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Denmark in Tough Against a Scary Croatian Squad

The Danes head to the World Cup Round of 16 as betting underdogs in a meeting with Luka Modric’s Croatian squad. It’s no surprise as Croatia have played some of the best football we’ve seen in Russia so far. Both sides have produced stellar defensive records but Christian Eriksen’s men have left something to be desired at the other end of the pitch.

Bovada currently has Croatia as the favorite in moneyline markets at -120 with Denmark coming back at +400 and the draw +225. Totals bettors will see the OVER 2 priced at +105 and the UNDER the chalky option at -125.

SHARK BITES
  • 8 of Croatia’s players are a card away from suspension.
  • Croatia has scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 games.
  • There have been under 2.5 goals in 6 of Denmark’s last 7 games.

Croatians Must Use Caution

Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic and Ante Rebic are among eight Croatian players that have their names in the ref’s book and if any of them pick up another card in this one they’ll miss the quarterfinal – should they advance. Each of these players has been key in the run they’ve made to this point and I have to think the threat of suspension will be on their minds.

In all likelihood a date with Spain is on the horizon and that’s a match that will require a full complement from Croatia. The Danes play a very physical game themselves and preying on any hesitation by the Croatians to do the same may be their only hope here.

Rebic and Mandzukic rely heavily on their brute strength to dominate on set pieces and create pressure on defenders, two areas where referees don’t hesitate to use yellows to shepherd fair play. Rakitic will most certainly find himself trying to assist in shutting down Danish superstar Christian Eriksen in the middle of the park. He’ll have to be precise in his tackling and avoid persistent fouling at all costs – no small feat considering Eriksen’s sublime skill set.

I expect the Croatians and the refs alike to use discretion here and I’ll be playing the prop of UNDER four total bookings which is being offered at EVEN.

Set ‘em and Shut ‘em Down

Through their three group stage games the Croatians have proven their prowess at both ends of the pitch, posting two clean sheets and three multi-goal matches.

Luka Modric may be the best true number 10 we’ve seen at the tournament so far, with two goals and an assist to his credit while completing 87.4% of his passes. He and his La Liga rival, Ivan Rakitic are the engine that propels this side. They provide punch in the offensive end and create a lot of disruption for opposing midfields as was on display in their destruction of Messi’s Argentine squad.

The Danes did well to shut down a flashy Peruvian side and held the French scoreless, albeit a rotated and uninspired Les Bleus. Croatia’s XI brings everything those sides did and more though. They have the ability to put forth a varied attack and do so with intimidating skill and strength. I’ll be looking for some value on a Croatia win to nil prop

Danish Defending

A Denmark result here will require them to continue to be resolute in defense. This squad scored two or less in the majority of their qualification run and apart from a 4-0 smashing of Poland they only managed to exceed two against very poor competition, a category Croatia has never fallen into.

If Croatia go up early it will disastrous for the Danes. Forcing them to abandon their plan to contain and shift focus on attack will have the Croatians poised to open the floodgates. Yussef Poulsen returns from suspension which should create some offensive spark. That with the ever present threat that Christian Eriksen poses from set pieces will give them hope.

Under 2 goals would suit the Danes just fine, assuming they can be the only contributor to that total. If you think they can take this one, the UNDER is the play for you.

Favorite Play

If it wasn’t clear, I’m on Croatia here, card concerns or not. My favorite play here is a prop: Croatia to win by a goal. That can be had at +240 at online sportsbook Bovada.

Bet on the 2018 World Cup here