Group D: The proverbial Group of Death
Group D emerged as one of several proverbial groups of death, with three teams sitting on genuine World Cup odds to advance into the knockouts, all the while having a legitimate shot to win the entire competition in eyes of many soccer enthusiasts.
Italy, listed at +2500 to win the title, were solid in qualifying, going undefeated with a 6-4-0 mark and 22 points. They scored 19 goals, and conceded 9 over 10 fixtures to win Group B, ahead of credible threats Denmark and Czech Republic. On the positive side, Italy boasts a strong defence, which is instrumental to their ability to win tight games. On the downside, offense isn’t dynamic enough, despite boasting one of the most temperamental and mercurial soccer divas in the current game, Mario Balotelli. The Italian striker is going to be a key player for Italy’s attack and chances at the World Cup. When he’s on, he is enigmatic and lethal, and he can single-handedly underscore their favourable +163 odds to win Group D outright.
When World Cup betting markets went to press with Group Betting odds, Italy and Uruguay were tipped equally at +163 to win Group D. Since the Luis Suarez bombshell, however, Uruguay’s odds have drifted marginally longer, up to +175 to win Group D. Suarez injured his knee in training last week, and he could potentially miss up to two group games at the World Cup. Suarez makes up the core of Uruguay’s attack that includes Diego Forlani and Edinson Cavani, so his injury sets them back considerably in market estimation. Indeed, their World Cup odds in outright win markets have drifted up to +2800 and could move further if more bad news about Suarez comes down the wire.
Uruguay’s loss in World Cup odds is England’s
gain, as The Lions benefit significantly. In outright win markets, England’s
odds have shortened from +3300 to +2800, which puts them on par with Uruguay
and Portugal on the outright win board. In Group Betting odds, they’ve seen
their odds shorten from +225 to +210. Roy Hodgson has assembled a decent squad
for the World Cup with Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge leading the attack and
Stephen Gerrard guiding the team’s core in midfield. On defence however,
England could be suspect, namely between the posts.
Joe Hart led Man City to the Premier League title this season which is a feat that should send England’s No.1 goalkeeper into
the World Cup with a measure of confidence. There was a mid-season
stretch where he was benched because of poor form, however. England soccer fans are
understandably concerned that that poor form could rear its ugly head in
What’s more, England’s qualifying campaign
left much to be desired. They narrowly won Group H, a lightweight group save
for Ukraine, with a 6-4-0 mark and 22 points (just a point ahead of their
biggest challenge Ukraine). On the upside, The Lions did score 31 goals and
conceded just 4, and that is the kind of output many soccer fans are hoping for in Brazil.
Finally, Costa Rica are the group and tournament’s long shots. At +5000 to win Group D, and at +250000 to win the title, they would appear to be in over their heads. Indeed, the only markets where they emerge as the favourites are those that deal with propping up the group. They are listed as the runaway favourites at -550 to finish bottom of Group D, which is the most telling market where they are concerned.
World Cup Betting Verdict
This is one of the toughest groups to handicap. Originally, when we weighed in on this group we predicted that Italy would win the group, and Uruguay would clinch second place. Now, with the question marks hanging over Luis Suarez, England would appear to be a more tempting bet in this group. Still, it’s interesting that England haven’t leapfrogged Uruguay in any World Cup betting markets, which only underscores the estimation of the South American team as a whole; the whole is better than the sum of its individual parts. Perhaps, they shouldn’t be written off entirely just yet.
In any event, here are several value World Cup picks to consider for your betting thrills:
Italy to win at +163, Uruguay to win at +175 and England to win at +210 are viable World Cup picks in this section.
We also quite fancy Italy and England to advance (in that order) at +500 in Group Forecast betting, or Italy and Uruguay to advance at +400.
There’s also the possibility that Italy will not deliver on their favourable odds, which serves up the potential of Uruguay and England advancing (in that order) at +500 or (in reverse order) at +600.