Joffe’s World Cup Challenge, Semifinals Edition: I’m Gonna Make It!

Joffe’s World Cup Challenge, Semifinals Edition: I’m Gonna Make It! article feature image

The Highlights

  • #JOFFIFA is almost over, and I’ll be terribly sad to see it go. Seriously. Especially since I’m pretty much even after 60 of the 64 games.
  • With $460 left to burn through and four games remaining, it’s time to get a little crazy.
  • I’m betting on my English countrymen (obv), and going a little against the grain by picking Belgium over France. Fade me at your own peril.

The World Cup is coming to an end, and in my wildest dreams I never thought I’d be genuinely upset that I don’t get to #JOFIFFA much longer.

At the beginning of this journey, I’d bet only a few soccer games in my life, and most of them were huge underdogs solely for the number (my Liverpool future being the best example). By this Sunday I’ll have bet 64 soccer games in the span of a few weeks, and I gotta tell ya, it feels like an accomplishment.

When I was first approached about doing a challenge, I was gung-ho, but quickly became terrified I’d signed myself up for a month of misery. Sixty-four soccer games?!? And I have to sweat all of them?!? I thought I’d watch half, maybe. But no. I’ve watched them all. This has been an incredible tournament, and I’m sad to see it end.


I’m very used to putting teams on my “Dead to Me” list, but never an entire country. I’m going to hold off on who is DTM until after the winner has been crowned because I don’t want to put any bad vibes out there, but just know … they will be named, and millions of innocent citizens will be caught up in my wrath.

Not including the bets I’ve put in for Tuesday and Wednesday, I’ve bet more than $1,000 on this tournament and have won back almost all of it (I’m down about $50), and while this may seem like a loss to most people, it’s actually amazing. At least I think so, because as I’ve said before, I knew almost nothing about these teams coming in, or even how soccer betting really worked. I still don’t understand how the odds work on some of these things (like why -0.5 has different vig than a moneyline bet), although the best I can tell it’s sheer laziness on the part of the bookmakers.

When this started, and I won’t name names, plenty of my Action Network co-workers had the misfortune of having to answer the most basic of questions. I’m in a group chat with about 15 other people, all male soccer fiends, and on multiple occasions early on, I was on the cusp of getting booted.  Cut to the end of the group phase and your girl was the one answering the most in-depth soccer betting queries, dropping knowledge left and right.

My quarterfinals picks went well, except for Russia’s loss to Croatia …

RIP Russia goalie.

— Lauren Joffe (@thespinzone) July 7, 2018

Yes, my bet lost, but damn what an exciting game. Thank you, Mother Russia.

Current balance: $460.74

So who am I taking in the semifinals? Well, with only four games left,  I’m certainly upping my amounts … go big(ger) or go home, right?

Belgium vs. France

2 p.m. ET, FOX, Tuesday

For Tuesday’s game I’m going with the underdogs. Belgium is just so strong, and while I think France is incredibly talented, I just feel like Belgium can pull the upset. Hopefully they’ll score a lot as well.

The pick: $70 to win $77.00 on Belgium to advance (+110)
The pick: $30 to win $24.39 on Over 2, 2.5 (-123)

England vs. Croatia

2 p.m. ET, FOX, Wednesday

You thought I’d go against my countrymen just because there’s an incredible amount of jinxing that seems to be going on in England? That’s cute. I’m not just betting them; I’m taking them to win outright. Come on, Harry. You got this.

The pick: $100 to win $135.00 on England ML (+135)

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