World Cup Odds Update: Germany or France to Reach Semis?

Nila Amerova

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 3:37 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jul. 2, 2014 3:37 PM UTC

Germany and France have a date in the quarterfinals with their spot in the semis on the line. Neither team had an easy time advancing into the quarterfinals. Let's review the odds before making our pick.

Tough match time against easy opponents
If Germany had the toughest time against the easiest of R16 opponents to reach the quarterfinals, should Germany backers be concerned? If reactions in World Cup betting markets were an indication, the answer might be yes.

On June 25th, right before the final round of Group G action, Germany were listed at -125 to reach the semis – at the time, they were mired in a battle for top spot with (shockingly) USA. Germany did clinch top spot eventually on the back of a narrow 1-0 win over USA on June 26.  However, largely down to the frustratingly muted performance, which was a huge departure from their 4-0 thrashing of Portugal to start their tournament, they barely moved in semi-final betting markets.

From match to match in group play Germany have seemingly declined, their volume of goals decreasing perceptibly, prompting the nominal move from -125 to -138 to reach the semis ahead of the R16. Following the R16 clash with Algeria, that resulted in a scoreless draw in regulation time before yielding a delirious 2-1 victory, Germany’s odds again shuffled marginally, from -138 up to -145. Had Germany annihilated Algeria as match-betting markets suggested they would, their odds to reach the semis would have swelled significantly whether France stood in their way or not. As it were, Germany backers are rightfully concerned.

The real verdict on Germany was revealed however in outright betting odds where their odds have experienced a decline of late. After surging to the upper echelons of the pecking order following their opening 4-0 win over Portugal – moving up to second favourites on +350 – they are now down to  at +450 to win outright or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice, behind Brazil and Argentina. 

France’s odds ever shortening
Not a single performance by France in group play could be faulted. Les Bleus were impressive against Honduras, riveting against Switzerland and smart against Ecuador (Deschamps also rested some starters). The upshot of which, France’s odds in outright betting markets have been steadily shortening throughout the competition. They are now the fifth overall favourites to win outright at +750 – a decline from +2000 to start the competition.

Where France’s odds have barely experienced much of a move is the market to reach the semis. On June 20th, they were listed at +163 to reach the semis. At the time, the second round of group action was getting underway. They remained sat on +163 odds throughout the group stage, all the way into the R16 on June 30th with Nigeria. Following France’s convincing, though hard fought, 2-0 win over Nigeria and Germany’s laboured 2-1 win over Algeria, France’s odds received the benefit of re-evaluation finally. They shortened to +125 to reach the semis.

Two sides to the coin
Germany’s laboured progress notwithstanding, they are through to the quarterfinals. That is the bottom line isn’t it. How they got there is going to be a moot point, especially if they get past France in the quarterfinals, and further. The problem is going to be justifying their odds ahead of the quarterfinals. Moving from -125 to -143, regardless of how nominal a jump it is, it’s still a jump that suggests Germany is the better team. But that is clearly not the case based on the balance of four matches. If anything France have been equally good if not better – their group play was impressive and they’ve kept three clean sheets in four matches. What’s more, France have the edge over Germany in head-to-heads since the Berlin Wall came crashing down. Yet, despite all this, odds makers haven’t taken stock tipping France as the +125 underdogs to reach the semis. Why is that?

The Long Short of it
All in all, the fluctuations or lack thereof in World Cup betting markets would appear to be misleading in this particular case. It’s hard to quantify Germany’s -143 odds to reach the semis while, at the same time, hard to ignore France’s tempting +125 odds to reach the semis. The only consensus is inherent in the proximity of the current odds, which indicate these are two quality sides capable of advancing into the semis. It’s a coin toss, really. So, back Germany if they’ve been your favourites all along, but don’t be surprised if France turn the odds in their favour. Underrated they are, but good value for the upset nonetheless.  

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