The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off June 14 as the host nation, Russia, take on Saudi Arabia in what’s the only match scheduled for opening day.
Let’s take a closer look at where the value’s at in this match.
What to Watch For
Potential on the Draw: Odds — at 4.37 — indicate there’s a 22.9 percent chance of a draw. AccuScore sims, however, have a draw in 21.4 percent of matches, suggesting no value on the draw.
The average score in sims is 1.92 – 0.66, in favor of Russia.
Keep the Momentum Going: He may not be show up in AccuScore sims for this game, but Saudi Arabia will need Mohammad Al-Sahlawi to keep his qualifying performance going in the World Cup. He scored 13 goals for Saudi Arabia in the qualifying stage.
Inexperience: This will be Saudi Arabia’s first World Cup appearance since 2006; they have made it out of the group stage only once, back in 1994.
Host Country: This will be Russia’s fourth appearance in the World Cup; they finished 24th in the 2014 tournament. Someone to keep an eye on for them is Denis Cheryshev, potentially their most talented player on the roster. Health has been an issue for him, but if he can stay healthy, Russia can make more of an impact than initially projected.
Fahad Al Muwallad and Nawaf Al-Abed lead the way for Saudi Arabia in AccuScore sims. Al Muwallad averages 0.81 shots per simulated match, 0.31 shots on goal per, and 0.16 goals per sim; he has approximately a 15 percent chance of netting the ball. Al-Abed is right behind him with a 13 percent chance of scoring, averaging 0.59 shots overall per sim, 0.27 shots on goal per, and 0.14 goals per sim.
For Russia it’s Fedor Smolov and Alan Dzagoev. Smolov has close a 38 percent chance of scoring as he averages 2.4 shots overall per sim, 1.47 shots on goal per, and 0.48 goals per sim. Dzagoev averages 2.34 shots overall per sim, 1.38 shots on goal, and 0.38 goals per sim with close to a 32 percent chance of scoring.
Russia to win.
This is a one-star (out of four) AccuScore hot trend pick. The host country winning this match is listed at 1.46, indicating about a 68 percent chance of happening. They win close to 67 percent of AccuScore sims, confirming the confidence most books have on Russia.