by Simon Noble - 05/31/2006
The teams have qualified, the venues are complete and the stage is set at Pinnacle Sportsbook for the biggest football party in history, the 2006 FIFA World Cup! Highly profitable for informed players everywhere, Germany 2006 will see 32 nations compete for football's biggest prize with the first match played on June 9th, when hosts Germany face Costa Rica.
In major soccer events like Germany 2006, the rules for how teams advance from each group can often impact coaching strategies. In the World Cup and European Championships, qualification from the group stage is identical with the top two teams from each group advancing to the knockout stage of the competition.
If two or more teams finish level on points (earning 3 with a win and 1 for a draw), tiebreakers are used. The first decider is goal difference, then total goals scored, followed by head-to-head results, and finally the drawing of lots.
One clear trend you see happening is in a team's final game. Due to tiebreaker rules, there are times when a certain match result will guarantee both teams advance. A classic example of this happened in the 2004 European Championships in Group C.
If Sweden and Denmark tied at 0-0 or 1-1, Sweden and Italy would advance. If the game tied at 2-2 or higher, Sweden and Denmark would advance. During the second half, the score became tied at 2-2. At that point, the players on the field stopped attacking and were content doing passing drills until time elapsed.
A similar situation happened in the 2002 World Cup when Brazil played Turkey in the last match in their group. If Turkey lost 2-1, drew or won, both Brazil and Turkey would advance. Savvy bettors identified this and bet on the exact score of the match, Brazil to win 2-1. Not surprisingly, that was the score of the game.
Another less obvious situation to look for is coaches who are content with a tie in the group stages. While every coach would like their team to win, it's often more important during the pressure cauldron of a major tournament to simply not lose. In the 2002 World Cup, 13 out of 48 group stage matches ended in a draw and during France 98, 16 out of 48 matches at the group stage also ended in a draw including 5 out of the first 16 opening matches played.
Betting the draw can be profitable if you carefully select your positions and look for value when making bets. Unless there's a strong angle it might be wiser to pass on the draw as you're typically betting into a line that has far more juice or bookmaker's commission than an "Asian handicap". An Asian handicap is like a bet on the point spread in the NFL - where you have a spread and moneyline combined.
Pinnacle Sports offers reduced juice wagering on all soccer markets, but the Asian handicap line is where you'll find exceptional pricing on the World Cup. With online limits of $50,000 per bet together with 6-cent lines on Asian handicaps available the day of the game, Pinnacle Sports Book offers up to 85% better odds than other bookmakers.
As it's harder for most players to calculate the bookmaker's commission on 3-way betting lines (home team, draw, away team) many bookmakers will 'hide' additional juice on 3-way lines, which offers substantially less value to the player. To find out how much juice you're paying simply check out the free multi-way calculator at Pinnacle Sportsbook You'll be amazed at what you can save by betting Asian handicaps at Pinnacle Sportsbetting.
If you're used to playing 3-way lines, you can often make a similar bet on the Asian handicap at a much better price. If a team is a ½ goal favorite on the Asian handicap, betting that team either on a 3-way or on the Asian handicap will amount to the same thing - a winning bet if the team wins.
Take the Poland/Ecuador first round match-up. If you like Poland, you could play Poland -0.5 +104 on the Asian handicap, or Poland -105 on the 3-way line. In this case, you could save 9 cents by shopping, even if your only out is Pinnacle Sports!
Another type of Asian handicap is the "quarter-ball" line. For example, if the line is "England -0.5 and -1 -105", half the amount of your bet will be graded at -0.5 and the other half of the stake amount will be graded at -1. Some players get frustrated trying to compare prices between the quarter ball line and the Asian handicap. The general rule of thumb for handicaps is that a quarter-ball is worth about 35 cents. So if "England -0.5 and -1 -105" was the fair price, "England -0.5 -140" would be a similar price.
Who are the players betting on at the World Cup?
Will Brazil win the tournament? Yes +262
Brazil is a threat to win every World Cup and has won the competition a record 5 times. Recent wins include the 1994 and 2002 Cups while Brazil were also losing finalists in 1998. Brazil opened as the favorite to win the tournament at +320. Although there's been fairly balanced action, the soccer specialists have been all over Brazil pushing the price down to +262.
Germany/Costa Rica Over 2.5 goals -124
World Cup hosts Germany kickoff the tournament in the opening match. Predictably, this is the highest volume game in the group stage thus far. While the spread betting on the Asian handicap has been very balanced, there's a lot of money being bet on the over in many of the games across the board.
We initially opened Germany Over 2.5 at -110, and continuous pressure has forced the line up to -124. Three other games have also seen substantial moves on the over: Poland/Ecuador, Argentina/Ivory Coast and Trinidad/Sweden. We're yet to see any of the games on the board have substantial movement towards the under.
Team to advance further: Mexico -290/United States +254
In October of 2005, this market opened with Mexico as a -120 favorite. During qualifiers, the U.S. and Mexico were tied in the CONCACAF qualifying region with 22 points each. Mexico has won 5 of its last 6 International friendlies, including wins over fellow World Cup qualifiers, Ghana and Paraguay. The U.S. has won 6 of its last 8 games, but was crushed 4-1 by Germany in March and humbled 1-0 by Morocco just over one week ago.