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History on Russia’s Side in World Cup Opener Vs Saudi Arabia

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about betting individual games and the curtain raiser at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow pits the hosts Russia against Group A challengers Saudi Arabia on June 14.

As far as moneyline markets are concerned, online shop Bovada currently has Russia as -245 favorites with Saudi Arabia sitting at +850 and the draw at +330. For those of you looking at totals, the OVER/UNDER is set at 2. with the OVER priced at -145 and the UNDER at +120.

Bet on the 2018 World Cup here

SHARK BITES
  • Saudi Arabia won the only meeting between the two 4-2 (1993 friendly).
  • Saudi Arabia won their AFC qualifying group with six wins and two draws.
  • There were UNDER 2.5 goals in all three of Russia’s games at World Cup 2014.

Russia had a tough go of things at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as they were held winless in Group H and watched as Belgium and Algeria qualified out of the group. If you watched Russia at the 2014 World Cup, you’ll recognize a lot of the names that have been named to the preliminary squad: Igor Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov, Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Samedov, for example, will be returning so there will be a lot of caps on the pitch for Russia.

As for Saudi Arabia, this will be their first World Cup since 2006, where they took one point in the group stage after a 2-2 draw with Tunisia. They were thumped 4-0 by Ukraine and lost 1-0 to Spain in the third and final match.

There is some talent on the Saudi side but it’s been a revolving door on the touchline as the team is now on its third manager, Juan Antonio Pizzi, since the team qualified for the 2018 World Cup.

Host nations frequently perform well and the opening fixture is no exception. No host nation has lost its opening game; there have been plenty of ties, but the hosts have not suffered defeat in their opener in front of the home fans.

Favorite Bet for Russia vs Saudi Arabia

The Russia moneyline has gotten better in value since this preview was originally posted (-330 to -245) and is a decent leg to a parlay card but I also like Russia on the -1 spread at -130. The Saudis should get bounced fairly easily and I love the home side to make a statement in the opener in front of home fans, despite the poor form in friendlies entering the tournament. Furthermore, of the last six host nations in the past five World Cups (Japan and South Korea co-hosted in 2002), four hosts won by at least two goals. Only South Africa 1-1 (2010) and Japan 2-2 (2002) failed to cover a -1 spread in their openers.

This preview was originally posted on May 17 and was updated on June 13.

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