The 2014 FIFA World Cup is almost a year to the day away so it seemed like a good time to take a look at the early front runners to claim football’s biggest prize.
When looking at the World Cup betting market, it’s always worth remembering that only 7 countries have ever won it, but at the same time the last four Cups have had four different winners, so that might be a sign that the international game is a little more open now than it was.
Nonetheless when you look at the market for the outright winner in the early going it’s familiar names all around at the top of the list, with Brazil leading the pack at average decimal odds of 4.40 (~7/2). Behind them it’s almost a dead heat between Argentina and Germany, both sitting right about the 5.75 (~9/2) mark. Rounding at the top 4 is Spain at an average price of 6.3 (~11/2).
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Germany have closed massively since the market first opened late in 2012, shortening from average odds of 10.0 in to their current price. Spain have had a corresponding drop out from as low as 5.0 in some places to their current price.
There’s no doubt that the change in Spain and Germany’s prices reflect what went on in the latter stages of this year’s UEFA Champions League. The dominance of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund over Barcelona and Real Madrid has led to calls that this is a golden era for German football and correspondingly that Spanish football is in decline and that the likes of Xavi, Busquets, and even Andres Iniesta aren’t at the levels that they once were.
Certainly it seems that bookmakers are firmly convinced that one of the big 4 is going to walk away with the trophy. The next best priced team are the resurgent Belgians led my Fellaini, Kompany, Hazard et al. at an average price of 18.5 slightly ahead of the aging Netherlands at 19.5, Italy at 20.0 and what many believe to be a hapless England squad at 21.0. Having an each way bet on the Belgians at BetVictor at 21.0 (Terms: 1/2 odd to reach Final) might be a bit of value, but other than that there’s doesn’t seem to be much in the top 8.
There are one or two interesting each way bets a little further back like France who, although struggling are always likely to be tough to beat at a major championship, provided they don’t implode. They’re priced up at 35/1 which looks a little bit long for a squad that has a good mix of youth and experience.
Portugal at 40.0 and 2010 semi-finalists Uruguay at odds of 48.0 also look like good each way bets. No doubt things will change a lot over the course of the next year, but I’ll be tying up a little bit of money in these early prices.