World Cup favorites and betting odds

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The usual soccer powers are at the top of this year’s World Cup favorites list, with DraftKings picking Brazil, Argentina, defending champions France, Spain and England as the top picks. My own betting recommendations are a bit more eclectic – see below – but here’s a quick look at the odds of the leading contenders:

Brazil (+400 to win, bet $100 to win $400)

The five-time World Cup winner has not lifted a trophy in 20 years and has reached the quarter-finals in three of the last four tournaments, but an impressive qualifying run in South America (14 wins, three draws and no losses). It has a return. For glory on the table, the Selecao has perhaps the best goalkeeper in the world (Alisson) and an array of attacking options, including Neymar, who will be fully fit for the first time for the World Cup.

It’s the last chance to win a World Cup for 35-year-old legend Lionel Messi, who has made it past the World Cup quarter-finals just once in four attempts with Argentina. The two-time champions are unbeaten in 35 games, a streak that includes victory over Brazil in the 2021 Copa America final. This time, Messi is surrounded by talent and plays in a pass-heavy system that suits his game.

As noted below, the defending champions have had an unsettled four years since their triumph in Russia 2018, with no team since Brazil in 1962 successfully defending their World Cup title. has not done. But any team that has Karim Benzema (the last Ballon d’Or winner) in their possession. The best player in the world at a European club, Kylian Mbappé (only 23 and one of the world’s most dangerous goalscorers) and Antoine Griezmann (the brilliant veteran) will be hard to stop. France’s greatest enemy is France itself.

Manager Luis Enrique wants to fully stick to his attack-first, always-attack system: “We always want to be in our opponents’ half and take risks.” But the system isn’t much without effective finishers, and Spain may be lacking in that department. (A lot is expected of a 19-year-old father.) Plus, Enrique’s methods could leave Spain’s defense vulnerable to counterattacks.

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Expectations have not been high for the Three Lions for some time, but it seems fitting for a team that reached the World Cup semi-finals four years ago and lost to Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final. However, recent form has not been great: England have gone without a win in six UEFA Nations League games this year, losing three and drawing three, although a 3-3 draw with Germany on September 26 was encouraging. Harry Kane plays a key role and if he can’t get going, England could be in trouble.

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There are compelling options to win the Golden Boot, which is awarded to the World Cup’s top scorer. The top contenders are here again, according to DraftKings.

Harry Kane (England) +700

Kane is a Golden Boot-winning defender and scored six goals in Russia four years ago. He needs three goals to overtake Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time top goalscorer.

Kylian Mbappe (France) +800

Mbappe scored four times in Russia at the age of 19, and he and Pele are the only teenagers to score in a World Cup final. He has scored 190 goals in five-plus seasons for Paris Saint-Germain, including 19 goals in 20 games in all competitions this season.

Lionel Messi (Argentina) +1000

For all his achievements, Messi has only scored six times at the World Cup, four of which came in Argentina’s 2014 final. He has never scored in the playoffs.

This season, Neymar has scored 6 goals in two World Cup games and 15 goals in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain.

Here are the top 12 picks on DraftKings as of November 15th.

It might be fun to put down a few bucks on the team you think will win or top scorer, but there are countless other betting options. Here are a few bets that I think could be worth your time.

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Costa Rica scored the fewest goals, +800 (FanDuel)

Of the four CONCACAF teams that have qualified for the World Cup, the defensive-minded Ticos have scored the fewest goals in the final qualifying round (13 in 14 games), and they are the only team without a player with a minimum cap. Three goals in qualifying Instead, Costa Rica are content to let their opponents press the attack and hope that the defense and goalkeeper Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain) will step up.

You want to pick a team that doesn’t have much hope of making the knockout rounds, and Costa Rica will have to compete with European champions Spain and Germany plus Japan in Group E. At FanDuel, the betting odds are on Costa Rica. Eliminated in the group stage is a staggering -2,000, which is vastly higher than any other team’s odds for a similar bet.

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Spain under 8.5 goals, -110 (Draft Kings)

Spain scored just 15 goals in qualifying, equaling Switzerland as the lowest-scoring UEFA qualifying group winners, with seven of those goals coming in four games against Georgia and Kosovo, Spain’s worst group. La Roja last scored more than two goals against Iceland on March 29, and the previous three World Cup teams – including the 2010 team that won it all – did not finish with more than eight goals. La Roja has lacked a finisher since David Villa retired in 2019 after scoring Spain’s record nine World Cup goals, and that – combined with being in perhaps the toughest World Cup group – could keep his rating low. .

Elimination of France in the Round of 16 +400 (DraftKings)

The three previous World Cup champions were eliminated in the group stage of the tournament. In an intermediate Group D with Denmark, Australia and Tunisia, France should avoid that fate, but Les Bleus have entered this year’s tournament on and off the pitch, and an early knockout stage exit is not all that unlikely.

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France enter the tournament with just one win in their last six games. Nine players believed to be candidates for the World Cup roster are struggling with injuries, and star Kylian Mbappe has clashed with the national federation over image rights. There are cases of sex tape blackmail and accusations of witchcraft-themed threats among players, and the president of the national federation has also been accused of sexual harassment. it’s ugly.

Denmark will certainly not be intimidated by France, having beaten Les Bleus twice in the last five months. Runners-up in the group will likely mean playing eventual Group C winners and tournament second-favourite Argentina in the round of 16, and that won’t be easy.

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Canada qualified for the playoffs, +280 (FanDuel).

The Canadians are back at the World Cup for the second time (and first in 36 years), but that doesn’t mean their players don’t have experience in the spotlight. Jonathan David (Lille), Ciel Larin (Bruges), Stéphane Ostacchio (Porto) and Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) have all played in the Champions League and that experience against the world’s best will carry over into Group F games against Belgium, Croatia and Croatia. Morocco.

Finishing ahead of Belgium is probably too much, but finishing second is not. Croatia, runners-up four years ago, are stuck between periods, a combination of age and inexperience not doing them any favours, and Morocco are far from it. Canada topped the CONCACAF qualifiers ahead of continental big brothers America and Mexico and will not be intimidated here.

World Cup Odds (per DraftKings as of Nov. 15)

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