CARD KING Gavin Murphy (GamePlanGavin) has analysed the bookings markets ahead of Sunday's 2018 World Cup contest between Costa Rica and Serbia from Saransk.
Costa Rica v Serbia | Sunday 17th June 2018, 13:00 | ITV
Group E kicks-off on Sunday as Costa Rica and Serbia meet in Samara. This is a match I’ve pencilled in for cards since the fixtures were announced…
In the qualification phase, Costa Rica averaged 17.8 Bookings Points per-game. I suspect that is slightly misleading and under plays their potential to collect cards. Los Ticos’ mentality is more akin to South American teams, and in more competitive games, such as this, I expect their tally to increase.
Serbia averaged 21.5 Bookings Points per-game in their qualification group, which included Republic of Ireland and Wales.
The total qualification stats therefore indicate around 39.3 Bookings Points could reasonably be expected in this tussle. And with Brazil clear favourites in this group, both of these teams will understand the importance of this fixture.
Cards opportunities to come
Lets be honest, the tournament so far has been poor for cards with many of the most experienced officials covering the early games. As the tournament develops we will see less experienced referees being introduced. That is likely to present opportunities.
One such opportunity could be in the form of Senegalese referee Malang Diedhiou. He gave Bookings Points of 40-20-55-30 and 70 in qualification. Those numbers are decent in an African section that is usually below the global average.
The betting angles
Bet365 have chalked up Over 3.5 Cards at 9/10 on their Asian line and that looks good value to me.
If you’d like a bit more bang for your buck then Costa Rica defender Giancarlo Gonzalez is worth considering to receive a card. He has seen yellow in each of his last two appearances against Belgium and England.
Gonzalez plays in Italy for Bologna and was sent off after just nine minutes for them against Spal earlier in the season. He doesn’t always start but is generally good for a card when he does get on the field.
He is likely to be up against the physical Alexander Mitrovic in this battle and, provided he starts, at 3/1 with Bet365, he looks value.