Free World Cup Pick Russia vs Saudi Arabia
Looking for Russia vs. Saudi Arabia free picks? 2018 Russia World Cup betting sees Russia taking on Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 14th, at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. Cappers Picks provides complimentary expert handicapping picks on all 2018 World Cup soccer matchups all season long so stay tuned for more FREE daily soccer predictions.
Weekly World Cup Handicapping
Russia vs. Saudi Arabia
Date: Thursday, June 14th
Time: 11:00 AM EST
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia
World Cup Moneyline Odds: Russia -265, Saudi Arabia +950, Draw +350
World Cup Spread Betting Odds: +/-1.5
World Cup Betting Total: 2.5
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Group A of the much-anticipated 2018 World Cup gets kicked off on Thursday, June 14th, with the hosts Russia doing battle with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The hosts’ opponents enter the tournament rather shrouded in mystery, but conventional wisdom states that Russia and their hordes of loyal supporters (‘loyal’ is putting it lightly when you consider the hooliganism side of things) should handle their first competition in the world’s most prestigious sporting tourney.
Not unlike their social hierarchy in the country, a few select Russian clubs hold basically an oligarchy on talent in Russia’s domestic soccer league. This phenomenon shows up in the selection of Russia’s squad.
The great Moscow squads (CSKA Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow and Spartak Moscow) as well as the vaunted Zenit-St. Petersburg is the majority of the representation, with such stars as midfielders Alan Dzagoev and Alexander Golovin, striker Artyom Dzyuba, and defenders Mario Fernandes and Igor Smolnikov looking to shine on home soil.
Between the posts, the Russians will rely on Igor Akinfeev from CSKA Moscow to keep the ball out of the net. Hopefully, Russian supporters can put their club allegiances aside for a few weeks to cheer on a group of players that looks to make an impression in a society that’s constantly looking to do just that.
With fellow group members Uruguay and Egypt, the hosts aren’t exactly in easy with this group, but a victory in the opening match versus the Arabians will certainly get things off on the right foot.
It’s tricky to know exactly what we have in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as their domestic league is so little watched in Europe and the Americas. However, Saudi Arabia played with gusto to qualify for the tourney in the Asian circuit; expect that caliber of pace and work rate against Russia in enemy territory.
The limited exposure the rest of the world has had to these players is within La Liga in Spain, with forward Fahad Al-Muwallad playing for Levante, midfielder Yehya Al-Shehri playing for Leganes and Salem Al-Dawsari representing strong side Villareal. Elsewhere, top Arabian clubs Al Ahli and Al Hilal supply most of the squad’s players.
To be fair, Al-Dawsari, likely Saudi Arabia’s player representing the highest profile club and league, has only 33 minutes of game action this season in La Liga.
Meanwhile, the opponents have battle-tested vets that have rumbled in European competition for clubs like Zenit and the Moscow powers. That difference in class will likely show up on the 14th.
Free Russia vs. Saudi Arabia World Cup Prediction:
One would think host players – particularly from a nation as proud as the Russians, starting from their leader Vladimir Putin on down – will be playing with some added zest in the World Cup’s opening match.
Yet, I think it’s still possible the plucky Saudi Arabians out-work the higher-profile Russians. Even if this is the case, Russia’s class and pedigree ought to shine through in this match.
There have been whispers of players like Dzagoev and Dzyuba making moves to premier European sides for years now, and that’s for good reason.
Clubs like CSKA, Spartak, Lokomotiv and Zenit acquit themselves well in the Europa and Champions Leagues, also for good reason. There are some quality football players in Russia and, although it doesn’t get the coverage that Russian hockey and Olympic Sports get in North America, don’t discount Russia’s soccer chops.
4* Free World Cup Betting Pick: Russia to win
When a squad like Saudi Arabia can play with nothing to lose, they often can catch more prestigious nations off-guard. Don’t rule out this phenomenon in the first match of Group A.
However, if things play out the way they should, the host side will emerge with a win in the first game – probably going away with few problems.
World Cup Free Score Prediction: Russia 3-1
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