by Jordan Adams - 03/29/2006
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With the 2006 FIFA World Cup only a couple of months away, sportsbooks everywhere have begun to gear up for soccer's most prestigious event. This summer's tournament will give bettors the opportunity to wager on a sporting event only available once every four years. Those bettors that purely focus on traditional American sports or primarily club soccer will get the chance to place wagers on the international tournament as 32 teams across the globe will gather in Germany in hopes of capturing FIFA gold.
Bodog spokesman Greg Jorssen was kind enough to shed some light on the kind of handle the sportsbook will receive throughout the tournament. Jorssen expects Bodog to surpass its 2002 World Cup handle, as its soccer offering is far superior to what has been offered in the past. Bodog's 2002 World Cup handle increased by 700 percent and he expects the increase to be close to 1,000 percent this year.
Focusing on the individual teams for this year's World Cup betting, Bodog expects the pattern to remain similar to the one set back in 2002. He assumes that again most of the money will fall on the favorites. It will be difficult to anticipate the handle for the different groups due to the fact that there are some groups where the teams are very competitive and some groups that are weaker. For instance, Group A contains hosts Germany (one of the favorites to win the 2006 World Cup), therefore a low handle is to be expected.
Outside of World Cup competition, the only other time international play is tournament oriented is in the Olympics. From a bookmakers perspective there is a considerable difference between the two. Jorssen views World Cup soccer at a much higher level. While Olympic soccer is still exciting and generates world coverage, Olympic soccer is not 100 percent professional. In addition, all the teams' players have to be less than 23 years of age. Conversely, the World Cup has no age limits, and since each country fields its very best players, its respective fans take a much higher interest. This all leads to a much higher handle. The more attention and world coverage on television, the higher the handle will be for the event.
Since there was no soccer competing in the 2006 Winter Olympics, the only betting for Bodog was through hockey. As far as the difference between World Cup bettors and Olympic bettors, the FIFA World Cup is all about the passion for its country so wagering on a game that a bettor already has tremendous interest in makes it that much more enjoyable. The Olympics do not offer bettors this feeling.
Jorssen says there is no need to bring in additional linesmakes as the knowledge, technology, and passion for the game has been in place and in-house for several years.
Bodog's betting options for the World Cup games will be the same for every match. They will all have three-way betting (Home, Away, Draw) as well as totals for the games.
Outside of individual and group betting, Bodog will offer a variety of props that should give its customers alternate wager angles. Just as they offered in 2002, props such as first team to score, first player to score, double result, number of corner kicks, first half result and second half result will be available.
The 2006 World Cup is going to be a spectacular event and Bodog is thrilled to be so heavily involved with its sportsbook. Jorssen insists the clerks, designers, as well as everybody working at Bodog is counting down the days until the first match and are particularly eager. World Cup betting offers so much more than traditional sports that run for most of the year. It also allows for soccer fans to step outside the club league realm, and with so many different ways to wager, this year's tournament will be something to keep an eye on over the summer.