The 2014 World Cup is almost upon us and you can get all the best World Cup gossip for every single match and previews plus exclusive World Cup trends.
Here, our expert tipster offers a look back at opening game fixtures from World Cups of the past. Are there trends that you can make money from waiting to be unearthed?
Goals to be at a premium?
Since the 1966 (and best) World Cup in England there have been 12 opening matches in the biggest tournament in the world and the most obvious trend is that there are rarely many goals.
Just twice has an opening match seen more than two goals scored with those games being Brazil v Scotland in 1998 and Germany v Costa Rica in 2006. For all the fever and excitement the World Cup brings – it seems the opening game is often a damp squib. In fact in the opening games between 1966 and 1982 (five in total) there was just a single goal scored! The reason for this lack of entertainment could be put down to nerves but it should certainly make you wary of backing a high scoring game when Brazil host Croatia on June 12th!
Despite Brazil boasting the likes of Neymar, Fred and Hulk, Croatia could well put on a stout defensive performance to stop the samba football in its tracks. The best price for three goals or less (under 2.5 in betting terms) is 11/10 with Boylesports.
Another interesting trend to look at is the fact that the half-time score has been 0-0 seven times out of 12 in that period – more than 50% of the time. The best price on that trend continuing in this year’s opener is 9/4 with Bet365.
Brazil v Croatia Half-Time Correct Score
The Hosts Struggle To Win
In the 12 opening World Cup matches since ‘66 the hosts have only been involved five times. In those five matches the host nation has only won ONCE. That is a pretty preposterous statistic and one that is probably unexpected. Only Germany managed to break the trend with their 4-2 win over Costa Rica – despite a double from the leggy Paolo Wanchope.
Mexico, England, USA and South Africa all failed to win on home soil in the opening game of the World Cup but none of these teams lost. That probably gives Croatia little hope of winning – in fact no host country has ever lost the opening game of a World Cup in the entire 84 year history of the tournament.
With this in mind best odds of 11/1 on a Croatian win will probably not be met with many takers, but the fact that host nations have drawn four times out of the last five in the opening game certainly may attract a few in the double chance market for Croatia. Backing Niko Kovac’s side to either win or draw will give you the best odds of 11/4 with Paddy Power.
Brazil v Croatia Full-Time Result
Brazil have never lost an opening match at the World Cup
Brazil have never lost an opening match at the World Cup, and the last time they were involved in a curtain raiser they even managed to squeeze past Scotland! They won 2-1 in France in 1998 in that match and you can get best odds of 9/1 with BetVictor that they will defeat Croatia by the same scoreline.
Back in 1974 in the old West Germany, Brazil played Yugoslavia in the opening match of that World Cup. That match ended 0-0 just like the two previous opening day matches AND the one after that! If you believe Brazil could bore us on the opening day you can get a best price of 13/1 with BetVictor on the match finishing 0-0.