The 2021 MLS Cup is preparing to begin and there are set to be 14 teams competing for the honor of being crowned champions at the end of a long season. But who is likely to be involved in the running for the title? Let's take a look at the betting picks.
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Russia vs Saudi Arabia Odds
Russia vs Saudi Arabia World Cup Odds
Hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow on June 14th, 2018 in what is the opening fixture of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, marking the beginning of another exciting showcase of world soccer. The game is a first for world soccer in that it will be the first time an Asian team has taken part in the opening match at the global finals.
Russia vs Saudi Arabia PredictionRussia (-1) -190 Bet Now
In reality, both Russia and Saudi Arabia have zero chance of winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup as is evident by the +4000 odds for a Russian win on home soil and the +100000 odds on what would the shock of the century if Saudi Arabia lifted the trophy.
For this one-off game, however, we do not think you can look past a Russian victory. Our friends over at Bovada agree and price a Russia win at -325, a Saudi victory at an ambitious +1100 with the draw coming in at +400. While the Russians are a shadow of their former selves, we particularly like the -1 spread with a Russia victory as they should have far too much talent for the Saudis.
Russia vs Saudi Arabia Key Bites
- Can Russia overcome poor form to win their opening fixture?
- Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al Sahlawi will give a makeshift defense a tough time
- Russia have suffered an injury crisis in defense
- The host nation hasn’t won in its previous seven friendlies
- Yuri Zhirkov and Denis Glushakov are key players for Russia
Russia qualified for the tournament as the host nation but they did compete in the 2017 Confederations Cup where they failed to get out of their group. Russia beat New Zealand 2-0 in their opening game before losing 1-0 to Portugal and 2-1 to Mexico.
The host nation played friendlies against Argentina and Spain in November. They lost 1-0 at home to Argentina and drew 3-3 with Spain. Russia played a brace of friendlies in March, losing 3-0 at home to Brazil and 3-1 at home to France. Against the better sides, there is little point betting on Russia to win, as is evident by these results.
Having never progressed past the group stages as Russia -- they did win the 1960 World Cup as the Soviet Union -- many believe this is Russia’s best chance of navigating their way to the knockout stages.
Saudi Arabia won six of their 10 qualification games and finished second in their group to qualify alongside Japan. The Saudis finished level on points with Australia but progressed thanks to having a superior goal difference. There were 27 goals scored in games involving Saudi Arabia, for an average of 2.7 per game, making the over 2 goals market at -165 look like a good bet.
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Russia vs Saudi Arabia Betting Trends
- Russia automatically qualified for the World Cup as hosts.
- Russia has never played Saudi Arabia before.
- Playing as Russia, the team has never progressed past the group stage of a World Cup.
- Russia finished 24th at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with two draws and one defeat.
- Russia failed to progress from the Group Stage of the 2017 Confederations Cup, which was held in Russia.
- Russia’s biggest win is 7-0. They achieved this against San Marino in 1995 and against Liechtenstein in 2015.
- Russia was +4000 to win the World Cup before the tournament.
- Russia was +125 second favorite to win Group A behind Uruguay.
- Russia was -350 second favorite to progress from Group A.
- Saudi Arabia was +3300 to win Group A before the tournament.
- Saudi Arabia was +650 to progress from Group A.
- Saudi Arabia is currently ranked 70th in the world rankings by FIFA.
- Saudi Arabia qualified for the 2018 World Cup, the first time they have qualified since 2006.
- Saudi Arabia won six, drew one and lost three of its 10 qualifying games to finish second in the group behind Japan.
- Nawaf Al Abed scored five of Saudi Arabia’s 17 goals during qualification.
- There were an average of 2.7 goals per game during Saudi Arabia’s qualification route.
- Saudi Arabia reached the Round of 16 in 1994 but failed to progress from the Group stages in 1998, 2002 and 2006.
- Mohammed Al-Sahlawi has 28 goals in 36 appearances for the national side.
Russia vs Saudi Arabia World Cup Preview
Russia go into their 2018 FIFA World Cup match with Saudi Arabia as firm favorites and history is on their side. There have been 21 hosts throughout the history of the FIFA World Cup and more than 75 percent of them have won their opening fixture.
Fifteen host nations have won their first game and six have draw; we are still waiting for the first defeat of a host nation’s opening World Cup game.
The hosts are on a terrible run of form and have not won in their previous seven international games. Russia beat South Korea 4-2 in October 2017 and have since draw with Iran, Spain and most recently Turkey, while they endured defeats to Argentina, Brazil, France and Austria.
A defensive crisis has severely weakened the Russia backline and that has shown by the fact they have conceded 15 goals in their previous eight matches and they have not kept a clean sheet since a 2-0 victory over New Zealand at the 2017 Confederations Cup in June 2017.
While the defense is a worry for Russia, a lack of attacking options could also be a problem. Only Fyodor Smolov looks guaranteed a place in the starting XI, the 28-year-old Krasnodar striker has 12 goals in 30 appearances for the national side. Russia have only taken one other forward to the World Cup, Artem Dzyuba who has looked void of confidence since returning to Zenit St. Petersburg; Dzyuba only scored eight goals in 29 games last season.
Saudi Arabia has lost its previous three World Cup warm-up matches although against solid opposition. The Green Falcons lost 2-1 against Italy, 3-0 to Peru and 2-1 to Germany although they looked like a decent team during both the Italy and Germany fixtures.
Like the Russians, Saudi Arabia has a relatively weak defense and one that is rapidly aging; they will be thankful for a lack of creativity in the Russian squad that is for certain.
The two Saudi players to look out for in this match are wingers Salem Al Dawsari and Fahad Al Muwallad. Al Dawsari has been on the sidelines since January but has made it into the World Cup squad. He loves to get behind defenses is one player Russia will be wary of.
Al Dawsari is the side’s star player. He is an exciting winger with exceptional ball control, although he struggled to get into the Levante team this season he will be the first name on the team sheet some the start of the World Cup.
Neither of these sides are likely to score a lot of goals despite their opponents’ defenses having more holes than a Swiss cheese. We also believe that Saudi Arabia will likely shore up their defense and hope to hit Russia on the counter-attack and thanks to Russia being poor going forwards, could escape from this fixture with a point.
The draw is priced at +330 with Bovada and that does look like a solid bet to make, especially as Saudi Arabia would be delighted with a draw as they would fancy their chances against Egypt and three points in that game plus a pint against Russia could see them do the unthinkable and progress to the Round of 16.
Another bet available at Bovada is Fedor Smolov or Mohammed Al-Sahlawi to score first at +140. Both these players are their respective teams’ biggest and most potent goal threat so we would not deter anyone wanting to take a punt on this market.
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