The World Cup is officially underway. Qatar and Ecuador started the celebration of football on Sunday, and Ecuador got the better of Qatar, 2-nil. Through the questionable implemented rules and a few players set to miss due to injury, the show continues. I'm sure there will be people who bet all the 60+ games during the tournament; however, I will try and be as selective as possible throughout. With the scorching heat and the intensity of each game, we could probably see a lot of unders. There will be teams who see 0-0 or 1-1 finishes as perfect results. With that being said, I am fading goals in these first few games. Here's an angle I like in the Senegal vs. Netherlands match.
Senegal vs. Netherlands (Monday, 11 a.m. ET)
Three-way Moneyline: Senegal (+525) | Draw (+280) | Netherlands (-175)
Bet: Netherlands to win, and both teams to score, no (+115)
Senegal and Netherlands have been impressive in the lead-up to the World Cup. Most impressively, these two teams have been stout in defense. Senegal have talent on the backline in Chelsea's Kalidou Koulibaly and Real Betis' Youssouf Sabaly. The Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy is one of the best between the pipes. Senegal love to grind matches out and use the skillset of Sadio Mané to try and earn a low-scoring result. They are so stout in defense that they haven't conceded two or more goals in a match since 2018, except in cup matches and friendlies where first-team players weren't rostered.
Netherlands are the favorites in this group. They are led by a great manager, Louis Van Gaal, and a much-improved side. Defensively, they have become a force to be reckoned with. Liverpool's Virgil Van Dijk anchors the middle of the backline. They also have quality players in form like, Nathan Ake, Daley Blind, and Denzel Dumfries. Much like Senegal, Netherlands have been difficult to score against.
I was initially interested in the under in this match. Given the -155-price tag for under 2.5 goals, I had to look elsewhere. I'm not saying the total doesn't hit; I saw an angle with a more tolerable price tag. I am betting Netherlands to win, and both teams to score, no (+115). Both teams to score “no,” by itself is a fine play enough. Just like the under, it's too juiced to play for me.
With Senegal's leading scorer, Mane, set to miss the World Cup, I'm struggling to see how they score on Netherlands. They will have to get massive production from Ismaila Sarr and Boulaye Dia for them to score on the top-rated teams in this tournament. Netherlands are a unit. They should win this one, and even with the strong defense of Senegal, they should put one or two in the back of the net. At this price, I am taking them to win and keep a clean sheet.