WORLD CUP BETTING: Live on ITV: Fri 15.00 & BBC1: Fri 19.30: Chris Hutcheon looks at the opening day of the World Cup, hosts South Africa play Mexico in the opener, followed by Uruguay v France.
There’s plenty to be said for home advantage in the World Cup and host nation South Africa are sure to be fired up; eager to impress their own supporters and indeed the rest of the world. The Bafana Bafana’s excitement and enthusiasm will never be more evident than in the opening fixture against Mexico and subsequently, it’s worth keeping stakes to a minimum in what is a tough fixture to call.
Javier Aguirre’s men are narrow favourites at 13/8 with Partybets, but roared on by a vociferous crowd, South Africa look overpriced at 15/8 (Betdaq) and at the very least they can kick off their campaign by avoiding defeat; an outcome quoted by Stan James at 8/15.
More specifically, Totesport’s 9/4 chalked against the draw looks the best bet ahead of the intriguing encounter at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium and punters in agreement can tackle Victor Chandler’s 11/2 for it to finish one-apiece. The clash meanwhile, is 4/1 with Betfred to be level at the end of each half and William Hill quote 13/5 for South Africa to send their supporters wild by breaking the deadlock, albeit after the 31st minute.
Under unorthodox coach Raymond Domenech, it’s hard to see France tearing up trees and they could find the going tough against Uruguay, despite being Jaxx.com’s even money favourites. Les Bleus struggled to qualify, only making South Africa having controversially ousted Ireland via a play-off and some average performances in the build-up to the tournament make them particularly unattractive.
However, Oscar Tabarez’s inconsistent Uruguay side, Paddy Power’s 3/1 outsiders, look similarly unconvincing and a modest wager on the draw at 23/10 (Betfred) looks the best bet in Cape Town. It’s a fixture that looks set to produce fewer than 2.5 goals but with bookies expecting that outcome, Partybet’s 8/13 is the best available. An attractive alternative is Ladbrokes’ 13/8 for Uruguay to avoid defeat and under three goals to be scored while Luis Suarez can be instrumental for La Celeste; the prolific attacker, who has enjoyed a wonderful season at Ajax, available at 11/4 with bet365 to strike.
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Draw double – 19/2 (Totesport)
South Africa to score first v Mexico and that goal to be after 31st minute – 13/5 (William Hill)
Luis Suarez to score at any time for Uruguay v France – 11/4 (bet365)