Spain - Japan Olympic Betting Preview: Back the Spanish to win without conceding

Phil Kitromilides is backing an exciting Spanish side to get their Olympic campaign off to a winning start while keeping a clean sheet and has a 7/2 value bet pick
Having twice conquered Europe in between triumphing over the rest of the world, Spain will attempt to continue their near total domination of international football by claiming a gold medal at the Olympic Games.

Though the squad is without the majority of the stars who helped La Roja triumph in Poland and Ukraine last month, the likes of Juan Mata, Javi Martinez and Jordi Alba remain in the side, and with the raw, exuberant talents of Iker Muniain, Isco and Cristian Tello, this Spanish team is naturally among the favourites to claim the top prize.

They begin their campaign against Japan, and William Hill price a Spanish victory at 2/7 (1.28), while a major upset in the form of a win for the Japanese is offered at 15/2 (8.50).

With such a short priced favourite for the match, it can be hard to find anything of real value to back, but the price of 21/20 (2.05) for only Spain to score in the match looks like being a solid selection at extremely favourable odds.

Spain's new found functionality in possession saw accusations of being "boring" leveled at them during Euro 2012 (suggestions which were cursorily dismissed with their stunning performance in the final).

What is certainly true is that Spanish have become harder to score against, and as a result even harder to beat.

The senior side kept five consecutive clean sheets at Euro 2012, and this team look well priced to extend that run against a lowly Japanese outfit. Backing only Spain to score has paid out in seven of their last 10 matches, and while this is the Olympic squad and not the full team this still seems like an extremely attractive bet.

If Spain click, and their team of supremely talented youngsters find their rhythm then Japan could find themselves on the end of a heavy defeat.

For a value bet, it is worth considering Spain to score two goals in the first half at 7/2 (4.50). This bet famously paid out in the final of Euro 2012, and a repeat could well be on the cards, given the extremely talented nature of the Spanish side, and the relatively weak opposition.

Only Spain to score at 21/20 (2.05) with William Hill
Spain to score two goals in the first half at 7/2 (4.50) with William Hill

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.