The FIFA World Cup is the biggest football spectacle on the planet, taking place every four years, and sees countries from all over the globe take part with the aim of lifting the sport’s most famous trophy.
The widespread attraction of the World Cup brings several unique betting markets for those looking to place a wager.
There are plenty of matches taking place each day for punters to get involved in, from outright to in-play markets, so it’s important to take note of the key markets coming up so you’re fully prepared to place a wager.
Traditional World Cup odds, and European football odds in general, are often split into two different categories: outright betting and match betting.
Outright betting is when bettors look at the final outcome of the World Cup tournament – or to put it simply, the nation that will triumph at the end of the contest.
While you can place a bet ahead of the tournament, odds will change accordingly based on a team’s performance throughout the qualification group fixtures, as well as throughout the tournament itself. Winning bets will be paid out by the bookmaker at the end of the World Cup once the winner is confirmed.
There are numerous outright bets that can be placed on top of the eventual winner, such as the winner or qualifying nations of each group, teams to reach the final, and the player who will finish with the World Cup Golden Boot (tournament top scorer).
If England, which are amongst the favourites with bookmakers for the World Cup, are priced at 5/1 to win the tournament, and you placed a £10 bet, then you would win £50 (£60 if you include your original stake) if they emerge victoriously.
Match betting differs from outright betting, as this focuses on a bet placed on the specific outcome of a World Cup match.
Bettors can place wagers before a match begins, or during it (in-play betting), with odds changing depending on the events of the match itself. Bets will be paid out after the final whistle.
For example, in the World Cup, if Brazil is playing France, you can bet on markets including the result of the match, the correct scoreline (e.g. Brazil 2-1 France), the number of goals scored, whether or not both teams will score, the first goalscorer, and a number of corners and yellow/red cards, amongst others.
If France are priced at 2/1 to beat Brazil and you place a £10 bet before the game, should Les Bleus win then you will win £30 (including your stake).
An alternative form of betting in football and the World Cup is football handicapping.
This way of betting is used in a match to level out the odds on both teams and provides bettors with an improved chance of winning with slightly increased odds.
Many football punters use this method of betting rather than predicting the outcome of a match, as it allows them to analyse a team’s performance and by how many goals they think they’ll win by, rather than just winning in general.
And the World Cup, often the group stages particularly, can be a good tournament to use the handicapping format for betting, given there are a lot of matches where higher-ranked nations can take on lower-ranked countries, at times making for one-sided matches.
For example, if Spain were playing Austria in the World Cup, as the perceived stronger team and more likely to win the match, the Spanish might have a handicap of -1.5, while Austria could have their handicap set at +1.5.
This means that Spain starts with a disadvantage of 1.5 goals and Austria with a 1.5 advantage. If betting on Spain to win in football handicapping, they would need to win by a two-goal advantage for the bet to win.
If betting on Austria in this instance, they would need to win, draw or only lose by a single goal for the bet to be successful.
Due to the number of different markets available, it’s crucial to pick the right bets at the right time when betting on the World Cup to give yourself the best possible chance of success.
As mentioned, bets can vary and therefore it’s beneficial to understand the different bets on offer and when to pick them.
Here’s a list of popular World Cup bets to keep in mind for when the tournament comes around, and if you’re planning to put pre-tournament bets on sooner rather than later.
The betting term ‘accumulator’ refers to the type of bet that involves at least four different selections or more.
An important difference to an accumulator bet over any other is that all four selections must happen in order for the bet to payout.
For example, a World Cup accumulator bet could be a selection of teams across a number of different fixtures and groups, such as England, France, Italy, and Germany to win their own individual matches.
For the bet to come in, you would need all of those nations to win for your bet to payout (if you are betting on each team to win in 90 minutes).
Your winnings are based on the combined odds for each match you have bet on.
Another popular bet in the World Cup is the first goalscorer market.
It’s a simple but popular bet where you are betting on the player you think will score the first goal in the match, with each player having their own relevant odds.
For example, Cristiano Ronaldo may be favourite for Portugal to score given he plays in attack, but Ruben Dias would likely have bigger odds given he is a defender and is less likely to score.
The outright winner of the tournament is arguably one of the most popular bets when it comes to the World Cup.
For example, you might see that England has won all, or most, of their World Cup qualifying fixtures and top their respective group and fancy them to win the World Cup.
If you place £10 on England to win at 5/1 you would win £60 (including your stake) should they emerge victorious at the World Cup.
The World Cup begins with a series of groups, usually four teams in each, with two teams qualifying from each section and progressing to the knockout rounds of the tournament.
And World Cup group betting is popular with many punters choosing to place wagers on which nation will top each group.
For example, you may choose to select a country to finish top of each group at odds of 50/1, while some bettors choose to select the two nations to qualify from each group.
However, it’s worth noting that more often than not there are a few surprises along the way with one or two high-ranked teams exiting the tournament before they are expected to.
Alongside betting on which team will win the World Cup, punters also like to bet on which player will be top goalscorer at a tournament.
