Odds to Win the World Cup Update with Picks and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 7/2/2014
We get a breather from all the World Cup action as we await the start of the quarterfinals on July 4. It's a good time, then, to look for value in the World Cup futures as they sit now with some picks and predictions for the final eight teams ( odds for World Cup winner are from Bovada):
Brazil (11/4): The Brazilians were the strong favorite coming into the tournament, so you can't argue with them still being favored here. The gap between them and the rest of the field has shrunk, though, and that is only justified. For starters, the team isn't nearly as dominating as they should be in this tournament. The draw against Mexico in the round robin was the first sign, and needing penalty kicks to dispatch Chile in the Round of 16 didn't exactly inspire confidence. The team seems to be challenged by the immensity of what they face, and they can't mentally get it together like they should. As significantly, though, their path ahead is very tough. Colombia is a real test next. Then they face a German squad that hasn't played their best yet, either, or a French squad that has been very impressive. Unless Costa Rica shocks the world, the final opponent won't be easy, either. This is still Brazil's tournament to lose, but it is tougher to unquestionably assume that they will win it than it was earlier. I haven't seen any value in betting on this team in the futures market at any point, and that hasn't changed now.
Germany (7/2): Like Brazil, Germany has yet to look like the beasts they can be. They were truly dominant in their opener against Portugal, but since then it has felt like they have almost been complacent - as if they had already gotten their work done. Their draw against Ghana was frustrating to watch, and they were flat against both the U.S. and Algeria. We know they have an extra gear. However, will we see it again? France, Brazil and the finals are all very tough games, so they can't afford to be complacent again. That being said, I like Germany at this price better than Brazil at theirs.
Argentina (4/1): The second favorites heading into the tournament are the third choice now. Struggling so badly against a Swiss team that had underwhelmed in group play certainly didn't help their cause. I feel like a broken record, but this is yet another top-level team that has yet to play near their peak. Outside of Messi the team has been downright unimpressive at times. The good news, though, is that their draw is much more manageable than the two teams we have already talked about. Belgium does not appear to be ready for primetime just yet, and the Dutch are very good but don't have the upside that the Argentines do - they will hit their ceiling much sooner. I liked the Argentines most of all heading into the tournament, and I still do at this price.
Netherlands (9/2): The Dutch have been dramatically better in this tournament than I was expecting them to be. I didn't have them advancing out of the first round, so my take on this team lacks a lot of credibility. That being said, I just struggle to see how this team will keep it up. They are playing with an almost frenetic energy. Opponents have struggled to deal with that, though Mexico would have if it weren't for a bizarre few closing minutes - and some serious help from the refs. They will almost certainly beat Costa Rica, but then things get tough, and I just don't think that they are as good as any of their most likely opponents. If Belgium and France could both shock and move on then Netherlands would be my choice, but I don't see that happening, so I am not interested in the Dutch at this price.
France (7/1): France has looked surprisingly good, but they have faced a truly laughable path to get here - Ecuador, Honduras, Switzerland and Nigeria. There isn't a top-level test among that group, so we can't truly evaluate where the team is at. Things get dramatically tougher from this point on, and I just don't see how they can be favored to win another game - or even viewed as a serious threat. I'm not saying that this is a bad team by any means. I just don't think that they are good enough.
Colombia (11/1): I have huge respect for what this team is doing. They lost their top player before the tournament, but instead of quitting they have used that as motivation and have looked great. They are moving into the big leagues now, though, and I wish I could be more optimistic for them. If they had better depth - and if Falcao was healthy - then I could envision an upset or two as a possibility. Now, though, they would just need too many breaks to make magic. Given a potential path of Brazil, Germany and Argentina, I just don't see that many breaks out there to be had.
Belgium (12/1): The effort against the Americans really solidified what I was feeling about this team since before the tournament began. This is a wildly-talented team with huge potential, but their youth and inexperience means that this tournament is just a rehearsal before the real show starts for them in 2018. They have the tools, but they don't seem to know what to do with them yet. They have found a way to get things done so far, but that luck will run out soon.
Costa Rica (40/1): Great story. Remarkable. Impossible. And about to end, sadly. I take absolutely nothing away from what they have done so far, but they won't be able to keep doing it - not against this caliber of teams given the time to prepare for the matchup that they will have.
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