The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues Thursday as Lionel Messi and Argentina take on group D leader Croatia. Argentina, following a disappointing 1-1 draw vs Iceland, will look to get their first win of the tournament, while Croatia looks to distance themselves in the group after their 2-0 win over Nigeria.
Let’s take a closer look at where the value’s at in this match.
What to Watch For
Betting on the Draw: Odds — at 3.39 — indicate there’s a 29.5 percent chance of a draw. AccuScore sims have a draw in 19 percent of matches, suggesting no value on the draw.
The average score in sims is 2.33 – 0.69, in favor of Argentina.
Missed Opportunity: Messi missed a penalty kick in the match vs Iceland as goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson kept Argentina from taking the lead in the 64th minute. Interestingly enough, Halldorsson said he had a ‘feeling’ of the kind of shot Messi would take based on researching his penalties with Barcelona.
Different Strategy: Argentina had possession 78 percent of the time vs Iceland, taking 26 shots only seven of which were on target. With talent like Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina cannot afford to keep them off the pitch for the likes of Meximiliano Meza and Lucas Biglia.
The Blazers: Croatia kicked off their Group D action with an impressive 2-0 win over Nigeria. Their defensive line disrupted Nigeria’s attack and the key partnership of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic proved to be reliable. Rakitic and Modric do find themselves as some of the leaders in AccuScore sims. Rakitic is projected to have approximately an 8 percent chance to score, with Rakitic at 4 percent, fourth and fifth-highest odds to net the ball for Croatia. with the
Andrej Kramaric and Ivan Perisic lead the way for Croatia in AccuScore simulations. Kramaric has an 18.4 percent chance to net the ball as he averages 1.4 shots overall per sim, 0.47 shots on goal per, and 0.2 goals per sim. Perisic averages more shots overall, 1.9 vs 1.4, but fewer goals, 0.16 vs 0.2.
For Argentina it’s Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero — both with a 50-plus percent chance to score. Messi averages close to five shots overall per sim, 2-plus shots on goal, and 0.87 goals per sim; Aguero averages three-plus shots overall, 1.38 shots on goal, and 0.78 goals per sim.
Argentina to win.
The odds — at 2.02 — indicate Portugal has a 49.5 percent chance of winning. They win close to 73 percent of AccuScore sims, suggesting added value on the pick.