by Kevin Stott Czech Republic at Switzerland (PK, -110, 2o -127, The Palms) (9 a.m. PT, ESPN Classic/ESPN Deportes): Although Switzerland is the co-host and allowed no goals in regular and extra time in the 2006 World Cup, this Swiss roster is a bit banged up with goalkeeper Fabio Coltori out with post-viral fatigue. Center back Philippe Senderos is healthy but he will have his work cut out for him against the Czech Republic’s killer forwards, the 6-7 Jan Koller – who has announced he will retire at the end of this tournament – and 6-1 Milan Baros. The two have combined for 83 goals for their nation and are as tough as a team gets up front with these two.
As far as picking a side, the latest Fifa world rankings have the Czechs at No. 6 and the Swiss at No. 48 while the Las Vegas Hilton’s SuperBook has the Czechs at 12-1 to win this tourney with Switzerland at 20-1. Logic says go with the team with the two real scoring threats despites the Swiss’s prowess on defense. And if you can find a total anywhere at 2½, bet it UNDER as this should be a 0-0, 1-0 or 1-1 game in the end. I have the CZECH REPUBLIC winning this tourney lid-lifter, 1-0.
Portugal (-½, -122 2o -127, The Palms) vs. Turkey (11:45 a.m. PT, ESPN Classic/ESPN Deportes): The Portuguese have the world’s most-talented player in Cristiano Renaldo – who just led Man U to the UEFA League Champions Cup – and are ranked No. 9 in Fifa’s latest rankings with Turkey at No. 25. Turkey is just 6-1 to win to win the Group at the LVH with Portugal at 5-4. Take the better team, PORTUGAL, and hope they score first in this game which also seems to be an UNDER , especially if you can find it somewhere at 2½ goals (Hint). Predicted final: Portugal 1, Turkey 0.