The initial 2014 World Cup odds didn't mean much, as Spain, Portugal, Italy and England all bowed out after three matches in the group stage.
Now in the knockout stage, literally anything can happen.
The home team, Brazil, checks into this round with the best odds of winning the World Cup. Algeria comes into the round with the worst odds, but that doesn't mean anything. All it takes is one result to change the outlook of both teams.
Below you'll find the most recent World Cup odds, courtesy of Vegas Insider on June 26. A breakdown of three teams in particular follows.
Teams to Watch
The Netherlands absolutely dominated group play. They won all three matches, scoring 10 goals and surrendering just three.
The key for the Dutch is their incredible trio of Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie. Mexico, their opponent in the round of 16, will look to stop this trio to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, it's no easy task.
Sneijder, Robben and Van Persie are all stellar scorers and excel in small amounts of space. Robben and Van Persie each have three goals already in this tournament. If Holland moves through the knockout stage, it will be because of these three players.
Mike Foss of USA Today believes that the Netherlands are actually the only European team with a real shot of winning the World Cup:
The path to the final is no walk in the park for the Netherlands, but it’s more manageable than the path of other European teams like France and Germany, who look set to play each other in the quarterfinals.
The Netherlands has never won a World Cup. The conditions are right for a bit of history.
Mexico are a tough draw in the round of 16, as their clutch play is a huge reason why they are in this position in the first place. This is one of the matches to watch of the next round.
The Germans played great in Group G, and their great results can be attributed to the exploits of Thomas Mueller. He already has four goals in three games, including a hat-trick against Portugal in the first game of the group round.
The goal he scored against the United States on Thursday gave him nine in as many World Cup games. ESPN FC's official Twitter account pointed out that those nine goals in nine games made a bit of history:
Thomas Mueller now has 9 goals in 9 career World Cup matches. At 24, he's the 4th youngest player to 9 WC goals. pic.twitter.com/T4QYuaU9zs— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 26, 2014
Mueller is in contention for the Golden Boot, but his desire is to win more. He told Cristian Nyari of The New York Times that he'd rather win the World Cup:
Thomas Müller: "I'm here to win the World Cup, not the Golden Boot. I already have one and wouldn't know what to do with another."— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) June 24, 2014
With Mueller in top form, the Germans are a real competitor for the World Cup. Their first opponent in the knockout stage will be Algeria, the team with the worst odds at this point. The Algerians had an impressive run through Group H though, so I wouldn't discount them just yet.
Brazil face Chile in the round of 16. Tales Azzoni of the Associated Press wrote about the history between these two teams (via ABCNews.com):
Brazil hasn't lost to Chile in more than a decade, and has never lost a head-to-head game on home soil. But for the first time Chile arrives to face its neighbor with plenty of confidence, thanks in part to a convincing campaign in Group B that included a victory over 2010 World Cup champion Spain.
The Chileans are one of the surprises of this tournament, having defeated Spain in the group round and playing well against the Netherlands in a loss.
A confident team like Chile has the opportunity to play well against Brazil. Aside from their 4-1 rout of Cameroon, the Brazilians appeared flat against Croatia and Mexico. Brazil's odds might be the best to win, but they face a real upset chance in the round of 16.