World Cup Betting: Spain vs. Netherlands

Richard O'Hagan

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 7:16 PM GMT

Wednesday, May. 7, 2014 7:16 PM GMT

The defending World Cup champions will open their title run against the very same team they defeated for the Cup in 2010, the Netherlands. Take a look at whether or not our handicapper sees history repeating itself.

For the first time ever the opening round of fixtures in a World Cup Finals features a repeat of the previous tournament’s final, as 2010 winners Spain take on 2010 runners up the Netherlands in Salvador.

History hasn’t been kind to the cup holders in opening games. Since 1978 they have won only twice (in 1998 and 2006), whilst in 1982, 1990 and 2002 the holders slipped to embarrassing defeats. Even Italy, holders going into the 2010 competition, were held to a 1-1 draw by unfancied Paraguay.

On paper, the two teams look very evenly matched. Hopefully, there will be no repeat of that 2010 final, which was a wretched affair memorable more for the decision of referee Howard Webb not to dismiss Dutch captain Nigel de Jong for a chest-high tackle than it was for Andres Inestia’s winning goal in extra time. On the other hand, though, this is unlikely to be all out attack from either side; in a group which both should progress from comfortably, each will be keen to avoid both defeat and injuries in equal measure.

For that reason, the best bet here looks to be a draw. That is at a best price of 3.4 with Bet365. Looking then to the correct score market, you could be canny and back both 1-1 at 7.0 with Betfair and 0-0 at 9.0 with Stan James and still walk away with a tidy profit if either comes up.

Alternatively, there are some small profits to be made in the over/under markets. Backing under 3.5 goals will find you a best price of 1.29 (again with Stan James) whilst going for under 1.5 produces 1.47 with Betfair. Alternatively you could back both sides to score, which is, somewhat surprisingly, 2.1 at BetVictor.

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