World Cup BettingWorld Cup betting players are always aware in an international tournament that the “Group of Death” lurks like a shadow over the draw, and this is the second straight “Group of Death” for the Ivory Coast, who were matched up with Argentina and the Netherlands at Germany 2006. This time, it’s Brazil and Portugal who stand in their way, and the Portuguese will face the Ivory Coast on Tuesday morning.

Portugal Ivory Coast Betting – Tuesday, June 15, 10:00 AM ET

The Portuguese struggled in qualifying, particularly at the offensive end, which is strange when you consider that they’re led by captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who had a brilliant first season at Real Madrid when he got healthy. Ronaldo failed to score during qualification, and you can bet that he’ll be playing with a chip on his shoulder. He may have to carry more of a load as the man who replaced him at Manchester United, Nani, had to withdrawal because of a collarbone injury. The Portuguese are actually very stout defensively, but they’re going to have to find the back of the net to win this World Cup contest.

The Ivory Coast are sweating the fitness of captain Didier Drogba, who broke his arm in a friendly before the World Cup. Drogba is coming off a marvelous season at Chelsea and is the target man for the Ivorians, supported by Chelsea teammate Salomon Kolou, but how effective is the physical Drogba going to be with a cast on his arm, if he even plays at all? If Drogba can’t go, that puts pressure on the Ivorian defense to be strong, powered by the brother duo of Yaya and Kolo Toure.

This will be one of the toughest World Cup predictions to make, and Portugal comes at as the favorite at +110, while the Ivory Coast is listed at +245, and a draw is rated at +225. Les Elephants really need Drogba on the field for a number of reasons, and we can see the captain doing everything he can to get on the field, but we’re not sure if he can boss around the Portugal defense with just one arm. Ronaldo is going to need some help in the attacking third, most likely from Simao and Deco, and the Ivorian fullbacks are going to have to keep Ronaldo in front of them, although he has license to float around the pitch. This is going to be an open match, so expect it to go over the posted total of 2. It’s a shame that Drogba is hurt, or the Ivory Coast would have a much better shot at taking something from this match.

Online sports betting pick: Portugal +110

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