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France Favored Against High-Scoring Belgium in World Cup Semifinal

The 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinals kick off with France taking on Belgium Tuesday at Saint Petersburg Stadium. Two of the favorites to win the whole thing before the tournament began, the European neighbors face each other in a meaningful match for the first time since the 1986 World Cup, when France won 4-2 in the third-place match. There have been friendlies down the years, but with a ticket to the final up for grabs here, this is a different ball game.

Online book Bovada currently has France as +150 faves in moneyline markets while Belgium is +200 and the draw is +225. Spread markets have this as a pick with France -130 and Belgium +110 while the total is 2.5 with OVER +110 and UNDER -130.

Bet on the 2018 World Cup here

SHARK BITES
  • Four of Belgium’s five matches have seen OVER 2.5 goals scored.
  • Belgium is unbeaten in its last 24 matches in all competitions.
  • France’s N’Golo Kanté is averaging 3.4 interceptions per game.

OVER Bettors Loving the Belgians

One thing Belgium has done exceptionally well at this World Cup is score goals. Another thing it has done well is cash OVER tickets. If you had bet the OVER on all five of Belgium’s matches thus far, you’d have a 4-1 win-loss record and you’d be up some pretty decent coin if you were aggressive with it. In fact, the only UNDER in Belgium games thus far was the 1-0 win over England on Matchday 3 and both of those sides were heavily rotated with both already securing a trip to the knockout round.

Through five matches, Belgium has scored 14 goals so they have just about averaged three goals per game on their own. Sure, that number is bolstered by the five they put up on Tunisia, but hey, England needed a last-minute winner from Harry Kane to win that game, so the Red Devils were doing something right.

Romelu Lukaku leads the way for Belgium with four goals and he is currently +1000 to win the Golden Boot as the tournament’s leading goalscorer. He’s two behind Harry Kane and he’s been immense for Belgium whether scoring goals, via his hold-up play, or creating diversions such as the last-second counter attack against Japan.

No Waffling About the Results

Belgium has been on a tear for some time and enter this semifinal contest unbeaten in its last 24 matches. Since losing 2-0 to Spain on September 1 of 2016, the Red Devils have won 18 games and drawn six in all competitions, culminating with a very impressive 2-1 victory over Brazil in the quarterfinal over the weekend.

Much has been made about the “Golden Generation” of Belgian football. Players like Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, etc., all ply their trades at the highest level of European football and are among the most expensive footballers in the world at their position. But that lack of trophies has been somewhat unsettling for a side of this caliber.

Now, though, the team is definitely one of the best in the world and its place in the semifinal is certainly justified. The win over Japan was a massive character builder coming from behind after going down 2-0 and the win against Brazil shouldn’t have come as a surprise. This team is strong and has depth in all positions.

There was hype around Belgium in the 2014 World Cup and that same sort of excitement existed at Euro 2016, but now the pieces appear to have fallen into place and Roberto Martinez is doing some good things with the talent at his disposal.

Things are clicking and France best be prepared come gameday.

N’Golo Kanté: France’s Real MVP

Seventy-one percent of the planet is covered by water and the rest is covered by N’Golo Kanté. Or so the saying goes.

If this is your introduction to the footballing genius that is Kanté, he surely hasn’t disappointed. The Chelsea defensive midfielder has been key to Les Bleus’ success in Russia and will need to be at his best to thwart a lethal Belgian attack.

As he always does, Kanté sort of falls under the radar but he has been brilliant during the World Cup and leads all players left with 3.4 interceptions per game and his 2.4 tackles per game are third on the team behind Lucas Hernández (2.6) and Benjamin Pavard (2.5).

Kanté is one of two players (Raphael Varane) that has played all 450 minutes for France and his 89.4 pass success rate is second best on the team among players who have made more than one appearance (Samuel Umtiti 91.3).

While not earning the headlines like a Harry Kane, or the highlight reel footage of a Kyllian Mbappé, Kanté could very well end up with a Golden Ball award as the best player of the tournament. He’s currently available at around +4000 and is ninth on the oddsboard while Mbappé and Kane top the list at +350. If France is to win the World Cup, let alone top Belgium on Tuesday, Kanté is going to put a shift in. He’ll win 50/50s, intercept passes and tackle everything that needs tackling.

So just another day at the office for the brilliant Kanté.

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