Is there anything crueller than an acca being downed by a last minute goal? Yes: an acca being sunk by a 97th minute goal!
And that’s exactly what happened when Los Angeles FC’s Joao Moutinho fired home in the dying embers of a pulsating clash with the San Jose Earthquakes which ended 4-3 in the visitors’ favour. Of course, we had backed San Jose in the Double Chance market.
It’s best not to dwell too long on such moments, and instead we’ll crack on with this week’s football accumulator betting tips that focus heavily on World Cup 2018!
|Egypt vs Uruguay||Uruguay to Win||8/13|
|Morocco vs Iran||Under 2.5 Goals||4/11|
|France vs Australia||Australia +2.50 Asian Handicap||2/5|
|Brazil vs Switzerland||Brazil to Win||2/5|
|England vs Tunisia||England to Win||4/9|
|Five-Fold Acca Odds||5.23/1|
Egypt vs Uruguay: Uruguay to Win
When it comes to placing your World Cup bets, few of us probably considered the effects of Ramadan on the teams actively engaging in the fast.
But Egypt are one such nation, and their coach Hector Cuper has already voiced his concerns about his players’ religious obligations. Studies have proven that physical performance is affected by the daytime fast, with sleep patterns also hindered, and so for all the brilliance of Mo Salah, we would expect the Africans to struggle in their first game.
Uruguay are many pundits’ dark horses for the title, and why not: they possess one of the best defenders on the planet in Diego Godin, who will be joined by Atletico Madrid teammate Jose Maria Gimenez at the back.
And to win any game of football you need to score at least once….Uruguay’s front two of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, with nearly 100 international goals between them and 15 in 18 qualification matches, are adept as any in that field!
Morocco vs Iran: Under 2.5 Goals
The side effects of Ramadan are likely to impact upon the vitality of Morocco and Iran too; a pair of sides not exactly blessed with goals at the best of times.
The Moroccans kept six straight clean sheets in qualifying, and while they scored eleven in six qualification matches six of those came in one afternoon against Mali.
Iran were just as assured defensively: they only shipped two in ten qualifiers! But they too lack a natural goalscorer, and in unfamiliar conditions – and with physicality potentially affected by their religious undertaking – we don’t expect a goal-laden slobberknocker to unfold here.
France vs Australia: Australia +2.50 Asian Handicap
For all their attacking talents, France simply don’t score that many goals.
Cast your mind back to Euro 2016 and you might recall them beating Romania and Republic of Ireland by a single goal, failing to find the net against Switzerland and drawing 0-0 with Albania until the 90th minute.
That theme continued in qualifying, where their haul of 18 goals in 10 qualifiers – which included bizarre 0-0 stalemates with Belarus and Luxembourg – was amongst the lowest of Europe’s group winners.
To clear this 2.50 handicap they will need to score three times, and we’re willing to suggest the Aussies can prevent that from happening. They won’t blow anyone’s mind in Russia, but a compact and hard-working midfield three of Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy and Jackson Irvine will help to keep things tight and give France a tough afternoon’s work in Kazan on June 16.
Brazil vs Switzerland: Brazil to Win
The price informs this pick, with Brazil well-favoured to open their account with a win against the Swiss, and at a price of 2/5 that is more than acceptable acca punters.
It cannot be overstated how difficult the South American section of qualifying is, and yet the Brazilians blasted 41 goals in 18 starts and lost just once as they topped the group. The fact that many of their players ply their club trade in Europe helps, and with Neymar fit you sense a deep run is on the cards. The failures of World Cup 2014 are long gone.
Switzerland dropped just three points in qualifying, but in a group that contained Hungary, the Faroe Islands, Latvia and Andorra that’s no real achievement.
The Swiss are solid, rather than spectacular, and while they will enjoy better days at World Cup 2018 it is hard to see them stopping the Brazilians from starting as they mean to go on.
England vs Tunisia: England to Win
Hold on to your hats, it’s English optimism time!
In all seriousness, we don’t expect anything other than a run to the last 16 or quarter finals for the Three Lions, but they have certainly improved under Gareth Southgate, and you would expect a Tunisia side hampered by Ramadan to provide only mild resistance.
The beauty of this England side is that it appears to have goals in it from a variety of sources. Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling require no introduction, while the pace of Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford can change a game. Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard have goals in them too, and with the supply line bolstered by the natural width of Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier, the English should fashion plenty of chances here.
Tunisia will be no pushover but it will be tough for them to defend for 90 minutes if they are still feeling the affects of their fasting, and their backline could well be marshalled by Yohan Benalouane, who is roughly fifth-choice centre back at Leicester.