Football fans the world over are getting ready for the biggest competition since the last World Cup. We’re fast approaching the FIFA World Cup 2014, which will be held in Brazil next summer.
And as we approach the final games that will decide the teams that will be fighting it out for the honour of lifting the world cup, excitement is mounting for fans and followers alike.
Betting on the World Cup
Traditionally many more people join the hardcore football fans when it comes to the World Cup. People who don’t necessarily follow any of the involved team’s domestic leagues will be following their favorite national team.
Placing bets on the team you think will win and the team you want to win is part of the fun of the competition with communities becoming heavily involved in the World Cup fixtures as they happen. The advent of online betting and online gaming has made it much easier for the average fan to bet on their team – rather than having to go down to the bookies, everyone can pick up their smartphone or tablet and quickly hope online at one of the many online sports betting sites. As these are usually part of an online casino site, it’s a great crossover for people who also like to play casino games, progressive slots or a bit of poker at half time!
But before we even get to the finals, the finalists have to make their way there.
Showdown between Portugal and Sweden
This is the next big decider and in less than seven days, either Portugal or Sweden will have their World Cup dreams crushed. And as these two teams are playing for a single space at the World Cup, this means that one of two major sporting heroes only will be playing in the World Cup.
Whoever wins this match will decide whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Cristiano Ronaldo will be present in Brazil where they belong. The first part of the showdown is in Lisbon, followed by the second match in Stockholm. It’s safe to say that this is probably not what FIFA or the fans want as it’s important for the big superstars to be at the tournament to keep momentum and media coverage interested.
But it does mean an incredibly exciting play off for the fans at this stage of the qualifying matches, and promises to be an electric and exciting competition – as much between the two individuals as the two countries.
Greece vs Romania
Greece ended up second behind Bosnia in Group G, even though they won an impressive eight out of the ten qualifying matches at groups stage. This means they have to play Romania and it’s likely that they will be through to the World Cup, with an amazing striker in Kostas Mitroglou they are looking strong and determined.
Whoever you’re backing for the World Cup, it’s guaranteed to be an exciting and involving competition – bring on next summer!
Race tracks have been facing difficult issues for years. In places like Ohio they’ve had to add slot machines to get people to come. At Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, the Preakness Stakes wasn’t enough to keep that track out of trouble. The state had to get involved to save it. Of course horseracing betting is incredibly popular online and in places like Las Vegas. The huge races like the Kentucky Derby get mobbed with visitors of course as these are huge events in popular culture. But getting visitors to the tracks on a consistent basis for the weekly races is critical to the success of the entire industry. But as pointed out recently at Deadspin.com, the demographics are not too friendly to the industry as the fans are mostly older.
Fortunately we’re seeing modern marketing efforts coming from the industry as many have embraced social media tools like Twitter. The Kentucky Derby account has over 33,000 followers while the Breeder’s Cup has over 27,000 followers. Even the Preakness Stakes has over 7,000 followers, though they could probably be more active on that account. Also, as pointed out by Deadspin, the industry is signing up brand ambassadors who will use events and social media to reach out to younger people in cities like Miami to spark interest. Of course these representatives are often young, beautiful and female, but that has always been a marketing staple. The point is that they can no longer just count on men in their 20s and 30s to just show up at the track on the weekend. There are too many entertainment and sports options, let alone casinos and online gaming options as well. The good thing is that the product is still very entertaining. Horse races are a blast when you spend the day at the track. The key is conveying that message and finding promotions to get young people in the door for the first time so they have fun and then want to come back.
As a Cleveland fan, I have very little sympathy for Broncos fans after watching John Elway in the 1980s. But any fan can appreciate the agony of losing the way the Broncos did last year in the playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens. With less than a minute left in regulation time Joe Flacco threw a bomb to Jacoby Jones to score the tying touchdown. Inexplicably the Denver defenders let him get behind them. Then John Fox went into Marty Schottenheimer mode and got ultra-conservative, not letting Peyton Manning take a shot to drive for a winning field goal. It’s one of those games that will haunt Broncos fans forever.
Now we have a new season, and fans will be anxious to get back in the action tonight when the Ravens return to Denver for the rematch. You can enjoy NFL betting at TopBet.eu Sportsbook and other sites around the web. The Broncos opened as big favorites with spreads up to 9.5 points, but money has clearly come in on the Ravens as the spread has come back to 7.5. It’s understandable that the Broncos are favored, as Peyton Manning has a new weapon in Wes Welker and the Ravens had to completely rebuild their defense. There might be more talent on this year’s Ravens defense, but they have not played together in a real game and the leadership of Ray Lewis is gone.
But there are question marks with both teams. For the Broncos, Champ Bailey is out with a foot injury and Von Miller is suspended for six games. The Miller loss is huge while Bailey is getting old so I’m not sure he’s much of a loss. Then we have Elvis Dumervil, who now plays for the Ravens and helped mitigate the loss of some of their defensive players from last year like Paul Krueger. So for the Broncos young players like Derek Wolfe, Robert Ayers and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will need to play well.
For the Ravens, their losses aren’t just on defense. While Jacoby Jones was the hero last year, Anquan Boldin as the true stud of that offense. Can the Ravens keep things going on offense without him? They have talent, but now there will be more pressure on Joe Flacco, especially after the loss of tight end Dennis Pitta.
It should be a great game, and now the spread seems more in line with reality. It looks like a tough pick.
I was pretty surprised to see NFL insider Pete Prisco discussing the spreads for the NFL games this weekend. He usually sticks with purely football analysis, but here he gets into the lines as well.
Like most people, he thinks the spread on the Denver-Baltimore game is pretty high. The Broncos were favored by 9 or 9.5, but now the line has come down in many places to 7.5, which makes a little more sense.
It may have just been a harmless answer to a question, but Adrian Peterson is feeling pretty confident these days. Peterson said he will eventually break Emmitt Smith’s all-time career rushing record. Not only did he say he would break the record, Peterson said he expected to break the record in Week 16 of the 2017 NFL season. Apparently he didn’t do the math, as so far his current pace would have him getting the mark in the 2019 season.
Now, we live in an age where every comment becomes a major news story, as 24-hour cable sports networks and millions of blogs need to generate content. Still, a bit of humility would serve Peterson well. First, he should focus all of his comments on his team, not in individual goals. Next, he should stay as far away from numbers as he can. It will become a very big distraction. He should focus on his health and his game, and then say the numbers will take care of themselves.
Still, if you’re a betting man, Peterson’s obsession with his yardage totals has to be a consideration as you consider NFL odds for the upcoming football season. Football bets such as the NFL odds for the player who will get the most rushing yards this season are very interesting and can vary greatly from year to year. Peterson is a huge favorite, and if you pick him you have to love his attitude. Also, you have to be wary of betting against him considering his attitude.
Frankly, I think that particular bet is way too risky, as injuries usually have a huge impact on final numbers, and running backs get hurt a lot. I’m still partial to working the NFL odds on a game to game basis. With that in mind, I love the idea of games where Peterson faces defenses that have trouble stopping the run. Many people are still skeptical of the Vikings and Christian Ponder, but a healthy Peterson makes them a tough out in every game they play. I like them as road dogs against teams like the Packers who don’t remember how to tackle.