WORLD CUP BETTING: Live on BBC1: Sat 15.00 & ITV1: Sat 19.30: Day 16 of the WC and into the last 16; Uruguay v South Korea followed in the evening by USA v Ghana.
The World Cup takes on a completely different appearance from Saturday as the tournament’s knock-out phase ensures that from hereon, matches are unlikely to peter out into unedifying draws.
First up are Uruguay and South Korea. The pair have met once before in World Cup finals; in 1990, Uruguay won 1-0 thanks to a last minute winner by substitute Daniel Fonseca. Victor Chandler rate the chances of this encounter finishing 1-0 to the South Americans as a 5/1 shot, a price that has attracted a substantial volume of support.
Uruguay are Paddy Power’s understandable 10/11 favourites: they have lost only one of their last ten matches and did not concede a goal during the group stages, a record which suggests that bet365’s 11/4 odds for them to enjoy a one goal margin of victory cannot be discounted. Punters anticipating a more comprehensive margin may fancy the look of Betfred’s 7/4 for the South Americans to win when kicking off with a one goal deficit.
Uruguay’s most experienced player, Diego Forlan, is well known to British fans. He’s 9/2 with 888sport to score the game’s first goal, though bookies do not expect a goalfest – Betdaq post 1/2 about it yielding fewer than three.
South Korea have yet to beat a team from the Americas in the World Cup (four defeats and two draws), hence Totesport’s 7/2 match win odds and given their recent form (one win in five), Jaxx.com’s 4/9 for them to win when handed a one goal start may be as close as they come to finding the net.
On Saturday night, the USA, who have scored in each of their last ten matches, host a powerful-looking Ghana side unlucky to lose 1-0 to Germany. That performance makes William Hill’s 2/1 price for the Africans to win inside 90 minutes appear generous and Paddy Power’s 13/2 for them to snatch a 1-0 victory is worthy of note.
However, it’s 14 matches since Ghana last scored more than one goal in a game and Stan James’s 10/1 for the USA to enjoy a 2-0 win catches the eye.
Still on a statistical note, the US have not played in a goalless match for more than two years (when they drew 0-0 against Argentina) and the likelihood of it finishing without the scoreboard moving inside 90 minutes is priced at 11/2 by Ladbrokes.
Yet while Ghana look hard-pressed to produce goals, the USA have won their last three fixtures against African opposition without conceding. Landon Donovan is 8/1 (Victor Chandler) to notch the opener and if the USA do score first, it would surprise few observers were they to go on and win in style. Partybets price them at 25/1 to win 3-1, while Ladbrokes consider the chances of the fixture producing more than two goals to be a 6/4 shot.