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Soccer World Cup Group E: Betting Preview and Predictions

| June 11, 2018 12:00 am PDT
Group E Preview of the 2018 FIFA World Cup|World Cup Preview of Brazil|World Cup Preview of Costa Rica|World Cup Preview of Serbia|World Cup Preview of Switzerland

A lot of eyes will be watching Group E of the soccer World Cup, for various reasons.

For a start, Brazil is in this group. They’re one of the leading favorites to win the 2018 edition of the tournament, and they will be hoping to find some peace after their dismal failure on home soil 4 years ago.

The other teams in the group are also exciting. Switzerland, Serbia, and Costa Rica all believe they have a chance to perform well in this tournament, and each will be doing their best to reach the knockout stages.

These three countries certainly have the players to back such ambitions, even if none of them are blessed with as much talent as the Brazil squad is.

This makes Group E one of the tightest in this year’s tournament, and anything is possible here. Let’s see if there are some good betting opportunities available.


World Cup Preview of Brazil

Brazil has won 5 World Cups already, which makes the country the most successful one in the history of the competition.

The whole nation expected another trophy in 2014 when Brazil was the host of the World Cup finals. Instead, the South American powerhouse got trashed 7-1 by Germany in the semifinals.

It was a national tragedy and a memory that still haunts some of the players.

One of them certainly is Neymar. The PSG star was one of the best players 4 years ago, but an injury prevented him from helping his team against Germany. He surely wants revenge and will be out to get it.

The former young talent is now a legitimate superstar and Brazil’s main man.

The Samba boys have other exceptional players all over the place, too. As always, Brazil is probably the most balanced team from South America. The country has a lot of flair players who can do wonders with the ball, but also tough men who are not afraid to do the dirty work.

This makes them incredibly dangerous. The team is capable of defending with great resilience and attacking with imagination in a way that very few countries can match. According to the odds and the opinion of many specialists, this is the team most likely to win the World Cup.

However, the first step is certainly not an easy one. This Group E is tricky, and none of the teams will be easy to beat.

This is the reason I don’t really like the odds for Brazil to win the group and go through. They are way too low considering the competition. Sure, it’s right that they’re the clear favorites. But prices like 1.27 and 1.06 are a joke, and I will stay away from them.


World Cup Preview of Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the teams that is a bit of an enigma. As in most big tournaments, they lack the superstars of other European nations, but the squad is solid and disciplined.

This will be the country’s 5th consecutive appearance in the World Cup finals, and Switzerland is often among the teams that reach the knockout stage. This was the case in Brazil 2014, where only a late goal from Argentina sent them home from the last 16.

The country will hope to at least repeat this performance, and ideally go further this time around.

They will count on players such as Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Valon Behrami. The vast experience these guys have in the top European leagues is a solid reason to believe Switzerland has a chance.

The style of the team involves a tight defense, a lot of control of the ball, and a strong discipline. This makes Switzerland tough to beat and well-suited for the format of the World Cup.

In an easier group, I would be certain that the country will reach the next stage. The task is a bit tougher than they’d have liked, but I still see Switzerland as the second-best team in the group after Brazil.

They have a better tactical discipline than both Serbia and Costa Rica, which should see them snatch the second place. The odds of 2.10 for Switzerland to progress are actually decent and one of the better opportunities.


World Cup Preview of Serbia

The other European team in Group E is Serbia. The country managed to win a tough qualifying group that included solid opponents like Ireland, Wales, and Austria, so they’ve definitely earned the right to be in Russia.

The Serbs lost only one game during qualifying and showed they have a variety of weapons at their disposal. They were able to rely on their defense in some of the hard away fixtures and turn on the attacking flair when they needed to.

They will need more of the same if they’re to progress from this challenging group.

The Serbian defense has some experienced players, like skipper Aleksandar Kolarov and former Chelsea star Branislav Ivanovic. They will receive solid support from the midfield, and especially Nemanja Matic, who’s one of the best defensive midfielders in the English Premier League.

The backbone of the Serbian team is formed by the young and talented Sergej Savic, Dusan Tadic, and Aleksandar Mitrovic. They are more than capable of producing goals up front, and they will certainly help Serbia to be a threat.

The problem for the country is that the draw was terrible. I can’t see the Serbians winning against Brazil, and the other two teams in the group are no joke, either. This is the reason I don’t see any value in the prices for Serbia.

The country has potential and some good players, but a price of 2.20 for Serbia to go through is simply not high enough to tempt me to part with my money.

Costa Rica

World Cup Preview of Costa Rica

The situation of Costa Rica seems complicated, and no one expects them to get out of this group.

However, this statement would’ve been just as true in 2014 when the country was drawn against giants like Uruguay, Italy, and England. And yet, in the end, Costa Rica won the group with 7 points. They then beat Greece in the last 16, before getting knocked out by a strong Netherlands team in the last 8.

The team was unbeaten over 90 minutes during the World Cup, and it took a penalty shootout to eliminate Costa Rica.

So, yeah, if you think the team is doomed, you should probably think again. They have one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament in Keylor Navas, who’s been brilliant for Real Madrid. The defense is working constantly to protect him, too, and there’s also a lot of potential up front.

The experienced Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell are always dangerous, and they will be the main creative force of Costa Rica.

To be fair, the squad lacks the quality of the other teams in the group, but the work ethic and team spirit are second to none. On top of that, Costa Rica already showed us how tough they are 4 years ago.

While I can’t see them reaching the last 8 once again, getting out of this group is certainly possible. The odds of 5.00 are a good choice for people looking for a big surprise.

The Key Match in Group E

I will probably surprise a few people with this, but I will say that Costa Rica/Serbia would be my key match for Group E.

Costa Rica faces Serbia on Sunday, June 17th.

This is the opening game, and it will quite possibly set the tone for what follows. If one of these two teams are going to upset the odds, they would almost certainly have to win this one.

A draw would be damaging to both teams’ hopes, and I can’t see Costa Rica or Serbia progress if that’s the outcome here.

I believe both teams will be well aware of this, and the game will provide a lot of fight and some good soccer.

Final Prediction and Picks

The bookies are convinced that Brazil is going to win this group, and I agree with this one. However, the odds are way too low for my taste and fair at best. I simply don’t see any positive value.

However, there are two other bets that I certainly like. One of them is Switzerland to progress to the knockout stages at 2.10. This is a solid price, and I rate the team high, so this is my preferred wager here.

PICKSwitzerland to Qualify from Group E2.10

The other option is a pure value bet with a low probability to happen but excellent potential rewards. I’m talking about backing Costa Rica to reach the next stage.

The nation has a decent potential and is not afraid to face teams that are stronger on paper, as we saw in 2014. This is why the price of 5.00 is worth a shot in my view.

More Group E Related Betting

When we’re talking about Brazil, the Samba boys are certainly one of the teams that could win the trophy. Go ahead and take a look at my betting pick for the World Cup 2018 winner.

I also have written a review of the top scorer market. Neymar is heavily involved, although I believe there are better options out there.

Each of the games in this group is likely to present some intriguing betting opportunities, too, but I’ll get to those nearer the time. Throughout the entire World Cup, I’ll be adding game previews to the blog, so make sure you keep checking back.

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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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