World Cup 2014 – latest betting tips
Brazil have not lost a competitive game on home soil since 1975, have an incredibly talented squad and will face the wrath of a nation should they fail to win the World Cup for a record sixth time this summer. If these all sound like good reasons to bet on the host nation, you certainly wouldn’t be the only punter – in fact, heavy backing from the betting public have reduced their odds to a relatively short 3/1.
The key to making a good bet however is not to always back the favourite, but to find a solid competitor at a good price. Here we’ll take a look at the strongest teams in the competition searching for the betting man’s Holy Grail, the location of the smart money.
If Brazil comes good this summer, expect it to be chalked down to destiny. Despite bitter protests against corruption in the host nation, the passion, enthusiasm and sheer noise of the home fans will be an enormous boost for the competition’s runaway favourites.
The last time Brazil hosted the World Cup, in 1950, they suffered a shock defeat to Uruguay in the final, a horror firmly etched into the national psyche. The team may be facing even greater pressure this time around, as politics and football make for a combustible mix.
Brazil are rightly the favourites for the World Cup, but a price of 3/1 does not represent the most attractive option. Better value can likely be found amongst the chasing pack where the odds are less distorted by overambitious bets.
A simply breath-taking team, playing on their home continent, Argentina boast perhaps the most gifted attacking trio in club or international football. Talismanic captain Lionel Messi has scored 20 international goals in 21 appearances since being given the armband on a permanent basis in 2011, and is showing no signs of slowing down! Despite the strength of their squad, Argentina has not won major international honours since the Copa America in 1993, and a price of 4/1 seems a questionable proposition.
Spain’s dominance in international football has been a sight to behold; La Furia Roja has won the last three major tournaments they entered (two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup). However, a tame performance in last summer’s Confederations Cup final only heightened the feeling that Brazil are invincible on home turf, as Spain sank to a 3-0 defeat.
Despite one relatively poor performance, a price of 13/2 seems more than reasonable for a team with such talent, depth and chemistry. In the author’s opinion, Spain represent the best value bet of any major international team, which is likely due to the frenzied backing received by the ‘home’ nations (Brazil and Argentina).
It is hard to escape the feeling that Germany have underperformed on the international stage in recent years. Third place finishes in the last two World Cups may be entirely respectable – but given that the Golden Boot went to a German player on both occasions it is clear that the team had sufficient talent to win outright.
It will undoubtedly be tough for Germany to make their mark at these finals. The sweltering conditions in Brazil will be tough for the squad, most of whom either play domestically or in the Premier League. What’s more, a tough group containing Portugal, USA and Ghana will serve as stern tests even if qualification from the group is never in jeopardy. A price of 6/1 does seem to compensate for these tough hurdles and Germany can reasonably be expected to at least reach the semi-final.