Jones Knows has been banging in the World Cup winners and he has more betting angles to consider in the final two games of a pulsating tournament.
Any winners for Jones Knows in the knockout stages?
- Morocco vs Spain to go to penalties (11/2)
- Seven or more South Korea shots vs Brazil (Evs)
- USA to have two or more first half shots on target (5/6)
- Argentina to win & under 3.5 goals (5/6)
- Manuel Akanji to have one or more shots vs Portugal (11/10)
- Argentina vs Netherlands to go to penalties (9/2)
- Over 2.5 goals in France vs England (Evens)
- Argentina to win to nil vs Croatia (13/8)
- Morocco to have nine or more shots vs France (Evens)
Croatia vs Morocco, Third-place playoff, Saturday 3pm
This game isn’t for everyone but my punting pulses always get a little pumped for this encounter as it’s traditionally a game where action is guaranteed with teams releasing the handbrake somewhat. That can be seen in the fact there has only been one draw after 90 minutes in the 19 World Cup third-place playoff matches. Teams play to win.
That should certainly be the case this year with two teams who will see the chance of finishing third at a World Cup as a big motivation factor.
There are bets to be had in the goals and shots markets.
Looking back at the previous 19 third-place World Cup playoffs – a reliable sample size – the average goals per-90 rockets to 3.7 goals, suggesting if you had blindly backed that goals line over the years you’d be well ahead at the prices.
Over 2.5 goals in this encounter is available at 4/5 with Sky Bet – a bet that would have copped in 10 of the last 11 third-place playoffs.
That is a bet to consider but my money will be investing in the shots markets where there are some very juicy prices at odds-against to attack. When a goal average is high in a game of this exhibition nature, the likelihood for shots also increases.
A quick, basic draw down of the total match shots in the last 14 third-place playoffs shows that each match is providing 31.2 shots per 90 minutes. Sky Bet have set their shots line at 25 or more with 4/5 available which opens up huge possibilities across various markets. My weapon of choice is the Morocco player shots markets with Hakim Ziyech’s lines standing out.
The Chelsea man is the perfect candidate for a shots bet as he is afforded plenty of attacking licence playing on the ‘wrong’ side meaning he always looks to cut in on his stronger left-foot to take on shots and he is a greedy, greedy boy who likes a speculative attempt from distance.
In 51 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, his shots per 90 average is 3.07 – an incredibly healthy strike rate. He is averaging the most shots of any Moroccan player at the World Cup with 1.3 per 90 and that’s whilst playing in a very defensive-focused team. They’ll play with much more freedom in this one and Ziyech is likely to shoot on sight and shoot regularly. I’ll be backing him to have three or more shots at 13/8 with Sky Bet, four or more at 4/1 and two shots on target at 100/30.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-3 | BEST BET: Hakim Ziyech have three or more shots (13/8 with Sky Bet – Bet Here!)
Argentina vs France, World Cup final, Sunday 3pm
Allowing the footballing gods to influence decision-making isn’t a sustainable way of making shrewd calls in this game. But in this instance, there is a footballing god at the heart of a football match for whom the stars are aligning for. It’s Lionel Messi’s World Cup, isn’t it?
France have allowed space in front of their back four all tournament but have survived in the big moments thanks to either some wayward finishing or decisive defending. In their three knockout games, France have conceded an average of almost 14 shots per 90 minutes to a backdrop of a per 90 minutes expected goals ratio of 1.72. A repeat of that against Messi will leave France in trouble. It’s Argentina for me but a better bet at the prices can be found in the goals market.
The way the goal line markets have moved it suggests punters are expecting a low-scoring final. You can get just 1/2 with Sky Bet on under 2.5 goals. I’d usually agree with that price in a game of such magnitude where it can go the distance but there are big arguments to back goals in this match-up, especially with the price of 6/4 with Sky Bet on offer for over 2.5 goals.
A basic drawdown of recent total goal numbers in both teams matches point to the game going over the 2.5 line.
Argentina’s games are averaging 2.8 goals per-90 minute this tournament and France’s coming in at 3.0 goals per-90 minutes. Plus, even though both defences were on top and kept clean sheets in the semi-finals, facing Croatia and Morocco is a different proposition to stopping the two best attacking players in the planet in Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
These two only need low probability chances to score which means even the best defences around will struggle to contain them.
So, you’ve got the overall goal average being positive and elite attacking talent on the pitch, what is keeping that other price so low? Perhaps it’s recent history as six of the last eight finals have produced less than three goals. However, if you stretch it back throughout history, the average goal count in a World Cup final is 3.2 in 90 minutes. My enthusiasm for goals in this game burns bright. I’ll be certainly backing that 6/4 for three or more goals.
And if you fancy combining an Argentina win into the mix, you can dip your rod into fish out 4/1 with Sky Bet. Not too shabby that.