The first leg between Mexico and New Zealand gets underway Wednesday at Azteca and Mexico is heavily favoured to win outright. But can the Kiwis pull off at least a point?
New Zealand isn't getting any love from bookies in today's first leg against Mexico. The All Whites come into the match as huge 12.00 underdogs at William Hill to upset the Mexicans at the legendary Estadio Azteca today.
They walked through qualifying in a very weak Oceania region, winning all six matches with their toughest test against little-known New Caledonia. They've played Mexico twice in friendly matches since 2010, with El Tri coming on top in both matches by 2-0 and 3-0 scores. They've gone 1-2-2 (W-L-T) in their last five matches, all friendlies, including a pair of 0-0 bore draws with Trinidad and Tobago and MLS side Chivas USA.
The handicap markets offer a bunch of intriguing options. For example, the draw with New Zealand at +2 goals to start is at 3.75. That is pretty good value. With that same +2 handicap, New Zealand offers 2.37 for the win. So even if Mexico wins 1-0 or 2-1, your bet would hit. Though I expect Mexico to win today, I don't see New Zealand getting blown out of the water.
The outright draw is at 6.50 and I know a few bettors that think New Zealand may cause some headaches, especially since Mexico drew 50 percent of its matches during the last qualifying stage in CONCACAF, including three 0-0 results at home.
Mexican manager Miguel Herrera went out publicly yesterday and guaranteed that his team will win today and will advance to the World Cup, bold proclamations from a team that has proved mediocre over the last year. Keep in mind that Herrera is not using any of his European-based players for the match either, including Manchester United's Javier Hernandez.
The Mexican win in the 1x2 is listed at 1.17, dismal value at best. If you like Mexico, take one or two correct score picks such as the 2-0 (5.50), the 1-0 (7.00) or the 2-1 (11.00).