Brazil vs. Costa Rica Betting Odds Preview, World Cup 2018 Prediction, Analysis

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2018

Brazil's Neymar attends Brazil's official training on the eve of the group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Dmitri Lovetsky/Associated Press

The health of superstar Neymar could be a question mark as Brazil prepares to resume its 2018 FIFA World Cup schedule with Friday's Group E matchup against Costa Rica at Saint Petersburg Stadium.

The Selecao are coming off a disappointing 1-1 draw with Switzerland in their tournament opener and will likely need a dominating performance on Friday to maintain their position as World Cup betting favorites.

The Ticos are coming off a narrow 1-0 loss to Serbia and must avoid defeat to maintain their slim chances of advancing to the knockout stage.

World Cup betting line: Brazil opened as a minus-500 favorite (wager $500 to win $100); the total is at 2.5 goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

World Cup betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 2.8-0.4, Brazil (2018 World Cup picks on every game)

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Brazil vs. Costa Rica World Cup matchup analysis

The foot injury that cost Neymar the final three months of his debut campaign with Paris Saint-Germain continues to hamper the 26-year-old star.

After facing criticism for an ordinary performance in Brazil's draw with the Swiss as minus-220 chalk, Neymar limped out of the club's training camp on Tuesday, sending shockwaves across the soccer-mad nation.

Brazil is now winless in its past three World Cup contests, including a pair of lopsided losses to Germany and the Netherlands while Neymar was sidelined at the 2014 World Cup. However, the squad fared just fine without Neymar in a pair of pre-tournament friendlies, posting shutout victories over Russia and Germany, and have kept clean sheets in seven of its past nine across all competitions.

A free kick proved to be the difference in Costa Rica's tournament-opening loss to Serbia as plus-425 underdogs. The Ticos outplayed Serbia for long stretches and held a slight edge in possession in last Sunday's contest. However, the squad failed to convert on limited scoring opportunities in a third straight loss and fifth clean-sheet defeat in eight overall outings.

The Ticos have also fallen to defeat in all nine previous meetings with Brazil, including a 5-2 group stage loss in their last World Cup meeting in 2002.

     

All 2018 World Cup odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.

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