World Cup Betting Mistakes to Avoid
by Trevor Whenham - 5/22/2014
The World Cup presents a great opportunity for bettors. A month of action. Fair lines. Widely-available props. Plenty of value to be found if you know where to look for it. When you are betting on the tournament, though, it can be easy to make mistakes if you aren't being diligent. Those mistakes can be costly, and in a relatively short tournament it only takes a few mistakes to turn a winning event into a loser for a bettor.
Here are five types of mistakes to avoid when betting on the World Cup:
Overvaluing the favorites: We know that Brazil is going to be very tough at home and that they would be favored regardless of where the tournament was being played. We also know that Argentina is a very tough team who should benefit from geography as well. Those two, along with teams like Germany and Spain, will draw a whole lot of betting attention this year.
While they are all worthy of a whole lot of respect, it's important to have perspective about the challenges they face in winning this tournament. Everyone will be gunning for them. Once they make it to the second round - which likely won't be tough for any of the teams, though Germany faces the biggest challenge - they have to win four games against teams that are both increasingly good and in increasingly good form. While these teams are all very talented, the World Cup teaches us again and again that anything can happen and that no team is infallible.
There are no false favorites among the top five or six teams in the tournament in my eyes, but there are going to be upsets, and it's very easy to accept a price in betting on the top teams that doesn't even come close to compensating for the risk involved in betting on them.
Neglecting the draw: World Cup success isn't just about how talented you are and how good you are playing. More than anything, really, it is about who you have to play against.
More often than not, the teams that advance surprisingly far in the tournament have had some breaks along the way - either in the group they were assigned to or the teams they have met in the elimination rounds. Don't make the mistake of assuming a team will advance far because of their talent until you consider who they could play, how they match up, and what impact that could have on their chances of making a run in the tournament.
Betting reputations: It doesn't matter for bettors what a team has done in the past. It only matters what they are capable of doing now. It's too easy to make mistakes based on reputation - betting blindly on Italy, Portugal or France this year, for example, based on deep runs they have made in recent tournaments.
The name on the front of the jerseys at the tournament carries a lot of tradition and meaning, but they can't have any impact on the way you view the outcome of the tournament. It's not possible to actually do, but you almost need to handicap the tournament in a vacuum - basing decisions on rosters and recent form without even knowing what countries they represent.
Being seduced by stars: International soccer is a star-driven game. Superstar players, often known by a single name, are among the most popular and well compensated athletes on the planet. Those stars are often still burning bright in the public eye after their best days have passed them by, though.
It's important that you judge players not on what they were able to do in the past, which products they endorse, or how hot their wife or girlfriend is, but rather on what they bring to the table now. You also need to remember that this is very much a team sport, so even if a star is at his peak there is only so much he can do if he doesn't have the pieces around him to help him.
Trusting 'instant experts': The World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet, and lots of people will try to cash in on a piece of the action by being an 'expert'. The problem is, though, that most of the experts only pay attention to the sport every four years, and they have very little real insight into what shape the teams are in or even what it takes to be a winning team at this level.
Before you act on anything you read, then, it is important that you check it out for yourself to confirm that what the 'experts' are saying is actually
true and not something they just made up because it sounded good.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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