The World Cup is only four months away, and Argentina look like a good bet to win the competition for the third time.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to US sportsbooks - check out the best online sportsbook reviews here – the World Cup winner markets have tightened recently, but regular contenders Brazil still lead the way. There is support too for England and France, available at +700 and +610 respectively, while Argentina, Spain, and Germany are also highly rated, and Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands are on +1200 or higher.
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World Cup 2022: What You Need to Know
The World Cup 2022 will be different from the normal four-yearly event as this competition will be based in the Gulf nation of Qatar and played during the peak of the European and South American seasons, in temperatures that may reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
That immediately raises the possibility of a wagering angle. The previous time a World Cup was held in such high temperatures was in the USA in 1994, and that tournament was notable for how poorly some of the northern European nations fared, although teams from the southern half of Europe did better.
Although 16 out of the 18 World Cups held in Europe or Central/South America have been won by countries from those regions, the picture is not so clear in the case of tournaments held in other parts of the world. Brazil won the World Cup in 1994 and again in Japan and South Korea in 2002, but Spain won the 2010 edition in South Africa.
World Cup 2022 Winner Market
While the heat and location make this year's competition somewhat unpredictable, it is important to keep in mind that, at least in the modern era, there is no tradition of outsiders winning the World Cup. One of the major footballing nations typically wins the competition, even if the ultimate champion has occasionally entered the campaign in bad shape or been written off.
Unsurprisingly, Brazil is the early favorite to win the World Cup, which would be their sixth victory overall. They haven't won it since 2002, but in 2019 they ended a 12-year drought by winning the Copa America, and after easily advancing through the CONMEBOL qualifying, they are front-runners for the World Cup once again. Still, futures bettors might prefer to look elsewhere, given their recent history of underachieving in the tournament and their current short odds.
The reigning champions France, who possess perhaps the strongest team in world football, will be near the top of most people's lists of World Cup contenders, but will they cope in the heat? Even while Didier Deschamps' team is unstoppable when they are at their best, they are still capable of unpredictably bad games. The same goes for an overrated England team, which has a lot of promise but has twice failed at the business end of major tournaments. Neither looks a good option at a short price.
Compared to either France or England, Argentina appears to be a stronger bet. Despite the fact that Lionel Messi will be 35 when the competition starts, he seems more committed than ever to representing his nation, and this is the best Argentine side he has ever been a part of. Argentina's triumph in the 2021 Copa America ended a protracted trophy drought and seemed to enhance team morale, and with conditions, not a problem, they offer plenty of value in the futures market.
For Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, while they have strengths, they could be risky betting options. Germany and Belgium in particular, have strong squads, but there are concerns. The German national team is still in transition, while Belgium, for all their talent, have a recent track record of disappointing in major competitions and the Netherlands are inconsistent. Above all, it is reasonable to assume that all three teams will struggle with the heat in Qatar.
If you're looking for a European club to balance your futures options, then Spain could be the best choice. They are the only European team to have won a World Cup outside of Europe, and it is also fair to say that they won't be as adversely affected by the heat as some of the other European nations. We may have to wait until the 2024 Euros to see them at their best, but the next generation of Spanish talent is full of promise, and they could be a good value bet for the World Cup.
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