Italy's hopes of upsetting Spain in the 2013 Confederations Cup have taken a blow after an injury to Mario Balotelli, further depriving the underdogs of punters' confidence
The absence of star striker Mario Balotelli appears to have ended any confidence punters may have had in Italy upsetting Spain in the second semi-final at the 2013 Confederations Cup on Thursday [Friday morning Australian time].
It is a re-match of the Euro 2012 final which Spain won 4-0, creating history by becoming the first team to win three-successive major tournaments, having won Euro 2008 as well as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The reigning World and European champions have won all three games during the group stages of this tournament in beating Uruguay, Nigeria and Tahiti.
Italy won two of their three matches but were unconvincing in beating Mexico 2-1 and then Japan 4-3, in a game in which they trailed 2-0. The then lost 4-2 to hosts Brazil.
And Balotelli has been the only Italy player to have scored more than one goal at the tournament to date, having hit the winner against Mexico as well as scoring a penalty during the win over Japan.
But Balotelli was ruled out of the tournament after tearing a muscle in his left thigh in the last of the group games against Brazil.
And the punters believe that has effectively ended Italy's chances of winning their first major tournament outside of Europe.
All-conquering Spain are the $1.41 favourites to win Thursday's second semi-final inside 90 minutes at Betfair and even shorter at Eskander's Betstar at $1.36.
|Spain to keep a clean sheet v Italy at $2.26 at Betfair
||Spain to win 2-0 v Italy at $8.20 at Betfair
Such is the dominance of Spain that they have attracted more than 90 percent of money wagered on the match so far at Betfair.
But while Spain are short in head-to-head betting, they are much better value to keep a clean sheet at $2.26 at Betfair, which looks great value considering Balotelli is out for Italy.
In correct-score betting, Spain to win 2-0 is the favoured option at $8.20 at Betfair while they are paying $15 at Sportsbet.com.au to repeat their 4-0 success over Italy in the Euro 2012 final.
And in the first goalscorer markets, Spain's Fernando Torres - the leading scorer in the tournament during the group stages with five - is great value at $6, with team-mate David Villa surprisingly the $5.60 favourite at Betfair.
The highest-placed Italian in betting is Alberto Gilardino at $15.
*Note prices subject to change