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Saudi Arabia Shocks Argentina In World Cup Group Stage: Who Could Be The Next Big Upset?
Saudi Arabia produced one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history this morning, winning their opening match against Argentina by a score of 2-1. Argentina, who came into the World Cup as the third-ranked team in the world, was unbeaten for the last three years and was a pick more many to win the entire tournament. However, after going up 1-0 thanks to an early goal by Lionel Messi, Argentina fell to Saudi Arabia in their Group C opener, leaving the collective jaw of all soccer fans on the ground.
Prior to the game, Argentina was -700 to win its first group-stage game over Saudi Arabia. Seeing as how they lead 1-0 at the half and dominated the first 45 minutes of the game, I could only imagine their halftime odds were somewhere in the thousands. Regardless of the odds, whatever Saudi Arabia's manager Herve Renard said at halftime worked. Saudi Arabia came out of the half swinging, scoring almost immediately (in the 48th minute) and then again just 5 minutes late in the 53rd.
Despite all of Argentina’s efforts, they couldn’t net the equalizing goal–so, the game went down into history as on of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
As a soccer fan, I love it. Who doesn’t love a big upset? Well, as long as it’s not at the expense of your own team, of course. As a sports bettor, though, this made me furious. How could I not sniff this one out? I mean sure, if you did pick Saudi Arabia to win this one then you’re probably a time traveler. But still, it would’ve been nice to even have this one on the radar.
So, in order to prevent this from happening again, I’m going to give you my two group stage best sleeper bets. Or, in other words, heavy underdogs that can make as big of a splash as Saudi Arabia did early Tuesday morning. The odds I’m using will be provided by DraftKings Sportsbook. If you want a nice sleeper pick to win a specific group, you may want to check out what my colleague Ty said about Ecuador.
Sleeper Pick #1: Costa Rica (+450) over Japan (-155) on Sunday, November 27th at 5:00 AM
I think there’s some great value here in Costa Rica, who are undoubtedly running up an uphill treadmill in Qatar. As a member of Group E, Costa Rica has unfortunately found itself in the group of death, alongside Japan, Germany, and Spain. I don’t foresee any success over Germany or Spain, but Costa Rica may be able to salvage its World Cup with a strong performance over Asain-powerhouse Japan. Japan is an incredibly defensive team, holding their opposition to a shutout in five of their last six games. However, Costa Rica is an incredibly scrappy team that seems to play better when the lights are brighter–in the past year, Costa Rica has key wins over the USA, Nigeria, and Canada, and has a tie with Mexico as well.
Sleeper Pick #2: USA (+475) over England (-170) on Friday, November 25th at 2:00 PM
I promise, this isn’t me just manifesting things. Okay…maybe it is…but just hear me out–the US team that played against Wales for the first 80 minutes of their debut game was different. They were physical (which ended up being to a fault), fast, and possessive–they had 59% of the possession in their match against Wales. If it wasn’t for a dreadful foul in the box in the last ten minutes of the game, the US would have three points aside their name, and we’d be feeling better than ever. However, now they are looking down the barrel at an English team that just dominated Iran by a score of 6-2. If the USMNT can hold England to less than two goals, I think they have the speed to break through the defense and net a couple of their own. I’m looking at Pulisic on the wing and Weah up top to get this one done.