2022 World Cup Betting Trends and Wagering Advice
The easiest way to explain the World Cup to someone that doesn’t follow international futbol is to tell them that it is the soccer equivalent of the NCAA Tournament.
The structure – a four-team group round robin (The Group Stage), followed by a 16-team tournament (The Knockout Round) – is completely different from its college basketball counterpart. But the upsets, the surprises, and the eventual ascent of the powerhouse teams all tracks remarkably well with one of America’s signature betting events.
The World Cup kicks off on at 5 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20 in Qatar. The host nation, Qatar, secured the rights to host this quadrennial event thanks to massive, egregious corruption. And the World Cup is taking place in the winter rather than its normal summer station because of the oppressive, nearly inhuman heat of Qatar in the summer.
If you’re not familiar with how to bet on soccer, you can check out this article HERE.
Like March Madness, the World Cup is almost guaranteed to have its own shocking twists and turns.
For example, five of the last six defending World Cup champions failed to even make it out of the Group Stage. That is the equivalent of the defending college basketball national champion not making it out of the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
This year, France finds itself on the chopping block as the defending World Cup title holders. Injuries have sapped some of the strength of this team, and internal strife has people wondering aloud if they are the next defending champs set for an early exit. History suggests that they are, even though oddsmakers have the French entering the tournament with the third-best odds to win back-to-back championships (something that hasn’t been done since Brazil in 1958 and 1962).
That isn’t the only betting quirk you need to be aware of, though. As one of the most consistent features of the World Cup is the inconsistency of the Group Stage results.
I am a very macro handicapper. When I approach an event like the World Cup, I don’t simply hone-in on individual matchups. For me, it is critical to go into the event with an overarching, big-picture idea of how I see the tournament playing out. Which teams do I like? Which teams do I think are frauds? Who is overvalued? Who is undervalued? I like to start my handicapping with these questions and then let my answers guide my betting. From there, I react to what I see with my own eyes when I watch all these matches.
With that in mind, here are some trends from the last six World Cups to consider when setting yourself up to wager on the World Cup this winter:
Get sports picks for every league and nearly every matchup on Doc’s free picks page.
1. Two Top Seeds Will Not Win Their Group
Much like the NCAA Tournament, the World Cup draw is weighted. They take the top eight qualifying teams and they separate them as the top seeds in the group. They take the second eight and split them up, and so on and so forth. So every group has one powerhouse, one really good second tier team, and two underdogs.
These top seed are generally big favorites to win their groups. This year five of the eight top teams are posted at -240 or greater odds to win their group. However, over the last six tournaments, an average of 2.3 top seeds don’t end up finishing atop their group.
The 2018 World Cup was one of the chalkiest in recent history, with seven of the eight groups won by the favorites. The one that didn’t win its group, defending champion Germany, didn’t even advance (as the top two teams do).
2. At Least One Top Seed Is Going To Flame Out Completely
It happens at every Cup. Remember how I mentioned that in five of the last six World Cups the defending champions didn’t even advance to the Knockout Stage? Every one of those teams was a top seed. And they aren’t the only ones to underachieve.
Ten of the last 48 group favorites – the top seeds – not only don’t win their group but they don’t advance to the Knockout Stage. That is an average of 1.7 top seeds per tournament over the last 24 years that don’t even survive the opening three games.
Netherlands (-240), England (-300), Argentina (-250), France (-240), Spain (-115), Belgium (-180), Brazil (-280) and Portugal (-160) are the powerhouse teams in this tournament and the favorites to win it all.
If history is a guide, though, one or two of those teams will flame out in the first two weeks of the tourney.
3. No. 2 Seeds Aren’t Automatic Either
When soccer royalty flops at the World Cup, it is international news. When the No. 2 seeds fail to meet expectations, it’s considered more of a local catastrophe.
However, nearly half – three of eight – of the No. 2 favorites in the groups aren’t going to advance to the Knockout Stage. That means that squads like the United States, Poland, Germany, Croatia, and Switzerland could be set up to disappoint their faithful.
Further, only half of the time – 23 out of the last 48 possible situations – do the No. 1 and the No. 2 teams in a group both advance to the Knockout Stage. So most of the time things in the World Cup do not go according to plan.
Anyone that’s ever filled out a March Madness bracket knows that feeling.
4. There Will Be At Least One Crazy Group Winner
Over the last six World Cups, an average of 1.5 teams ranked No. 3 or No. 4 in their group not only advance but win the group outright.
To give you an idea of the likelihood of this happening, some of the odds to win the group on these lower tier teams this year include South Korea (+1000), Ghana (+1250), Canada (+1150), Cameroon (+1625), Costa Rica (+4500), Tunisia (+1550), Saudi Arabia (+2200), Iran (+1725) and Qatar (+1450).
Historical trends suggest that one of those teams – or their cohorts – is likely going to win its group!
Recall the last World Cup when Germany failed to advance from Group F. The winner of that group was Sweden, which entered the tournament at +700 to win its pot.
It’s going to happen again this year. At least once. It happens in every tournament the same way that some No. 13 or No. 14 seed always seems to win a game in the NCAA Tournament.
5. Two Or Three Lower Tier Squads Will Advance
Building on the last point about one or two shocking group winners, an average of 2.7 teams that enter the tournament ranked No. 3 or No. 4 will advance from their group. They may not win the group, per se, but if they finish in second place they will advance on to the Knockout Stage (where they will likely lose 2-1 to some powerhouse).
ROBERT FERRINGO posted over +5,000 in profit in three straight winning World Cups – correctly predicting the winner in all three events – and is looking forward to dominating this winter’s most unique gambling event. Robert went on one of the greatest runs in Doc’s Sports 51-year history in 2020 with his soccer service, banking +15,490 between April 24-July 21 with his daily picks. He has an aggressive style and is going to attack the books for a four straight winning World Cups! Don’t miss a single pick!
Most Recent Soccer Betting and Handicapping
- 2023 Women’s World Cup Semifinals and Finals Predictions
- 2023 MLS Cup Odds and Expert Betting Predictions: LAFC remains favorite
- English Premier League Odds and Predictions for Top 4 Champions League Berth
- EPL Premier League Soccer Title Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
- World Cup Final Four Betting Predictions
- 2022 World Cup Betting Trends and Wagering Advice
- 2022 World Cup Golden Boot Odds and Betting Predictions
- 2022 World Cup Group H Betting Odds and Expert Predictions
- 2022 World Cup Group G Betting Odds and Expert Predictions
- 2022 World Cup Group F Betting Odds and Expert Predictions