Betting Preview for 2018 FIFA World Cup Knockout Round Matches
Over the weekend, the 2018 FIFA World Cup saw four teams emerge victorious in the Round of 16 to secure quarterfinal berths – France, Uruguay, Russia, and Croatia.
But before those squads can face off in the next round, the other half of the bracket is still waiting to be set.
Four more Round of 16 matches await over Monday and Tuesday, and online sportsbook Bovada has a full betting board with odds on each match – along with each team’s odds to win the tournament.
Monday, July 2 – Brazil vs. Mexico
When this one’s all said and done, one nation will suffer heartbreak in their fourth straight World Cup.
For Brazil, the odds-on favorite to win the tournament at (+350), hoisting the Cup is akin to a birthright. El Seleção are the only team to win five Cups in their history, but as the host nation in 2014, Brazil was humiliated in a 7-1 thumping by Germany. In fact, Brazil hasn’t played for the Cup since 2002, failing to reach their national pinnacle in three straight tournaments – letting the prime of superstar striker Neymar pass without a win in the process.
Mexico has yet to taste Cup glory – as their longshot odds of (+4000) to do so can attest – but El Tri have emerged as one of the more consistent dark horse contenders over the last two decades and counting. They’ve reached the Round of 16 in every tournament since 1994, but in what has become known as the Curse of the Quinto Partido (fifth game), Mexico has failed to reach the quarterfinals every time out.
Mexico’s talisman Javier “Chicharito” Hernández will need to outduel Neymar to break that curse, and if he does, it’ll be a huge upset. Mexico comes in as big (+650) underdogs in three-way betting, with Brazil set as (-215) favorites, and the draw offering (+340).
Monday, July 2 – Belgium vs. Japan
Two teams that are still waiting to win their first World Cup can get one step closer when Belgium takes on Japan.
The Belgians reached the quarterfinals in 2014, but they missed the tournament in 2010, and their best run came in 1986 with a 4th place finish. But with sniper Romelu Lukaku lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of four goals in three Group Stage matches – sparking a 9-2 goal differential for the team – Belgium could be primed to take the next step. The boomakers seem to agree, as Belgium offers (+600) odds on a Cup victory
The Blue Samurai didn’t reach their first World Cup until 1998, but they’ve been back to every tournament since, alternating Group Stage exits with Round of 16 departures each time out. If they can neutralize Belgium’s offensive onslaught with their signature defensive counterattack, Japan could reach the quarterfinals for the first time.
Japan isn’t getting much credit, however, coming in as (+850) underdogs to Belgium’s (-275), while the draw is tabbed at (+385). And bettors looking to back Japan to a Cup win are getting a massive (+20000) price.
Tuesday, July 3 – Sweden vs. Switzerland
Between 1938 and 1958, Sweden made the semifinals on three occasions, with their best finish a runner-up run. But those days are long gone, and after failing to qualify for the last two tournaments, Sweden squeezed their way back in.
From there, the highlight of the Group Stage was a 3-0 shellacking of Mexico, demonstrating what the team is capable of when firing on all cylinders. Even so, the Swedes are pegged as (+4000) longshots to win their first Cup.
Switzerland’s history doesn’t include the same deep runs, but the team has played its way into the Round of 16 in three of the last four tournaments. This year, the Swiss drew 1-1 against vaunted Brazil, but they only survived Group play on the strength of a +1 goal differential. For that reason, Switzerland sits at (+3300) to take the Cup.
Fittingly, with two evenly matched teams playing similar styles, Switzerland is only a (+165) favorite over Sweden at (+205), while the draw offers (+195).
Tuesday, July 3 – Colombia vs. England
In what should be a barnburner, England and tournament scoring leader Harry Kane (5 goals) take on a Colombia squad led by James Rodriguez and Juan Fernando Quintero.
Three Lions defeated a pair of doormats in Tunisia and Panama, outscoring the overmatched foes by a combined 8-2. And even in losing their third Group match 1-0 to Belgium, England secured by far the easiest path to a potential semifinals berth, as the English would meet either Switzerland or Sweden in the quarterfinals.
As such, England offers low odds of only (+600) to win its second Cup – and first since 1966.
Colombia is seeking its first Cup win, so the books have them much lower at (+2000) to win it all.
When they meet on Tuesday, England holds the (+110) edge as favorites to Colombia’s (+305), with a draw tabbed at (+220).