The anticipation around the globe has been nothing short of extraordinary, from Nike capturing the public’s imagination with the sold out Nigerian kits and the Peruvians producing display’s that are reminiscence of the skill, movement and flare produced in the 70’s and 80’s.

The excitement is building and the opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is here!

Russia v Saudi ArabiaWorld Cup Asian Handicap russia v saudi arabia

The market is currently indicating Russia possess an implied probability of 71.42%, in a game which is imperative if Stanislav Cherchesov’s side wish to progress to the knockout stage. Setting an early precedent, in-which their Group A counterparts must follow. As Egypt and Uruguay go toe-to-toe not twenty-four hours later, in what may prove to be a monumental game for all those involved in Group A.

Observing Russia’s historic price point data, allows an indication into which market may be inefficient prior to kick-off.

Russia v New ZealandWorld Cup Asian Handicap russia v saudi arabiaRussia v MontenegroWorld Cup Asian Handicap russia v saudi arabia

Russia v ArmeniaWorld Cup Asian Handicap russia v saudi arabia

The market is currently in a similar state to that of when Russia met Armenia. The implied probability for Russia that day was 71.94%. In correlation with the ‘Match Odds’ market, the Asian handicap line closed at -1.25 with odds of 1.90. As a result, highlighting the 1.99 currently on offer for Russia being able to cover the -1.25 handicap line. However, the reason behind this is that of the ‘Over/Under’ market. Currently, the ‘Over/Under’ line is set at 2.25, whereas against Armenia the ‘Over/Under’ market closed at 2.75. Hence, producing the discrepancy in prices for the ‘Asian Handicap’ market. The question that remains;

Is the current ‘Over/Under’ line of 2.25, right or wrong?

The opening game in the 2014 FIFA World Cup involved Brazil hosting Croatia, the closing line for the ‘Over/Under’ market was 2.25 with odds of 1.90. Four years earlier in 2010, South Africa opened the tournament by hosting Mexico in-which the closing line was 2.0 with odds of 2.06. As it appears evident, the opening game of the World Cup historically possesses an ‘Over/Under’ line which has proven to be low.

By identifying historic price point data that can be efficiently translated from Saudi Arabia’s previous games. Observations into efficient or inefficient markets can be put forth. In a similar manner, from the data extracted from Russia’s historic market data.

Italy v Saudi ArabiaWorld Cup Asian Handicap russia v saudi arabiaJapan v Saudi ArabiaWorld Cup Asian Handicap russia v saudi arabia

Australia v Saudi ArabiaWorld Cup Asian Handicap russia v saudi arabia

The ‘Match Odds’ market currently identifies, that the current conditions in which Saudi Arabia enter their opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. As almost identical to their encounter with Japan. The market closed with Japan possessing an implied probability of 72.46%. Yet, the Asian handicap line still closed at -1.25 with odds of 1.90. Why was that? The ‘Over/Under’ market appeared to be onside with the line set at 2.75, even pushing towards 3.00.

Was the -1.25 line on Japan, the right side?

The key market in this game, is that of the ‘Over/Under’ line. Historically we have observed previous opening games, close with a low ‘Over/Under’ line and it appears Russia versus Saudi Arabia will follow suit. Yet, the current Asian handicap line still remains identical to that of Japan versus Saudi Arabia and Russia versus Armenia. However, the discrepancy in the ‘Over/Under’ market doesn’t appear to have influenced the Asian handicap. Given the historic price point data, the ’Over/Under’ line is unlikely to change and for this reason having Saudi Arabia onside appears to be the correct side of the market.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Saudi Arabia 1.25 at 1.910

Preview by: @gscurftrader.

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