According to FIFA.com, Star striker Luis Suarez has been banned for four months and suspended for nine matches after his biting incident in Uruguay’s win over Italy, a fact that has swayed the betting lines on this round-of-16 match against Colombia.
Colombia breezed through their group with three consecutive victories, and most sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark have them at even odds in three-way betting for this all-South American battle.
Uruguay was priced at 16-5 odds as of Friday while the draw line (which excludes extra time) was at 5-2. The price on Uruguay would be lower if not for Suarez's temporary bit of insanity, his third such career ban for chomping on opponents.
The perceived weakness of the Colombia squad is the defense, even though they conceded just two goals in group play. They did not face a great offense in their group, which they will experience with Uruguay, even without Suarez.
Neither 2010 World Cup player of the tournament Diego Forlan nor Edinson Cavani have not looked great so far, but both are capable finishers.
Uruguay has their work cut out for them on defense, and they must play well on that area of the pitch, just like they did in preserving a clean sheet against Italy.
Teofilo Gutierrez and James Rodriguez, who has three goals in the World Cup, lead the solid attack of Colombia. Jackson Martinez, who scored twice in the last match, will likely come off the bench.
Colombia also boasts an attacking midfield, so there is no lack of offense with the squad.
Colombia played in one of the weaker groups, but they still looked impressive and are tied with the Dutch for the biggest goal differential (plus-seven).
Uruguay has had their way with Colombia over the last several years, winning six straight matches against them.
Diego Godin was the hero of the Italy match with the lone goal; the central defender will play a key role in this match. He has the dual role of blunting an attacking Colombia squad and also pushing forward on offense to get the counter-attack going.
Uruguay will miss Suarez, and its reasonable to expect them to play similar to the Italy match, settling into a tight defensive formation and pushing for a late score.
But Colombia has too much firepower and momentum here and will advance to the quarterfinals for the second straight World Cup.
Colombia vs. Uruguay prediction: 2-0 Colombia
Stats and odds courtesy of Odds Shark.