With the 2014 FIFA World Cup fast approaching, let’s weigh in on the group stage of the competition in search of the best bets available in Group B, the section that contains defending champions Spain and runners-up Holland.
Spain Top Favourites
Spain enter group-stage betting as the hot favourites at -138 to win Group B and at -600 to advance into the knockouts regardless of their position in the table.
The defending champions are after an excellent qualifying campaign, in which they maintained an undefeated record of 6-2-0 to win Group I ahead of dangerous floaters France. Most impressively, Spain scored 14 goals and conceded 3 over the course of eight games.
Sportsbooks seem to have taken their solid qualifying campaign into account, listing Spain amongst the Top 4 favourites to win the competition outright. To some armchair soccer betting fans, however, they aren’t fancied enough on a price tag of +650 to win the competition proper, which puts them in fourth place in the pecking order. Indeed, it’s somewhat perplexing that the European champions (2008 and 2012) and 2010 World Cup champions are priced behind Brazil, Argentina and Germany – three nations that haven’t picked up any international titles worth note in the last decade.
You could say Holland’s estimation in overarching markets is also a sore point amongst Dutch fans. The 2010 World Cup runners-up aren’t even included amongst the Top 10 nations. Cast off at disingenuous +3300 futures odds to win outright, they drift in obscure World Cup betting waters.
However, they are priced reasonably at +250 to win Group B and at -163 to advance into the knockouts irrespective of table position, price tags that stand in slight contrast to their overall estimation. What draws attention to these prices is the slight possibility that a change in Group B’s outlook could occur right off the bat: if Holland manage to somehow turn the odds in their favour in their opener with Spain on Friday June 13. They do have something to prove, after all.
Chile and Australia are the group’s long shots, although the latter probably faces the more daunting task of the pair. Chile at +400 are an interesting prospect to win Group B, especially when considering their odds to advance out of Group B in one of the two coveted top spots are set to the tune of -120 or thereabouts across sportsbook platforms. Australia at + 3300 to win or at +900 to advance into the knockouts are quintessential long shots. Put another way, they are the top favourites at -350 to finish bottom of Group B.
Group B Betting Tips and Picks
Most soccer betting fans expect both Spain and Holland to advance into the knockouts, and in that order. They represent the best bets in Group B, so towards that end we’ve sorted some of the best odds available on each side.
If you are looking to back Spain to win Group B, their fair price of -138 represents a value soccer pick. As well, backing both Spain and Holland to advance in first and second place, respectively, is a value soccer pick at +200.
If you are looking to back Holland to win Group B, now is the time to do it. At +250 they are priced very well. Certainly, if Holland does mastermind the upset in the group’s opening game, their odds will shorten. As well, Holland to win Group B and Spain to finish second is an even more tempting soccer pick at +450 to consider, if you are going to go against the grain.
For the complete upset in this group, backing Chile to advance in one of the two coveted spots is the best value bet. A result that isn’t improbable either, come to think of it. Chile’s opening match against Australia, which they are expected to win handily, could lift them into one of the two top spots after the book closes on the first round of group matches. If that does happen they would still have to stave off Spain or Holland (or both) to hold onto one of those coveted spots. Chile to finish second behind Spain is listed at +333 and behind Holland at a whopping +1100. The unthinkable, Chile to finish top of group ahead of Spain is listed at +750 and ahead of Holland at +1200.
Recommended Soccer Free Picks for Group B: Spain to win Group B at -138; Spain to finish first and Holland second at +200, or Spain to finish first and Chile to finish second at +333.