2014 World Cup Picks: Brazil vs. Netherlands

Nila Amerova

Friday, July 11, 2014 3:27 PM GMT

Brazil and Netherlands are set to clash in a conciliatory match for third place. It’s not what hosts Brazil’s had hoped for at the start of the competition, nor, for that matter, 2010 runners-up Netherlands. Nonetheless, it’s an opportunity to finish the tournament on a semi-respectable high. 

Brazil Pick Up the Pieces
Brazil were left to pick up the pieces of their tattered World Cup dreams off of the manicured pitch at Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, on Tuesday night. Dreams that were mercilessly torn to shreds by Germany in a 7-1 defeat, marking Brazil’s worst-ever international defeat in the semis. The players and nation’s heartbreak morphed into ghastly agony, nowhere more so mirrored poignantly than in the children’s faces, awash with tears, dotting the stadium and broadcast into homes worldwide.

To all intents and purposes, the battle for third and fourth is a meaningless match. There is nothing in it for the winner of third place – no celebration to be had, or glory to bask in. Only one thing matters above all: the World Champion title. It’s what drives the competition and the competitors within in the pursuit of the coveted prize. Still, it’s an opportunity for Brazil to bounce back, leave a positive impression on an altogether successful tournament, save for the hiccup against Germany.

The Selecao must salvage whatever is left of their World Cup dreams in order to clinch third place, small consolation though it might be. Bookmakers have installed Brazil as the betting odds favourites, albeit it on the short side of even money at + 115.

 

Holland Rendered Ineffective
The Dutch were rendered ineffective in their semi-final clash with Argentina. In a rather dull affair, complete opposite to the Germany vs. Brazil clash, the second semi-final went the distance, stretching through the 120 minutes on a scoreless draw. A lot of it was down to the conservative approach Van Gaal took. He opted to neutralise Argentina’s attacking potential, namely Messi, rather than launch the famous counterattack that Dutch are known for and feared. The master tactician, however, saw his carefully laid out strategy come to a brutal end in the penalty shootout as Argentina’s keeper denied Vlaar and Sneijder’s attempts to all but send Argentina into the final.

For the Dutch, Saturday’s clash with Brazil is also going to appear a small consolation. They very nearly reached their second-straight World Cup final against the odds. Where they are concerned, it’s been a tournament of two contrasting outputs, which is probably why they didn’t make it as far as the title match.

There was the group stage, which they took by the scruff of its neck to light up the finals with ten goals. They were playing to win. In the knockouts, however, they flipped the script. All of a sudden, they seemed to retreat within themselves and play more conservatively and cautiously, as if playing not to lose. They very nearly went out in the R16 against Mexico but for two late goals that salvaged their campaign. In the quarters and semis, the goals dried up completely, forcing them to go the distance. Against Costa Rica, the Dutch were extremely lucky – Van Gaal’s goalkeeper switcheroo was a stroke of genius. Alas, it wasn’t the same outcome against Argentina. Given these two contrasting outputs, it’s not surprising to have Holland enter their final appearance at the 2014 World Cup finals as the significant underdogs at +240.

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World Cup Betting Verdict: Overall, this match could go either way because it’s hard to gauge which side has more incentive to win this match.

To Win Outright
If you are backing Brazil at +115 to win outright, it’s a tempting option. If only to erase the horrific images of their 7-1 defeat to Germany a third-place finish for Brazil does seem just. Arguably, Brazil’s home advantage also gives them the added incentive.

The Dutch, matched at +240 to win outright, strike an attractive pose. The question is though: will they be bothered? Third place finish wasn’t on the agenda when for Brazil, nor do they owe nobody a face-saving effort either. Therefore, if you’re looking to back Holland with your soccer pick, best wait to see Van Gaal’s starting XI first. If Robben and/or Van Persie start on the bench, it would be clear sign of disinterest in the outcome of the match.

Over/ Under Picks and More
Since there is little riding on this match, it could be a free-flowing affair, which means lots of goals. In past World Cups that has been the case with the Over 2.5 being the winning soccer pick. In fact, six of the last eight consolation third place matches have gone Over 3.5. So if you’re looking for the highest value sports picks, take the Over 2.5 at -175 or the Over 3.5 at +150. It also follows that taking double chance bets such as both teams to score and Brazil to win at +250 or both teams to score and Holland to win at +400 are great options to consider. Or anything pertaining to score betting in periphery markets.

World Cup Picks: Brazil to win at +115; Over 3.5 at +150; and both teams to score and Brazil to win at +250