Switzerland couldn’t have asked for a better start to its World Cup, having pulled out a stunning single point in a draw with powerhouse Brazil.
But the real test comes Friday in Kaliningrad, as the Swiss face a Serbian side that opened with a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica. With Brazil expected to rebound, this game could very well decide which team advances to the Round of 16 – and which team will be going home early.
World Cup 2018: Serbia vs. Switzerland Odds and Betting Analysis
Date: Friday, June 22, 2 p.m. ET
Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia
This one is a close call in oddsmakers’ eyes; they’ve made Serbia slight +196 underdogs while offering +201 on a draw. And while betting on a tie is a less-than-exciting proposition, it might just be the best path to profit in a game where both teams will be doing whatever they can not to wind up with zero points. Look for this to be a tightly-contested affair, which makes a Draw-Draw half time-full time play an intriguing option at +342.
The other area bettors can target is the 2.5-goal total, with the under a near-certainty given that both teams sport impressive defences and won’t want to take many chances. Taking the draw and under 3.5 goals pays out at +215, while the draw and under 4.5 goals – which allows for an unlikely 2-2 tie – pays at +171. If you strongly believe the teams will each take the single point, you can play a few different draw-related props and clean up.
The Serbians are the only team in Group E with three points, but their performance didn’t exactly instil much confidence; they actually lost the possession battle with Costa Rica while finishing dead even in shots. Aleksandar Kolarov, who had the only goal of the game in the 56th minute, is a whopping +2,018 to add to his goal total in this one, well behind top Serbian options Aleksandar Mitrovic (+454) and Aleksandar Prijovic (+509).
The Swiss know they were fortunate to come away with a point against Brazil after being outshot 21-6 and surrendering six shots on target while generating only two. Look for Switzerland to rely on the counterattack against Serbia, knowing that even if they settle for a draw, they’ll still have the inside track on second place in the group with Costa Rica in their sights and the Serbians wrapping up the round-robin against the Brazilians.
Serbia vs. Switzerland Prediction
Serbia 1, Switzerland 1
Neither team can afford to lose this game despite positive results in their group openers. Both teams are too talented to be held off the scoresheet, but the second half of this game could be a snoozer if the score is tied.