World Cup Betting Props: Team Goal Totals
by Trevor Whenham - 6/2/2010
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One of the many interesting ways to bet on the World Cup is through the individual team goal totals. Bodog is among the several books that has posted totals for the number of goals each team will score in the tournament. Some of them have already been bet so heavily that the prices are far from attractive. When you look closely, though, you can find some that are still interesting. Here are six that stand out as at least a little interesting in my mind:
France ‘under’ 6.5 (-138) - This price is falling, but they would have to fall more than they have before they became unattractive in my eyes. I just don't see who is going to score the goals here. Thierry Henry is getting old, and it's hard to view him as truly elite anymore. Nicolas Anelka is a talented striker, but he's unproven on this stage. With Zinedine Zidane out of the picture, the team will be missing out on his playmaking ability - the engine that drove the team to their recent World Cup success. I don't trust Franck Ribery, Zidane's replacement, to be up to the task. I also don't trust bizarre coach Raymond Domenech to be able to get this team on task and keep them there. This team could be a train wreck, and that will make it hard to score goals.
Brazil ‘over’ 10.5 (even) - This one is a gamble, but the price is right to take that gamble. There are two reasons for that. First, this is an immensely talented team, and there is a very good chance that they will progress deep into this tournament. They are my favorites to win it. The team that wins the tournament will have played seven games, so Brazil would only have to average more than 1.5 goals per game during the tournament to exceed this total - something they are certainly capable of. Second, Brazil opens the tournament by playing North Korea. That's just not a good team. We have seen in the past how Brazil likes to exploit weak teams early in tournaments, and I expect no different here. They could easily score three or more goals, and that would make a big dent in this total and make it easier to exceed.
Ivory Coast ‘over’ 5.5 (+120) - I like this one based on three things. One, Ivory Coast gets to play North Korea as well, and should be able to score some goals there. Two, though I am a bit concerned about Didier Drogba's health I still think he will be ready to make a big impact here. Three, I believe that Ivory Coast will be able to beat Portugal and therefore earn a fourth game. That could likely be against Spain, but at least it's another chance to score some goals.
Nigeria ‘over’ 4.5 (+138) - This price is obviously set with the assumption that Nigeria is not going to advance. I'm reasonably confident that they will - confident enough to make this price attractive, anyway. Argentina is the clear class of the group, but there isn't a lot to separate Nigeria, Greece, and South Korea in the pursuit of the second spot. Of those three Nigeria has the strongest base of young players to build upon, and the most athletic team. They will have the boost of playing in Africa, and certainly could get through. Even if they don't they still are a team that can score, and at least two of their games could turn into shootouts.
Cameroon ‘under’ 3.5 (+120) - Cameroon was at the heart of one of the great World Cup stories, but I find it hard to have a lot of faith in this squad. Their coaching situation has been unstable. Their current and former players are openly bickering in the media, and the team just doesn't have an air of confidence and stability surrounding it. They are going to struggle with the Dutch, and Denmark is capable of shutting them down as well. They will be able to score against Japan, but this price is still worth a shot despite that.
Chile ‘over’ 4.5 (-125) - I like this team a lot. Jorge Valdivia is a world-class playmaker, and he has an impressively deep and talented group of strikers. They are young, but talented, and they are going to be able to surprise some opponents. Playing against Spain is going to be a disaster, but Honduras and Switzerland are two teams that Chile has the ability to beat - and to score against in the process. This team is going to be a pleasant surprise to many.
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