Argentina vs. Netherlands betting preview, World Cup odds, semifinals pick

Argentina is favored to advance to the World Cup final against the Netherlands Wednesday.

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Bracket'

After overtaking Brazil to become the World Cup futures wagering favorites, Argentina are also pegged as favorites to defeat the surging Netherlands in Wednesday's World Cup semifinal match.

The Argentines had trailed Brazil in World Cup odds since the group draw late last year, and also trailed Germany at times during the tournament. But with Brazil facing Germany shorthanded in their semifinal match, Argentina have vaulted to favorite status with odds of 12/5 to win their first World Cup since 1986.

Led by their top scorer, Lionel Messi, Argentina sit as 2/3 favorites to knock off the Netherlands and advance to the final. The Oranje, who have silenced critics with solid play and a tournament-leading 12 goals scored, are underdogs for the first time since upsetting Spain in their group stage opening match.

The Dutch are 21/10 moneyline underdogs to defeat Argentina in 90 minutes of regulation play, but a much shorter 5/4 to advance to the World Cup final for the second consecutive time.

Netherlands have been buoyed by distributed goal scoring from multiple sources. Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben lead the Dutch with three goals apiece, with the squad's remaining six markers coming from five different players.

Conversely, Argentina have relied heavily on Messi, who has accounted for four of the squad's seven goals, and remains a favorite to lead all players in goal scoring at Brazil 2014 with odds of 3/1. He needs two to tie James Rodriguez of Colombia.

Robben and van Persie face an uphill battle in challenging for the World Cup 2014 goal scoring title, and trail the favorites in player props betting with odds of 20/1 and 16/1, respectively.

After a freewheeling group stage produced 136 goals in 48 games, offense has dried up in the tournament, with only two knockout stage matches producing more than two goals within 90 minutes of play.

Argentina have posted a pair of 1-0 regulation time victories over Switzerland and Belgium in the knockout stage, while the previously high-flying Dutch needed penalty kicks to break a scoreless draw against Costa Rica in the quarters.

Netherlands also needed a pair of goals in the dying minutes of their round of 16 match to avoid elimination and claim a 2-1 victory over Mexico.

Not surprisingly, the total in Wednesday's semifinal match sits at an even 2.0, with both the OVER and the UNDER sporting moneyline odds of 10/11.

Prediction: 2-1 Argentina

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