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Brazil opens World Cup Thursday vs. Croatia
By: Staff Writer - StatFox
Published: 6/12/2014  at  4:40:00 AM
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Kickoff: Thursday, 4:00 p.m. EDT
Arena Corinthians Sao Paulo, Brazil

Brazil -384, Croatia +750, Tie +425
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over -120, Under -109)

The 2014 World Cup opens on Thursday afternoon in Brazil when the host country takes on Croatia.

Here is the BetDSI Sportsbook breakdown on Thursday's match:

Host nations haven't always featured in the opening matches of World Cups, but when called upon they have never suffered defeat, winning five out of eight games and drawing three at a combined score of 22-5. The win part of that statistic looks extremely likely to be bolstered on Thursday as tournament favorites Brazil are everybody's picks to beat Croatia, although lessons from World Cups past point to a cagey affair in Sao Paulo.

Only once since 1966 has a team triumphed by a margin of more than a single strike in a World Cup opening match, when Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 in 2006, and 10 of the past 12 such ties have seen under 2.5 goals scored. Furthermore, Luiz Felipe Scolari's Selecao are likely to be somewhat undercooked when they face Niko Kovac's men, after missing out on the battle-hardening effects of a qualifying campaign due to their host status. But Brazil is loaded with talent, especially up front with forward Neymar and teammates Fred and Hulk.

Croatia were far from imperious during qualifying and suffered the ignominy of losing twice against lowly Scotland, who hadn't managed a Group A win prior to facing the World Cup 1998 semi-finalists for the first time. However, aside from that home and away abomination, Croatia's form has been reasonably consistent, with their first other defeats since Euro 2012 coming against fellow World Cup participants Switzerland, Portugal and Belgium. The Croats will be missing forward Mario Mandzukic, who was suspended for this match due to a red card he received back in November against Iceland.

With this in mind, backing the UNDER looks the most profitable way to play on the opening day.

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