The World Cup Draw has set the stage for the highly anticipated finals in Brazil. Join us as we preview group betting odds and corresponding odds to win the tournament outright, beginning with Group A which includes host nation Brazil, Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon.
World Cup 2014 Favourites:
Topping markets across all sportsbooks are Brazil +300, Argentina +450, Germany +550, Spain +700, Belgium +1600 and France +2000.
Teams to spot, quadrennial sports bettors’ favourites and past champions: Uruguay +2500, Italy +2800, Holland +2800, Portugal +3300, and England +3300
GROUP A Betting Odds and Odds to Win Outright
Brazil -400 to win group A (+300 to win outright)
Sportsbooks are projecting Brazil at -400 soccer odds to win Group A with minimal effort, which – if they do accomplish according to expectations – will mean they’ll potentially take on either Spain or Netherlands in the last 16 as both 2010 South Africa finalists were drawn together in Group B and are the likeliest to advance into the knockout stages.
Curiously, that potential stumbling block however hasn’t deterred sports betting markets whatsoever in tipping Brazil as the odds-on favourites to win the competition at +300 soccer odds at Bet365. A happenstance head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is supremely confident his side will in fact accomplish next summer, saying as much to the world in his interviews already.
On one hand the overwhelming confidence isn’t surprising given Brazil’s convincing campaign through last summer’s Confederations Cup and equally convincing 3-0 victory over La Roja in the final.
What’s more – aside from the obvious home advantage and huge crowd support – Brazil have drawn an extremely soft group, which includes Croatia and Mexico (both of which struggled to qualify) and Cameroon, making them the obvious soccer pick to win Group A. Indeed, it would be a huge shock if things don’t go to plan.
As far as the rest of the competition goes, nothing can be taken for granted. The last two campaigns (in Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010) have seen a highly talented Brazil fall short of hype. So who’s to say this star-studded cast that includes shiny soccer baubles such as Hulk, Neymar and Robinho, will be immune to a similar fate in the knockout stages. After all, soccer is played on the pitch and not on paper.
Croatia +600 to win Group A (+15000 to win outright)
Sportsbooks favour Croatia at +600 soccer odds to win group A, making them the second favourites of the group and, thus, the likeliest to clinch second place in order to advance into the knockout stages. At face value, there is nothing wrong with this assessment. The Croatians boast delectable talent such as Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandžukic (to name a few), and they boast a very attacking-minded game that is pleasing to the eye. Certainly, the loom dangerously in this group for all concerned.
That said, Croatia, under new coach Niko Kovac, needed a playoff to qualify for Brazil. They played Iceland drawing scoreless in the first leg before clinching the victory in Zagreb. At times, the Croatians struggled to find their offensive firepower and seemed to run out of ideas. They’ll need to have their wits about them in Brazil, where conditions will be unfamiliar and extremely tough. It doesn’t help their cause that they are slated to open their campaign against Brazil.
Mexico +800, +15000
Most soccer betting fans would have expected Mexico to ring in as the second favourites in Group A but a torrid qualifying campaign – in which they very nearly failed altogether, only to arrive in Brazil by the skin of their teeth – has taken the shine off their soccer betting value. Hence, it’s seemingly fitting that they are listed as the third favourites at +800 soccer odds at Bet365 to win Group A and at whopping +15000 to win the entire competition. The case against Mexico includes numerous coaching changes, lack of form, non-existent offense during CONCACAF qualification and much, much more. All of which stands against them and a promising run in Brazil. That said they open against Cameroon, a favourable matchup in the eyes of many. And if they get off to a winning start, they just might turn the odds in their favour.
Cameroon +2500, +50000
Cameroon prop up Group A as the +2500 soccer pick to win the section and the long shot to win the title at +50000, both of which would be highly sentimental soccer picks, if anything. Of course, World Cup enthusiasts will remember 1990 World Cup in Italy when Cameroon danced all the way into the quarterfinals with Roger Milla leading the charge. It was a finals that ignited the imagination of the world of football and put Africa on the map.
At the time however, nobody could have predicted Cameroon’s run. And so it is with the upcoming World Cup in Brazil: few expect Cameroon to advance into the knockout stages. It would take another Cinderella moment.
Soccer Betting Verdict: It’s a bullish soccer betting market as far as Brazil is concerned in Group A. Bookies strongly favour Brazil to top this group and soccer betting trends are falling in line as fans pile on to their soccer odds. Watch if their price doesn’t continue to climb higher as a result.
The real battle in this group is going to be for second place, which conventional wisdom dictates will be decided between Croatia and Mexico. Had Mexico had a better qualifying campaign, undoubtedly they would have been the popular soccer pick. But widespread pessimism has created a bit of a bearish market where they are concerned, leaving Croatia as the likelier choice in most sports betting circles. Cameroon, unfortunately, appear to be out of their depth.
Soccer Picks: Brazil to win group at -400; Croatia to finish second; Mexico a close third; and, finally, Cameroon to finish fourth.