The 2018 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 kicks off with a mouth-watering matchup between Group C winners France and Group D runners-up Argentina. The appeal doesn’t just end on the pitch with great betting value up and down the oddsboard.
Speaking of odds, France is the favorite here at +135 in moneyline markets at online shop Sportsbook with Argentina at +240 and the draw +210. France is +135 as half-goal favorites in spread betting with Argentina -165. The total is 2 with OVER at EVEN money and UNDER at -120.
Bet on the 2018 World Cup here
Argentina Has That World Cup Pedigree
It’s impossible to quantify the amount of pressure that has been lifted off the shoulders of this Argentina side, but considering the way they qualified from CONMEBOL and their late heroics against Nigeria to get to this game, maybe this team needs pressure?
You only have to be on nodding terms with football to understand Argentina’s place on the global stage, but this is one of the titans of the sport and don’t rule out this team making a repeat trip to the final now that they have found a bit of form. This is a program that expects to win World Cups every four years and are starving to add to their two World Cups in 2018.
Argentina has made it past the Round of 16 in four of the past five World Cups. They failed to make it out of the group stage at the 2002 World Cup but if they get out of the group stage, they tend to advance past the Round of 16. They made it to the final in 2014 and the quarterfinals in 1998, 2006 and 2010. The problem from a betting angle is that they don’t necessarily win their Round of 16 games after 90 minutes.
Only in 2010 with a 3-1 win over Mexico did La Albiceleste actually win their Round of 16 game after 90 minutes. In 1998, 2006 and 2014, Argentina advanced from its contests needing extra time. With that in mind, rather than a wager on Argentina’s moneyline (if that’s your intent), maybe the safe venture is to take them to qualify at +115. This keeps your wager alive after 90 minutes and with Argentina typically playing a cagey, defensive game in the knockout stages, this might be a safe option.
One-Sided Rivalry Between Giants
Head-to-head rivalries in international football should be taken with a grain of salt, but meetings between Argentina and France have been typically one-sided. France has only beaten Argentina twice in 11 all-time meetings and has lost both World Cup meetings (1930, 1978).
Argentina has won the last two meetings (2007, 2009) but both of those were friendlies. France’s last win was an international friendly but you have to go all the way back to 1986 for that one.
This France side is young and, save for a couple of players, largely untested on the international stage. While this Argentina team has taken a while to hit its stride, names like Messi, Mascherano, Agüero and Ángel Di Maria have many, many caps under their belts and have stared down the face of “pressure.” Don’t be surprised if Argentina extends that one-sided dominance between footballing powers.
France Getting Results Under Deschamps
Despite everything I’ve said about Argentina, it has to be noted that France has been grinding out positive results under manager Didier Deschamps for some time now. In fact, France is unbeaten in seven games (all competitions) and has just one defeat in 15 matches dating back to last year.
The one defeat was a 3-2 loss to Colombia in a friendly, but France has scored wins over Peru, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands among many other fine results over that stretch. While Deschamps has injected youth into the side, there have been flashes of the future. Ousmane Dembele was fantastic against Italy in their tune-up game earlier this month and Benjamin Pavard, Kylian Mbappe and Lucas Hernandez have been very good in Russia.
This matchup is shaping up to be youth vs experience. Which are you siding with?