Can Luiz Felipe Scolari replicate his winning 2002 campaign on home soil? Find out as we preview Scolari’s provisional Team Brazil and discuss the hosts’ odds at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Odds makers are setting Brazil as heavy favorites, where do we place them?
Brazil at the World Cup
Brazil have yet to miss a World Cup finals since the tournament’s debut in 1930. They are the only national team to claim such an honour. Over and above that record, Brazil also claim the record for most titles (5), the most goals scored (210) and the most victories (67). Their World Cup tradition doesn’t stop at breaking team records, of which many we haven’t even touched upon here. It also extends to individual records, such as the competition’s all-time top scorer (claimed by Ronaldo) and most games won in tournament history (claimed by Cafu).
We could wax lyrical through to next month about Brazil’s history in this competition and tradition of success. But we won’t. Suffice it to say that that very same history and tradition of success, provides an empirical basis for the current World Cup betting landscape, which correlates to a steep price: high expectations together with blatant favouritism across World Cup betting platforms. To put it another way: nothing short of winning the competition would be considered a successful campaign.
To look at the many World Cup betting odds is to get a sense of this notion. Brazil enter their home finals as the top favourites to win outright at +275 futures odds or thereabouts across sportsbooks. They also lead the charge to advance to various stages of the competition. They are the runaway favourites at -2000 to advance into the knockout rounds and they are the -400 favourites to win Group A. Brazil are also firm favourites at -120 to reach the semi-finals and the top favourites at +163 to reach the final.
It’s not smooth sailing all the way for Brazil though. One stage of the competition could prove to be a stumbling block; that is, the R16 which is the province of Argentina according to odds makers at -350 to reach the quarterfinals. Although Brazils’ odds to reach the quarterfinals are still listed on the favourable side of even money, at -200 (or thereabouts) depending on your sportsbook of choice, it’s the only market that Brazil doesn’t command, marking a slight change in Brazil’s World Cup odds.
To understand this slight departure, one has to look at the draw. A potential matchup against either Spain or Netherlands – the top favourites in Group B to advance into the knockouts – looms in the R16. Undoubtedly, either side would have a good shot against Brazil. Only Brazil’s convincing run through Confederations Cup last summer where they beat Spain 3-0 in the final does seem to have quelled those fears some.
Scolari Names Provisional 23-man Squad
Scolari has named his provisional Team Brazil and leaping off the page are the names that were omitted: AC Milan duo Kaka and Robinho, Lucas Moura, Philippe Coutinho and Ronaldinho, amongst several others. Of course, Scolari has until June 2 to make any changes before settling on his final 23-man selection so it’s quite possible those who are on standby or initially omitted may yet receive an invitation to the party.
So who’s made the cut then thus far? To begin with, Neymar and Hulk have. Representing the new guard and a slew of one-name-wonders in Brazilian football in the game, this tandem is sure to electrify stadiums across Brazil. The remaining list of forwards includes Bernard (Shakhtar), Fred (Fluminese) and Jo (Atletico Minero).
To the core of Brazil’s team, Scolari has added Chelsea triplet Ramires, Oscar and Willan. As well, he’s picked up Paulinho (Tottenham), Hernanes (Inter Milan), Fernandinho (Manchester City) and Luiz Gustavo (Vfl Wolfsburg).
At defence, Scolari’s choices include Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (AS Roma), Maxwell and Thiago Silva (both PSG), Henrique (Napoli), Dante (Bayern Munich) and David Luiz (Chelsea).
Obviously, Junior Neymar is one of the odds makers’ favourites in top scorers markets at +1200. The Barcelona forward is second behind his La Liga teammate Lionel Messi in World Cup betting markets. The next best option is Guedes Fred at +2000 but Givaldino Hulk at +4000 could prove a worthwhile choice on your World Cup soccer picks.
World Cup Betting Verdict
Group A winnable as it is for Brazil, it isn’t the weakest group of the competition with Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. Many fancy Croatia to advance as runners-up but Mexico could light up at the right time. Simply put, anything can happen in this group, an unlikely propelled through. The knockouts can’t be taken for granted either, especially to begin with if Spain or Netherlands emerge from Group B. Still, Brazil’s bench is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the competition. Thus, expectations are running high, and many soccer enthusiasts are pounding Brazil‘s odds on their World Cup picks.