So, the wait is finally over and the 2014 World Cup gets under way tonight with Brazil v Croatia. However, those expecting a one-sided goal fest should tread carefully.
Sporting Index unsurprisingly make the hosts the 1.5-1.7-goal favourites and have pitched total predicted goals in the game at 2.55–2.75.
Yet, there is the distinct possibility that the game may well be a lot tighter than estimated.
Germany saw off Costa Rica 4-2 in the opening encounter of the 2006 tournament, but those with longer memories will recall the French losing 1-0 to Senegal four years earlier. Not to mention the 1-1 draw between South Africa and Mexico in the first game of the 2010 World Cup. The statistics nerds out there will tell you that the total number of goals scored in the opening round of group games has dropped over the years as they have become cagey affairs.
Bookings (10 points per yellow, 25 points per red) in the game are pitched at 48-52, which again feels towards the high side. That said, it may be worth watching the early encounters, with three games to come on Friday, before stepping in.
Sporting Index are offering quite literally hundreds of markets on the match and another that catches my eye is their quote on the time of Brazil’s second goal. The favourites are expected to strike for a second time between the 66th and 69th minute and there’s a 21-point profit up for grabs if they don’t score twice.