World Cup Betting

May 15, 1057 days ago

World Cup Group C/D Preview

World Cup Group C/D Preview

After we get to see three of the tournament favourites on the first couple of days of the 2014 World Cup we get to enjoy matches from two of the most intriguing groups in the tournament. Group C features well-fancied Colombia while England and Italy meet in a mouthwatering Group D encounter.

Keep reading for our betting preview of Groups C and D.

The most open group in the tournament

Group C contains everything that is great about the World Cup. Featuring four teams from four different federations it promises a clash of styles and is the most open of the eight groups.

Colombia are many people’s fancy to progress far into the tournament and the South Americans are 5/6 to win the group. Ivory Coast are 7/2, Japan are 9/2 and Greece are 11/2 to top the pool.

Ranked 6th in the world, Colombia have qualified for the tournament for the first time since 1998. As short as 25/1 to win the tournament, even escaping the group would equal the nation’s best performance at a World Cup Finals.

Their chances will depend a huge amount on whether talismanic striker Radamel Falcao can recover from injury in time to participate in the tournament. Falcao is already Colombia’s second highest goalscorer and his presence will be crucial to their success.

Ivory Coast have been eliminated at the group stage in the last two World Cups and are desperate to reach the knockout stages for the first time in 2014. They boast plenty of household names including some real class in the form of Yaya Toure, Wilfried Bony, Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou and have a strong squad with plenty of both European and international experience.

Japan have beaten the Netherlands and Belgium in recent friendlies and could also be a team to watch this summer. Mainz’s Shinji Okazaki provides the goals while Milan’s Keisuke Honda and Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa provide plenty of class in midfield.

Greece are the underdogs in the group and their World Cup finals record reads: played 6, won 1, lost 5. Their strength is their defence – they conceded just four goals in ten qualifying matches – and don’t be surprised to see them nick a 1-0 win.

All in all this is a tricky group to call. Any of the four teams could qualify but I’d be tempted to side with Ivory Coast and Japan to cause an upset by both qualifying at 15/2.

England given a tricky draw

Group D features three previous World Cup winners and one fancied team is set to be eliminated at the group stage.

Will that team be England? The Three Lions face Italy and Uruguay in the opening two fixtures, knowing that they need something from those matches ahead of a final tie against minnows Costa Rica.

While it may not be a vintage team, Italy always know how to dig in and perform at major tournaments. Similarly, although Uruguay may have needed a play-off to qualify they reached the semi-finals four years ago and have won a World Cup on Brazilian soil in the past.

I think it will be really tough for England to qualify for the knockout stages. Italy and Uruguay are 13/8 to qualify.

World Cup Betting

May 13, 1059 days ago

World Cup 2014 – England Stage of Elimination

World Cup 2014 – England Stage of Elimination

It seems like an awfully long time since England headed to the 2010 World Cup as third favourites. This time around no-one really gives Roy Hodgson’s men a chance, and England are behind Uruguay, Colombia and even Belgium in the betting.

So, how well can England expect to do in Brazil this summer? Keep reading for our guide.

Group Stages – 5/4

The last time that England reached the World Cup finals to go out in the opening round was in 1958. An unexpected defeat to the USA cost England 56 years ago but their matches in 2014 are much tougher.

England face previous world champions Italy and Uruguay in Group D and they could be eliminated by the time they face Costa Rica on 24 June.

I genuinely think it will be a huge achievement if England can escape from this group. While Uruguay may not be in the best of form – they had to win a play-off to qualify for the tournament – and Italy may not be a vintage side it would still be quite s surprise if the Three Lions qualified at the expense of a former champion.

Last 16 – 5/2

If England do manage to escape from their group – which for me is the hard bit – then their next match could end up being more straightforward. The last 16 match will see them play Colombia, Greece, Japan or the Ivory Coast and I’m sure Roy Hodgson would be happy drawing any of those four sides.

Quarter-finals – 4/1

England’s natural level as an international football team seems to be the quarter-finals. They reached this stage in 1986, 2002 and 2006 and I think that another defeat in the last eight this time would represent a decent run in the competition.

If England win Group D they can expect to face reigning champions Spain at this stage, while if they finish runner-up they will probably face Brazil. While anything can happen in a one-off match, you’d have to think that either of those two sides would be way too strong for England.

Semi-finals – 15/2

Surely a run to the semi-finals is too much to hope for? If England were to reach this stage they would have to have eliminated at least one of the tournament favourites and would be set to face Germany, France or Argentina in the last four.

Considering who the Three Lions would have beaten to get here, the 15/2 about them being eliminated in the last four doesn’t look particularly generous.

Winner – 25/1, runner-up 16/1

No European team has ever won the World Cup in the Americas. England haven’t reached the World Cup Final for 58 years.

