The shock-sacking of Julen Lopetegui, Spain’s coach, just 48 hours before the nation’s 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match against Portugal has sent betting markets into turmoil
At 5Dimes Spain is still the favorite in this opening World Cup match with odds of -109.89, while Portugal is at +360 and the draw is paying +235. The Over/Under for this match is set at 2.5 goals.
This may be the most important match for both teams in Group B. Oddsmakers at 5Dimes have these two teams with the best odds to advance, leaving Morocco and Iran in the dust.
This match pits the defending European Championship winners Portugal against Spain, who won the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
In the 36 matches these teams have faced each other Spain has dominated winning 18 times, only losing six times, and there have been 12 draws. However, they have not met since the 2012 European Championships in the semifinals where Spain beat Portugal on penalties after a 0-0 draw in regulation time.
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Portugal is led by their attack and they have a pretty good player up front in Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. He is a goal-scoring machine and in European World Cup qualifying the Portuguese squad averaged over three goals per match. However, they will be pitted against a Spanish defense that is loaded with world-class talent and did not allow more than one goal in their last four friendlies leading up to the World Cup.
When Portugal has found success, it is usually when other players besides Ronaldo step up. You can be sure that the Spanish defense will key on the Real Madrid striker and because of this Andres Silva or Goncalo Guedes have to step up their play up front and take the pressure of their superstar.
Ronaldo and the Portugal squad not only has to face a great Spanish defense, but Manchester United goalie David de Gea, who is one of the best net-minders in the tournament.
Spain is also loaded in the midfield with David Silva, Sergio Busquets, and Thiago Alcantara likely in the starting lineup. This time around in the World Cup there may be more pressure on the midfielders since the Spanish do not have a dynamic attack up front like they used to have. Still, Spain had the 3rd most goals in European qualifying. On top of that in their 10 qualifying matches they only conceded three goals.
Diego Costa is Spain’s best striker and while dangerous up front the midfielders have to get him the ball. Portugal is also strong in the midfield and that may be the area of the pitch where this match is won or lost.
Portugal & Spain Recent Form
28/05/18 – Portugal 2 Tunisia 2 (Friendly)
02/06/18 – Belgium 0 Portugal 0 (Friendly)
07/06/18 – Portugal 3 Algeria 0 (Friendly)
27/03/18 – Spain 6 Argentina 1 (Friendly)
03/06/18 – Spain 1 Switzerland 1 (Friendly)
09/06/18 – Tunisia 0 Spain 1 (Friendly)
Spain vs. Portugal betting prediction
|Best Bet||Odds||Bet Now|
|Both teams to score – NO||-142.86 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
|Spain to win||+105 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
This Group B encounter may be the best opening match in this World Cup.
Spain is solid all-around, especially in the midfield and defense, and Portugal is a great team that is much more than Ronaldo. This match will not be much different than their last encounter, which ended in penalties.
Both teams will feel each other out and look to control the time of possession. Spain will have a few more chances and at least convert on one and they will take three points away with a 1-0 win over Portugal.
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