The FIFA World Cup generates excitement in sports fans across the planet. It also generates plenty of betting opportunities and the chance to make some cash. Our first tip is that it pays to be cautious with the favourites.
Most people’s instincts are to look to what they perceive to be ‘certainties’ and the bookmakers take advantage of this by offering poor odds. A little bit of research and some imagination can see you getting very generous odds for very realistic bets. We are going to focus on the main markets in our betting preview. These include the outright winners, top goalscorer, group betting and teams to reach the final.
The general theory at the World Cup is that European teams never win the tournament when it’s being held in South America. For this reason Brazil and Argentina are the two favourites to win the competition. Brazil are a best priced 3/1 with William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred and Paddy Power while you can get Argentina at 9/2 with Paddy Power, Bet365 and 888.Sport.
Neither bet represents particularly good value. Brazil, as hosts, should be respected and Argentina boast some of the greatest players in the world, but a price below 5/1 for a major tournament isn’t worth it. Germany at 6/1 (William Hills, Coral, Bet 365) and current holders Spain at 13/2 (Ladbrokes, Coral, Paddy Power) make for better value. Interestingly, Brazil could potentially face Italy or England in the Quarter Finals and Argentina could face Germany at the same stage should these four teams top their group.
This highlights how little value is available for Argentina and Brazil given the sides they will have to beat on their way to the final. If you are a believer in the South American teams winning in South America theory, then the real value is surely Uruguay at 33/1 with BetVictor, Totesport and Bwin. They do have a tough qualifying group, but I would expect to see them making the knockout stages and with a strike force including Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan they could cause a big shock at the tournament. At 33/1 they make a very decent each way bet.
Betting (Best Price): Brazil 3/1 William Hill, Argentina 9/2 Bet365, Germany 13/2 Stan James, Spain 13/2 Coral, Belgium 16/1 Ladbrokes,
Top Tip: Uruguay 33/1 Betvictor
Top Scorer is always a tricky market. There is often a player who seems to come out of nowhere to win the Golden Boot. Basically a player just needs to have one great game in the group sections to put himself in a very strong position. 6 goals is usually enough to win the Golden Boot. It is the group sections that we should look to for pointers in this market though.
It is a good idea to look at top strikers who are in a group with weaker opponents. Unsurprisingly Lionel Messi (best price of 8/1 with William Hills, Coral, Betfred) is favourite to be top scorer. Argentina find themselves in a group with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria and Iran. You would think these teams would serve as cannon fodder for Argentina, but Messi’s record in the World Cup isn’t great and he didn’t finish the season very well with Barcelona. His team mate, Sergio Aguero at 16/1 (Betvictor, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes) represents better value.
Second favourite in the betting is Neymar at 12/1 (Corals, Betvictor). Again, he hasn’t had a great season and there is better value available, namely in Cristiano Ronaldo at 16/1. This represents great value. Ronaldo has enjoyed a great season at Real Madrid and scored 8 goals in qualification. With the greatest respect to Ghana and USA, it would be a surprise if he didn’t get on the score sheet against both sides.
Good outside bets are Germany’s Miroslav Klose at 50/1 (Betvictor, Paddy Power, Stan James), Edin Dzeko of Bosnia at 66/1 (Coral, Betfred, Bet365) and Karim Benzema at 33/1 (Coral, Ladbrokes, Betfred).
Betting: Messi 8/1 Coral, Neymar 12/1 Coral, Sergio Aguero 16/1 Ladbrokes, Ronaldo 16/1 William Hill.
Top Tip: Edin Dzeko 66/1 Coral
Betting on group winners can often prove profitable. The odds are stacked in the favour of the group’s top seeds and bookmakers often overlook the potential for an upset. While Groups A, B, F and G look fairly cut and dried, the remaining groups are very open with some good value bets. In Group C Greece are vastly overpriced at 8/1 with William Hill. Their opponents in the group are Columbia, Japan and Ivory Coast and none of these teams are strong enough to justify such a large price for Greece to finish top. The 21/10 available from Boylesports for Greece just to qualify from that group is also generous. Group D is also very open. Realistically Italy, England and Uruguay could all qualify. Italy are notoriously slow starters at the World Cup and England are perennial under-achievers so the 2/1 available from Coral for Uruguay to win the group is a good bet. Group E should be a straight shoot out between France and Belgium.
France are not the team they once were and are not good value at 5/6 (Paddy Power) so the 11/4 available for Switzerland to win the group is the sensible option. Placing accumulators in this market can be very profitable and a treble of Greece, Uruguay and Switzerland to win their groups is a huge 101/1.
Top Tip: Greece to win Group C at 8/1 William Hill
Predicting the finalists is always very difficult to pull off. It’s not simply a case of picking the two best teams as they could meet before the final due to the draw schedule. There are many draw predictors available online which allow you to plot the progress of each time and to try and figure out who will reach the final and this can be a very useful tool. As with the outright winners market, Argentina to meet Brazil is the favourite combination at 9/1 (Corals, Ladbrokes, Bet365). Argentina and Germany are in opposite ends of the draw and are 14/1 (Bet365, Stan James) to contest the final. Germany v Spain represents very good value at 20/1 (Paddy Power, Bet 365). For an outside bet have a look at Germany v Uruguay at a very big 80/1 with William Hill and Betfred.
Top Tip: Germany and Spain to contest the World Cup Final at 20/1 (Bet365)