WORLD CUP THURSDAY: The Ultra previews Thursday’s four World Cup games between CANADA v MOROCCO, CROATIA v BELGIUM, COSTA RICA v GERMANY and JAPAN v SPAIN all including a recommended BETDAQ bet.


CANADA V MOROCCO

3pm We’re drawing to a close now in the World Cup Group stages, and we have some fascinating markets on BETDAQ Betting Exchange on Thursday as we finished Group E and F. We start the day in Group F with Canada taking on Morocco. Everyone would have thought Belgium would sail through this Group, but a loss to Morocco has really opened things up. Croatia and Morocco start the day sitting in the top two places on four points each, while Belgium are just behind them on three. Canada have lost their two games thus far, so they only have pride to play for here. With Croatia meeting Belgium today, Morocco have their faith in their open hands which you have to say is a great achievement coming into the final Group game. They have been absolutely superb at the back stopping Croatia and Belgium – while you might say they were a little “lucky” looking at the xG figures to beat Belgium, they kept Belgium down to an xG of 1.23 and they took their chances when they got them. You can’t knock them, if they were going to win it was always going to be an “ugly” win, but they did finish the game with a very similar xG figure to Belgium.

With Morocco’s faith in their own hands, Belgium are the ones sweating today in Group F. Canada have been poor too – granted you have to admit there’s a big gulf in class between Croatia and Belgium when compared to Canada. It’s fair to say that Canada have been unlucky to lose their two games – they finished the loss to Belgium with an xG of 2.90 and you could easily make the case that they should have won. It’s hard to see them changing too much here in the sense that they were poor against Croatia and good against Belgium – they have their level, you have to say that Morocco is a step down from Croatia and Belgium too. You’d expect to see Morocco remain solid at the back here and control the game. I think the 2.2 on Morocco is too big to ignore considering how many chances Canada have conceded against Croatia – Morocco should get plenty of chances here, and although a draw will be good enough I’m still happy to take the 2.2. I’m reducing stakes because a draw is good enough, but they should have way too much for Canada here.

The Ultra Says:
Two points win Morocco to beat Canada at 2.2 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/CanMor

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CROATIA V BELGIUM

3pm What a huge clash we have next as Croatia take on Belgium with everything to play for in Group F. Obviously the Canada v Morocco game will have an impact too, but it’s fair to say that the loser of this game is going home. Croatia have been reasonably solid at the World Cup so far, they played out a dull 0-0 with Morocco but then beat Canada very easily. This was always going to be their toughest game in the Group, and I’m sure pre-tournament most football fans would have thought it would decide who finishes first and second. However, with Croatia on four points and Belgium only on three, Croatia have the luxury of only needing a draw here. You have to say that Belgium have been very poor at this World Cup. They have such a strong squad on paper but their performances have been woeful. As I mentioned above, they conceded an xG of 2.90 when beating Canada 1-0 and then they didn’t create enough to get a result against Morocco. They could easily already be out of the tournament, and even Kevin de Bruyne said he didn’t deserve the man of the match award when beating Canada. There’s definitely something wrong in the Belgium camp – their squad is too good to be playing like this, but it probably shows the glory days are coming to an end. I said Belgium needed to win something with this squad because they will likely never have a stronger squad, but it looks like they are going to exit at the Group stage now.

As you would expect, we have a very open market here. Indeed, this is probably the most open betting heat of the World Cup so far. Croatia are trading 2.78 and Belgium ae 2.76 so the two sides are almost the same price with the draw trading 3.5 at the time of writing. Belgium know what they have to do, anything bar a win will see them crash out so they are going to have to start chasing the game early. It will be interesting to see what they can create, because their two xG figures so far have been just 0.98 and 1.23. On paper, against two sides well below their level too in Canada and Morocco. As I said in my preview of the Belgium v Morocco game, that xG figure Belgium conceded to Canada is a massive red flag, and that alarm bell is now ringing louder than ever. I’m not a big fan of Croatia, but Belgium don’t deserve to be the same price here based on their performances. I’m happy to have the Croatia win and the draw on our side here with a Belgium lay at the odds.

