Placing a Bet on the World Cup

World-Cup_getty-453347915We’ve almost reached that special time again. The greatest and most popular sports tournament in the world is fast approaching, and along with it a whole host of money making and betting opportunities. That’s right, the World Cup looms! We’re going to take a look at the types of bets you can place and a brief history of the tournament that sports fans around the world love so much.

Let’s start with the basics. The most popular bet for any major tournament is the most simple and straightforward one. Who will win the World Cup 2014? A simple question it may be, it’s one that requires a lot of thought and analysis. Past winners haven’t always been the favourites and there are many factors that contribute to whether a team will win or not.

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The last tournament, World Cup 2010, was won by joint favourites Spain. However, they were joined in the finals by outsiders Holland. Even a bet just for Holland to reach the finals would have netted you some decent money; prior to the tournament their odds to win the whole thing were pegged at a very generous 14/1. Of course, they didn’t win in the end as they were sunk in extra time by the brilliant Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta. But that was still a good value bet, with odds you should take any day of the week.

Further back still in World Cup 2006, Italy were crowned champions of the world in a controversial final that saw soccer fans bear witness to the infamous Zinedine Zidane head-butt. But were they favourites to win the tournament? The answer is a resounding no. It was either Brazil or Germany who were expected to lift the glorious golden trophy, and neither of them even made the finals!

This should teach you something: no bet is a sure thing. In fact, even though Brazil had been touted as the favourites in the 2006 World Cup, they didn’t even get past the quarter finals. Those are the kind of let downs and expectations reserved usually only for over confident and badly priced nations like England. You should think about your own knowledge of soccer, coupled with questions like: who is the host nation? There are obvious exceptions, but host nations are traditionally very successful because they are better attuned to their environment than visiting countries. There are lots of factors to consider!

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Maybe you’ve decided that betting on an outright winner isn’t for you. You’re not a fan of intangible factors; you’re more of a stats guy. That’s fine! Maybe a bet on who the top scorer will be is more in line with your thinking. This is another very popular bet for fans of the World Cup. Initial odds are very generous; mainly because predicting the top scorer can be very difficult. However this is a bet you can research and back up with player stats. Cristiano Ronaldo was the top scorer in the La Liga last season with 31 goals. Maybe that’s the type of player you’d back at odds of 12/1. But will he have the same support from his country as he gets from his club? Can Portugal be considered as good a team as Real Madrid are? The answers to both are up for debate, and should factor heavily into whether you deem it a good bet or not.

Furthermore, in the last World Cup the winner of the golden boot was tied. That meant that supporting stats had to be used to decide who was most deserving of winning. If a similar situation happens in this World Cup, you may have to think about who a better all-round player is rather than a straight up goal scoring machine. Thomas Muller who ended up the winner, only got the boot as he had more assists than the other players he was tied with!

The key to placing a good bet on the World Cup is to be informed. Do your research, analyse stats. Don’t fall prey to gut feelings, this isn’t horse racing! You can’t predict everything, but you can sure as hell have a go. Maybe you’ll back a long shot that pays off dramatically. You’ll never know until you get stuck in, place a bet and enjoy the ride.

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