Soccer Picks: Mexico vs. New Zealand World Cup Playoffs

Nila Amerova

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 10:35 PM GMT

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 10:35 PM GMT

The World Cup Intercontinental playoffs are set to get underway this week and everybody is counting down to the clash between Mexico and New Zealand. A clash that is expected to be a right cracker despite the one-sided soccer betting market that is on offer across sportsbooks.

Join us as we break it down and deliver our sports picks for your consideration. 

Mexico barely squeaks into playoffs

Mexico are set to host New Zealand in the first leg of their Brazil 2014 playoffs on Wednesday, November 13. Bookmakers install Mexico as the hot favourites at -550 to win outright at Bet365 but given their topsy-turvy qualifying campaign, are such fancied soccer odds even warranted?

Let’s face it, thanks to the United States who beat Panama 3:2 in the last round of group action, have Mexico even received this opportunity to continue to live the dream; their fate up in the air when they lost to Costa Rica 2:1 on the same day. As well, on overall merit alone, a 2-5-3 mark in the North, Central America and Caribbean Group, Mexico’s campaign left much to be desired and a spot in Brazil a faint glimmering hope.

Tale told they squeaked into the playoffs and have the chance to live another day. Drawing New Zealand as well was very fortunate as, on paper, the Oceania side isn’t exactly a football heavyweight – not as Uruguay would have been. But still to give Mexico such sensational odds to win outright seems a largess completely wasteful, standing in stark contrast to their account in 2013.

New Zealand severely underestimated

After an impressive showing at South Africa 2010 (by their standards) New Zealand are looking to make it to back-to-back World Cups. In South Africa the Kiwis finished their campaign as the only undefeated team in the group stage on the back of three draws.

New Zealand are listed as the hefty +1200 underdogs across all sportsbooks against Mexico, a market cast that makes sense given the back story of each country on the football stage. That being said Mexico haven’t delivered on their pedigree and that should give New Zealand some measured optimism going into this clash. At the very least, it suggests that they don’t warrant such fanciful soccer odds to win outright.

Fact is Mexico have won only seven of their last 25 contests which makes them rather less intimidating to New Zealand. Problems on the squad extend beyond winning matches as well, namely scoring has been a glaring problem – over the course of their last ten games they’ve scored seven goals and conceded nine. Compare that to New Zealand who won the Oceania group and went through qualifications with a perfect 6-0-0 record in the last round and 2-1-0 in the round prior and have scored in total 21 goals and conceded 4 goals.

Soccer Betting Verdict: Mexico must be tickled pink to have such a notionally winnable draw before them. Odds makers certainly think so. But whether Mexico capitalize on this golden opportunity or whether New Zealand defy sportsbooks and heap more misery on Mexico remains to be seen. What we do know is that Mexico have a whole slew of problems to deal with on and off the pitch, problems so significant that it’s hard to imagine that they are going to rise to the occasion all of a sudden.

This isn’t going to be as straight forward as the soccer odds suggest. In fact, the more we think on it, the more the appealing the upset is here. And here’s why we think that adding New Zealand to your soccer picks is the savvy move – be it on the outright win at +1200 or on the draw +600 at Bet365. 

New Zealand haven’t played a competitive fixture since winning Oceania in March but from the manner in which they accomplished the feat Mexico has cause for concern. Granted, New Zealand’s field of opposition in qualifying didn’t measure up to Mexico’s field on paper, but let that not distract you from the form of both teams, which is telling. To put it simply, El Tri have been abysmal, the Kiwis meanwhile formidable.

Don’t be fooled by New Zealand’s hefty odds. They are better than odds makers are giving them credit. Defensively New Zealand poses a problem for an El Tri side that just can’t score. Moreover, they are a physical side with big powerful forwards and strikers that can rip through Mexico’s defence easily.  Add to that the fact that El Tri will have to contend without their star talisman Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who is serving a suspension for the first leg, and the odds for a Mexico win start to look less appealing by the minute.

Soccer Free Picks: New Zealand to win outright at +1200; Under 2.5 at +130

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