CARD KING Gavin Murphy (GamePlanGavin) has analysed the bookings markets ahead of Tuesday's World Cup semi-final clash between France and Belgium.
France v Belgium | Tuesday 10th July 2018, 19:00 | BBC
Uruguayan whistleblower Andres Cunha will referee the World Cup semi-final between France and Belgium at the St Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Cunha has already officiated at two group-stage matches at the tournament – France's victory over Australia and Spain's defeat of Iran.
The 41-year-old gave France a penalty in the 2-1 win over Australia – the first time a spot kick had been awarded at a World Cup after reference to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
Cunha, who will be assisted on the touchline by compatriots Nicolas Taran and Mauricio Espinoza, booked three Australians, two Iranians and one Frenchman over his first two matches. He averaged a measly 30 Bookings Points per-game.
That is a stark contrast to his 61 red cards in 189 career games, which help give him a career average of 55.8 Bookings Points per game.
Of course, the card slate has been wiped clean now we are at the semi-final stages. Will that lead to more cards? Let’s hope so because it undoubtedly increases the drama.
France have had tournament Bookings Points tallies of 10-20-0-30 and 20 – that’s an average of 16 Bookings Points per-game.
Belgium have seen tournament Bookings Points tallies of 20-0-20-0 and 30 in their games at an average of 14 Bookings Points per game.
You’d imagine that both sides will be extremely nervous in the early stages, especially given what is at stake.
In 2014, Brazil’s Dante was the sole card recipient as the hosts were dismantled 7-1 by Germany. In the other semi final, Turkish officail Cunyet Cakir issued just two cautions as Argentina and the Netherlands bored us with a 0-0 stalemate.
The betting angles
Most firms are pricing this France v Belgium tussle as Under/Over 3.5 Cards with Overs a general 4/6 favourite. That’s way too short to tip. This isn’t a referee that I particularly trust and so I’d want more a bit more bang for my buck.
With both teams potent going forward, I like the look of Both Teams To Score and each team to receive 10+ Bookings Points each at even-money with SkyBet.
SkyBet are offering a free £5 bet if you place a £10 single on this match. I’ve placed my free £5 on Antoine Griezmann to score and Blaise Matuidi, Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini to be carded at 80/1.
Matuidi and Fallaini look prime candidates and Vertonghen is likely to have Kylian Mbappe running down his channel for most of the evening.
Whatever you do, enjoy the game and good luck!
France v Belgium – Both Teams To Score and each team to receive 10+ Bookings Points (1/1 SkyBet)