Lionel Messi delivered in his 2014 World Cup debut on Sunday, scoring the game-winning goal in Argentina's 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Monday, the world gets to see if Cristiano Ronaldo can deliver and if the United States can avenge 2006 and 2010 losses to Ghana as Group G kicks off in Brazil.
The teams in the highly anticipated “Group of Death” finally take to the pitch as Germany faces Portugal and the USA takes on Ghana. Not to be overlooked, Iran and Nigeria close out the opening matches of Group F play in the day's second game.
Group G: Germany vs. Portugal
Germany entered the World Cup as one of the favorites to win the tournament, going off at 11/2 to do so. But there won't be any pushovers in Group G, and Germany will start things off against its stiffest competition of the group in Portugal.
Germany is a +100 favorite to win the game outright, with Portugal going off at +270 to win, according to most sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The draw is currently paying +260. Portugal +0.5 is -120 on the two-way betting line.
The biggest question mark coming into this game is the health of Ronaldo. The world-class scorer is a gamebreaker that makes Portugal dangerous in every game he plays, but he'll need to be close to 100 percent (for what it's worth, he says he is) to give his squad a chance at upsetting the much deeper German side.
Germany should be able to produce on offense, so making sure Ronaldo isn't doing the same will be the top priority.
The total is set at 2.5 goals, with a high-scoring game expected, as the Over is favored at -140 over the Under (+115).
Group F: Iran vs. Nigeria
Nigeria is a +105 favorite on the three-way line over Iran (+275), with draw odds going off at +240 in this matchup. The pick'em line has Iran as a +165 underdog and Nigeria as a -200 favorite. The total is set at two goals.
Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina were projected to be the two best teams in Group F, and their entertaining and competitive game on Sunday did nothing to suggest otherwise. For Nigeria or Iran to have any chance of advancing out of this group, it will have to start with a win on Monday.
Neither of these teams entered the tournament with much fanfare, with both teams earning their last World Cup win in the 1998 World Cup 16 years ago. There should be no shortage of motivation on either side to try to break that drought.
Group G: Ghana vs. USA
Perhaps the toughest game to predict in the entire first week of World Cup play, Ghana vs. USA is a straight pick'em on the two-way line. Both teams are receiving identical odds of +160 to win the game on the three-way line, with a draw going off at +250. The total is set at 2.5 goals.
It is well documented by now that Ghana has eliminated the USA from the last two World Cups, which creates a dynamic in this game in which Ghana will be feeling confident while the U.S. will be out for revenge.
But another interesting dynamic here is what this game means to both teams for advancing out of the group. With Germany and Portugal favored to advance, a draw likely won't cut it for Ghana and the USA. Both sides should be pressing for the win.
Line updates and World Cup future updates happen daily at WorldCupOdds.net.