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Russia vs. Croatia Betting Odds Preview, World Cup 2018 Prediction, Analysis

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2018

FILE - In this Sunday, July 1, 2018 file photo Croatia's Luka Modric shots on target during the round of 16 match between Croatia and Denmark at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, in Nizhny Novgorod , Russia. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press

Russia will look to continue the winning tradition of host nations at the World Cup when it takes on Croatia on Saturday in a quarter-final matchup at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.

The Russians pulled off a stunning upset of heavily favored Spain to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time since 1970. They're aiming to become the fifth host nation in the past seven editions of the tournament to reach the semi-finals. However, they face a Croatian side that has gone undefeated at the 2018 FIFA World Cup while allowing just two goals.

World Cup betting line: Croatia opened as a +128 favorite (wager $100 to win $128); the total is at two goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

World Cup betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 2.2-0.8, Croatia (2018 World Cup picks on every game)

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Russia vs. Croatia World Cup matchup analysis

Russia has emerged as one of the surprise stories of this year's World Cup, marching to decisive victories over Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the group stage before shocking Spain with a victory on penalties as +550 underdogs.

The Russians' strong play at the tournament comes on the heels of a dismal run through pre-tournament friendlies. They posted just one win in eight matches, capping a 6-7-11 win-draw-loss record in 24 matches across all competitions since the start of Euro 2016.

Croatia has also overcome a lengthy stretch of mediocrity with a strong performance at this year's tournament, outgunning opponents by an 8-2 margin in four straight victories to bury a shaky 7-2-7 pre-tournament run. The Blazers' formidable defense has held opponents to three or fewer shots on target in three of their four World Cup matches. Despite their checkered pre-tournament record, the squad has also limited opponents to one or fewer goals in 14 of their past 16 games overall.

Croatia are also unbeaten in three previous meetings with Russia, including a 3-1 victory in a 2015 friendly and a pair of scoreless draws during qualifying for Euro 2008.

                        

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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