The hosts of World Cup 2018 have had good fortune through the first stage of the tournament, but now face a real test. After wins over Egypt and Saudi Arabia sent them through to the Knockout Phase, they must now go through European power Spain if they wish to reach the quarterfinals.
Spain vs. Russia Odds
Spain is a decent favorite on the three-way moneyline, priced at -170 according to OddsShark.com. An outright win for Russia is a big underdog at +582, and the draw after 90 minutes is valued at +325.
Remember, these lines are for 90 minutes plus extra time. In the Knockout Phase, games that are tied after 90 minutes go to extra time and penalty shootout.
Spain is laying a goal, making them a slight underdog on the spread at +110. Russia is -115 getting a goal.
The total for this match up is 2.5 goals, with the under (-115) getting slightly better odds than the over (+105).
Spain vs. Russia Prediction
Spain are going to pass Russia into oblivion.
By the numbers, Spain have been the most dominant presence at this tournament. And if you continue to look at the numbers, Russia’s don’t seem to stack up so well.
Spain is leading the tournament in passes attempted and completed, with over 2,000 passes in the group stage. Spain have been a great passing side in the past, but their biggest knock was always their inability to score. They’ve created 42 scoring chances in the group stage, far more than their opponents on Sunday (18).
What do Russia have on their side? Noise. Luzhniki Stadium has a capacity over over 80,000, and the overwhelming majority should be roaring for the Russians.
These teams played a wild 3-3 friendly in November, a match that saw Russia come from behind multiple times. Spain got two goals from penalty kicks, and still needed a late save from David De Gea to preserve the draw. Spain were without Diego Costa, who has three goals in this tournament.
If there’s any formula for Russia to pull the upset, it involves getting in the air and getting close to David De Gea. Russia have won 67 aerial duels at the World Cup, more than any other team. That combined with De Gea’s shaky start could be a recipe for Russian excitement. Despite the struggles, Spain coach Fernando Hierro has committed to sticking with the Manchester United keeper.
I’ve got Spain to win, and despite the noise and the stakes, I don’t think Russia is competitively close. Even on even strength against Uruguay in their group finale I felt they were outmatched. I don’t expect Spain to go crazy with the goals, but it’s possible and that has me wary of the total. Spain -1 seems pretty safe, but if you’re down with laying a little juice then -170 is a lock.
Prediction: Spain win 3-1
Source: Heavy Sports