The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues Sunday as Group E kicks off with Serbia and Costa Rica facing off. Brazil’s the clear favorite in this group, but any of these two sides (along with Switzerland) could finish No. 2.
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 3.32 — indicate there’s a 30 percent chance of a draw. AccuScore sims, however, have a draw in 27 percent of matches, suggesting no value on the draw.
The average score in sims is 1.45 – 1.29, in favor of Serbia.
Serbia’s Key Player: Keep an eye on Serbian Nemaja Matic as he’s one of the best defensive midfielders in the tournament. He has continued to grow at Manchest United, following his transfer from Chelsea, and will have to have similar performances on the national stage.
Changes in Leadership: Mladen Krstajić took over just eight months ago for Serbia, and he has been on a short timeline to get this team ready for the World Cup. One of the biggest moves he made was to bring in midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
In AccuScore sims, Milinkovic-Savic averages two-plus shots overall, 0.63 shots on goal per sim, and 0.28 goals per sim; he has approximately a 25 percent chance to net the ball in the team’s World Cup opener.
Experience Where it Counts: Costa Rica is one of the more underrated teams in the tournament, a threat to compete in practically every match they’re currently scheduled to play in. In 2014, Costa Rica won a group consisting of Italy, England and Uruguay — conceding just one goal to those three sides.
Keep an eye on Keylor Navas as he’s the most notable name on this side of the roster. The goalkeeper is coming off his third-straight Champions League title at Real Madrid, and will look to repeat 2014’s brilliant World Cup performance.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has the highest probability to score in this matchup according to AccuScore. Mitrovic averages 3.32 shots overall per sim, 0.97 shots on goal per, and 0.51 goals per sim; he has a 40.2 percent chance of netting the ball.
For Costa Rica, the highest probability to score at a 30 percent chance is Marco Ureña. He averages 2.06 shots overall per sim, 1.08 shots on goal per and 0.36 goals er sim.
Costa Rica +0.5.
The odds — at 2.01 — indicate there’s a 50 percent chance Costa Rica loses by less than a goal in this match. We’re seeing tons of value on this because AccuScore data has Costa Rica winning close to 33 percent of matches, compared to the 21.5 percent chance offshore odds are giving them. That added side value on Costa Rica means they’ll keep the match close, maybe even win it outright.