The syndicate “Jim’s Pick 15 Banker” will always be going for the Jackpot of £800K with a maximum of 32 lines (£64 stake) – giving us a minimum of 12,500 X stake when we win!
No blog last week as I was given a break because the games were just too obscure. However, I did put up a ticket anyway and we were just hanging in there for 11/15 consolation prize. As per usual the game that had Home and Away covered (Sweden vs Denmark) was a draw, Germany couldn’t hang on to their 1-0 lead over Austria and Belgium couldn’t stick one in against Portugal.
Had any of those things happened then we would comfortably have made a profit.
Anyway, on to the first WORLD CUP PICK 15!!!
What a great way to start with an absolutely nailed on away banker. I expect Luis Suarez to relish this opening game and run riot. Probably a hat-trick, definitely a victory.
Oh dear. I have to say I’m completely unsure about this one. Iran have played pretty well in friendlies against mediocre opponents, but a half decent Turkey side dispatched of them fairly easily. Morocco are not quite as highly ranked as Turkey so might not have as easy a time of it, and performances are unreliable in warm ups anyway. Morocco did win the African Nations Championship in style, but Iran have a better FIFA Ranking. Morocco have Ziyech but Iran have Taremi and Azmoun. Could go either way, but having had my fingers burnt three times recently in covering both Home and Away I’m going to say Morocco will edge it or draw.
Selection: MOROCCO / DRAW
I can’t see Spain losing this game but I can see Portugal snatching a draw. Portugal’s FIFA ranking (4) is actually quite a bit higher than Spain’s (12) but the recent performances from Spain are more inspiring. There was a bit of a lacklustre draw with Switzerland, but a 6-1 trouncing of Argentina made them look pretty good. Portugal have drawn against Tunisia and Belgium and before that lost heavily to the Netherlands.
Selection: DRAW / SPAIN
Peru are predicted to be a bogey team for many this world cup. They’ve certainly played decent football in the warm ups, winning the last 5 matches on the bounce convincingly and Scotland and Croatia were expected to give them a bit of trouble. Their upcoming game against Sweden would provide some more clues, but we’ll have to manage without that. The Danish team is not short of decent players though, Eriksen (Tottenham) and Christensen (Chelsea) are both in the squad, to name just two from the Premier League. Denmark’s recent results though are lame, with a draw against Sweden and Chile and just a 1-0 victory over Panama. I think a draw is the most likely outcome here, but I can’t decide what else to cover. Perhaps it’s most sensible to cover Denmark too.
Selection: DRAW / DENMARK
I’m surprised to find that Nigeria have a superior FIFA ranking to Croatia, but despite that I still expect Croatia to take this in their stride. The performances in friendlies haven’t been great, but it’s probably better to look back to their qualification games where they beat Greece 4-1 as a better indicator of how they’re expected to do. Nigeria’s defensive play is pretty weak as we saw when they played England, so it looks fairly certain that Croatia will score and although Nigeria can catch teams by surprise with their unconventional play, they’re starting at a disadvantage.
Costa Rica again have the superior FIFA ranking and we’ll see going forward just how good an indicator of quality that is (not very I should think). Serbia should look to win this fixture quite easily. They made lighter work of Nigeria than England did and you would certainly expect England to get a result against an average Costa Rica team. Costa Rica didn’t look too shabby against Northern Ireland but their 1-0 loss against Tunisia wouldn’t fill anyone with confidence.
If we make it this far without any hiccups then it will be nice to have two options covered here. Sweden haven’t shown much form in friendlies, without a win in the last three, but in qualifiers they did manage to hold off Italy twice which shows them in a much better light when really competitive. South Korea’s most recent result was a 3-1 demolishing by Bosnia and Herzegovina. But as Sweden have not shown themselves to be great at scoring I will cover the draw to be safe.
Selection: SWEDEN / DRAW
Columbia are massive favourites to win this game and for good reason. Their 3-2 victory over France is still fresh in my memory, whereas Japan lost 2-0 to Ghana. Looks like a banker for Columbia.
I don’t really like backing either of these teams to win, so I’m very worried about the draw. Poland have proved themselves able to score though and Senegal have only scored once in the last three so I think the wise money is on Poland.
Hosting the world cup does usually give the home a team a boost and I would expect Russia to win this fixture anyway. Russia haven’t looked great in friendlies but neither have Egypt and Egypt really aren’t a great team. I think Russia 2-0 and Smolov to score both.
Ronaldo really wants to win a world cup and we’ll see that on the pitch again this year. We all know that one man can’t win a match by themselves, but if one man could then it would be Ronaldo. Morocco have proved themselves to be a fairly decent side but I expect Portugal to go through along with Spain in Group B.
There are some question marks over Denmark as I mentioned previously but I’m less worried about Australia than I am against Peru. Cahill is still Australia’s most dangerous man on the pitch and he’s nearly 65 years old. Denmark should have less of a problem overcoming a weak Australian side.
Argentina have a pretty decent player I can’t remember the name of. Surname begins with an M… It will come to me. Massi? Anyway, despite that he doesn’t seem to perform anywhere near his club standard in the World Cup because like every country’s best player the pressure is enormous. Should he fail to perform though I’m thinking that Aguero is a decent back up. The team are renowned for underperforming but I will back them to start with a bang now it’s competitive.
Nigeria have a weak defence as I’ve mentioned before but I can foresee them winning one game at this world cup through determination alone and this looks like the ideal game. Iceland are very slight favourites to win this game though and the world cup is likely to be low scoring matches as it often is. If I was going to be looking for the most likely score then I’d back 1-1 for certain, so for that reason I think I might gamble on a draw here. If we are still in the hunt for the jackpot then 0-0 at halftime is very likely and that will give us a much bigger cashout to refuse.
This is a tough call as I rate both teams on par as do the bookies. I really worry about Switzerland’s ability to score though – they put 6 goals through against Panama, but against not much better opposition they’ve either failed to score or only scored once. The 1-1 draw against Spain is slightly inspiring but it’s very dangerous to try and gauge anything from friendly results. In regards to Serbia I do like the fact that they are at least scoring in every game, which means they’re likely to score in this one too. So in that respect Switzerland have to score 2 to win and I can’t see them doing that, so for that reason I think Serbia are the most likely victors, but any result is feasible.