Uruguay v. Ghana
We all know who the world and freedom are rooting for here. Garra Charrua!(thanks to rolub for passing that excellent article along)

A couple people wondered about hedging Uruguay, but I doubt there is any reason. I think Ghana is probably the most likely single game bet to actually represent value, but it seems fair. I’m not sure what Ghana +170 gets you. If Ghana wins, great, you make your money back. If they don’t you still lost value on your Uruguay ticket and face most likely two sides where Uruguay’s opponent will almost certainly be -EV. Just a gut feeling, but I feel like Uruguay’s chances to advance are pretty fair here and they(as will Ghana) will be pretty underrated against a powerhouse FF.

I know hedging makes some people feel better, but you have to look at this like what would happen if this world cup was played 10000 times. Uruguay would win about 10% of those, maybe, and you would have positive expected value. Making marginal bets for sanity just get in the way of that. If anything, I’m thinking, I’ll stay put for now, and add on to Uruguay if they are matched with Brazil-Argentina or Germany and Spain in the semi’s. Who’s going to be the misfit in that group?

Garra Charrua!

Brazil v. Netherlands
A round ago, I would say that Netherlands was definitely somewhat underrated at least compared to Brazil. To my uneducated soccer mind, I’ll accept that Brazil is the best team alive, but are they really that much better than teams like Spain, Argentina, Germany and Argentina? I guess Netherlands is technically the better option for Uruguay, but the light blue supermen would probably be underdogs against either in the next round.

Germany v. Argentina
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care what happens in this game. Argentina is a dangerous team but so is Germany. One is going to the FF. Argentina may be better, but it’s slight and this game is far enough away from Uruguayans that it doesn’t matter much.

Paraguay v. Spain.
This game is the most interesting of the four quarterfinal match-ups to me. You have Spain and proven European powerhouse with big name scoring threats against a small South American country, who seems more content to defend the hell out of the other team. I think Paraguay advancing probably has some value and might be the best opportunity to “hedge” Uruguay. The Paraguay game against Japan was ugly and boring to watch, but I think people underestimate the ability of that kind of soccer to be competitive with big teams.

Feel free to tell me I’m wrong about this, but it just seems people are really overestimating the difference between the extremely skilled teams and the smaller nations that you’ve never heard of since 4th grade geography bee.



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  1. cajuncook

    Overwhelmingly, you’re spot with the last paragraph. The problem is when the team playing defense for 88 minutes concedes; it’s extraordinarily rare for the less talented team to prevail in those circumstances. Sometimes things like USA v. Spain, Switzerland v. Spain happen, but often it goes more like USA v. Brazil from 2009, Portugal v. Spain, North Korea v. Brazil from this World Cup etc… Take the Portugal/Spain game from Tuesday, for example. Even though they have bounds and bounds of offensive talent which compared rather favorably with their opponent, they still couldn’t score off the defensive-minded counterattack tactics. Then, when they conceded, they were 92% fucked.

    But Greece won the European Championship in 2004 playing that game, and Italy won the World Cup in 2006 (although they were stocked with loads of midfield talent); it certainly can be done, and Spain SEEMS to be the team to do it against.

  2. “Sometimes things like USA v. Spain, Switzerland v. Spain happen, but often it goes more like USA v. Brazil from 2009, Portugal v. Spain, North Korea v. Brazil from this World Cup etc”

    Right. I’m not saying Paraguay should be favored. I’m saying I think there might be some value to them advancing more than 20% of the time.

  3. Kunk

    Not surprisingly, SIA is offering an above market price for Paraguay to advance. They’ve got +450 while Pinny has -420/+383.

    I’m rooting for the Guays.

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