World Cup Betting Should Be Out of This World

World Cup betting odds were posted last December after a draw divided 32 national teams into eight separate groups but sportsbooks have been anything but idle over the past six months, not just tinkering with those opening numbers but also adding hundreds of propositions to the globe’s largest wagering sporting event, which celebrates its quadrennial renewal in Brazil, June 12.

In a game where adrenalin can overcome fatigue, the home field advantage gained from a friendly and enthusiastic gathering has convinced sportsbooks to strengthen Brazil’s position as the overall favorite to win the World Cup, moving Canarinho (Little Canary) from a 7/2 to a 3/1 future book favorite to capture its sixth World Cup in the team’s record 20th appearance. Meanwhile, Span, No. 1 in the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) world rankings, has slipped from an 11/2 third choice to a 13/2 fourth choice, behind No. 4 Brazil, No. 7 Argentina, 9/2, and No. 2 Germany, 6/1. Team USA, which is No. 14 in the FIFA rankings but drew into difficult Group G with Germany, No. 3 Portugal and No. 24 Ghana, has edged higher in futures, from 200/1 to 250/1.  

Brazil, (1/4 in Group A), Argentina (2/9 in Group F), Germany (1/2 in Group G), and Spain (8/11 in Group B), each are odds-on favorites to win their respective group competitions and advance to the knockout round of 16. Other group favorites include Colombia (4/5 in Group C), Italy, (13/8 in Group D), France (4/5 in Group E), and Belgium (2/3 in Group H). In addition to the eight group winners, the runners-up in each group also will advance.

Sportsbooks also have posted prices for the opening round games of the World Cup but a series of proposition wagers may be of interest to World Cup betting fans, as well.

For the truly ambitious, many sportsbooks are offering a prop on which two teams will play for the World Cup championship. A matchup of Brazil versus Argentina is the 9/1 favorite with Brazil vs. Spain rated at 12/1. An Argentina-Germany finale is 14/1, Germany against Spain is 20/1, and Brazil versus Germany is 25/1. At the other end of this future book betting list are more than two dozen combinations worth 10,000/1, including six featuring Team USA.

Brazil is a 3/1 favorite to be the highest scoring team in the tournament with Argentina, 7/2, and Germany 4/1, also in the mix. Australia, 4/1, Costa Rica, 5/1, and Iran, 6/1, lead the list of teams expected to score the fewest goals. There also is a pair of props on which group will score the most and fewest goals.

Other props include which continent will produce the World Cup winner, whether a goalkeeper will score a goal, which team gets the most yellow cards, how many teams will lose all their games, which team will score the fastest goal, the total of 0-0 draws, the total of headed goals, the total of own goals, the total red cards, and many, many more.

We’re still more than a month removed from the championship game in Rio de Janeiro, July 13 and while the title teams are unknown, that hasn’t stopped some innovative sportsbooks from posting a proposition on the ultimate encounter. Gamblers lay 1/3 that the final match is won in regulation time, take 4/1 that the game winner is decided in extra time, or get odds of 9/2 that it takes a penalty shootout to produce the 2014 World Cup champion.

Although international record-keeping is impossible, it appears we’re headed to a record-breaking season of World Cup betting.   

US OPEN: Although it’s been pushed from the limelight by World Cup wagering, fans of golf betting can get some action when the second Major of the year, the US Open, is played in Pinehurst, North Carolina, June 12-15. 

In the absence of three-time US Open champion Tiger Woods, who will be absent from his second consecutive Major following back surgery, Rory McIlroy has been established as the tepid 10/1 favorite. McIlroy won the US Open in 2011 and seems to be back on his game following a much publicized break-up with his girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniak.  

Adam Scott, who broke through with his first Major win when he captured The Masters in 2013, is the 12/1 second choice in what appears to be a wide-open event. Scott’s best finish in the US Open is a tie for 15th place in 2012.

With a record six runner-up finishes but no victories in the US Open, Phil Mickelson, 18/1, will be the sentimental choice of many to win the only Major that has eluded him.

Fresh off a triumph at this year’s Masters, Bubba Watson is a 25/1 proposition, the same price at Justin Rose, the defending US Open champion. 

Prices to win the US Open escalate from there, offering value to gold betting practitioners.