2014 World Cup Handicapping: Stage of Elimination Prop Bet Odds and Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 5/15/2014
Bovada offers one of the more interesting World Cup props I have seen so far - the ability to bet on when teams will get eliminated from the tournament. There is some intriguing value to be found, so we will offer some odds and predictions on how we think it will all go down:
Belgium - Quarterfinals (7/2): Belgium is young and inexperienced, but they have developed a lot of talent over the last few years, and they come into this season with high expectations. They are in a group that they are fully capable of winning, and I expect them to do so. If they do so then they will face the runner-up team from Group G - likely Portugal, with the U.S. or Ghana as possibilities. That seems like a reasonably winnable game for the Belgians. But then they would run into Argentina in the quarterfinals in all likelihood, and I just don't see them coming out on top in that contest. That means that losing in the quarterfinals would be a good bet. The biggest risk here, though, is that they finish second in their group. That would likely lead to a second-round date with Germany, and that is not likely to go well. Still, I like Belgium enough in their group to make a quarterfinal loss the most likely outcome - and attractive at this price.
Switzerland (7/4) and France (13/8) - Second round: I put these two together because the logic behind them is both the same and because you could afford to bet on both and still secure a profit if on turns out to be correct. One of these two teams is most likely to finish second in Group E - with the other team winning the group. The team that finishes second, though, will likely run right into the Argentineans in the second round - and neither squad is nearly good enough to come out on top in that one. That makes a second-round departure likely for one of these teams. The advantage of betting on both teams is that there is also a chance for a really nice payday. If both teams can advance, and both lose their first playoff game - the team that doesn't play Argentina will likely face a feisty Bosnia and Herzegovina team, so a loss is certainly possible - then you would have a nice payoff from both bets.
Brazil - Runners up (5/1) or Semifinals (9/2): The Brazilians are heavy favorites, and they deserve to be. When you combine their talent with home-field advantage, they are tough to beat. They also have a pretty straightforward path to the semifinals. There, they would run into Germany if everything went according to plan. They will be favored in that game but could lose it. They could also lose in the finals. If they were somehow to only finish second in their qualifying group - highly unlikely - they would be able to avoid Argentina until the semifinals. They sit at 3/1 to win the whole tournament. If you were to bet that but then hedge it with these two prop bets then you could secure yourself a decent profit no matter where they went out as long as they made it this far - and things would have to go really poorly for them not to make it that far. This isn't the approach for the daring, and it's not one you will want to brag about to your friends, but sometimes the conservative approach can have some appeal.
Uruguay - Quarterfinals (3/1): I like this team quite a bit, so I am quite pleased to be able to get this kind of price here. They are the best team in Group D in my eyes, and they are in the three-way battle with England and Italy for the two qualifying spots I like their chances. In the second round they would meet up with a team from Group C, and that is the least impressive group in the tournament - especially if Falcao is, as expected, at less than 100 percent for Colombia after his January ACL injury. I like their chances against anyone they would meet in the second round. In the quarterfinals, though, they would likely run into Spain if they win Group D or Brazil if they finish second in the group. Neither option is at all attractive, and it is likely Uruguay would lose either game. No matter where they finish in their group, then, they are likely headed for trouble in the quarters. This is an attractive bet.
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