It has been a long four years, and a seemingly infinite wait between the end of the domestic football season and the start of the World Cup but the world’s greatest sporting event finally kicks off in South Africa this Friday and there is not a football fan in the world who is not eagerly awaiting an entire month of practically non-stop football.
England will be followed by their mandatory troop of enthusiastic supporters in South Africa whilst pubs and bars back home will be packed to the rafters on Saturday evening when they take on the USA in the first group game. But with the unquestionable passion and undying hope of football fans across the country, can England can actually return from South Africa as World Champions?
One of the best things about the World Cup is that new betting markets spring up out of nowhere. Punters can now gamble on such things as England’s first substitution and their starting eleven against the USA (for the record, Joe Hart is not in any of the available options on SkyBet)
These new markets can seem ridiculous, but for the scrupulous gamblers they provide a delightful opportunity to find that little bit of hidden value. And there is a lot of hidden value.
Can Rooney keep his cool?
A bet that jumped off the screen and hit me square in the face is odds of 5/2 on Wayne Rooney getting booked for dissent at some point during the tournament. Now, Rooney is said to have ‘grown up’ and ‘calmed down’ but he has a proven record of letting his emotions get the better of him in big matches and was booked for dissent on Monday when England took on the Platinum All Stars in their final warm up match.
Rooney’s temperment will be closely monitored by the England staff and millions of people around the world. But with the added pressure of the world’s best defenders winding him up particularly if England reach the Quarter finals, I feel that his passion for the game is impossible to control and that, he will be booked for dissent at least once in five or six matches.
Rooney to be booked for dissent anytime during the tournement (@ 5/2)
The Golden Boot
A man who knows a little more about football than me, Jamie Redknapp, thinks he has spotted value in the Golden Boot top five market on SkyBet. He thinks Argentine striker Carlos Tevez will be one of the top five goalscorers in this World Cup. At first I disagreed with this tip and had reservations over how much action Tevez will see in a team that has attacking flair in abundance and a manager that is prone to the odd, strange decision. However at 10/1 there is value in this unusual bet. After all, Tevez had an extremely impressive season with Manchester City.
It remains to be seen which Argentina side turns up in South Africa this summer, but with Lionel Messi yet to produce his ‘world’s greatest footballer’ form for his country, Tevez is more likely to be one of Argentina’s main goal threats.
The golden boot outright market is packed with value, but as is always the case with this sort of bet, it is a bit like trying to catch a fly in the dark.
Usual suspects include David Villa at 8/1, Wayne Rooney at 10/1 and Fernando Torres at 12/1. But an appealing outside bet is Germany’s Miroslav Klose who, at odds of 28/1, will have to do a lot, but I suppose it is not inconceivable that he could have the tournament of his life.
For me, the best value lies in Robin Van Persie. After missing the majority of the Premiership season through injury, he looks to be more determined than ever to make up for it at the World Cup and has been quoted as saying he thinks he can be as good as Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney next season.
Since his return from injury, Van Persie has been on outstanding form for his country, meaning I am less inclined to argue with his own bold predictions of how good he can be. At 10/1 to be the World Cup’s top goalscorer, my money is on RVP to set the world alight this summer.
Tevez to finish in top five in Golden Boot competition (@ 10/1)
Robin Van Persie to win golden boot (@ 10/1)
The race to three goals
One of the great things about having a bet is doing a bit of research and coming to your own conclusions. After all it is your money that you will be gambling, not mine. With this in mind I would like to flag up the ‘race to three goals market’ available on SkyBet. Here you can bet on who will be the first player to score three goals at the World Cup.
Many of the bets in this market are good value including my personal choice of Robin Van Persie, who is again priced at 10/1. With a bit of work and planning by way of taking a detailed look through the fixture list, I think there is some serious money to be made in this market. So have a look and leave a comment with your tip.
So, who’s going to win it?
The million dollar question. Well, for what it’s worth, I think Spain will win the World Cup. However, at odds of 7/2 you are not going to make any significant return on a risky bet. Much better value would be to bet on the tournament winners in conjunction with the golden boot winner. For example, Spain to win the World Cup with David Villa as top goalscorer represents much better value at 16/1.
Strong fringe bets for the tournament include Germany at 14/1 and the Netherlands at 9/1 but it’s difficult to commit to backing them to actually win it. The Netherlands are always talked about as a potential force but usually fall just short of setting the world alight. Despite impressive preparations for this World Cup and my gut feeling that RVP will have a fantastic tournament. I can’t help thinking that both the Netherlands and Germany will crash out in the semi finals at the hands of a Brazil, a Spain or even an England?!
Spain to win the World Cup and David Villa to be top goalscorer (@ 16/1)
Throughout the World Cup I will be on a constant search for good value and will continue to post and flag up bets on matches.
In the meantime, let me know your tips by commenting on this article, in particular I want to know who you are going for in the ‘race to three goals’ market
Good Luck and enjoy!