Cup Quarterfinals on Friday Will Tell a Tale of Two Halves

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 1:06 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 3, 2018 1:06 PM UTC

Uruguay meets France in Friday’s first quarterfinal, followed by Brazil against Belgium. Bettors should exercise patience regarding their goal scorer props, but can also profit from expecting slow first halves.

<h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" title="Soccer Betting Forum">Friday World Cup Props</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" title="Uruguay-France Odds">Uruguay vs. France (10 a.m. ET)</a></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3391155, "sportsbooksIds":[43,1275,1252,1096,19], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]<br /><br />After a quiet performance during the group stage, France broke out its secret weapon in its first elimination match against Argentina: pace in the form of Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe repeatedly blew past the Argentinian defense and was responsible for three of France’s goals, two of which he achieved directly and the third he contributed to by drawing a penalty. It’s worth noting that a competent goalkeeper, which Argentina’s backup goalkeeper proved himself not to be, would have prevented two of those goals. If Franco Armani had come off his line, the penalty could have been prevented and if he had better reaction skills, Mbappe’s first goal should have made for a comfortable save.<br /><br />Uruguay is ready for what France has to offer. Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera has a much stronger reputation than Armani. He led the Turkish league in clean sheets kept (13). Defensively, the pair of centre-backs from Atletico Madrid, Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, exhibit great chemistry and together have conceded only once in this tournament. The key for them will be to sit back to account for Godin’s lack of pace. The Uruguayan defense faces a double-edged sword. If they don’t sit deep, they risk exposure to the pace of Mbappe. If they do sit deep, several French players have the individual quality to score from distance, with even a defender, Benjamin Pavard, having joined the act against Argentina.<br /><br />Going forward, the Uruguayans will struggle for quality thanks to the injury of forward Edinson Cavani. Cavani scored both of Uruguay’s goals in its first knockout game against Portugal. Without him, the French defense, which is healthy enough despite initial concerns over their two fullbacks, has much less to account for. However, Les Bleus will miss midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who was suspended for accumulating his second yellow card. He would have created a significant presence with his experience and tackling ability.<br /><br />The loss of Cavani and the threat of Mbappe will give Uruguay less confidence going forward and less willingness to be aggressive. Meanwhile, France will have trouble breaking down a tough Uruguayan defense. I think the first half will feature a tactical chess match with both teams trying to figure out the other. <a href="" title="World Cup Odds">You can bet on a first-half draw at -110 and zero first-half goals at +125</a>. France, with its individual quality in the likes of striker Antoine Griezmann and midfielder Paul Pogba, will pull away. You can bet on the half-time/full-time result draw-France at +350 and Griezmann to achieve his third goal of the tournament against his Atletico teammates at +175.</p><p> </p><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" title="Brazil-Belgium Odds">Brazil vs. Belgium (2 p.m. ET)</a></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3391158, "sportsbooksIds":[43,1275,1252,1096,19], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>In their first knockout game, the Belgians seemed shocked by Japan’s aggressiveness and the Japanese went ahead 2-0 thanks to two perfectly placed distance shots. But once they woke up, Belgium showed its attacking prowess and achieved three goals in the final 25 minutes. Waking up in the second-half has become a common theme for the Belgians. In four World Cup matches, they have achieved a ridiculous 12 goals. But only two of them came in the first half. Brazil, meanwhile, has conceded one goal so far and that came in the second half.<br /><br />Belgium’s defense was exposed by Japan, allowing the Japanese too much space in the back so that they could repeatedly whizz in dangerous crosses. Belgium has plenty of time to make adjustments in the back and if manager Roberto Martinez is half-way competent, he’ll make use of the individual quality available to him in Belgium’s backline, particularly Manchester City centre-back Vincent Company, whose absence has always created a huge detriment to his defense whether for club or for country, and Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen, the first Belgian to win 100 caps with his national team.<br /><br />Ultimately, <a href="" title="Free Sports Picks">this is a star-studded matchup that promises not to disappoint</a>. But it will in the first half and you can bet on zero first-half goals at +175 and the second half to have more goals than the first at +105. Once the offenses break through, the second half should see multiple goals. For Belgium, midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is technically smooth, unselfish, and savvy in the passing game and achieved 16 assists for Manchester City. Eden Hazard is an elite dribbler who forces a defense to overcompensate for him and Romelu Lukaku is a massive presence in the box with his size and, with four goals in three matches, he is always a goal threat. Belgium led all teams in goals scored in the group stage and easily did the same during qualifiers. Brazil, meanwhile, isn’t short of elite goal scorers either, with a healthy Neymar and Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho. Both have two goals so far. You can bet on over 1.5 second-half goals at +110 and a more modest Belgium to score in the second half at +100. Player props are not out yet, but look to bet on Belgium’s Lukaku and Brazil’s Neymar.</p><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href=";book=worldcup-picks">Check out SBR's World Cup page.</a></h2>
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