2014 World Cup Predictions: Exacta Betting Props for Groups
by Trevor Whenham - 6/3/2014
I love betting on the World Cup. I love betting on horse races. The opportunity, then, to combine the two in a very interesting set of props is an opportunity I can't pass on. At Bovada you can bet on not just which team will win each group but also which two teams will advance and which order they will finish in. In other words, it's an exacta bet just like in a horse race. You have a couple of advantages over a typical racing exacta, though, that makes this bet more attractive - the field is limited to just four teams, and we know the payoff in advance, so the value is easier to spot.
Here my 2014 World Cup predictions for four of these bets that are the most interesting:
I am of the same opinion as virtually everyone else - Brazil is in a very, very good position to win this group. The problem, though, is that it is tough to bet on that opinion because they sit at -450 to win the group, and that's just not attractive. I don't like Cameroon at all in this group, though, and give them very little chance of moving on. That means that the second-place team is likely to be either Mexico or Croatia. The Brazil/Mexico combo pays 7/4, while Brazil/Croatia pays 3/2. You could bet both and get a better return than just betting on Brazil with only the risk that Cameroon will pull off a shock. There are more attractive value bets to be made at this point than betting on Brazil, but if you are determined to do it then this is a way to ring out a little extra potential return.
Colombia was and likely still is clearly the best team in Group C. Their path got far less certain, though, with the news this week that their superstar forward Falcao will miss the tournament due to an ACL injury that hasn't healed in time. That's a big blow for the team, and it could not only impact their ability to score but also their mental strength. Japan is the team I respect most in the group, and at 9/1 it could be worth betting that they will win the group with Colombia falling to second. If you wanted to be somewhat more cautious, you could hedge that bet by also betting the Colombia/Japan combination at 11/4.
I don't know about you, but I am finding it really hard to get excited about England in this tournament. They were flat in qualifying, and they have generally been flat as a soccer-playing nation for a decade or more. I really like Uruguay in this group, and Italy is very strong defensively and will be a good test. The most likely outcome by far in my mind is for Italy and Uruguay to advance and for England to do what they do best - disappoint their fans. I don't have a particular feeling about which team is more likely to finish first, but it doesn't matter - with Italy/Uruguay at 7/2 and Uruguay/Italy at 4/1 you can easily bet on both and still profit nicely regardless of how it turns out. It's worth noting here as well that you can also make a small profit by betting both that Italy will win the group (+150) and that Uruguay will (+188). The return there would be less, but the risk is as well because England could finish second to either team and you would still win.
I have some concerns about the youth of Belgium and about the general mental toughness of the Russians. There is little doubt, though, that on paper at least Belgium is by far the most talented team in the group and that Russia is a clear second. South Korea trails far behind the Russians, and Algeria just isn't relevant. Belgium is well-positioned to win the group, but at -175 it's not attractive to bet that. When you combine it with the relative strength of the Russians, though, you can get 7/4 that Belgium will finish first and Russia second. That's not an unattractive proposition.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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