Date/Time: June 22nd, 3:00 p.m. ET
Soccer Betting Odds from BetCRIS
Asian Handicap: Brazil -0.5 and -1 (-120)
Although Italy’s titillating 4-3 win over Japan on Wednesday, locked in who is moving in and who is going home out of Group A, the prospect of Brazil playing Italy is too good to pass up. Tune in on Saturday afternoon at 3 PM EST, when the Azzurri take on the Selecao in the last game of the group stages from the beautiful Arena Fonte Nova in the central coastal city of Salvador, Brazil.
Neymar is continuing to announce his international presence with authority and has the stage primarily to himself with other soccer greats like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo not in this tournament. There is talk that the 21 year old Barcelona signee could be the third best player in the world at the moment behind the two giants plying their wares in La Liga and that looks to be the case based on his performance in Brazil’s first two matches. In his first match against Japan, Neymar opened scoring in the third minute with a beautiful right footed volley off of a chest pass from Fred. He was even better in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Mexico on Wednesday though. Neymar proved he could do it with his left, as well as his right, by scoring in the ninth minute on a rocket left footed one-timer off of a deflection in the box about 15 yards out. Then, in the death knells of injury time, he cut down the left flank, carved through two Mexican defenders and set up Jo for a tap-in goal to ensure Brazil got the full three points. The sublime display of skill he’s showing is causing soccer betting aficionados to drool at the thought of Neymar teaming up with Messi for the Catalan side this season.
While Brazil was deft and beautiful in controlling the outcome against Mexico, Italy had a whale of a time dealing with a game Japanese side before a Sebastian Giovinco goal in the 86th minute secured a 4-3 win for the Italians. Italy is known for strong defense and fantastic goaltending, but showed very little of that against Mexico on Wednesday. Shoddy defending and terrible marking led to some pretty embarrassingly open opportunities for the Japanese along with uncharacteristically shaky goaltending from Gianluigi Buffon. The difference between this Italian team and Azzurri sides of the past though is its plethora of riches when they are attacking the net. Mario Balotelli only managed to score off of a penalty, but his bruising style of play was tough for the Japanese backline to handle and indirectly led to a Japanese own goal trying to deny Balotelli the ball inside the box. In addition to Balotelli, Giovinco’s game winner was a thing of beauty with a crisp through ball and quick cross giving Giovinco a practically empty net to fire into.
Both Brazil and Italy have qualified, but this match still has significance. Neither side will want to face Spain in the semifinals, so expect some decent play in this one. A Brazilian win or draw gives them the group and probably Uruguay or Nigeria instead of Spain, while only an Italian win keeps Italy from a probable match against the Spanish giants.
Brazil vs. Italy Pick: Brazil -XXX
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.