Monday July 7th, 2014

Brazil and Germany entered the World Cup as the first- and third-rated teams to win the tournament, according to oddsmakers, and now one team is about to inch to the World Cup Final.

After opening as a slight favorite, Brazil is now a slight underdog to the Germans in their semifinal on Tuesday, in part due to the injury to Neymar, and in part due to the suspension absence of captain and center back Thiago Silva.

Germany is going off at +160 to win the game on the three-way line, with Brazil going off at +175 and the draw set at +230. Betting on which team will advance into the final, Germany is -120 while the host country is even money.

The total is set at 2.5 goals with the Under favored at -175 over the Over at +145.

The headline story from Vegas and overseas betting shops is the injury to Brazil's star forward. The game against Colombia was a physical one with both teams not shying away from contact, and in the second half Neymar took a knee to the back on a hard challenge from Colombian defender Juan Camilo Zuniga.

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He was taken off of the pitch on a stretcher, and the team's worst fears were realized when it was revealed that he would be out for the remainder of the World Cup with a fractured vertebra.

The news dealt a serious blow to Brazil's roster, and the team was already set to play against Germany without its captain after Silva picked up his second yellow card of the tournament against Colombia.

The loss of these two key players became the story of Brazil's 2-1 win when the story could perhaps have been that the team played one of its best games of the tournament against a very strong opponent.

Germany, with Thomas Muller still an outside shot at winning the Golden Boot as the tournament's top scorer, is also coming off one of its strongest performances of the tournament. After following up its 4-0 win over Portugal with a draw against Ghana and sloppy wins over the United States and Algeria, many believed that Germany was vulnerable in its quarterfinals matchup against red-hot France.

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The Germans proved otherwise with a convincing 1-0 win in which the team dominated possession and gave France very little space with which to work.

In addition to being one of the deepest teams in the tournament, Germany has managed to stay healthy and out of card trouble. It is somewhat surprising to see Brazil as the betting underdog on its home soil, but that is a testament to the strength of this German side.

The last time Brazil lost at home was in a friendly against Paraguay in 2002; a game in which Brazil subbed out its stars and wasn't taking too seriously after winning the World Cup in Japan earlier that summer. The last time that Brazil lost a competitive game at home was back in 1975.

This game should be a battle. Brazil's pride, depth and home-field advantage make the team extremely dangerous even with two of its most important players out. But for as rare as home losses for Brazil may be, Germany has the talent to deliver one.

Brazil vs. Germany Prediction: 2-1 Germany

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