We are now at the peak of the summer months; ideally, we’d all be hooked to our TVs and mobile devices watching the World Cup. Sadly the 2022 event takes place over the winter, and as such, our likely pleasure has been delayed. However, that doesn’t mean we can not start to look forward to the showpiece event as well as ponder some key sports betting markets.
Ahead of the tournament, billions will be placed on World Cup bets. These will be made by a broad cross-section of fans. Some of whom may not be overly knowledgeable about the international game but want to back their nations. Others will have a more strategic approach and will know the ins and outs of every possible permutation before they place their well-thought-out wagers.
Though the winners of the World Cup tend to come from an elite group (only eight countries have won the tournament since its inception in 1930), that doesn’t mean a ‘lesser’ nation can’t pull off a surprise. As well as the usual suspects, there are a handful of other countries that could go far.
Here’s a closer look at the top ten countries to back, according to the average odds on each competing nation.
Now clearly, as the Danes are tenth in the list of teams when it comes to outright World Cup winner betting, this is something of a long shot. It’s not impossible for Denmark to win the tournament in Qatar, but it would be something close to a miracle.
At the delayed 2020 European Championships, Kasper Hjulmand led Denmark all the way to the semi-finals, where they lost to England, and they did so even after the nightmare suffered in their opening group game. The Danes lost to Finland, but more memorably, their star performer, Christian Eriksen, had a cardiac incident on the field of play and nearly passed away. Incredibly they completed the game and were defeated but bounced back to qualify out of the groups and past Wales and the Czech Republic.
Eriksen is now fully recovered and could well play a key role in the World Cup finals, and the team ethic within the camp is strong, and that’s what makes this bet almost worth making.
The odds of Belgium winning the World Cup in 2022 are surprisingly long, given the relative success the country has had under Roberto Martinez. We are talking about a team that reached the 2018 semi-finals and are currently ranked second in the world FIFA rankings.
This is a squad that possesses a wealth of talent and some of the best players in world football. We are talking about unstoppable talents like Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.
The odds available are too tempting to pass up, quite frankly.
This may well be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup finals, and he may well be motivated enough to make a real impact. Portugal are, of course, much more than just the veteran Man United man.
The likes of Diogo Jota, Rafael Leao, Darwin Nunez, Bernado Silva and Bruno Fernandes are capable of making an impact on the World Cup stage and don’t forget veteran players like Pepe and Joao Moutinho, who played key roles in Portugal’s Euro 2018 success.
If Portugal get off to a strong start, they could prove very effective in the knock-out stages.
The Netherlands are back to near their best after something of a lean period. The Dutch used to be a force to be reckoned with but lost their way up until recent years, and now they are certainly a more resolute prospect when it comes to making a real push for major honours.
Louis van Gaal is well positioned to make the most of his squad which includes the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum.
We are talking about a team that hasn’t lost a game since March 2021. Well worth a flutter.
It’s hard to imagine a German side being way down in sixth place in terms of betting odds for a major championship, but nonetheless, that’s where we are. Hansi Flick took over in 2021 after Joachim Low bowed out after a poor Euro 2020 performance, and in 13 matches in charge, he hasn’t seen Die Mannschaft lose a game.
Flick’s squad is a good mix of youth and experience, but arguably it’s not the greatest squad Germany has assembled, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go long into the tournament, and they are definitely worthy of consideration.
Their defence is resolute, with the likes of Antonio Rudiger and keeper Manuel Neuer offering strong resistance. Their midfield boasts the likes of Kai Havertz, young Bayern Munich wonderkid Jamal Musiala, and in their attack, there’s the experience of Thomas Muller as well as the consistent national team performers Timo Werner and Serge Gnabry (both of whom are far more effective in national team action than with their respective club teams).
Argentina’s superb destruction of Italy in the 2022 Finalissima was very much a signal to the other World Cup contenders that Lionel Scaloni’s side is very capable of picking up their third World Cup crown in 2022.
La Albiceleste haven’t lost a game since they tasted defeat to Brazil in the 2019 Copa America, and 2022 could represent something of a last chance saloon for a certain Lionel Messi, who is yet to taste World Cup glory.
Scaloni has maximised the use of a deep squad full of very capable talents, and they will come into the tournament on a high and could well be a smart bet to chase for the Qatar finals.
This tournament might come a little too soon for Spain to really mount a genuine push as Luis Enrique’s squad has a number of top-quality youngsters who may be a little raw to keep up a successful campaign.
La Roja have a host of inspiring young talents, including Barcelona trio Ansu Fati, Pedri and Gavi. In the final third, they are a little lacking in cutting edge and will have to depend on Alvaro Morata a little too much.
Veterans like Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Thiago and Dani Carvajal are still likely to have a part to play, but all in all, there isn’t enough in Enrique’s armoury to secure a second-ever World Cup triumph, 12 years after their triumph in South Africa.
For once, England can rightly consider themselves one of the favourites for the World Cup and Gareth Southgate’s men could well go a long way to ending 56 years of hurt. Last time around, they made it all the way through to the semi-finals, where they lost to Croatia, and they then took Italy all the way to penalties before losing the European Championship final last year.
While it’s true England stuttered in recent Nations League games, those arguably mean little, especially as they came after a long hard season. Southgate has the talent in his squad to mount a genuine challenge, and there is a winning mentality among his group.
Clearly, a lot of money will be backed on England, and whereas in previous tournaments, that type of betting was almost exclusively an act of unbridled false optimism, in 2022, it’s a sign of measured thinking.
The reigning World Cup holders and frankly the ‘real’ favourites for the World Cup, France, will prove stiff opposition and come into the tournament with a number of their star players performing at their very best.
Any attack featuring the mixture of Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe will give international defenders nightmares. Didier Deschamps’s team got through their qualification process with ease, conceding just three goals in eight games.
Their midfield options include the metronomic brilliance of N’Golo Kante and the undeniable class of Paul Pogba, and they are strong in every position across the park.
They are defensively sound and have the experience and ability to go all the way in Qatar and should be uppermost in any betting plans you have for the finals.
Some may feel that Brazil’s placement as the favourites for the tournament is a little bit false, and from a betting perspective, it’s not necessarily a bet worth taking. While it’s true that under coach Tite A Seleção went through their qualifying campaign unbeaten, it’s worth remembering that those games came against South American opposition.
Arguably European nations are superior, it’s been 20 years since a non-European side won the World Cup, and Brazil’s run of good form is almost exclusively comprised of matches against fellow South American nations or pseudo-exhibition games against poor opposition.
Brazil haven’t played a European team since March 2019, and though clearly Neymar and co are a team to be feared, they don’t feel like worthy candidates when it comes to countries leading the betting.