World Cup Betting Props: Which Teams Will Advance
by Trevor Whenham - 6/3/2014
As we anxiously await the start of the World Cup - a tournament that seems like it will never get here - all we can do is look at all the prop bets that emerge to see if there is any value to be had. More props are emerging all of the time, and many of them are very interesting. One of the more interesting sets of props available is the ability to bet on whether each of the 32 teams is going to advance out of their groups and into the elimination rounds. It's a straight "yes" or "no," but it provides some interesting opportunities ( odds are from Bovada):
There are some teams that just plain aren't getting through. They would need a remarkable series of miracles to occur simultaneously to make it happen. They obviously don't pay much, but they could still be attractive for some bettors in some circumstances--especially bettors who want something to cheer for but are allergic to real risk. The three most obvious and interesting of these team are:
Australia: The no here is at -2000, so oddsmakers are at least as convinced of the impossibility of this as I am. They are in group with Spain, Netherlands and Chile. Spain has won the last three major international tournaments they have played in and are again elite. The Dutch are always dangerous and could easily make a run. Chile is an upstart team with plenty of talent playing close to home and with lots to prove. This doesn't pay much, but it's still more than the bank pays and almost as secure.
Cameroon: Brazil is absolutely going to advance, so there is really only one spot for three teams to fight over in Group A. Mexico has plenty of issues, but they are talented. The same goes for Croatia. It's easier to imagine Cameroon advancing than Australia, but not by much. The no sits at -600, which is actually quite a nice price when all is considered.
Iran: Like Brazil in their group, it is almost impossible to imagine Argentina failing to advance in their group. That leaves one more spot. Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina are both teams that are going to be better in 2018 than they are now, but they are more than solid. Iran's players mostly play at home, and the team is a total mystery - but not in a good way. At -1000 on the no side the price could be right.
The sure things
Argentina and Brazil are the two best teams heading into the tournament. They were both given gifts by the group selection gods. Anything can happen in this tournament, but it would be absolutely shocking if one of these teams didn't advance. They only pay -2500, though, so this isn't exactly a controversial opinion.
The interesting value spots
Group D: I really like Uruguay - both as a team and for how they match up in this group. I really think they are going to advance, and I am all but certain that Costa Rica stands no chance of advancing. That leaves Italy and England fighting for the second spot. The no side is at +135 for England and +185 for Italy, so you could bet both and find a profit regardless of how it turns out. Uruguay is at -185 to qualify, so if you get creative you could potentially get a better return in this way.
Group G: The conventional wisdom in what was earlier seen as a wide-open group of death seems to now be that the Germans are a lock to advance and that Portugal is a strong second choice. While I agree about Germany, I don't have as much faith in Portugal as many do. The problem, though, is that I am not particularly in love with either the Americans or Ghana. Both teams are at +250 that they will advance, so there is plenty of room to bet on both and make a nice profit if one of them makes it through. It could be worth a gamble.
Belgium is a very exciting young team that is getting a whole lot of attention from bettors. They are a sexy pick to advance and perhaps to do some damage
while they do. While there is a lot to like with the team, there are also real reasons to be concerned. Most significantly, this young team has no team
experience in this tournament and could struggle to handle the pressure of the situation this time around. They are going to be a very tough team in 2018,
but this could potentially be too soon to trust them. They are more likely to advance than not, but at +350 on the no side there could be value in being a
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