by Celso Chamochumbi - 07/07/2006
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At the historic Olympic Stadium in Berlin, this Sunday, Italy and France look to produce a memorable match to close what has been an otherwise unspectacular World Cup.
As has happened all tournament, some gaming sites have created World Cup Final prop bets to pique the interest of the acute follower of trends, as well as of the "I don't know who to back" individuals.
What follows is a survey of the type of prop bets available, complemented with brief analysis.
Note: Prop bets typically only apply to regulation time (90 minutes + injury time).
*These props were from Bodog.
Thierry Henry (FRA) -- 5/1
Luca Toni (ITA) -- 5/1
Alberto Gilardino (ITA) -- 7/1
Francesco Totti (ITA) -- 7/1
Zinedine Zidane (FRA) -- 8/1
Frank Riberty (FRA) -- 11/1
Patrick Vieira (FRA) -- 18/1
Mauro Camoranesi (ITA) -- 18/1
No Goalscorer -- 4/1
Field -- 4/1
Here, one has to try to calculate how many concrete goal-scoring opportunities certain players will have. For France, players like Henry, Ribery and Zidane have all scored as a result of the flow of the game. Someone like Zidane, moreover, has added value as he is the primary kicker of penalty shots and fouls which are near the eighteen yard box. A player like Vieira does not press forward much, but he is a primary option in corner-kick situations.
For Italy, midfielders Camoranesi and Totti, as well as forward Toni, have figured in recent goals. Totti, like Zidane, takes penalty shots and free kicks, so he carries extra possibility. Gilardino is not guaranteed to start, thus I would check just prior to game time for his availability. In my opinion, Toni is a good club-team player, but hardly a national team presence. The goals against Ukraine were a result of breakdowns in the defense, and as the main target up front, he figures to draw a tight mark.
The "field" bet is ok if you're willing to stake your play to a goal resulting from a corner kick, whereby many defenders surround the goal area and can have a chance for a goal.
Game Score Prediction
Italy 1-0 -- 4/1
Draw 0-0 -- 4/1
France 1-0 -- 5/1
Draw 1-1 -- 5/1
Italy 2-0 -- 8/1
Italy 2-1 -- 8/1
France 2-1 -- 10/1
France 2-0 -- 12/1
Interestingly, this bet may be seen as a chance to reap more benefits from your original "game" play, or as a way to counter your "game" play. I have a very difficult time envisioning Italy allowing more than one goal. The last time around in a similar spot, France scored three against Brazil, I know, but that was a bad Brazilian defense. Here, we have a superb defense and world-class goalkeeper.
The Italians have drawn twice, but they have shown a propensity to attack. This tendency, coupled with French goalkeeper Barthez's scary goalkeeping, lead me to shy from this play also. Thus, it's about choosing between the 1-0 scores, or a 2-1 Italy victory.
Since 1986, these have been the scores for the finals:
1986: 3-2, Argentina over Germany
1990: 1-0, Germany over Argentina
1994: 0-0, Brazil against Italy
1998: 3-0, France over Brazil
2002: 2-0, Brazil over Germany
Most Goals Per Half
1st Half -- +210
2nd Half -- +110
Tie -- +220
Save the 1998 final, there have been more goals in the second half. Teams simply come out cautious and are concerned with not losing the game during the first half. Against Spain and Portugal, however, France has scored in the first half. Italy, on the other hand, only notched a first-half goal against Ukraine.
Who bets on this?
Exactly 10 -- +750
Under 10 -- +140
Over 10 -- -140
The relatively steep price for the over turns this otherwise silly option into a no play for me. I think that since both teams shoot from far, there is a good chance for deflections or saves sent around or over the goal.
Team to Score First
Italy -- +110
France -- +130
No Goals -- +400
The 'no goals' is a trap. The Italians haven't allowed a goal in the second round, but France has played against far superior competition, and in such matches has scored first.
Winner of the game (without the draw)
Italy -- -150
France -- +110
Again, this only includes the first ninety minutes plus stoppage time. For those that feel better about not getting burned by a tie, here you go. It's somewhat of a safer play, but the risks and returns reflect it.
Italy -- +220
France -- +300
Draw -- -125
Have to like the draw here. Recent history (since 1990) of final games, only registers a non-draw in the 1998 final.
The views expressed here do not reflect those of Doc's World Cup Picks service.