Soccer Picks: Italy vs. Japan in Confederations Cup

Nila Amerova

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 5:54 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013 5:54 PM GMT

Italy looks to lay down a marker in Confederations Cup with two wins in a row whilst Japan has no room for error if they hope to advance. Join us as we preview Italy vs. Japan and deliver our soccer picks for your consideration.

Italy impressive in opener

Italy were impressive in their opening game against Mexico and took away the well-deserved 2-1 victory. Andrea Pirlo’s sensational free kick gave the Azzurri the 1-0 lead but a costly tackle in the box rewarded Mexico with a penalty kick that Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) made sure to send into the back of the net.

After the first-half ended on a draw, all bets were off for the second half –either side could have theoretically taken the match. It was the Italians that stepped it up however dominating the second half and finally gaining their just reward when Mario Balotelli, in a mad scramble in front of the goal, slotted the ball past the keeper for the winner.

Indeed, Italy proved full value in their opener against Mexico at +125 to win outright. Now, will they prove full value again, albeit as the -150 betting favourites to win outright at Bet365?

All in all, you could say the favourable outlook for Italy across all sportsbooks appears to be the right call. Italy’s coach Cesare Prandelli promised his team would take this competition seriously and so they have, if their first game were any indication. The main thing on the agenda going into the competition was to work on their killing instinct: finishing teams off convincingly. Again, that instinct was in full force against Mexico.

For their next game, the stakes are high. A win for Italy would all but assure them passage into the semis while anything less, and depending on the result between Brazil and Mexico, would break Group A wide open. Italy knows the deal and we should expect much of the same from them against Japan.

Can Japan surprise Italy?

Japan is obviously at a huge disadvantage now in the competition, pointless and goalless as they are, and it’s going to be an uphill battle for them if they hope to advance out of the group stage.

Being down but not out makes Japan a dangerous floater. Against Brazil, they were guilty of showing too much respect for their opponent. That and they never really recovered from Neymar’s early goal in the 3-0 defeat to the hosts. But Japan can’t make that same mistake against Italy. This is a must win game for the Blue Samurai and to win it they’ll need to find their offense.

If the soccer odds are any indication, it’s not an encouraging picture. Japan is tipped at a rather hefty +450 to win outright with Bet365 and even the draw is tipped at +260 large. 

However, Japan does have a slight advantage that could prove deciding towards the outcome. They have an additional day’s rest over Italy having played their opener on Friday. As well, they are coached by an Italian who understands the nuances of Italian football and knows his Azzurri counterpart very well. Surely, Alberto Zaccheroni will cook up a strategy to try and surprise Cesare Prandelli and his men.

Soccer Betting Verdict: Granted, Japan is the tempting play to win or gain a result here especially when several advantages would seem to recommend them towards either end. However, Italy arrived in Brazil to compete seriously and that means they have their eye on the ultimate prize. A win over Mexico is not enough so expect more of the same from them against Japan and back them to the victory at -150 at Bet365.

To add value to your soccer picks, Italy to win both halves is a good bet and a value one at that at +160 at Bet365. Further value can be found with correct score markets. Bookies list a 1-0 score the shortest at +450 to Italy but a 2-0 score seems to be the most popular choice in soccer polls and, if you are so inclined, that can be found at +600 to Italy at Bet365. Strictly speaking, both are good potential options however, when considering the high stakes for both teams in this match, surely Japan will participate in the proceedings and get on the scoreboard as well. So perhaps plumping for bigger odds of +750 at 2-1 is the smart sports betting pick to make as well as going for the Over 2.5 at +120 with Bet365

Soccer Free Picks: Italy to win 2-1

comment here