With the FIFA World Cup almost upon us here is the first in a long running series of betting previews for the greatest tournament on earth.
The first FIFA World Cup to be held in South America for 36 years gets under way at 9pm on Thursday when Brazil take on Croatia.
Brazil, who have a wealth of talent in their 23 man squad, are 30/100 favourites for the opening fixture in Sao Paulo while Croatia, who are making only their third appearance at the finals, are 10/1 outsiders.
The draw is priced at 4/1.
Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who won the World Cup back in 2002 with the South American side, will be hoping for the perfect start to this campaign.
Neymar, Fred, Oscar, Willian and Dani Alves have all been in fantastic form for their clubs over the last 12 months and it is anticipated they’ll have an incredible World Cup on home soil.
The Barcelona forward who signed from Santos last summer for €87.2 million is the 3/1 favourite to score the first goal of this summer’s tournament.
Fred, Jo and Hulk are also short priced to score the opening goal in Thursday night’s game while the Chelsea duo of Oscar and Willian are respectively priced 12/5 and 3/1 to score at anytime.
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric is 9/1 to score at anytime during the World Cup opener while Hull City striker Nikica Jelavic is 12/1 to score first.
Brazil have only conceded one goal in their last seven internationals. With that in mind our official bookmakers SkyBet have priced a Brazil clean sheet at 8/13.
The 20th World Cup gets under way following the traditional opening ceremony which will see the official song performed by rapper Pitbull.
He was due to take to the stage alongside singer Jennifer Lopez, however, she has pulled out of the event due to “production issues”.
Pitbull will still be performing at the event along with Brazilian artist Claudia Leitte will still perform the official anthem, which is called We Are One (Ole Ola).
The short opening ceremony will feature in excess of 500 artists and it will include acrobats, gymnasts, trampolinists, stilt walkers and martial artists.
More than 60,000 are expected to be in attendance at Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena.
Winners: Argentina – 4/1