Spain and Croatia have two of the best handball Olympic teams and it comes as no surprise that they meet in both the men’s and women’s competition. If Spain manages to send France home in the quarterfinals and Croatia cruises to an expected victory over Tunisia, we’ll have the chance to witness a breathtaking game. Meanwhile these nations lock horns in the women’s competition and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
See beyond the cold numbers
Bet365 couldn’t decide whether Spain is favorite to win or Croatia’s better track record indicates that the former Yugoslavian country has the first chance, therefore the odds are even at 2.15. The Iberian team finished on the third place tied with South Korea after a string of games that were decided at the buzzer or left unsettled. Following a disappointing start with the defeat against the Asians, Spain won the remaining games and settled for a tie in the highly disputed match against France which ended 18-18.
The Croatians have yet to record a draw even though they had two chances in the games played against Brazil and Montenegro. They’ve lost the first by one point and won the second by the same margin, and now that Brazil was eliminated by Norway, Croatia remains the best team from group A still in the race for a medal. Their best asset is the offensive, but things have the potential to turn sour very quickly if the opponents put up a stiff defense. Spain is the more experienced team and the one that makes the transition from defensive to offensive phase smoother, so they should be credited with the first chance to win.
A somewhat predictable upset
The fact that Brazil won group A made no difference in the first match of the quarterfinals and the bookies were not confused by the South Americans’ performance. They gave Norway the status of favorites to win the match and the European nation took Brazil down by two goals to set up a clash with either Russia or South Korea. This time the odds might be a bit optimistic and even those who favor the Europeans to win will frown upon the lack of value and will consider betting on the spread.
The best thing they can do is to go the other way around and give the Koreans a chance, because this fixture is the most predictable upset of the day. It is not very difficult to be convinced by the 3.00 odds that the underdogs enjoy, and given the fact that the Asians lost a single match in the group stage, punters have rock-solid reasons to trust them against the inconstant Russians.