The World Cup tends to involve some of the best players in world football, such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Robert Lewandowski, to name a few. If you place £10 on Lewandowski to win the Golden Boot at 10/1, you would win £110 (including your stake) if he ends up doing so.
With goal-lines betting, this looks at a prediction of how many goals will be scored in total during a World Cup match, where bettors can predict an exact number, or hazard a guess at whether there will be under or over a certain number of goals.
For example, you might look at a match where both teams have sturdy defences, and their form is showing they don’t concede many goals in recent games and bet that there will be under 1.5 goals in a game.
Alternatively, if there are two teams playing and one or both have been scoring goals aplenty, then you may decide to place a bet on over 1.5 goals, 2.5 goals or even 3.5 goals.
If Argentina were playing Portugal, you might expect both teams to score a lot in one match, and decide that over 2.5 goals or 3.5 goals might be a sensible bet.
Understanding which bets to place and when in football is crucial, but it’s also important for bettors to have a strategy when placing a wager on the World Cup.
Preparation is key when it comes to making important decisions. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind when picking your bets.
The first and arguably most important rule to refer to in football betting strategies is reviewing the form of teams you’d like to pick before placing any bets.
If you are looking to bet on a specific team, then make sure you find information on their opponents, identify how they usually fare when playing that team, and consider key information such as home and away form, how close their respective results have been, the number of goals they are scoring and conceding, which players to look out for and any squad/injury updates.
It’s good to cover all bases before deciding, and with plenty of information out there, make sure you use it to your advantage and bet cleverly.
It’s easy to just pick favourites in your bet, but while that might win you a bet it won’t always offer the best value and highest winnings.
If it isn’t offering much value, then think about where you can add value to your bet. Perhaps you can look for an away team with decent odds who travel well.
Or, in the World Cup for this instance, perhaps you find an experienced team who have played at several tournaments and offer a good chance of winning or more than their odds suggest.
Or, if the value isn’t there with the favourite, then maybe you could look at a draw, both teams to score, or another market such as over/under on goals or corners.
It’s always best to bet with your head over your heart. You may want a team to win a particular match, but that doesn’t always mean it will happen.
It’s sensible to remain impartial when placing a wager. Placing bets based on your emotions, rather than detailed analysis, could result in a lost bet.
For example, you may support Wales and think they can beat Italy in the World Cup, but that could just be you thinking with your heart over your head.
Always stay smart with your potential bets and go with what you think stands the best chance rather than what you want to happen.
While betting strategies are key, it’s very helpful to understand different betting systems and keep them in mind for your betting strategy in order to give yourself a good chance of winning your bets.
We’ve outlined a few different systems below to be aware of when betting in football.
Before a team plays a match, you will be able to identify their value with a particular method by working out what percentage you feel the chances are of a side winning the game.
Once you identify this percentage, you can multiply it by the decimal price on offer in the market, and any result of 1.00 or bigger means the side has value to them and could be worth betting on.
Some people choose to compare markets on different bookmakers’ websites, and the more experienced punters out there sometimes have numerous accounts to analyse which sportsbook is offering the best odds for certain markets.
This allows bettors to have more flexibility in their approach and be selective with the bookmaker they bet with. While many bookies have similar odds, some can vary depending on the sportsbook, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the differences.
For example, multiple bookmakers might offer Germany at 9/2 to win the World Cup, but if you compare different sportsbooks then you might be able to find more value and identify one that offers a better price, e.g. 5/1.
This helps you add value to your bet and increase the potential winnings.
Lay betting often plays a big role in advanced football betting, and in layman’s terms, this effectively means betting on something not to happen.
For example, if you lay a football team to win, your bet will be settled as a winner if the team loses or if the game ends in a draw – so two outcomes are playing in your favour. E.g. you might lay Brazil to win the World Cup if you think they are unlikely to do so.
However, with this approach, your overall risk can be greater if your selection that you predicted to lose actually wins, so there’s a balance to be had.
Placing a bet on the World Cup is a simple process.
Traditionally, bettors have been used to walking into a bookmaker to place their bet, but it can be easier to place your bets online where you can keep up to date with price shifts and identify offers and promotions which could be of interest.
Here are some simple steps to follow when you’re looking to place a bet online for the World Cup.
Once you have opened an account with an online bookmaker and identified the market you are looking to bet on, next you should add the bet to your online betting slip before placing it.
Five easy steps to follow to place a World Cup bet:
While the World Cup is the ultimate football spectacle in international football, when it comes to club football, it doesn’t get any bigger than the Champions League betting.
An annual feast of football that brings together Europe’s biggest and best clubs as they battle through the season to be crowned the champions of Europe.
A total of 32 teams play in the Champions League over the course of the season, and there’s a wide array of markets to bet on throughout the tournament, from outright to in-play match betting.
This year’s Champions League will see Chelsea look to defend their crown after winning last year’s tournament, and with the current campaign already underway there’s plenty of markets to keep an eye on.