Many Americans are obviously very disappointed that the United States Men’s National Team will not be spending the Fourth of July preparing for a quarterfinal matchup with Argentina on Saturday in the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament. Despite a valiant effort by goalie Tim Howard, who recorded a WC record 16 saves in a 2-1 extra-time loss to Belgium on Tuesday, the U.S. will instead be spectators the rest of the way.
Of course there is still plenty of exciting action remaining for soccer bettors who are looking to make money on the four quarterfinal games scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Brazil. Germany (+145 on the 3-way line) faces France (+210) in the first game on Friday that will kick off at 9 a.m. (PT) followed by Colombia (+350) vs. Brazil (-125) at 1 p.m. (click here to check latest World Cup soccer lines). Saturday will see Belgium (+250) meet Argentina (+115) at 9 a.m. and then Costa Rica (+625) takes on the Netherlands (-200) at 1 p.m. to close out the quarters.
Following is a Q&A with FOX Sports Soccer Betting Analyst Todd Fuhrman on what to look for from a betting perspective in the quarterfinal round of the World Cup…
Q: Brazil has been struggling offensively throughout the World Cup, do you think they got a wake-up call against Chile or can Colombia pull off the upset?
Fuhrman: I definitely think Brazil had their wake-up call, but through 4 matches, they've looked pretty pedestrian. Now you add in a nagging injury to Neymar, and it's a potential game-changer. Colombia's form so far this tournament is much better than Brazil and explains the support they've been attracting in the betting markets. Quietly, they've been one of the better defensive sides, and up front James Rodriguez is making a case for not only the Golden Boot but also the Golden Ball. However, the price reflects the change in pre-tournament expectations, meaning this could be the optimal time to buy low on Brazil.
Q: What team do you think has the most betting value in terms of futures at this point of the tournament?
Fuhrman: This late in the tournament, it's hard to find a lot of value in the futures market (click here for World Cup future odds from LVH SuperBook in Las Vegas). However, Belgium has a manageable road to the final for a 12/1 shot and would be the lone side outside of the favorites worth a small investment.
Q: There has only been one game decided by more than one goal since last Saturday, do you see any reason to believe the trend of one-goal games won’t continue in the quarterfinals?
Fuhrman: When you talk about soccer at the highest level and so much at stake, teams play pretty conservative. None of these teams want to beat themselves and explains why so many games are tight right through 90 minutes. That being said, I have a weird feeling we could see a game or two decided by more than 1 goal this round.
Q: Any mismatches or games you wouldn’t touch as a bettor due to unpredictability or lack of value?
Fuhrman: The aforementioned Brazil vs. Colombia game is tough to handicap. Line value is squarely on the hosts while current form says Los Cafeteros are the side. Really believe that's a game worth watching as a fan more so than a bettor.
Q: What quarterfinal matchup are you looking forward to most and why?
Fuhrman: Argentina vs. Belgium. The Belgians won't wow you with anything they do, but they've been elite defensively all tournament long. Now we get to see their defense put to the test against Lionel Messi so something has to give.