World Cup Betting

Basics of World Cup Betting


While there are plenty of huge sporting events - i.e. the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Monaco GP, World Series - none of these can touch the World Cup in terms of global popularity. This is especially the case in Europe and South America, where many countries are full of die-hard football (a.k.a. soccer) fanatics.

Of course, football popularity isn't just relegated to these two continents since there are an estimated 3.5 billion fans worldwide. With such a massive following, you can certainly see how World Cup betting runs rampant during the summers when this huge event happens. This being said, it's definitely worth discussing general World Cup info, betting basics, and what type of wagering opportunities you can expect.

World Cup Overview

If you're totally new to World Cup betting, then you'll definitely want to know a little about it before making bets. First off, the FIFA World Cup is only held once every four years. At the time of this writing, the next World Cup is set to take place in 2014, from June 12th to July 13th. So in the four years leading up to the event, nearly 200 countries vie for one of 32 spots in this prestigious football tournament.

The host country is already guaranteed a spot, which means the actual number of qualifying positions is 31. From here, teams are gradually eliminated throughout the world, until the 32-team tourney field is complete.

The qualifiers are divided into eight different 4-team pools. Every team plays each other once, and the top two finishers in each pool move on to the elimination round, which is a 16-team, single-elimination tournament. This round works just like any normal tourney, where winners move to the next round. The final game is the World Cup Finals, which is televised in many countries throughout the world.

Main World Cup Bets


Soccer fans certainly don't have any trouble finding betting opportunities in the World Cup. This is especially the case when looking at the main types of bets offered, including individual match wagers, totals and futures. Below you can see a short description of each type.

Individual Matches - Anybody who's bet on football before will have no trouble with these bets. But if you haven't, it's worth covering individual game wagers. These are simply bets on which team will win a particular match. Here's an example using the moneyline in elimination play:

Brazil   -150
United States   +270

Here, Brazil is the favorite because bettors would wager $15 to win a $10 profit ($25 total). As for the underdog, USA, people would bet $10 to win a $17 profit ($27 total). Notice that there's no "Draw" option available because an elimination match will feature penalty kicks until a winner is established. However, pool play games will have a Draw option. One more thing to keep in mind is that you may see either decimal or fractional odds offered, rather than the moneyline.

Totals - If you'd like to bet on how many total goals will be scored in a match, you can opt for the totals (a.k.a. over/under) wager. Most World Cup totals bets are set at 2 or 2.5 goals, and there are usually different odds attached to each outcome. Here's a look at how this works:

France   Over 2.5   +120
Germany   Under 2.5   -140

In this case, those betting that France and Germany will combine for three goals or more will risk $10 to win $12 ($22 total). People taking the under are betting $14 for every $10 ($24 total) that two goals or less will be scored.

Futures - These bets are offered at the beginning of the World Cup, and they ask players to select the team that will win it all. Many online sportsbooks will list all 32 teams, but just to create a quick example, we'll use five countries:

Brazil   +380
Spain   +450
Italy   +600
Argentina   +780
Netherlands   +900

Brazil is definitely the favorite here because bettors would be risking $10 to win $28 in profit ($38 total). Out of this group, the Netherlands is being given the longest odds of winning because people would risk $10 to win an $80 profit ($90 total). Remember that the team you wager on has to win the entire World Cup for it to be a success.

Prop Bets and Live Wagering

Many people are content with the large variety of regular World Cup bets offered. However, those who really get into the event often seek out additional action through prop bets. These wagers can encompass just about anything, from who'll score the first goal in a match to how long injury time will be in the Finals.

Due to the fact that the World Cup is so huge, players can expect to find an abundance of World Cup prop bets available. Throughout the month that this event runs, you merely need to visit online sportsbooks and see what props are on tap.

Also note that during matches, you'll be able to engage in World Cup live wagering. As the name implies, live wagering features bets that are created after a game starts. For instance, if two teams score early goals, a sportsbook might create a new totals wager of 4.5 goals. Just like any other prop bet, World Cup live wagering is only limited by a sportsbook's imagination.

If you're a huge football fan who's looking to make your viewing experience even more entertaining, there's no better way to do than with World Cup betting!

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