World Cup 2018: Three best bets for Portugal v Spain

They may be neighbours, but they certainly won’t be friends in this one and we’ve dived into this derby to pick out a punting trio for you…


1-1 Draw – 5/1

It’s fair to say that even the cancelling of Roseanne has nothing on the drama that unfolded in the Spanish camp this week.

After his defection to Real Madrid, Spain’s National Federation incredibly felt the betrayal was so severe that they saw fit to remove Julen Lopetegui from the manager’s post on the eve of the World Cup. Florentino Perez is not known for his scruples, so when even he says that sacking a manager is “unprecedented” and “there is nothing that justifies Lopetegui not being on bench” for tonight’s game, you get a sense for the magnitude of this decision.

Fernando Hierro has now been thrown into the bear pit and the Portugal camp, led by a smirking Cristiano Ronaldo, must be rubbing their hands together listening to their neighbour bicker through the wall with one of the biggest derbies the Iberian Peninsula has ever witnessed.

Despite all the turmoil, we still reckon Spain will dig in their heels for a draw here. Portugal would settle for that too against their greatest rival and have two stalemates to their name in their last three outings.

Spain for their part, have three score draws in their last five games – with two of those finishing one-all. That’s why we’re tipping a similar scoreline in Sochi tonight.

Gonçalo Guedes to score anytime – 5/1

Don’t throw a Ronaldo-like strop that we are not picking CR7 to find the net later, because the Portuguese have a new star on the verge of exploding on the world stage.

Gonçalo Guedes spent the season on loan at Valencia from his parent club Paris Saint-Germain and was a key figure in their resurgence back into the Champions League places in La Liga.

He may not have mastered Ronaldo’s famous pout, but he will be the great man’s partner in crime up top at the World Cup and seemed to be finding his feet in the goal scoring stakes at the right time for his national side.

Guedes netted twice in Portugal’s last game before boarding a plane to Russia against Algeria, only his second and three third strikes for the country and he’s our man to keep an eye on tonight.

Sorry Cristiano…

Card Index: Over 40 Points – 5/6

With passions running high and cynicism running deep in this derby, you’d have to believe Gianluca Rocchi could be digging in his pockets more than Donald Trump’s lawyers later.

The Italian official is known for his love of cards, showing a whopping 18 yellows and a red in his last three games.

Amazingly, in his prior outing to tonight’s contest, he doled out eight yellows and a sending off when he took charge of the controversial Serie A Champions League decider between Lazio and Inter Milan.

Cards may only be good when you are giving them to your gran at Christmas, but it can feel like that here if this volatile official pulls off his favourite trick tonight.

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* All odds correct at time of posting.