vs. South Korea Picks & Odds

Mike Richardson

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:10 PM UTC

Monday, Jun. 16, 2014 7:10 PM UTC

Expectations are relatively high for Russia, as they get set to open up their campaign with a clash against the South Koreans. What kind of soccer betting odds are on offer for this match at the Arena Pantanal?

Odds Overview
The Russians are favored at right around +125 to get all three points in what would be a dream start to their World Cup campaign. That leaves South Korea as a +275 underdog, with a draw quoted at +215 or so.

The Russians, in what will be their first World Cup appearance since 2002, will come into Group H as one of the favorites to advance on to the knockout stages. They're currently ranked #18 on the FIFA list. As far as their preparations, Fabio Capello's side played three warm-up friendlies, taking on Slovakia (1-0) and Norway (1-1) in May, and then Morocco (2-0) in June. 

Look over Russia's roster, and you can see why they could really make an impact on this tournament. All 23 of their players currently compete in the Russian Premier League, so there's already a lot of familiarity in place. Igor Denisov, the Dynamo Moscow midfielder, will be making his 45th appearance for his country come Tuesday. Other experienced members of the national team include Sergei Ignashevich (97 caps), Aleksandr Kerzhakov (81), Vasili Berezutski (78), goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev (69) and Yuri Zhirkov (61). We're most interested to watch Kerzhakov, Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Kokorin, all of whom should be dangerous in attack for the Russians when given a chance. Kerzhakov has scored 25 goals internationally in his career, but there's a chance he'll make way for the exciting Kokorin in the starting XI in the opener.

South Korea
If the friendlies were anything to go by, South Korea could be in a lot of trouble in Group H. They may have topped Greece 2-0 in early March, but more recently they've looked off the pace, losing at home to Tunisia (1-0) in late May, and then getting crushed by Ghana (4-0) in Miami just last week. Not the best way to gain confidence heading into the biggest tournament in the world, that's for sure. 

Unlike Russia's team, South Korea is made up of players who ply their trade all over the world. They have a good number of players who compete in the Premier League and Bundesliga, so they shouldn't be taken lightly. Standout names include Park Chu-Young, Lee Chung-Yong, Ki Sung-Yueng and Ji Dong-Won, the Borussia Dortmund striker who has eight goals in 28 international appearances. This South Korea outfit is one of the youngest in the World Cup, and, while that could be a huge disadvantage in this tournament in terms of a lack of experience, it certainly bodes well for the future. Let's see if the Koreans can offer a surprise, or two, in the group stages.

 World Cup Pick
This is one of the more difficult matches to predict. We obviously don't like what we saw out of South Korea as they tuned up for the tournament, but we reckon they'll be much better here when it matters most. They have a lot of technical ability in the squad, and they have an exciting young nucleus to keep an eye on. Still, we have to side with Russia, and their cohesiveness to win out in this soccer betting showdown. These Russians are on the same page, especially when it comes to their defensive discipline, and we look for that to be a deciding factor in a hard-fought win for the favorites.

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Free World Cup Pick: Russia 2 South Korea 1 for your soccer pick.

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