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Soccer World Cup Group H: Round 2 Preview and Betting Picks

| June 23, 2018 12:00 am PDT
Group H Preview Round 2

The games in Group H of the soccer World Cup were among the most entertaining in round 1 of the tournament.

Most people expected Colombia and Poland to take an advantage, but it was quite the opposite. Japan and Senegal showed they are not going to mess around and are now leading the standings.

This puts the favorites in a tough spot in round 2 when they face each other. Both will be eager to win because a loss here will probably mean an elimination.

In the other game, it would be interesting to see Senegal and Japan play. Both would love to win, which will be a giant step towards the last 16, but the draw looks like a good result for both sides.

I already see some nice betting options. But first, let’s do a recap of what happened in round one.

Round 1 Recap and Impressions

Japan managed to surprise the favorite Colombia at the start of the World Cup, and the 2-1 win was one of the results few expected. However, I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from this game for a couple of reasons.

For a start, a stupid red card meant Colombia had to play the whole game with 10 men. This is a huge disadvantage that completely changed the game. Despite the tough start, the South American side showed some spirit and managed to equalize.

The Colombians looked decent in the first half, but Japan took over in the second and deservedly won at the end. The Asians showed some nice attacking play but looked somewhat vulnerable at the back. They did concede and allowed Colombia a couple of other chances.

Fortunately for them, James Rodriguez was injured and didn’t start the game. He did play for 20 minutes or so and almost grabbed an equalizer, but it wasn’t nearly enough. His absence was the second reason I believe this match is not the best display of Colombia’s potential.

Another factor that deserves some attention is the substitution of Juan Cuadrado in the middle of the first half. Jose Pekerman decided he was the one that needed to be sacrificed, and this raised many eyebrows.

Simply put, Colombia played with 10 men for most of the match and most of the game without its two best creative players.

The back line of Columbia should’ve done much better than it did. Davinson Sanchez was terrible at the heart of the defense, and he will need to improve immensely if Colombia is going to make it out of the group.

In the other match of this Group H, Senegal beat Poland 2-1. The African side showed resilience at the back and great speed up front. Still, I think the win flatters them a bit, as the second goal came after a weird situation.

The striker Niang had just returned to the pitch after receiving treatment, and the Polish defense didn’t register that fact.

Still, the Europeans were too pedestrian for most of the game. They didn’t create anything in the first half and started playing with enough purpose only in the second. This wasn’t enough, and they will have to do more in the games to come.

I think all teams still have a solid chance, so let’s take a closer look at the games of round 2.

Japan – Senegal

Here are the main betting markets for this Group H game.

Japan to Win3.60
Senegal to Win2.25
Under 2.5 Goals1.53
Over 2.5 Goals2.40

It’s funny how the two teams who were labeled as underdogs actually have the chance to qualify for the last 16 with a game to spare.

Senegal is the slight favorite according to the bookies, and I can see why. The African side has some exceptional players up front. Sadio Mane is the big star, but all of their attacking players have the pace and strength to punish Japan.

The Asian team had some problems against 10-men Colombia, so I expect more of the same here. On top of that, they will struggle to cope with Senegal physically. The set pieces might be a problem, considering the difference in height.

At the same time, the quick and gifted Japanese players have the ability to hurt Senegal as well. The Africans struggled in the moments when Poland managed to move the ball quickly. I expect Japan to try and do that as often as possible.

It should be mentioned that the draw is a good result for both sides. This is why I don’t expect many risks if the game is tied in the last 20-30 minutes.

Prediction and Betting Picks

The game should be close, and I expect both teams to have their chances to score. This is why I am a bit surprised by the odds for over 2.5 goals. The price for such an outcome is set at 2.40.

Sure, none among Japan and Senegal is exactly known for its attacking strength. At the same time, both can cause trouble to the opponent style-wise. This is why my first pick is over 2.5 goals.

At the same time, I think the draw is highly likely in this match. It suits both sides which will go in the last round with a huge chance to reach the knockouts. As a result, my second pick here would be a tiny wager on correct score 1-1 to provide some cover for my initial bet.

PICKOver 2.5 Goals2.40
PICKCorrect Score 1-16.50

Poland – Colombia

Here is what the bookies offer for this match.

Poland to Win3.40
Colombia to Win2.30
Under 2.5 Goals1.70
Over 2.5 Goals2.10

Everyone expected Poland and Colombia to start with wins or at least not to lose, but here we are. Both teams are in a tough spot after losing the opening game.

I would say Colombia had some bad luck with this instinctive red card right at the start and the injury of James. However, the team struggled at the back.

The young Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez was shocking at the back. He was at fault for the red card and made a couple of terrible mistakes. It’s curious to see if Pekerman will start him again.

Considering the fact that Robert Lewandowski is the man who’ll lead the Polish attack, it’s a crucial decision to make.

Interestingly, I wouldn’t say that the European team was convincing up front. Many of the players struggled to impress, and the good chances were few. Still, Senegal defended deep for most of the game. Colombia will certainly play a more attacking style and leave space behind.

In my opinion, the game will be decided in the middle of the park. The team that manages to control the tempo will have a huge advantage.

Prediction and Betting Picks

I still believe Colombia is one of the teams to watch in this World Cup. They are better than Poland, and their back is against the wall. I believe the side will manage to win and keep the dream alive. The price for Colombia to win is 2.30, and I like that.

Poland could be forced to push towards the end of the game if Colombia is indeed ahead. This could lead to a convincing victory for the South American side. This is why I have another pick: Colombia – 1 Asian Handicap at 3.45.

I would suggest you take only one of them, as it’s not the best idea to bet on similar outcomes in this kind of situation.

PICKColombia to Win2.30
PICKColombia -1 Asian Handicap3.45

BetVictor Million Pound Bet

Since the PriceItUp feature is not yet available for this group, it will be a blind pick for the BetVictor Million Pound Bet. Here is my selection.

  • Colombia to Win 3:1
  • James Rodriguez to Score 2+ Goals
  • Robert Lewandowski to Score
  • Over 4.5 Cards
  • Colombia Over 7.5 Corners
  • Half Time Score 1:1

I would go for a high-scoring game here, because risks must be taken. I feel Colombia could score a couple, especially if James has a good day. Also, I expect some cards and corners for Colombia, in particular.

Final Words

Group H is unfolding as one of the most exciting in the whole soccer World Cup. The favorites still have a shot at the last 16, but it seems at least one of them will be knocked out.

I believe this will be Poland at the end. What’s your opinion? Let me know in the comments below!

Good luck!

Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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