Twitter @SFV_ASF. Pictured: Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka
Most of the World Cup favorites haven’t exactly impressed through the opening week of group play, but Brazil will try to in the early match against Costa Rica on Friday. The following two games feature very balanced matchups: Nigeria-Iceland and Serbia-Switzerland.
Here’s a breakdown of the market for each match and which sides the sharps/public are betting.
Brazil vs. Costa Rica, Group E
8 a.m. ET
Brazil were very trendy favorites in their opening 1-1 draw against Switzerland, and bettors are backing them again with 72% of moneyline tickets and 73% of spread tickets vs. Costa Rica.
Odds have shifted the last few days in light of the temporary uncertainty surrounding Neymar’s status. Brazil dropped from -516 to -420 when he left training Tuesday, and rose back up to -460 Thursday when it was announced he’d start. They were even as high as -700 on Sunday afternoon.
Scoring hasn’t come easy for teams, even the offensively gifted ones, and odds have trended toward the under yet again. Under 2.5 goals was listed at +125 early in the week and has moved to -101, but 70% of public bettors disagree.
Nigeria vs. Iceland, Group D
11 a.m. ET
Nigeria (+181) and Iceland (+183) both have big opportunities to win an evenly contested match, and public bettors are loving Iceland (60% of moneyline bets). They’re also receiving 80% of spread bets, so this may be a prime contrarian spot to take Nigeria or the draw.
The majority of public bets has come in on the under, so over 2 goals is another potential contrarian angle.
Serbia vs. Switzerland, Group E
2 p.m. ET
No matter what happens in the Brazil-Costa Rica match, Serbia (+176) can stay atop Group E with a victory over Switzerland (+202). However, only 26% of bettors think that’ll happen, and half the tickets are on the Swiss to dismiss them.
Sharp bettors do believe in Serbia, though, and all the line movement has been toward them since yesterday afternoon when they were +217.
The majority of O/U bets is on under 2 goals, but the juice has trended toward the over. It could be shaping up for yet another public fade where you can root for goals.