by Trevor Whenham - 05/16/2006
Get more World Cup betting information including betting bonuses, World Cup odds and our famous World Cup picks, which in 2006 earned $100 bettors over ten times their initial investment. ($100 bettors earned $1,820 click here for details)
The odds have been released for the first game for all 32 teams at the World Cup. For the gambler interested in wagering on the World Cup, there is a little bit of everything available, from one-sided potential blowouts, to evenly matched games. Here's a look at some of the betting highlights of the first set of games:
Like the longshots? - If you like getting paid off well when your team wins, and don't mind backing an unlikely winner, then you'll want to look at Trinidad & Tobago. They match up against Sweden in Group B action on June 10. Trinidad is currently at +900 on the moneyline. Of course, a bet is only a bargain if it wins, and a Trinidad win would really be something impressive. The coach, Leo Beenhakker of The Netherlands, has spent as much effort lowering expectations for his team as he has coaching in the last few months. If you agree with Beenhakker that his team's prospects aren't good, you might find Sweden and its -425, the lowest moneyline on the board, more attractive.
Lukewarm favorites - When the Czech Republic meets the USA in Group E action on June 12 they will be the favorites, but their -105 number certainly doesn't show that the oddsmakers have overwhelming confidence in them. They are still a clear favorite over the Americans (+240), but their price sets up in such a way that, if you like the team, you will love the payout. If you are even greedier than that when it comes to payouts for favorites, you might want to check out South Korea in the Group G match-up against Togo on June 13. South Korea is the favorite, but their +105 moneyline presents the relatively rare opportunity of being able to bet on a favorite at better than even money. Togo is currently at +210.
Closest game - Do you like betting on coin flips? The game between Australia and Japan in Group F on June 12 is the sports betting equivalent of a coin flip. Both teams are at +150. Commentators have been saying since the schedule was set that both teams were very evenly matched, and bookmakers clearly agree.
Least likely to draw - If you're a typical North American sports fan, you probably don't have much love for tie games. If so, there are two games that you are most likely to enjoy watching. Both the Sweden - Trinidad & Tobago game discussed earlier and the match-up between the host Germany and Costa Rica, which will open the tournament on June 9, are at +350 on the moneyline for the draw. That's the highest potential payout for a draw by a wide margin. On the other side, there are five games that have the lowest moneyline for the draw at +210.
Brazil a bargain? - Croatia is clearly the strongest opposition that Brazil will face in the first round in Group F. That being said, commentators all over the world have practically crowned Brazil as World Cup champions already. If you are one of those people that believe that Brazil is an unbeatable force, then you will be licking your lips over the -250 moneyline that Brazil currently has in their June 13 match against Croatia. With Japan and Australia the next two teams on Brazil's schedule, it is almost certain, barring a very strange occurrence, that -250 is the best price you will get on Brazil for the first round, and potentially longer than that.
What will happen to Italy? - Italian soccer is in shambles. A corruption scandal has gripped the highest levels of soccer in the country, and it is following a script that is almost too ridiculous to be believed. Matches were allegedly fixed, players allegedly bet on games and team officials are even accused of kidnapping referees in an effort to get a favorable result. Gianluigi Buffon was the likely World Cup goalkeeper, but he seems to have wagered as much as 2 million Euros on Italian soccer matches, so his involvement is very much in question. More players, officials, journalists and referees are under investigation, and the scandal is dominating news in Italy. The potential loss of Buffon and other players, and the distraction that the situation has been and will continue to be for all Italian players, could have an impact on the team in Italy. If you believe that Italy will be negatively affected, you might find the +500 moneyline of Ghana, their opponent on June 12, or the +240 for a draw more attractive than you might have before this news broke. Similarly, Paraguay's +440 against England on June 10 may be an unexpectedly attractive play if you don't have faith in Wayne Rooney's ability to heal quickly.