World Cup Odds: Can Costa Rica notch its second big upset?
Luis Suarez showed how much of a difference an elite striker can make on Thursday, scoring both goals in Uruguay's 2-1 win over England. France's Karim Benzema scored two goals in his first game of the World Cup against Honduras, and will look to follow that performance up with another strong one on Friday's card against the Swiss.
The winner of this game takes full control of Group E, while Costa Rica attempts to slay a second giant, despite being a huge underdog going up against mighty Italy. Here's how Friday's games shape up:
Group D: Italy vs. Costa Rica
Italy is a -210 favorite over Costa Rica, which is going off at +600 to win the game and +330 to play to a draw. Bettors can also bet the two-way line, which has Italy as a -1.0 favorite at -110 over Costa Rica +1.0 (-110). The total is set at 2.5 goals.
Both of these teams looked very sharp in their opening games of the World Cup. Italy took care of business against England, breaking a 1-1 tie in the second half with a goal from striker Mario Balotelli to win the game 2-1. Costa Rica's result was much more surprising; expected to be the pushover of the group, Los Ticos earned a convincing 3-1 win over Uruguay.
Bettors are faced with the difficult decision of how seriously they should take Costa Rica. Was the win over Uruguay a fluke fueled by the absence of Suarez, or was the Costa Rica side just seriously underrated coming into this World Cup? Time will soon tell.
Group E: Switzerland vs. France
France can take a stranglehold over Group E with a win on Friday, and is favored to do so going off at -140 to win the game. Switzerland is a +375 underdog to win the game outright, +275 to force an upset and +115 to achieve either result on the Switzerland +0.5 line. The goal total is set at 2.5.
After a nightmare performance in the 2010 World Cup, France got off to a much better start in 2014 with a strong 3-0 win over Honduras. With that said, Honduras is the weakest team in the group. The French squad will get a much more stern test on Friday against Switzerland.
Switzerland is usually known for its outstanding defense, but after falling behind 0-1 the attack was able to drum up an equalizer and then score the game-winning goal deep into extra time. If the Swiss can score, they could be a dark horse in this tournament.
Group E: Honduras vs. Ecuador
Ecuador is a -170 favorite over Honduras at +450 and the draw at +320. As a -1.0 favorite, Ecuador is +115 over Honduras +1.0 at -140. The total is set at 2.5 goals.
Coming off of the heartbreaking loss to Switzerland, Ecuador should be fired up to get back on track against Honduras. Honduras failed to score a single goal in the 2010 World Cup, and this could be the team's best chance at one going up against a shaky Ecuador defense.
The Hondurans went down to 10 players against France after Wilson Palacios' first-half red card and will try to keep everyone on the pitch and put together a much better defensive performance in this one.