WORLD CUP BETTING: Live on BBC1: Tue 12.30, ITV: Tue 15.00 & Tue 19.30: Day 5 of the World Cup; New Zealand v Slovakia, Ivory Coast v Portugal and Brazil v North Korea in Groups F & G.
Brazil are sure to progress from Group G and it’s safe to assume that North Korea, despite arriving at the tournament with an air of mystery surrounding them, will fail to reach the last 16. Equally certain is the outcome of the pair’s meeting in Johannesburg and as a result punters looking to back Dunga’s men to start their campaign with a victory can do no better than Paddy Power’s quote of 1/9.
More defensively minded in the midfield area, Brazil should keep a clean sheet in victory, an outcome available with Ladbrokes at 1/2 while a 3-0 triumph for the Samba Kings at 11/2 with Betfred is about the most attractive correct score wager.
However, the former is a touch skinny and the latter a little risky, especially as Dunga’s charges could well dismantle their opponents in the same manner that Germany saw off Australia, so bet365’s evens for Brazil to prevail by at least three goals and 888Sport’s 16/5 for yet another player to be dismissed are more attractive alternatives. With the five-times winners set to put plenty of pressure on the North Korea rearguard meanwhile, there’s every chance that the referee will award a penalty and punters can cash-in at 11/4 with William Hill.
Ivory Coast and Portugal look set to do battle for the other qualification place and subsequently the winner of their Port Elizabeth showdown will have one foot in the second phase. Injury doubts surrounding Ivorian talisman Didier Drogba mean Jaxx.com have installed Portugal as 6/5 favourites, however, up against a weak-looking Portuguese outfit that failed to break down the minnows of the Cape Verde Islands; Sven Goran Eriksson’s Elephants can thrive in the face of adversity and they’re huge at 13/5 (William Hill).
A tally of under 2.5 goals (4/7, Victor Chandler) seems probable but those looking for the safety of an odds-on shot may prefer Totesport’s 4/6 chalked against Ivory Coast in the handicaps, where they benefit from a goal start, especially as a draw (23/10, Stan James), and a low-scoring one at that, isn’t out of the question.
Finally, New Zealand are huge outsiders at 8/1 with Totesport ahead of their Group F clash with Slovakia but as the All Whites may prove to be a tougher opponent than some are expecting; Betdaq’s stalemate quote of 7/2 catches the eye. Nevertheless, that would be a bold call for punters who may be better served by the 6/5 offered by Partybets for both teams to find the net in Rustenburg.
A penalty in the match between Brazil and North Korea – 11/4 (William Hill)
Ivory Coast to beat Portugal – 13/5 (William Hill)
Both teams to score in New Zealand v Slovakia game – 6/5 (Partybets)