Soccer Picks: Cameroon vs. Tunisia World Cup Playoffs

Nila Amerova

Friday, November 15, 2013 4:53 PM GMT

Cameroon and Tunisia will decide their World Cup 2014 bids when they collide in Tunisia for the second leg of their tie. Here’s a primer on this wide-open, all- important African tilt complete with odds and soccer picks.

Betting on the winner

The first leg between Tunisia and Cameroon decided nothing as the game settled on a scoreless draw. So there is everything to play for when these two sides collide at the weekend and although Cameroon have the home advantage and the favourable soccer odds to go with it, one can’t discount Tunisia as a credible threat.

Sportsbooks are listing Tunisia at +400 underdog odds for the upset win with the draw tipped at +250. Cameroon meanwhile have the market cornered on -138 odds to win outright at Bet365.

Tunisia emerged undefeated in group qualifying with a 4-2-0 mark to win Group B. They scored 13 goals and conceded six. The scoreless draw to Cameroon is a lifeline for Tunisia that they can build on when they head to Yaounde, Cameroon. Denying Cameroon an important away goal could prove deciding in the wake of an indecisive draw.

Still to mastermind the upset in Cameroon is a tall order for Tunisia, making their +400 soccer odds rather a risky play. Cameroon have a rich football history and are amongst the most respected and feared on the continent. Who doesn’t remember Cameroon’s Cinderella run in 1990 World Cup? A Roger-Milla-inspired run that captivated the world all the way to the quarterfinals.

Cameroon emerged top of Group I with a 4-1-1 mark, marked by eight goals scored and three conceded. While they were relatively shy on offense they were solid on defence and that played a crucial role towards gaining an invitation into the playoffs. Defence also played a crucial role towards keeping Tunisia at bay in the first leg. However, if they hope to win the second leg and earn an invitation to Brazil surely they can’t rely on just defence alone. They’ll need offense to step up.

Fortunately, for Cameroon they boast some recognizable footballers that have spent years honing their skills in Europe’s top-flight leagues. Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o is an impact player that Cameroon we’re pleased to have back when he rescinded his retirement mutterings. Although he failed to make an impact in the first leg, his Premier League form recently experienced an upsurge and that should send him with confidence into the second leg. Alexandre Song as well is coming into fine form for Arsenal, just in time for the international break as well.

On paper, Cameroon has the advantage hands down and that makes them a solid soccer pick to win this match. But soccer bettors can’t take X’s and O’s for granted. Matches aren’t played on paper alone but on the pitch and with the first leg settling on a scoreless draw it really is anybody’s game for the taking. Tunisia at +400 soccer odds could rise to the occasion or even simply win by virtue of luck, so if you are inclined towards the upset, you could do no worse than taking a chance on an underdog in what is a wide-open affair.

Do score betting markets offer some insight? Let’s see.

As expected, scores that favour a Cameroon win are priced short – with a 1-0 win to Cameroon the shortest at +450. A 2-0 or 2-1 win is listed at +600 and +800, respectively.

Where score betting gets interesting however is on the draw result, which is priced at +250 soccer odds overall. A 1-1 score is trading as low as at +550 at Bet365, priced shorter than a 2-0 or 2-1 win for Cameroon, while a scoreless draw is priced at +700. To add to the growing confusion it should be noted that a 1-0 win by Tunisia is going for +800. That’s six possible scores/three possible outcomes priced in triple digits and crammed into a rather tight range from + 450 to +800.

Soccer Betting Verdict: All told, this match is a right tossup with both sides having a notional shot at the win. However, widespread opinion is favouring Cameroon simply because they have just a bit more depth and quality than Tunisia does on paper. Things don’t always go to plan but if they do here Cameroon should win and that makes them our soccer pick at -138. If Cameroon’s defence can put in a similar deposit in the second leg, this could be an affair decided on the virtue of just one goal. And that’s why we’re plumping down to a low-scoring affair, Under 2.5 at -188 and a 1-0 score at +450 or a 2-0 score at +600.

Soccer Free Picks: Cameroon to win outright at -138

Bonus Free Picks: Under 2.5 at -188