Tuesday, 6th December, 2016

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World Cup 2010 Betting Blog: World Cup Preview

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa has been a long time in the making. Well, it’s been 4 years since the last World Cup and, I’ll be honest, it’s felt like an eternity. I’m excited for both a sporting reason and also a betting reason. You see, there is a month of soccer for me to watch, which is always good, with the top players from around the world competing against each other to find out whose country is the best. But also, there is a month of betting opportunities. You name it, you can no doubt bet it. So many matches, so many bets!

But where do I start? Well, I want to look at the whole event just now. The tournament, for bettors, has already started and it started as soon as the final draw was made. All of bettors, we’ve been poring over the stats, potential draws and also the odds trying to find those great bets before anyone else does and steals all the value.

What I’ve found with outright betting is that, looking at the history of the event and just knowing about the teams, there are actually very few teams who have won the tournament. In fact, only 7 different countries have won the World Cup (or the Jules Rimet Trophy) since its inception in 1930. If you add to the fact that one of them, Uruguay hasn’t won it since 1950, the stats are a bit off-putting for anyone trying to spot value.

You can really narrow the suspects down to a handful of teams and that’s exactly what the bookies have done. Let’s take a look at Bovada‘s odds for this:

Brazil: 4/1
Spain: 4/1
Argentina: 7/1
England: 7/1
Holland: 10/1
Italy: 12/1
Germany: 14/1
France: 18/1

And then it’s 30/1 and up for the rest of the field.

Now, out of that list, we have the 6 World Cup winners from 1954 onwards and also the current European Champions. It’s no coincidence, is it? It doesn’t matter where you look, as most bookies are the same, give or take a point. Check out Stan James if you don’t believe me!

So, is there any value outside there? Well, statistically, probably not. It can be argued that there’s no real value to be had with any of the teams listed, either. There are huge question marks over the Germans, the French and the Italians, while the Dutch always promise so much and then seem to fail at one of the hurdles along the way, not usually the last one! It’s the same story for England, as they have a talented squad, like the Dutch, but there are too many questions to be answered for 7/1 to be value. And Argentina? Well, if qualifying is anything to go by, I wouldn’t be touching the 7/1 with counterfeit money. Yes, they have a talented squad, but they struggled in qualifying and they have a legitimate nutter in charge of the team. So that leaves Brazil and Spain, the two teams at the head of the market, both at 4/1. But here’s the problem: 4/1 is not value!

If you want to back Spain or Brazil, by all means go for it. I’d recommend doing so at Bovada, as you’ll get a nice sign-up bonus with them plus a free bet. On that note, be sure to check out our list of Free World Cup Bets.

But if, like me, you don’t think it’s value, is there anywhere else you can look for value on the outright competition? Well, it’s hard to find some, but it is there.

Let’s take a look at the market for the country to score most goals. The obvious pick here is Spain, as they’re a free-scoring team at times. They’re great to watch, but with an average price of 3/1, it’s terrible value for a team that may or may not go deep. However, take a look at the Brazilians. In 2006, Germany were the top scoring team with 14 goals, 8 of them scored in the group stages and then they had an extra match thanks to the 3rd/4th place play-off. Now, having a look at Brazil’s group, they should easily knock a few past North Korea, they should also be able to bag a couple against Portugal and Ivory Coast, so 8 in the group stages wouldn’t be too hard to manage. You would then expect Brazil to go deep in the tournament.

On the other hand, Spain might find it difficult to break down dogged teams such as Chile and Honduras. Teams like that are notoriously tough to break down and play a very physical style of football. So, the 3/1 of Spain is nothing compared to the 11/2 for Brazil.

Brazil to be top scorers at the 2010 World Cup: 11/2 @ Bovada.

Outside of this, it’s becoming trickier every World Cup to find value in the outright markets. Top scorers are hard to come across, as they can sometimes come from out of the blue. Miroslav Klose wasn’t hugely tipped up to win it in 2006, while Davor Suker in 1998 and Oleg Salenko and Hristo Stoichkov in 1994 were definitely not fancied.

So, in short, if you want to have fun in the outright markets, go into a pool with friends and just pick a team. You might end up getting incredibly value with one of the short priced favorites, or you might end up with North Korea, but there is a better chance of getting some value doing a sweep than there is trying to puzzle out the minefield of the outright winner while still keeping the idea of finding value going.

Remember, head over to Bovada for your World Cup betting needs, as they have dozens of markets for you to choose from and they’ll always be willing to stand you a good bet!


In 1945, professional poker player, author and 1995 WSOP Main Event winner 'Action' Dan Harrington was born.

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