Soccer Picks: Belgium vs. Serbia World Cup Qualifier

Nila Amerova

Thursday, June 6, 2013 12:31 PM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 6, 2013 12:31 PM UTC

Belgium hosts Serbia in Friday’s World Cup Qualifier, a fixture that both sides are approaching as a must-win. Find out what the bookmaker’ take on this matchup is and where the value can be found.

Belgium Looks to Edge Closer to Brazil 2014 against Serbia in World Cup Qualifier 

Belgium is enjoying a bright start to its World Cup qualifying campaign with a six-game undefeated run. Their five wins and a draw sees them on 16 points and locked for the top spot in Group A with Croatia.

Arguably, this is the most talented offering the Belgium national team has tabled in three decades and they’re proving it on the World Cup stage with an automatic spot for Brazil 2014 within reach.

A 4-2 friendly win over 2010 World Cup finalists Netherland appears to have been the catalyst to this solid campaign. That and a favourable draw – one might add – that is devoid of any real heavyweights in European football such as Spain, Italy, Germany...and so on.

Since that noteworthy win, Belgium went on to beat Wales, Serbia, Scotland and Macedonia (twice) without conceding a single goal in all matches. The only hiccup was a 1-1 draw with Croatia, a match that they thoroughly deserved to win  because they outplayed the Croats something significant throughout.

Given Belgium’s nigh perfect run so far, it’s hardly surprising to see them therefore installed as the favourites to win outright over Serbia.  What is somewhat surprising though is how low the odds are really. William Hill is offering a Belgium win at a paltry -163 while Bet365 is slightly pricier at -188. Could it be a direct reaction to the reports that Thomas Vermaelen is likely to miss out and Thibaut Courtois is questionable for the Serbia clash? Or is there more to it?

While musing over the ‘Whys?’ behind market decisions can be interesting, it can be distracting too. The important takeaway is:  those looking to back Belgium are in luck with such attainable prices. Certainly, a solid team like Belgium at such a low price is a bargain.

Additional opportunities to pad your pocket with a Belgium win can be found in score betting markets. If Belgium’s trend of clean sheet continues, then banking on a 1-0 or 2-0 win seems to be the best option and those can be found at attractive prices, +500 and +600, respectively,  with Bet365.

Serbia looks to salvage their campaign

What began with high hopes has descended into desperation, a Serbian campaign in tatters. Serbia will attempt to revive its World Cup campaign when it descends on Belgium but what hope do they have really and to what end?

Given that Serbia reached the 2010 World Cup, it must be said that this time around they have been disappointing. Since seeing off Wales 6-1, the wheels came well and truly undone as Serbia lost three straight and was held scoreless to boot in all three. They did snap that losing streak against Scotland in their last outing to salvage some dignity. In fact, they even showed solidarity before the match when the whole team went into a huddle. But overall things have been discouraging, not the least of which the mounting roster issues that face manager Sinisa Mihajlovic with Matija Nastasic suspended and Zoran Tosic, Filip Djuricic and Milos Ninkovic all on the injury list.

Serbia has very little hope, if any at all, of making it to Brazil 2014. They are floating nine-points adrift of the top tandem of Belgium and Croatia – that alone speaks loudly – and they have only four games left in which to turn things around? That’s a tall order.  

That said there is some hope for this game, a sentiment brought on by the convincing performance in seeing off Scotland 2-0. It’s quite possible they could build on that result with a result in Brussels. Naturally, this hope isn’t reflected in the soccer betting odds though – a Serbia win is set rather large at +350 with William Hill and an even larger +500 at Bet365. Indeed a tall order. The draw is set at +280. Might it be held there?  Speaking of draws, a scoreless draw is set at +1000 while a 1-1 draw is listed at +700 with William Hill.

Soccer Betting Verdict: Beating Belgium on the road won’t be easy for the Serbians given that the Belgians have the upper hand and the motivation to maintain top spot in Group A. Still, the Serbians are a better team than their results have shown them to be and for that reason alone they might have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Soccer Free Prediction: a 1-1 Draw for your soccer picks.

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