2014 World Cup Picks: Italy vs. Costa Rica

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 1:50 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jun. 17, 2014 1:50 PM GMT

Both Italy and Costa Rica secured all three points in their group stage openers and now they'll battle it out for the top spot in Group D. We know what kind of soccer betting odds will be on offer for this match, but where is the best value with our picks?

Odds Overview
The Italians are clear-cut favorites at -200, with a win ensuring that they finish atop the group and book their spot in the knockout stages.

We can find Costa Rica available at +650 on average, with a draw priced at +300 to +350 depending on the sports betting site.

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Italy
That's the type of professional performance we're used to seeing out of the Italians.

Their opening match against England was hyped up in a big way and for good reason. It was an entertaining spectacle from start to finish, but Mario Balotelli's header in the 50th minute proved to be the difference in the end.

Italy went ahead in the 35th minute through a fine finish from Claudio Marchisio, only for an immediate response from Daniel Sturridge to wipe away the advantage. Once the Italians got the lead back though, they were excellent in the back and kept England's pacey attack at bay.

Getting the full three points is a huge scalp for the Italians and there should be a sense of relief around the team camp now that they've gotten arguably their toughest match out of the way first.

Even more impressive, Italy had to turn to little-known Salvatore Sirigu in goal after Gianluigi Buffon picked up a knock and he was fantastic against the English. Andrea Pirlo controlled the tempo from the midfield once again, while Antonio Candreva and Daniele de Rossi impressed as well.


Costa Rica
After pulling off arguably the biggest shock of the tournament so far, what kind of follow-up act will we see out of the Costa Ricans?

Facing off against a Uruguay outfit that was without its best player in Luis Suarez, Costa Rica was classified as the massive underdog in the soccer betting odds. And, after going down in the first half from a Edinson Cavani penalty, the Costa Ricans could have hung their heads and let things slip away.

However, it was a wonderful second-half display out of the underdogs, who got goals from Joel Campbell, Oscar Duarte and Marco Urena on their way to a wonderful 3-1 win. A red card for Uruguay's Maxi Pereira certainly helped the cause.

It couldn't have been a better start for Costa Rica. Practically no one gave them a chance to do anything worthwhile in the group and now they stand as one of the favorites to advance. A positive result against Italy would be icing on the cake at this point.

With Campbell's pace up top and the savvy playmaking of Bryan Ruiz, the world has learned not to take Costa Rica lightly. Now that the cat's out of the bag though, will they be able to keep the good times rolling?


World Cup Pick
Sometimes people get carried away and read too much into the opening results when looking towards the future and placing their final soccer picks.

Costa Rica did indeed look good against Uruguay, but the level in competition goes up a notch against Italy. The Italians have the talent and experience to deal with any kind of style an opponent may throw out them and we think that mental fortitude will help out a great deal. They're the superior team and we expect them to prove it.

So, let's add Italy as the pick and back them to win by two or more goals while also picking up a clean sheet.

Soccer Pick: Italy 2 Costa Rica 0

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