A lot of records would fall if Roy Hodgson’s men were to qualify for the 2014 World Cup Final and England would pretty much grind to a halt on 13 July. Losing a World Cup Final would somehow be worse than going out in the earlier rounds and so backing England to finish runner-up might only be a bet you place in the event they reach the Final and you want to profit from the despair of defeat.

World Cup Betting

May 13, 1059 days ago

World Cup 2014 – Group A & B preview

World Cup 2014 – Group A & B preview

It would be fair to say that the 2014 World Cup is set to hit the ground running. There are some absolutely terrific matches over the first couple of days of the tournament involving teams from Groups A and B.

These two groups feature nations from all corners of the world and our preview looks at where the betting value lies.

Brazil given a gentle group on home soil

Tournament favourites Brazil would have been my tip to win almost any group at this summer’s World Cup but the hosts have been given a very favourable draw. Alongside the five time winners in Group A are Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon.

The tournament opens with Brazil taking on Croatia, before Mexico face Cameroon on 13 June. The key match of the group is likely to be the meeting between Croatia and Mexico on 23 June as I fancy one or other of these nations to join Brazil in the second round.

Croatia needed a play-off win over Iceland to qualify for the tournament and this year’s squad are nowhere near as strong as Croatian sides of old. They lost to Scotland in qualifying and limped to a 3-2 win over lowly Liechtenstein in a recent friendly and so this is not a vintage team.

Saying that, it’s also not the strongest Mexico team ever assembled. They won only two of ten matches during the fourth round of 2014 World Cup qualifying, but qualified for an intercontinental play-off as the fourth-highest placed team in the CONCACAF region after the United States defeated Panama in the final round of matches. A 9-3 aggregate win over New Zealand in a play-off saw them qualify.

Cameroon’s recent preparations haven’t been great – a thumping 5-1 defeat to Portugal in March has been their only result in 2014 – and their most experienced players may have seen better days. Samuel Eto’o still leads the line with Rennes’ Jean Makoun pulling the strings in midfield but I can’t see the Indomitable Lions qualifying in this company.

Mexico have gone out in the round of 16 in each of the last five World Cups and I expect them to repeat that record in 2014. They are 11/10 to qualify from Group A (Croatia are also 11/10) and so the pick may be the Brazil/Mexico dual forecast at 13/10.

2010 finalists go head to head in opening tie

The pick of the group matches this summer is a repeat of the 2010 final. Spain play the Netherlands in the third match of the tournament and the outcome could go a long way to deciding who qualifies for the latter stages of the tournament.

The two European rivals also face Chile and Australia in Group B.

With the winner of Group B potentially avoiding Brazil in the first knockout round, topping the pool could be crucial. Spain are the 8/11 favourites to win the group with the Netherlands available at 11/4, Chile at 4/1 and Australia at 33/1.

Rumours of Spain’s demise have been somewhat exaggerated and I fully expect the reigning champions to go well at this summer’s tournament. They still boast one of the strongest squads in the competition, enhanced this time by Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa and young midfielders Koke and Isco.

The Netherlands squad blends youth and experience but I think they will do well to avoid an ignominious exit at the group stages. Chile are a highly underrated side and boast some excellent recent results. They have drawn 2-2 with both Brazil and Spain in the last year and, of course, beat England 2-0 at Wembley in November.

All three sides should have no trouble dispatching an aging Australia side and so the key game could be Netherlands v Chile on 23 June. I think there could be an upset in Group B and Spain and Chile are 21/10 to qualify for the last 16.

World Cup Betting

 

Mar 3, 1130 days ago

2014 World Cup betting preview – Winner

2014 World Cup betting preview – Winner

If you’re a football fan, there’s nothing like the World Cup. 32 teams will be heading to Brazil this summer and at least half of those sides harbour genuine hopes of lifting the trophy in Rio on 13th July.

The hosts have long been the favourites to win the tournament for the first time since 2002 but there are plenty of other talented international sides in contention. We look at where the smart money is going ahead of the 20th FIFA World Cup.

The favourites

Considering that a World Cup tournament held in South America has never been won by a team from outside the continent it’s perhaps no surprise that Brazil and Argentina head the betting this time.

Since Brazil lost to England in February 2013 they have only lost one of their subsequent 18 international matches. Impressive victories against Portugal, South Korea and Chile have boosted confidence as did their Confederations Cup win in the summer of 2013. The hosts beat France, Japan, Mexico, Italy and Uruguay on their way to the final where goals from Fred and Neymar saw them run out comfortable 3-0 winners against world champions Spain.

The goalkeeping position remains problematic – first choice Julio Cesar has had to head from QPR to FC Toronto to get a game – but beyond that Brazil boast great strength in depth in all areas. They are a worthy 3/1 favourites.

Since Alejandro Sabella became manager of Argentina in 2011 the Albiceleste have been on a great run. They have beaten Brazil, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland in that time and lost just two of their World Cup qualifying ties.

