Spain host Italy in International Friendly action this week, a highly-anticipated affair in soccer-betting markets ahead of World Cup in Brazil. Join us as we preview this clash complete with soccer free picks.
Spain hot favourites
Defending World Cup champions and reigning European champions Spain are one of the nations to spot in the summer global showpiece. Listed at +700 to win outright, they are the fourth overall favourites in World Cup futures betting markets and second favourites from Europe after Germany at +550 future odds.
Spain secured their invitation to Rio with a strong performance in European qualification, winning Group I with an undefeated 6-2-0 mark, three points ahead their main rivals for top spot France. Since securing qualification however Spain have taken the foot off the pedal and that is some cause for concern. They beat Equatorial Guinea by a measly 2-1 and then – most shocking of all –lost to South Africa 1-0 in a rather nutty affair altogether.
With two friendly matches left before they descend on Brazil – Wednesday’s clash with Italy and then a visit from Bolivia in May, La Rioja needs to get its act together. A much better performance against Italy – a Rio invitee – is expected on Wednesday; that is, if soccer-betting markets were any indication with the hosts listed at -188 to win outright or thereabouts across sportsbook. But expectations aside, Spain MUST have a standout performance if their perceived value is to hold true until summer.
Spain simply can’t afford another lacklustre performance, especially not against dangerous floaters Italy (listed at +2800 to win World Cup 2014 at Bet365). In an interesting twist of fate, Spain and Holland (2010 World Cup finalists) were drawn into World Cup Group B.
What’s more –the worst bit, really – they are slated to open their respective bids in Brazil against each other on June 13th. Confidence in La Rioja is firm but it’s not exactly unconditional. They are listed as the favourites at +110 to win outright while Holland are listed at +260 at Bet365. Anything less than a convincing performance by Spain and watch if that market (and any other market involving Spain for that matter) doesn’t start to shift perceptibly.
Italy at the disadvantage
Italy go into their friendly date with Spain at the extreme disadvantage, listed at +500 to win outright at Bet365. William Hill takes it a step even further listing the Italians at +600 to win outright.
Regardless of the price tag at your choice sportsbooks, the consensus amongst Italy’s fans is that it smacks somewhat disingenuous given their overall performance in Confederations Cup last summer, including their clash with Spain in the semi-finals, a clash that reprised the EURO Cup 2012 final that Spain won 4-0. That time Italy held their own against La Rioja admirably, forcing a scoreless draw before taking the agonising loss on penalties.
Aside from the last meeting, Prandelli’s side has room for optimism, if not on the outright win then on the draw, which is listed at +300. They are undefeated in their last six matches overall with a 2-4-0 mark and they boast a 1-5-1 mark in their last seven friendly dates, the only defeat coming against Argentina 2-1 in August last year.
Italy fall into a tough Group D with England. A good result here would go a long way towards underscoring their fancied +163 odds to win Group D, even perhaps pull ahead of Uruguay jointly favoured to win Group D at +163 odds.
Soccer Betting Verdict: While this is a so-called friendly affair both sides will be keen to showcase some of their wares ahead of Brazil. The opportunity for players to vie for a spot on the final roster is wide open and so it has every chance of living up to its billing. Spain with home advantage would appear to be the sensible soccer pick. As well, they are keen to bounce back from their debacle in South Africa.
That said Italy are also keen to bounce back after four straight draws and regain confidence ahead of Brazil. They too have a lot of incentive to win this match and that lends their large soccer odds value. Simply put, they can’t be dismissed out of hand and, thus, if you are leaning towards the upset, you could do no worse than back a quality outfit such as Italy is on your soccer picks.
Soccer Free Picks: Spain to win outright at -188