Hosts Brazil are favourites to take the prize at the 2014 World Cup, best priced at 3/1 with Skybet with continental rivals Argentina next at 5/1 with BetVictor. European powers Germany and Spain are available at 11/2 with bet365 and 7/1 with Paddy Power respectively, and after that Belgium are the fifth favourites at 22/1 with betfair, but we are here to tell you where the real value lies in the World Cup.
An Outside chance for a European Giant?
Staying with the outright winners market, it’s hard to find value in backing many of the major favourites. Perhaps an outside chance on a team that is riddled with top talent (and England) may well pay off come July? As mentioned before, the golden generation of Belgium is available at 22/1 with Betfair, whilst France are available at 25/1 with Skybet. The French have notoriously underperformed in major tournaments, but with a number of their top players, such as Karim Benzema, Franck Ribery, Laurent Koscielny and Antoine Griezmann coming off of hugely impressive seasons, perhaps this is the tournament the French could correct their recent poor form. Elsewhere, the Italian side has aged like a fine Tuscan wine, and are available at 28/1 to win with BetVictor. England and Portugal are both available at 33/1 to win with William Hill, and as it is major tournament custom for Portugal to knock England out on penalties, they are guaranteed a spot in the quarter finals at least. I think.
How about our boys?
At every major tournament, hope quietly builds around England about an outside success, a return to 1966, an end to the “48 years of hurt” or however long it has been. Every major tournament, except this one, that is. This writer hasn’t even heard the quietest mumble of a World Cup success, and England sit way out at 33/1 with Ladbrokes to win the tournament. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t back our lads, or bet on their failure. England are priced at 16/1 with BetFred to be the top European team in the competition.
To win our first game against Italy, England are 11/5 with Ladbrokes, and to top our group you can get 9/4 with Stan James. For those more cynical Englishmen, betting on Uruguay and Italy both to qualify is available at 2/1, and those who really don’t fancy our chances might like a 49/1 bet with Unibet that England will concede the most goals in the tournament.
The Golden Boot
To any non horse racing fans; you know when you feel you’re obliged to put money on the national, but don’t know where to place your bet? You avoid the favourites because they look like a poor return, and decide the 100/1 outsider is just plain ridiculous, and plump for something in the middle. The Golden Boot market is a bit like this, except I actually know something about football.
The favourite is Lionel Messi, best priced at 9/1 with Coral, whilst Ronaldo and Neymar are both at 14/1 with Stan James. Beyond that you can get freescoring Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero, both best at 18/1 with Paddy Power.
But here is where it gets silly. Diego Costa is likely to be the centre of Spain’s attacking threat, as the Spaniards have lacked that finishing touch in many recent years and the recently Spanish striker has scored 26 league goals for Atletico Madrid. Gonzalo Higuain will most likely start for Argentina, but with Messi, Aguero, Di Maria et al all on the pitch too, is unlikely to be on the end of every chance Argentina create. Yet, despite this obvious logic, they are both the same price, both best at 25/1 with Coral.
And it gets worse. Daniel Sturridge, potential Premier League winner and scorer of 20 Premier League goals is best priced at 80/1 with Stan James. Bruno Alves, Fenerbache and Portugal centre back, has scored 1 goal in league competition this year, and is best priced at 66/1 with BetVictor.
And guess what? The favourite rarely wins the Golden Boot. Was Fernando Torres the best striker at Euro 2012? Was Miroslav Klose better than Henry at his peak in 2006? Was Davor Suker better than Brazilian Ronaldo in 1998? The answer is no, but the odds don’t seem to reflect that.
My personal picks for Golden Boot winner would be Diego Costa at 25/1 with BetFred and Fred of Brazil best priced at 33/1 with bet365. They offer true value without being illogical. Whilst I won’t promise a 25/1 or 33/1 winner, I can promise that the bookies look like they’re just plucking numbers out of the sky for this market, and profit is there to be made.
Betting by continent.
One great way to seek value in the World Cup is to bet by continent. For example, you can bet on who will fare the best out of all European teams. Looking over to the East, we can bet on the “Top Rest of World Team” market, which I think looks rather profitable. With Australia and Iran set to be the whipping boys of their group , and South Korea an aging side in an almost tough group, the exciting Japanese side look like the best hope for Asia, in a friendly group of Greece, the Ivory Coast and Colombia. The odds of Japan being the best of the rest is at 10/11 with BetFred, and looks like a safe, valuable bet for Brazil 2014.
In other continents, the race is a bit harder to call. Top European side favourites are Germany, best priced at 5/2 with bet365, with Spain best priced at 3/1 with Stan James. Outside of that, you can find France next at a tempting 9/1 with BetVictor, Belgium at 11/1 with Betfair and Italy at 12/1 with bet365.
The race for Top South American team is similarly between two main competitors, with Brazil best at 6/5 with Paddy Power and Argentina best priced at 7/4. Long shots Colombia are available at 9/1 with bet365, Uruguay are out at 14/1 with Stan James and an impressive Chile side are way out at 33/1, also with Stan James.
In Africa, the Ivory Coasts’ favourable draw makes them favourites at 6/4 with Paddypower, from Ghana, who are also best priced with Paddypower at 11/4.
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Jordan is a University of Southampton graduate who produces blogs and betting previews for Howtobet4free as well as running the popular @howtobet4free_ Twitter account on matchdays.