The Ultra Says:
Two points lay (liability) Belgium to beat Croatia at 2.76 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/CroBel


COSTA RICA V GERMANY

7pm We move to Group E to finish the evening, will we have even more drama in this Group? You have to say things have worked out extremely well for Germany since they lost their opening fixture to Japan. They start the final matchday sitting bottom of the Group, but they are also the shortest price of any side to win in the World Cup! They are currently trading 1.13 at the time of writing, which is definitely a need to win price! After the shock of losing their opening game to Japan, you have to say that Germany bounced back well with a 1-1 draw against Spain. They were very solid, and finished the game with a higher xG figure than Spain. Although there’s been a lot of drama for Germany, they go into the final game in a good spot and should still qualify with a win. That is due to the fact that Japan absolutely blew their strong position with a loss against Costa Rica. If Japan had won that game, they would be sitting top of the Group and certain to go through – but we’ve already had so many shocks at this World Cup it’s hard to know what comes next!

What is likely to happen here though is a comfortable Germany win. You only have to look at the odds to see how confident the market is. Costa Rica have looked very average, but you have to give them credit for grinding out a win but it was definitely a smash and grab job in the final ten minutes. Their xG was just 0.13, but they set out to defend and Japan couldn’t create enough to win, so Costa Rica deserved the glory. There’s a huge gulf in class between the sides here, but Costa Rica after beating Japan Costa Rica have something to play for here. They will expect Spain to beat Japan, so a draw will be good enough to get through in that situation. They will be very negative here with XI men behind the ball – that might not be good enough to stop Germany, but that will be the plan. With Germany so short in the match odds market, we’ll have to look elsewhere for value and I like Both Teams Not To Score at 1.64. I can see Germany having all of the ball here, and Costa Rica sitting back so much they barely get many chances or shots on goal. Germany can keep a clean sheet on the way to winning.

The Ultra Says:
Two points win Both Teams Not To Score at 1.64 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/CosGer


JAPAN V SPAIN

7pm We finish Thursday with a very interesting clash as Japan meet Spain. Everyone will expect Spain to win here, but Japan have shown enough to suggest that they can cause Spain problems here. Spain are in a good place coming into the final game – a draw would see them top the Group unless Costa Rica beat Germany and let’s be honest – nobody is expecting that! Even in a World Cup full of shocks already! After a blistering start with seven goals and a clean sheet against Costa Rica, Spain didn’t really get going against Germany. They had a chance to knock a major rival out, and they just didn’t play well enough to win the game. There really wasn’t much between the sides so a draw was a fair result, but Germany did finish the game with the higher xG figure. They created the better chances, and it will be interesting to see how Spain play here. Japan have really blown their chances with a loss to Costa Rica – they could be sitting top of the Group now, and that’s probably something that is keeping the players and manager up at night! Whatever about not winning, but to not even get a draw after doing all the hard work against Germany. Talk about blowing a great position. They were unlucky to lose in truth against Costa Rica, but they didn’t create enough – their xG was just 1.05.

Although they conceded a very high xG figure against Germany (3.81 in a very open game), they still created 2.06 themselves. The Costa Rica game was a big step down in level, and it will be interesting to see how they play here. Spain are far more likely to attack more, and that might suit Japan and open the game up a little. It’s hard to see past the Spain win, but the 1.44 looks around the right price to me. I don’t see any value in the match odds market here, so I’m happy to look around the side markets. A draw will be a decent result for Spain and top the Group, so I can’t see them playing a very open game. They will likely face questions if they only manage a draw though considering they got a lot of criticism after the Germany game. I still feel we’ll see a reasonably quiet game here with Spain controlling it. They will want the game to be as boring as possible to be honest, and Under 2.5 goals at 2.2 is worth a small bet. I’d have it closer to evens, but I’m happy to keep stakes small here in a trappy affair.

The Ultra Says:
One point win Under 2.5 goals at 2.2 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://betdaq.biz/JapSpa


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DAQSTATS Weds: Kempton NAP
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PAT HEALY blog: The Perfect Festival!
THE WEEK AHEAD: Super Bowl week !!
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