World Cup Picks: Brazil vs. Chile, Colombia vs. Uruguay

By Ken Boehlke

Brazil vs. Chile (A1 vs. B2)


2 way line (90 minutes) – Brazil -1 (-105) Chile +1 (-115)
3 way line (90 minutes) – Brazil (-190) Chile (+510) Draw (+300)
Outright Winner – Brazil (-360) Chile (+300)
Total – Over 2.5 (-135) Under 2.5 (+115)

Side: The Brazilians finally came to life against hapless Cameroon in the final group stage match. The Seleção got multiple goals from Neymar in the opening half and then opened up the match with second half goals from Fred and Fernando Luiz Roza. However, the Brazilian back line was not exactly perfect as they allowed a goal to Cameroon when a one-on-one battle was lost on the wing and then the two center backs fell asleep on a simple cross. Brazil made a much more concerted effort in the match to get their attacking players forward. In the games with Croatia and Mexico there was a little bit of apprehension in going fully forward, but against Cameroon it all went away and the beautiful Brazil was back. Against Chile, they will likely go into the match expecting to press forward just as they did against Cameroon, but will quickly realize the Chilean midfield is killer when the ball is turned over. It will likely force Brazil to be slightly less adventurous and they may rely more on quick combination play rather than the flood of attackers that produced four goals against the Indomitable Lions. Defensively Thiago Silva and David Luiz have to be in tune with each other. Chile loves to play the ball from the wings into the center which is demanding on central defenders. Finally, they must keep their eyes on Alexis Sanchez at all times. When the Dutch slowed Sanchez the Chilean attack looked much less threatening, but it’s definitely easier said than done.

Chile have been an impressive side thus far but ran into a brick wall in their final group game against the Netherlands. La Roja had been enjoying the first two matches of the tournament pressing midfielders and then finding heaps of space in front of opposing defenses. The Dutch allowed none of it. Holland opted to sit back and let Chile come at them rather than forcing possession and allowing Chile to try and turn them over. The Chileans looked lost and were almost begging Alexis Sanchez or Eduardo Vargas to break down the Dutch defense. Brazil is not a team that is known to sit back and let teams attack them, but neither is Holland and their blueprint may be awfully tempting to follow. Chile must be much more creative in the final third using combination passing and better crosses to put the pressure on the central defense of Brazil. The good news for Chile is the midfield will not be nearly as clogged up in this match as it was in the one with the Netherlands. Brazil play an open style of game and it could play right into the hands of Chile. The biggest concern is will the Chilean back three, all of which are not natural center backs, keep the ridiculously talented Brazilians at bay. They could change formation, but it’s not usually in the DNA of South American teams to give in to an opponent. They must get better help from their midfielders and simply cannot give the ball away sloppily in the center of the field. Chile is certainly good enough to win the match, but Brazil may have just hit their stride. Add in the fact that the match will be played in Brazil and it might be too tall a task for one of the most fun teams remaining in the tournament. Pick: 3 way 90 minute bet – Brazil (-190)

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Total: The match has all the makings of a crazily open back-and-forth game, but both teams have to respect their opposition’s ability to attack so it could slow the game down substantially. Chile’s back three has actually done an excellent job thus far but they haven’t seen anything like what Brazil is going to throw at them. There will be superstars all over the field in Belo Horizonte, so goals could come at any moment from just about anywhere in the final third. However, Brazil played slightly more subdued in their matches against Croatia and Mexico and they may go right back to it against Chile. Meanwhile, the Chileans have attempted to pressure teams and have had success, but it’s unlikely they try to jump on the Brazilians as often with the understanding that a missed challenge could leave their defense over exposed. Familiarity may get in the way as well. Chile and Brazil have met numerous times in each country’s history, and they have a good feel how the other wants to play. Therefore, both know how dangerous it is to allow the game to open up. Expect an extended feel-out process followed by both teams taking controlled chances forward. Each can easily put up multiple goals, but they both respect each other, so they’ll probably hold back a little more than they have against unfamiliar foes. Pick: Under 2.5 goals (+115)

Colombia vs. Uruguay (C1 vs. D2)


2 way line (90 minutes) – Colombia -0.5 (-115) Uruguay +0.5 (-105)
3 way line (90 minutes) – Colombia (-115) Uruguay (+325) Draw (+255)
Outright Winner – Colombia (-200) Uruguay (+175)
Total – Over 2.5 (+130) Under 2.5 (-150)

Side: Colombia impressed every time out in the group stage. They destroyed Greece, controlled the Ivory Coast, and then countered Japan to the tune of four goals. As the tournament has rolled on, one Colombian has taken himself from future start to full fledged current superstar. James Rodriguez was spectacular in the group stage and he’ll be relied upon to break down the solid Uruguayan defense. In each of their last two matches, Colombia has played a counter attack style that has allowed Rodriguez space to use his pace and excellent finishing ability. They’ll likely revert back to the strategy that blitzed the Greeks however. Colombia will attempt to hold more possession through the midfield and then allow their front line to do the damage. Uruguay are not nearly as dangerous an attacking threat with Luis Suárez out and Edinson Cavani still struggling to make his mark on the international stage. Colombia were able to rest a majority of their starters and get some time for players that may need to come through as substitutes as the tournament rolls on. If qualifying was any indication of how this match will go, Colombia shouldn’t have too many problems with the Suárez-less Uruguayans.

Uruguay used a late game winner to finally break down the 10-man Italian side and remarkably send them through to the Round of 16. However, almost no one is talking about the game itself, instead everyone is focused on “The Bite.” Obviously Uruguay are not nearly as dangerous going forward without their star striker Luis Suárez but it’s the mental aspect that’s more troubling. His suspension has taken the minds of La Celeste off soccer as they’ve been forced to answer Suárez all week. As a whole through the group stage, Uruguay were not nearly as good going forward as was to be expected. They were stunned by Costa Rica and then they needed a set piece to score on an Italian team missing a player. Uruguay have to be careful when they go forward against Colombia because of how well the Colombians have played on the counter. This being said, they must commit extra numbers forward to compensate for their missing biter striker. It’ll be an uphill battle for Uruguay but they always seem to find a way when it’s least expected. Pick: Colombia 90 minute bet (-115)

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Total: Uruguay will enter the match with the understanding that the Colombians are supremely confident in their attack. Therefore, Uruguay will sit back early and let Colombia run head first into a brick wall multiple times before they’re forced to bring more players forward. That’s the point in which the game may change. If Colombia can indeed break down the Uruguayan defense early, the match could turn into a 100 yard sprint back-and-forth in which odd man breaks become the norm. But if the Uruguyan defense can hold, the game will slow down and settle more in the midfield. Colombia have looked threatening early and there’s a good chance they can score one in the first half. Meanwhile, Uruguay could easily catch the overzealous Colombians on a counter and strike early themselves. One goal in the early going could get this game going at a breakneck speed, otherwise, it’ll be really boring until one side finally breaks. Pick: Over 2.5 goals (+135)

Listen to Over and Under with Ken Boehlke and Jason Pothier on CBS Sports Radio 1140 every Sunday morning from 8 to 10. Follow the show on Twitter @OAU1140 and on Facebook.

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