The 2014 World Cup may be some seven months away, but with the draw having been made, the time has come to make some early predictions. Online bookmakers have already started quoting prices on what is likely to be the most heavily bet sporting event in recent years, and we have in turn selected a total of eight ante-post markets we feel provide the best value for money. Given that the odds are going to change as the market moves, it may be a good idea to get them while they’re hot.
Disclaimer. All odds listed for each market are based on the price provided by Bet365 when the article was written. The odds may have changed since.
1.) To Win Outright
Best Bet: Germany @ 5/1
While many people will be backing tournament hosts Brazil, I feel the combination of the huge pressure from the expectant crowd and Diego Costa’s decision to switch allegiance to Spain is going to cost them dearly. Meanwhile, Germany are already used to performing well under pressure, they have an incredible pool of talent and a very balanced squad that appear to be in their prime at the moment. And having narrowly missed out on the title several times in a row, die Mannschaft look they are ready to make things right this time out.
2.) Top Goalscorer
Best Bet: Cristiano Ronaldo @ 12/1
This is another very difficult market to predict as there are just too many factors to consider, but chances are that Cristiano Ronaldo will finish the remarkable season with a World Cup Golden Boot award. Portugal will have two fairly easy group games against USA and Ghana, and with his teammates from attack largely struggling in front of goal, CR7 will be heavily relied on to produce some of his magic and take the national team into the closing stages. Given that the Real Madrid star is equally dangerous from open play and set pieces, the award is his to lose.
3.) Group Betting
Best Bet: Spain to win Group B @ 8/11
Reigning World champions Spain have been placed in a pretty difficult group, alongside Netherlands, Chile and Australia, but I still believe they can be trusted to come out on top. Even if La Furia Roja have had some slip-ups during the qualifying campaign, they have long ago learned how to hit top form at important tournaments and having won three in a row, they look a good bet to start the title defence by winning their group. With red-hot Diego Costa making himself available for Vicente Del Bosque, Spain should have no problems reaching the final stages of the competition.
4.) Group Qualification
Best Bet: Greece @ 12/5
Greece may have only secured their place at the tournament finals after play-offs, but they were somewhat fortunate to be placed into a pretty evenly matched group. And while constantly improving Colombia remain the favourites for the first place, Fernando Santos’ side should be able to pip traditional underperformers Ivory Coast and Japan to the second position. Many will agree that Greece have become one of the best result-oriented sides in world football, and even with no stars in their squad, Ethniki are capable of upsetting the odds against much stronger sides on paper. Given the sharp odds offered on them and the fact that both Elephants and Blue Samurai rarely live up to the billing at tournament finals, this bet clearly offers excellent value for money.
5.) To Be In England Finals Squad
Best Bet: Adam Lallana @ 5/2
The Southampton captain has been a late inclusion into the England squad, having been handed his debut only after the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign ended, but he seems to have done enough to warrant a place on the plane to Brazil. Two stellar performances in back to back defeats to Chile and Germany have clearly been enough to impress boss Roy Hodgson, and, bar any injuries, Adam Lallana should be a good bet to make England World Cup squad, especially with odds much higher than expected.
6.) England Stage Of Elimination
Best Bet: Group Stage @ 6/5
England definitely did not have luck of the draw this time out having been pitted against 2013 Confederations Cup participants Italy and Uruguay as well as Costa Rica. And while the Three Lions have been showing improvement under Roy Hodgson, they do not seem to have what it takes to match the world’s best sides. Given that this is still a team in the making and with quite a few players lacking international experience, England will struggle to cope with seasoned Italy and Uruguay sides that tend to impress at the biggest stage.
7.) Top England Goalscorer
Best Bet: Wayne Rooney @ 5/2
If England are to defy the odds at the 2014 World Cup, they will need Wayne Rooney to continue his rich vein of form and it does appear as though the Manchester United star is their only attacker that can be relied on to make an impact in Brazil. Daniel Sturridge is clearly still green for international stage, whereas Danny Welbeck, Rickie Lambert and Jermain Defoe cannot really be backed to score more than the odd goal here and there, which makes Rooney the favourite to be top England goalscorer.
8.) Winning Continent
Best Bet: Europe @ 4/5
Even if hosts Brazil are the number one favourites for the title at the moment, the fact is they are the only South American side capable of lifting the trophy, as I seriously doubt Argentina, Uruguay or even improving Colombia can go all the way. Meanwhile, the likes of Germany, Spain and Italy are all serious contenders, whereas Belgium, France and Netherlands are seen as dark horses, which clearly makes betting on European side to emerge victorious in the end a sensible decision.
With so many high-quality sides achieving qualification and the tournament played in a country that adores football, everything suggests this will be one of the most interesting World Cups in history. At the same time, there are plenty of betting opportunities for punters to exploit, and hopefully our suggestions will come in handy if you decide to explore those ante-post markets.
So if you fancy placing a bet before the World Cup in Brazil starts next Summer 2014, our recommended bookmaker would be: Bet365. New UK customers can get up to £200 in free bets. Everyone else is entitled up to $/€100 in free bets. Click here to Visit Bet 365 and Grab Your Free Bet Today.