2014 World Cup Betting 101: Wagering on Soccer Based on the Odds
by George Monroy - 6/10/2014
When it comes to soccer, there is a huge elephant in the room: the fact that most people don't know anything about the sport. With the World Cup set to begin in a few days with a June 12 opening matchup between Brazil and Croatia, soccer fever will once again hit America. For bettors, that means there will be an event to help bridge the gap between the end of basketball season and the beginning of the football year.
The World Cup can provide excellent opportunities for bettors to make a profit, even if they do not know much about the sport. Savvy betting and the understanding of lines and odds can be enough for gamblers to get the better of the sportsbooks over the next month of soccer action. So for those that don't know much about the sport, let's take a closer look at the opening-game lines and figure out the best side to wager on. All odds come from Sportsbool.ag
Thursday, June 12
Brazil versus Croatia
Total: 2.5 ("over" -120, "under" -109)
Brazil is the 2014 World Cup host team and a traditional soccer powerhouse. My first thought about this line is taking the over at 2.5. Brazil is a huge -370 favorite over Croatia, and a blowout seems to go hand-in-hand with one team being a large favorite. Brazil is hosting the Cup, the team is one of the favorites to actually win the event, and it will probably be looking to make a statement during the opening matchup. Would the oddsmakers open a -370 line if they really expected the game to end 1-0 or 2-0? Those scores are too close for comfort.
The bet : Taking Brazil at -370 is a solid bet, but it might be too expensive for most bettors' bankrolls. The best option is to take the over in what will probably be a Brazil blowout.
Friday, June 13
Total: 2.5 (over +165, under -208)
The first round of the World Cup is the group stage, which puts four teams into "leagues" and has them face off in a round-robin series of games. In the group stage goal differentials play a big part of the process, so many times an underdog will gladly take a tie in order to not fall behind other teams. If the game stays close heading into the second half, Cameroon may be looking to settle for a tie rather than actually win the game. Both squads seem to be in the same category odds-wise, and a tie is the second most likely thing to happen after a Mexico win.
The bet : Under 2.5 goals is the favorite at -208, but I am not a fan of wagering on such a large moneyline that could be ruined by an accidental kick. Taking a shot on the tie at +237 feels like the best wager to make, and Mexico is not much of a favorite anyway.
Total: 2.5 (over +140, under -169)
Most of the opening World Cup lines are either large favorites at -200 or more or evenly matched teams receiving positive payouts on both sides. This Spain line feels like the squad is good enough to be a clear favorite but is not receiving a crazy price in the -300 range. Scoring a goal during a soccer game can be difficult, and many times taking any bet outside of a massive favorite is a shot in the dark. A -129 favorite is a very different proposition than a -129 favorite in basketball or football because of the tie factor.
The bet : Sometimes picking a side comes down to price, and both the under and Spain are receiving the right price to wager on either line. I, however, prefer a clear favorite in Spain at a reasonable -129 price.
The average bettor may not know much about soccer, but that does not mean we can't make smart bets and still try to grab a profit over the summer. Sure, it would be great if you can become a soccer expert before the event starts. However, there is plenty of room to make solid wagers based on the odds and nothing else. Looking for timely spots to wager on ties, and taking favorites at the right price may be the best way to make a profit during the World Cup. Remember, if you can make smart and solid bets, then you are on the right track.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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