The majority of the Argentina team ply their trade in Europe and it is up front where they boast an embarrassment of riches. Alongside Lionel Messi  they can boast the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi and the quartet have over 80 international goals between them.

The defence is less experienced – in their current squad just Pablo Zabaleta has over 30 caps – although they have conceded just one goal in their last four internationals. Winning in Brazil is a tall order – it would be like England winning the World Cup in Glasgow – but they are 5/1 second favourites.

After a six year run of unbroken success, it is something of a surprise to see Spain installed as just 7/1 fourth favourites. They have won the last three international tournaments and, as reigning champions, are the team to beat in 2014.

Their opening match is a repeat of the 2014 final as they take on the Netherlands. The outcome of that tie could actually be crucial to the chances of either side as the loser is likely to face Brazil in the first knockout stage. If Spain can prevail they face a straightforward looking route to the semis where they are likely to play Argentina.

The 7/1 available on Spain takes into account the possibility of having to face Brazil in round two but I think the reigning champions can beat the Netherlands, top the group and go a long way in the tournament.

After finishing second, third and third in the last three World Cups the pressure is on Germany to finally return home with the trophy. The Germans arguably boast the strongest squad of any team at the tournament and have been given a generous draw – although they are likely to run into the hosts Brazil in the semi-finals.

Of all the European challengers, Germany look the best equipped to prevail at 5/1.

The challengers

While their form of late has been poor, the draw and previous experience point to it being a good summer for Uruguay. 2010’s semi-finalists are 25/1 to win in Brazil – as they did in 1950 of course – and the draw certainly helps them.

This all assumes that the final team to qualify for the tournament can overcome England or Italy in the group, of course. If they do, they could certainly be a team with momentum as they enter the knockout stages.

England are a 25/1 chance but it would be a major achievement to progress from the group, never mind go on and win the tournament. With old foes Argentina waiting in the knockout stages, it could be a tough summer for Roy Hodgson’s side.

If you’re looking for a long shot then Switzerland are a solid side, one of the tournament seeds and could well surprise one or two sides in Group E and beyond. A win over France is not out of the question and they could represent decent each way value at 100/1.

World Cup betting

Nov 18, 1235 days ago

World Cup Qualifier Playoffs Round Two Preview – Sweden v Portugal.

Ronaldo and the rest of the Portugal squad appear to be in confident mood ahead of their second leg qualifier against Sweden, and why not!

Jun 3, 1403 days ago

Ireland v Faroe Islands Preview and Tips

Ireland v Faroe Islands Preview and Tips

It’s likely to be all about goals as Giovanni Trapattoni’s side prepare to face minnows the Faroe Islands at the Aviva Stadium. The Irish need to rattle up a big score against the Faroese with goal difference likely to play a part in a tight group behind the Germans.

Mar 24, 1474 days ago

Montenegro v England Betting Tips and Preview

Montenegro v England Betting Tips and Preview

Given that Montenegro are top of Group H, England probably don’t represent fantastic value to win in Podgorica on Tuesday at 4/5, especially as the likes of Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Gary Cahill have already been ruled out. On the other hand, there’s a train of thought which suggests the Montenegrins are possibly a little flattered by their position in the section and they haven’t come up against a team with England’s all-round quality so far.

Mar 24, 1474 days ago

Ireland v Austria Betting Tips and Preview

Ireland v Austria Betting Tips and Preview

Ireland probably surpassed expectations in taking a point of Sweden in Stockholm last Friday but they have to build on the momentum gained by beating Austria back at the Aviva Stadium if they are to keep up their push for World Cup Qualification.

Mar 17, 1481 days ago

San Marino v England Tips and Match Preview

San Marino v England Tips and Match Preview

Jack Wilshere’s loss is a blow to England but his absence is likely to be felt more keenly in Montenegro next week rather than against minnows San Marino.

Roy Hodgson also has defensive issues to resolve with Gary Cahill joining Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jagielka on the sidelines and the manager is considering using Michael Carrick at centre-back.

Mar 16, 1482 days ago

Sweden v Ireland – Betting Tips and Match Preview

Sweden v Ireland – Betting Tips and Match Preview

The Republic’s World Cup destiny may well be decided over the next five days with vital games in Sweden and at home to Austria. They’ve stuck with Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli, despite a poor showing at Euro 2012, but performances need to improve if they are to compete against the world’s best in Brazil.

Oct 24, 1625 days ago

2014 Brazil World Cup Betting Update

2014 Brazil World Cup Betting Update

Giovanni Trapattoni appears to have the support of the FAI, for the time being at least, but the Republic Of Ireland’s hopes of making it to World Cup 2014 look a little forlorn from where I’m stood.

May 19, 2149 days ago

Weekly Sports Betting Tips

Betting Previews

Football Betting

With no disrespect to the other teams involved, this is the Champions League final most neutrals wanted to see. Barcelona take on Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday night in a repeat of the 2009 final.