Samba Stars Lose Shine
Brazil’s odds are trending in World Cup betting markets, but not as one would have expected at the start of the competition. The sentimentality that follows the most successful football nation on the planet into each and every competition, those sepia-toned memories of Pele et all painting World Cups yellow and blue, receiving a rude awakening that many are asking whether this could be the worst instalment yet of Brazil’s World Cup shipment. Instead of shortening, Brazil’s World Cup odds are growing steadily. They are up to +333 from +300. Put that against Germany’s odds that have shortened dramatically to +350, slashed almost by half, it’s quite edifying.
The 2014 World Cup has delivered intense action, bucket loads of goals in impressive wins, barely any draws and several shockers. Odds makers have been proven wrong, and pundits made to re-examine their World Cup picks. Through it all, however, a supreme smugness about Brazil’s World Cup odds prevailed. Getting off to positive start against Croatia – although not the highest in quality as it was marred by controversy – was still a winning start, which put Brazil into an advantageous position to secure their advancement into the R16 at the expense of Mexico in the second round. The thinking: so what if they were lucky to escape a dangerous Croatia with all three points. They were under a lot of pressure in their opener – nation’s hopes and all that hoopla on their shoulders. Besides, that is football for you: unpredictable, random. Whichever way you sliced it, it was the required result from the hosts and the World Cup favourites at +300 to win outright, even if it lacked that championship-calibre stamp.
With the first match under their belt so, it was supposed to be a more carefree Brazil, relaxed now that some of the pressure was alleviated. They were one foot into the knockouts and a win over Mexico would all but assure their advancement. Tale told, instead of Brazil’s trademark free-flowing football and merciless attacking that would have sunk Mexico to their knees (third favourites at the start of the competition at +800 to win Group A), it was the opposite. In fact, the gutsy Mexicans looked the far better side and thoroughly deserved the share in the spoils, if not the win entirely. Clearly, whatever ailed Mexico during their qualification campaign they’ve set aside, as they performed beyond expectation against Brazil. The upshot of which, Group A is wide open.
Brazil remain the favourites at -1000 to win outright while Mexico and Cameroon are tipped at +1000 and +1400, respectively, to clinch top spot. These odds are underscored by the final pairing in Group A: Brazil take on Cameroon (out following a 4-0 defeat to Croatia) while Mexico and Croatia will battle for a spot in the knockouts. The overwhelming expectation: Brazil beats Cameroon soundly to win Group A and Mexico (with a draw or win) would advance in second at the expense of Croatia. (Brazil and Mexico are level on 4 points but the hosts are atop the table on account of a better goal differential. Croatia are nipping at their heels, on three points.)
So it’s down to the final round in Group A betting, and it’s anybody’s guess how this section will fall. Odds makers clearly favour Brazil and Mexico (in that order) to advance at -150. But World Cup bettors can’t rule out other alternatives, such as Brazil and Croatia (in that order) at +175, or, even, Mexico and Brazil (in that order) at +1100 and Croatia and Brazil (in that order) at +1000. The shocker of all shocks would be if Cameroon, playing for pride alone, mastermind the biggest upset against Brazil, effectively eliminating them out of the competition and sending Mexico and Croatia (in that order) at +6600 into the knockouts. Shudder to think of the aftermath of that one.