World Cup Betting: Belgium Offered at +163 to Reach the Semifinals

Nila Amerova

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 1:57 PM GMT

The cracking R16 ended in dramatic style with Argentina and Belgium booking their spots in the quarters. A spot in the semis is on the line between the pair. Based on their R16 accounts, can we determine which side is the value pick to reach the semis? Join us as we breakdown the outright betting markets and serve up our World Cup betting verdict.

Looking back at the R16
The last day of R16 matches followed an already established pattern in this World Cup: snug contests filled to the brim with drama, late surges and extended time. Argentina were tested severely by Switzerland. Similarly, USA gave Belgium a run for their money. In the end, both favourites on the day emerged, rounding out a perfect R16 for bookies across the board.

World Cup betting reaction to Day 4’s R16 double-header is mixed however. Prior to the matches, Argentina were tipped as the -150 favourites to reach the semis while Belgium were tipped at +300. Going into the quarterfinals, Argentina’s odds have moved from -150 up to -200 while Belgium’s odds were slashed by almost half, down from +300 to +163. Are we to assume from their respective deposits, Belgium’s performance against a spirited USA was more impressive?

It certainly looks to be that way. While both were forced to work overtime for the win, the difference between Belgium and Argentina is in the sum of the whole. Belgium’s contribution from match to match in the finals has come from all sorts, making it a team effort to reach the quarters. Argentina’s performance, by contrast, rests heavily on Messi’s form. Taking away Messi’s contribution, it’s an underwhelming Argentina standing before us, one that seems to belie the favourable odds to reach the semis.

It’s also worth mentioning that in overarching tournament betting markets, Argentina barely budged (if at all) from their +400 price tag to win outright, a price tag which they’ve enjoyed for almost the duration of the tournament. Belgium, by contrast, have had their odds to win the tournament fluctuate, from opening odds of +1600 up to a high of +2200 or thereabouts depending on your choice sportsbook (just ahead of the R16) and finally down to +1200 since reaching the quarterfinals. Taking stock of both performances in the R16 clearly has had a bigger impact on Belgium’s odds than on Argentina’s odds.


Two sides to the coin
All teams expected to advance into the quarterfinals came through on their fancied odds. At times, it wasn’t pretty. In almost every case, it was a battle royal. It’s on to the quarterfinals now where the action is only going to heat up, the World Cup odds tighten further. But what is more quantifiable, the actual odds or the re-evaluation itself?

By that, we mean do we give credit to the price tag alone or the price adjustment made. For instance, Argentina at -200 are obviously the favourites, but their favouritism hasn’t swelled a whole lot following their R16 victory over Switzerland. Belgium, on the other hand, are a 50%-off bargain now, a plunge that is down to a compelling overtime account against the USA.


The Long Short of it
This overall semi-final outlook suggests we should get ready for a closer contest, tighter than most would have thought it would be originally. Our thought on it all: Argentina just might pay the price of banking heavily on Messi’s form alone. Belgium’s stock is on the rise in the World Cup betting markets, which is a clear sign they have the talent and depth to cash in, making them a good betting pick.
World Cup Pick: Belgium at +163 to reach the semis

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