Spain vs Russia 2018 World Cup Round of 16 Betting Preview

Spain vs Russia 2018 World Cup Round of 16 Betting Preview

The runner-up in Group A, host nation Russia, takes on the winner of Group B, Spain, on the second day of group play from the 2018 World Cup. Spain won Group B despite collecting just five points, as they drew Portugal, 3-3, and Morocco, 2-2, with a win over Iran in between. Spain has not lost in their last 23 matches (winning 15 and drawing 8), going all the way back to a loss to Italy at Euro 2016. Russia dominated Saudi Arabia and knocked off Egypt in group play but took a shellacking from Uruguay in their Group A finale, which is how they ended up behind Uruguay in the group. They only posted three shots in that match, which matched the United States (vs Brazil, 1994) for the fewest shots by a host nation in a World Cup match. That match took place in a quarterfinal, though, while this match took place in group play. The moneylines reflect the disparity between these two teams; as you consider your World Cup betting on this match, check out our insights on both sides.

Spain vs Russia 2018 World Cup Round of 16 Betting Preview

When: Sunday, July 1, 2018, 10:00am ET
Where: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Radio: None
Live Stream: fuboTV
Soccer Odds: Spain -155 / Draw +282 / Russia +550 / O/U 2.5

Why should you bet on Spain?

Spain looked messy in their draw against Morocco, but that was just a trend for them throughout the group play, as they dominated possession against Portugal but still conceded three goals, needed some iffy officiating to get by Iran in the second game, and then couldn’t hold off Morocco in the finale. Spain’s offense has been working well as far as ball distribution and chance generation, but they have not been finishing like they need to in order to make a deep run.

If you like Spain, then you likely remember that the last time they made it to the knockout round at a World Cup, they ended up winning the whole thing. They have one of the best goalkeepers remaining in the bracket in David De Gea, but they need consistent play with energy and communication if they are going to put away a Russia team that will basically have nothing to lose, as no one expects them to win, so they might as well throw the kitchen sink at Spain in the hopes that aggressive play will lead to scoring.

Why should you bet on Russia?

Russia has a key injury in midfielder Alan Dzagoev, as his fitness is not quite where it needs to be for him to be in the XI against Spain. Igor Smolnikov was sent off in the last group match, so he will not be eligible for the match against Spain. However, simply advancing to the knockout round was seen as a major step for Russia, who had an excellent shot at being just the second host nation (the first being South Africa in 2010) not to qualify for the knockout round at a World Cup final.

Russia can score in bunches — they put up eight goals in group play, five against Saudi Arabia and three against Egypt — despite statistical predictions that had them just tallying three combined goals in those matches. If you like Russia, you see Spain coming out with the same languid defense they showed against Morocco in their group finale, where they permitted a pair of goals in conceding the draw, and you see Russia taking advantage. This is definitely a long shot — and this point in the World Cup is where teams start getting more careful, making upsets less and less common — but if you want value on a moneyline, you’ll find it here.

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

Russia’s offensive outburst against Saudi Arabia and Egypt was impressive and showed that they belonged in the knockout rounds at this World Cup. However, getting from the round of 16 to the quarterfinal round means taking out an elite team, especially as a group runner-up, and I don’t see Russia having the speed or the finishing talent to keep up with Spain. I predict a final score of Spain 3, Russia 1.