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Our Spain expert Phil Kitromilides believes both sides are in for a tight opening encounter and argues the price of evens for the half time draw offers punters the best value

Spain begin this World Cup in the same way they ended the previous tournament; with a game against the Netherlands.

The final of the 2010 competition in South Africa is imprinted on the brain of every fan of La Roja as Andres Iniesta's extra time winner gave them the title for the first time ever, yet four years and another European Championship later, the holders are far from the favourites to retain their World Cup crown.

Indeed Brazil, Argentina and Germany are all ahead of them in the outright betting, although that might have something to do with the tricky looking group that Vicente Del Bosque's men are in, with Netherlands and Chile set to provide stern opposition for the defending champions.

Nevertheless, bet365 price Spain as the clear favourites to claim a victory in their opening game offering them at 17/20 (1.85) with the Dutch available at 17/4 (4.25) and the draw priced at 12/5 (3.40).

As their last meeting was, this should be an extremely tight game and while Spain have the better starting 11, they still do not have a clear idea how they will play up front.

Cesc Fabregas is likely to start in the false nine position and while on occasions this has proved fruitful, it leaves La Roja at times devoid of a killer edge up front.

A low scoring game is highly likely although only the most hardened of punters will take the price of 1/2 (1.50) for under 2.5 goals to be scored.

That quote may come as a surprise given how many impressive attacking talents are going to be on the pitch in Salvador but even though a tight game is predicted, 1/2 (1.50) is too short for the majority of punters to get stuck into although it does make this an attractive game for bet365's Bore Draw Money Back offer.

Instead a more attractive option could be backing the draw at half time which is available at evens (2.00).

Spain often take a while to break sides down and particularly in the first game of a major tournament they may take a while to find their rhythm against high-calibre opposition.

Recent history is on the side of this bet too, Spain's first game of both Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup were both 0-0 at half time. That half time correct score is available to back at 11/8 (2.38) with bet365 for any punters that expect the trend to continue.

The Dutch meanwhile have looked a little lacklustre in their warm up matches, and while they remain a threat, this is one of the weakest Dutch squads for a long while.

Backing a draw at half time has paid out in each of Spain's last four matches, and allows punters the chance to double their money making it a solid looking selection at evens (2.00).

If the match does finish 0-0 it will trigger bet365's Bore Draw Money Back offer which will see losing bets on an even bigger range of markets than usual. It already applies to losing bets on the correct score, half time/full time and scorecast markets but for the World Cup it has also been extended to first/last and anytime goalscorer markets too. Those extra additions make this a fantastic game for punters aiming for higher returns, especially with a tight game expected by the bookmakers.

BET
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BEST BET
Draw at half time at evens (2.00) for a 2.5pt stake with bet365

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