B for blow-outs in FIFA World Cup group stage

group bHaving put the spotlight on the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil lowest scoring group markets last week, Playing The Long Ball turns its attention to the odds pertaining to highest scoring group of the 32-team tournament this week.

One thinks that bookmakers are barking up the wrong tree with regards to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil lowest scoring group but one thinks that they have installed the correct favourite in betting on the highest scoring group.

Group B is the universal favourite to be the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil highest scoring group, with Betfred and William Hill among the bookmakers that are offering odds of 5.00 about that pool producing the greatest number of goals.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil groups will feature only six matches apiece so it would be foolhardy to be too bullish about the prospect of any specific pool running away with the highest scoring section market. But Group B comprising Australia, Chile, the Netherlands and Spain does tick all the obvious boxes and warrants being the clear favourite.

High-scoring FIFA World Cup groups need a whipping boy or two. Australia and, maybe, Chile fit the bill in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B. There is a strong argument that Australia, which struggled to qualify from the weak AFC region and has not replenished its stocks following the retirement of many of its golden generation of players, is the weakest of the 32 sides. A large chunk of Australia’s squad will come from Australian A-League teams and, from what one has seen in the AFC Champions League, those sides are not close to being on par with teams from the likes of China, Japan and South Korea. All the indications are that Australia will lose all three of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C games, quite probably by wide margins. Australia’s defence is sub standard and its new coach, Ange Postecoglou, is likely to favour an all-out attacking policy. One would not be surprised if Australia’s three 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C matches alone featured a dozen or so goals.

Chile was the entertainer of the CONMEBOL region during 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualifying. Chile scored 29 goals and conceded 25 goals in its 16 CONMEBOL games for an average of 3.38 goals per match. Eleven of Chile’s 16 CONMEBOL games went over two and a half goals and seven of them went over three and a half goals. Chile kept only five clean sheets in its 16 CONMEBOL matches and it took just one point from its four away games against sides that qualified as well. One would not be surprised if Chile played aggressively in each of its three 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C matches, copping beatings from the Netherlands and Spain but getting the better of Australia in the battle for third position.

netherlandsThe Netherlands and Spain are 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil title contenders that have high-powered offences. Neither the Netherlands nor Spain is likely to grind its way to 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil glory. The Netherlands scored 34 goals in its 10 UEFA games, while Spain bagged 14 goals in its eight UEFA matches in spite of being in a tough group alongside France. The Netherlands and Spain have what it takes to take Australia and Chile to the cleaners, while one would not rule out a high-scoring clash of the heavyweights.

None of the other 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil groups has the allure of Group B when it comes to the highest scoring pool. The case for backing the favourite option is easy to make and, sometimes, it pays to go down the obvious route.

If one is wondering how many goals does it usually take to be the FIFA World Cup highest scoring group, the answer is somewhere between 17 and 22. If one puts in Australia’s three 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B games for four goals apiece and Chile’s two matches versus the top seeds for three goals apiece then one gets to 18 goals with the Netherlands against Spain result to be added to the pot.

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