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World Cup Odds Preview: Saturday Betting Predictions

Can England manager Roy Hodgson lead the Three Lions to a win over Italy in their World Cup opener in Manaus? Photo:

Can England manager Roy Hodgson lead the Three Lions to a win over Italy in their World Cup opener in Manaus?

With rain pouring down in Brazil on Friday, the Netherlands offense was being poured on against Spain in a shocking 5-1 rout of the defending World Cup champions.

That result is sure to send Spain tumbling down the World Cup 2014 futures lists, as it becomes much tougher to advance with that lopsided goal differential.

There are always plenty of surprises on the pitch, but it would be a monumental upset if the big underdogs won on Saturday as Group C and Group D get underway.

Greece would pay 4-1 odds to upset Colombia, while Costa Rica is nearly 9-1 to upset another top South American side, Uruguay.

Group C: Colombia vs. Greece

What makes this match particularly interesting is the contrasting styles between these two teams. Colombia plays a strong attacking game while Greece plays a shutdown defensive game.

Colombia was a -125 favorite to win the game at most sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com late Friday, with Greece paying +400 on an upset and +240 to force a draw.

The total is set at two goals, with the Under favored at -130 and the Over paying +110. Colombia will try to open the game up and get one by the stingy Greece defense, while Greece will try to protect its clean sheet and steal a goal via a timely counterattack or two.

This figures to be a low-scoring affair. We call it 2-0 Colombia.

Group D: Uruguay vs. Costa Rica

Easily the most lopsided game of the day on paper, Uruguay is a convincing -260 favorite over Costa Rica, which is a +850 long shot to win the game outright with draw odds at +350.

Bettors looking for less chalk on Uruguay can bet the team at -1.0 (-140) while Uruguay is +1.0 (+115). The total is set at 2.5 goals.

Elite striker Luis Suarez will not play for Uruguay in this game, as the team likely knows it can win without him and will try to get him healthy for key games against England and Italy later in group play.

Even without Suarez, Uruguay is a clear favorite on Saturday and his replacements will take the opportunity for playing time and will score three times. Call it 3-0 Uruguay.

Group D: England vs. Italy

This game between two proud European soccer teams grades out as a virtual pick'em. On the two-way line, Italy is a slight favorite at -115 over England (-105), and the same is true on the three-way line which reads Italy +175, England +185 and draw +200.

The total is set at 2.5 goals with the Under heavily favored at -225.

Not much separates these two teams on paper, as indicated by the very close betting odds. Group D figures to be extremely closely contended between Italy (+162 to win the group), Uruguay (+188) and England (+200).

So if either team can get three points in this game, it would be a massive step towards advancing into the knockout stage. We see both teams playing cautiously to a 1-1 draw.

Group C: Ivory Coast vs. Japan

Saturday's action wraps up with what should be a great game between Ivory Coast and Japan. Ivory Coast is a slight favorite to win the game at +155, with Japan going off at +190 and the draw paying +220.

On the two-way moneyline, the game is a pick'em, with Ivory Coast a -125 favorite over Japan (+105). The total is set at two goals.

While Ivory Coast has more star power with players like Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba, Japan is a strong and cohesive unit that plays its system very well. Ivory Coast will likely try to push the tempo while Japan will defend well and try to maintain possession as often as possible.

Many sharp bettors like Ivory Coast but we are not so sure. Call it 2-1 Japan.

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