France fall into a favourable Group E and, as such, carry the burden of favourites to advance into the knockouts. Here’s a primer on Group E, which includes competition underdogs Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras, complete with soccer free picks for your consideration.
World Cup 2014 Favourites:
Topping markets across all sportsbooks are Brazil +300, Argentina +450, Germany +550, Spain +700, Belgium +1600 and France +2000.
Teams to spot, quadrennial sports bettors’ favourites and past champions: Uruguay +2500, Italy +2800, Holland +2800, Portugal +3300, and England +3300
GROUP E Betting Odds and Odds to Win Outright:
France -150 to win Group E (+2000 to win outright)
Despite bowing out of 2010 South Africa in disgrace and only just qualifying for Brazil, France, somehow, emerge not only as group betting favourites but also as one of top six favourites for the competition proper across most sportsbooks. Understandably, therefore, many experts and pundits alike are of the opinion Les Blues are slightly overrated, particularly where taking all the plaudits are concerned.
France failed to clinch automatic qualification when they finished second behind Spain in Europe. Then again, falling into the same group as the current World and European champions was never going to be an easy task. They had all to do from the start.
In fact, their defeat to Spain proved to be the group decider, which relegated France into the playoffs bag. What then ensued was, arguably, one of the most compelling matches of the European playoffs to date as France, drawing a very formidable Ukraine, fell behind 2-0 in the first leg in Kiev, a result that seemed almost certain to quash their World Cup hopes. In the reverse leg in Saint Denis however, France, against all the odds, pulled off the unthinkable, coming from behind to score three goals and take the tie 3-2 on aggregate. Clearly, France wanted very badly to punch their ticket to Brazil. Allez!
Switzerland +275 to win Group E (+10000 to win outright)
Despite ranking better than France in the FIFA Coca Cola rankings (Switzerland are eighth while France are sat 20th), Switzerland ring in as the second favourites of Group E at +275 soccer odds to win outright and they are long shot to win the title at +10000 to win outright. So much for the merits of a ranking system.
Switzerland clinched a spot in Brazil automatically by winning their group, but it wasn’t smooth sailing for Ottmar Hitzfeld’s lads as they punched their ticket in the penultimate round with a 2-0 win over Norway. Altogether, Switzerland present an intriguing prospect and while they can’t be written off to top this group, their credentials will be tested by both France and underdogs Ecuador, the latter of which have an outside shot to shake things up here.
Ecuador +400 to win Group E (+12500 to win outright)
This is a very negotiable group for the South Americans, listed at +400 to win outright at Bet365. Indeed, they could prove tough competitors, at the very least for second place if not top of the table. Edging Uruguay in the South American qualifying stages, even if ostensibly so, should send them into the global competition with measured optimism. If they can hobnob with South American heavyweights in order to clinch automatic entry, what does that say about their chances in a rather soft group. Quite a lot, really.
Honduras +3300 to win Group E (+250000 to win outright)
While Honduras are tipped as the complete outsiders of Group E and the competition proper they famously beat Mexico (who didn’t though?) and clinched third place in the North, Central America and Caribbean preliminaries, behind top of the group USA and Costa Rica. That alone sends them into Brazil with heads held high, despite sportsbook odds are that stacked heavily against them. Keep in mind, inasmuch as this is a favourable group for underdogs Ecuador, the same could be said for the even greater underdogs Honduras. Who is to say they might not emerge the Cinderella story (isn’t there always a Cinderella at the world’s biggest party?) of Brazil?
Soccer Betting Verdict
In spite of FIFA rankings, unquestionably this group is France’s to win or lose. Former World and European champions, their pedigree and quality is undeniable – a glimpse of which we received during the playoffs, so stubborn and adamant were they to attend. If France builds on that intensity, they’ll be tough to beat in Group E surely.
Second place is up for grabs however with the remaining three contenders putting forth a solid case in their own right. By virtue of being the second favourites to win Group E, Switzerland automatically become the most likely choice to clinch the coveted spot. That said Ecuador’s muscular brand of football looms appealing, so much so that they could potentially surprise as the value soccer pick to advance into the knockouts.
Free Soccer Picks: France to win at -150; Ecuador to clinch second place; Switzerland to finish third and Honduras to finish fourth