World Cup Soccer Betting: Brazil vs. Croatia

World Cup Soccer Betting:  Brazil vs. Croatia

The biggest sporting event on the planet–the World Cup–is upon us and in this preview we’ll look at Thursday’s opening game as host country Brazil faces Croatia. Brazil has the weight of serious expectations on their shoulders by their countrymen and are considered one of the betting favorites to win the tournament. Croatia is a decent enough team but have nowhere near the talent level of the Brazilians. They are in a diametrically opposite situation in that they’ve got no expectations whatsoever and in theory will be able to play much ‘looser’ than Brazil.

Based on their play in their most recent exhibition games it looks like Brazil has the same MO they’ve exhibited in the past several World Cups. They’ve got a brutally talented team but may lack cohesion in general and are a little porous on defense in particular. They looked really careless in their final warm up game against Serbia–several defensive breakdowns gave the Serbs easy scoring opportunities but Brazil caught a break as their foes were unable to close the deal. It’s very dangerous for a team playing at this level just to assume their sheer talent can overcome poor tactics and focus. Brazil got away with it against Serbia and can probably get away with it against Croatia. They might be able to get away with it throughout their group play but at some point they’ll step up in class and this could cost them the tournament.

Croatia is not expected to be a contender but is an up and coming team that is happy to be at this stage of development. They like to bring offensive pressure which is a contrast to most mid level teams who rely more on defensive tactics. They’re especially strong in the midfield with plenty of players from European soccer leagues. They have shown some defensive issues of their own in the lead up to the World Cup and that will likely be their undoing against Brazil.

Brazil should win this match but no interest in laying the big price (-1100). In fact, we’re going to back Croatia on the handicap line for several reasons. Expect Brazil to be somewhat ‘tight’ in the early going and this game should be closer than expected. We expect Croatia to score on Brazil but the host country should be able to pull out the win.