World Cup: Group D Betting Preview from Bullish Sports
It’s safe to say that no one in Group D likes their draw. Italy cruised through qualifying without a loss in 10 matches and are rewarded with Uruguay and England. Granted, neither of those teams played all that well in qualifying, but they aren’t easy opponents. Costa Rica is going in with the hopes of getting at least a couple points.
Italy (+170 to win group, -240 to advance at 5dimes) are still the favorites to win this group, but the odds have flip-flopped due to rosters and injuries. Uruguay (+180 to win, -235 to advance) is dealing with an injury to Luis Suarez and his field time is in doubt for now. The odds of advancing between the top three teams in this group are extremely close as England (+200 to win, -150 to advance) isn’t far behind either.
Here are the current odds to win Group D from the world’s largest sportsbook, sportsbook.com.
Costa Rica +3000
The Italians will look to rebound after failing to get a win in South Africa. That comes after winning the 2006 World Cup in Germany. In line with previous versions of the squad, Italy excels on the defensive end and hopes for a break or two offensively.
Goalkeeper Gigi Buffon is getting up there in age (36), but is still one of the best. Andrea Pirlo is the most important player for Italy as the defensive midfielder playing in front of the stout defense and setting up the offense behind the midfield. Giorgio Chiellini leads the back line and is one of the best at what he does. Offensively, Italy will likely rely on Mario Balotelli as long as he doesn’t go crazy. Daniele De Rossi and Alberto Gilardino are also vital for the squad.
Uruguay is less favored to advance, but not by much. Surprisingly, they haven’t been playing all that well though and needed a playoff win to make it to the World Cup. They ended up finishing in fourth place in South Africa and once again have the tools to make a run. Their deficiency comes in the midfield, which can be problematic.
Fernando Muslera may be one of the weaker goalkeepers in the tournament, but the defense is loaded with experience in Diego Lugano, Maxi Pereira and Diego Godin. Up front is Luis Suarez, who was playing the best soccer of anyone in the world over the past six months, but a knee injury may change that. Much like Diego Forlan led the squad four years ago, it could be Suarez now (if healthy). Edinson Cavani is also a top forward that can complement Suarez nicely. The midfield has experience, but no one really stands out with Diego Perez and Cristian Rodriguez leading the notables.
And then there’s England. They could possibly have the most question marks on their squad than any other team. Combining injuries with a wealth of players in the good-but-not-great range presents problems for picking a 23-man roster. The mainstays are Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, but outside of them, who will step up? Of course, Gerrard and Rooney need to step up themselves.
Daniel Sturridge has been great for Liverpool and could play a role for England, while the midfield could easily be changed every game. They also have tons of choices on defense with Leighton Baines, Glen Johnson and Gary Cahill possibly being the top options. Joe Hart is one of the only constants in this squad.
Costa Rica (+5500 to win, +1100 to advance) doesn’t get a ton of respect, but they finished second in CONCACAF qualifying and were propelled by home wins over the United States and Mexico. While they may not advance, players like Alvaro Saborio and Celso Borges can create problems for any of their opponents.
Italy has the best and most consistent defense, which is a main reason they are the favorites, but if you pick them, that means you’re counting on Balotelli and you never know with him. Uruguay’s attacking force is going to be tough for anyone and should help them to advance if not win the group. The question for the Uruguayans is the status of Suarez. If he’s ready to go for Game 1, that would be big. England is in a tough position getting Italy and Uruguay in their first two games. It’s going to be tough to score on Italy and stop Uruguay, so they could be on the outside looking in, even before they face Costa Rica in their final match.
4- Costa Rica
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