World Cup Kick Off

Thu, Jun 10, 2010

Best Bets

World Cup Kick Off

Well, it’s finally here. The Rainbow Nation hosts the 2010 World Cup but where is the smart money going? I had a good chat with Angus Loughran on ATR today and was pleased to find that we agreed on a few points. I’ll be giving my views on the tournament but have also enlisted by much travelled football fan buddy Andrew Fox for his views too. A lifelong student of the beautiful game Andrew’s a keen punter and has lived and worked in France, Spain, Italy and elsewhere so I’m hoping his international experience will be a help too.

I’m taking Italy and Ivory Coast as outright interests at this early stage. I may add to my portfolio a little later on but don’t feel that other teams I’m likely to be backing will shorten dramatically in the early stages of the tournament.

On the group front, the strong favourites are Holland, Italy, Brazil and Spain and I’d be inclined to put together a little acca on them all topping their groups. France are the obvious favourite to¬† take on but England too are a tad short for their group C given that the USA are capable of grabbing at least a point in that first game I think.

Angus Loughran and I both expect to see South Africa go better than their odds suggest. They play Mexico in the first game of the tournament and a result there for Bafana Bafana could see their group odds turned on their head.

That’s my initial thoughts. Here’s what Andy has to say on it but, as ever, feel free to post your views too.


Spain – poor value as have never won. Often fancied never produce. May go a bit further than usual, but cannot see them winning it.

England – no real value, but my confidence is growing, despite mediocre recent displays. If any manager can get us to over-achieve, it is Capello. Cannot back them at the price.

Argentina – some value when draw was made, and seem to have improved since qualifying, but with their answer to Paul Gascoigne (in every sense) in charge, cannot see them going all the way.

Netherlands – also were a backable price, but not really now. If there is to be a new name on the trophy (and I don’t think there will be) I feel it is more likely to be Holland than Spain.

Germany – write them off at your peril. Always do well – ALWAYS! Much better value than other Euro teams – poss back to lay.

Italy – also reasonable value considering they are holders. However, teams rarely retain the title, and they are not as good as 4 years ago, but with Lippi back at the helm, can do better than expected.

Finally, my idea of the winners (not very original) is Brazil – like the Germans will always be strong and with the tournament being in SA, they have proved many times they are the best travellers, winning the trophy in Europe, USA, Japan/S Korea. Also finalists in France. Not a great price, but for once they are not favs.


Group A

Quite a tough one to call, and genuinely would not be surprised to see any of these teams win the group/qualify

France – poor value, very fortunate to be here, and not in great form in warm-up matches – a lay to win the group, and even to qualify if you are feeling brave.

Uruguay – also qualified via a play-off, but definitely capable of beating any of the teams in the group on their day

Mexico – again no surprise to see them progress from the group, looked decent against England, and beat Italy most recently

S Africa – the advantage of being the host nation is greatly underestimated and despite being the lowest ranked team in the comp, I think SA will make a very bold showing and for me represent the value to win this group. They have been transformed by the return of Brazilian World Cup-winning coach Carlos Alberto, and with the nation behind them I expect them to qualify.


Day 1 Matches

S Africa v Mexico – for the reasons outlined, I expect SA to win this. If the 15/8 or so is too short for you (5pts), try a correct score of 2-0 (1pt)

Uruguay v France – if there’s value to be had here at the current prices, it’s in backing Uruguay to win as it could go either way, but I feel this may end up being a draw, doing neither team any great favours. Again, if the 9/4-ish is too short (3pts), I’d go for 1-1 (1pt)

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7 Responses to “World Cup Kick Off”

  1. Halfway To Nowhere Says:

    As you say, Sean, Italy aren’t as good as they were four years ago and with the average age of their squad sitting somewhere around the 87 mark, I’d be somewhat surprised to see them progress past even the quarter-final stage. The same is true of Brazil who, whilst not reaching for the walking sticks and zimmer frames just yet, are nothing like the ‘boys in yellow’ we have come to know. Their football lacks the usual flair and fluency attributable to South American sides and I wouldn’t trust their defence one bit. They’ll also be lucky to survive until the semi-finals.

    Having run through the fixtures I actually have Mexico topping Group A by virtue of a better goals difference (than France), but they could meet England in the second knock-out round and the prospect of a Wembley reverse is somewhat debatable. That said, they could be this year’s surprise package (I’d certainly expect them to tank South Africa).

    My breakdown of the tournament is as follows:

    (A) 1. Mexico 2. France
    (B) 1. Argentina 2. Greece
    (C) 1. England 2. USA
    (D) 1. Germany 2. Serbia
    (E) 1. Holland 2. Denmark
    (F) 1. Italy 2. Paraguay
    (G) 1. Portugal 2. Brazil
    (H) 1. Spain 2. Chile

    With Spain meeting Brazil in this situation, the European champions would likely be a short price to progress. I have them making the quarter-finals with Mexico and England, Holland and Portugal, Argentina and Germany and their likely opponents, Italy.

    I don’t think Italy are going to present much of a problem, which makes Spain almost certain semi-finalists and England too should (note ’should’ not ‘will’) have little trouble in dispensing Mexico. The remaining games – Argentina vs Germany and Holland vs Portugal – are absolute screamers and results which will have a massive effect on the outcome of the tournament. With Argentina playing better football now than toward the beginning of their qualification campaign – they were, in truth, bloody awful – I fancy them to squeeze past the always reliable Germans. Holland against Portugal is an entirely different matter, with the speed and skill of the latter a stark contrast to the strength and rigidity of the Dutch. I think the deciding factor could be Robin Van Persie who, but for his diving, is second only to Fernando Torres in the list of the world’s best strikers. If he’s on his game, he’ll see them through.

    Where to go from the semi-finals – England vs Holland and Argentina vs Spain by my reckoning – is unbelievably difficult. I can’t bring myself to back England because we invariably throw games away, Argentina aren’t as consistent as I would like them to be and there’s absolutely no mileage in supporting Spain at such short prices (especially with Iniesta struggling with injury and Torres prone to complete self-destruction).

    The only way to go is to split stakes on Holland and Portugal, affording me an almost guaranteed semi-final spot and a very realistic chance of a place in the final should they come up against England. A saver on Argentina also makes sense, with Mexico and Portugal the standouts to win their groups.

  2. seanboyce Says:

    Good stuff HtN.

  3. R Hills is God Says:

    Paraguay are still available at 100/1 each-way with Bet365 (stakes refunded on penalty shootout losers).

    Thank me later.

  4. Santiburi Says:

    Sean/Andrew/HTN, interesting analysis. Thank you. I rarely bet on International football and would be reluctant to get involved in the early games because (1) I see the possibility of quite a few draws and (2) I’d like to see which teams really are turning up.
    I have tried to map out how I see the tournament developing and see things slightly differently. I understand the comments about France but see them going through with Mexico. For me, it’s then Argentina and South Korea; USA and England; Germany and Australia, Holland and Cameroon; Italy and Slovakia; Brazil and Ivory Coast and, finally, Spain and Switzerland.
    I won’t go through the full thinking from there but I get Holland and Germany in the final with Holland as the victors. I have backed Holland and Australia in the outright market. The former because I really think they have something close to the best squad and look to have the best first XI to me and the latter to lay at the round of 16 probably.
    I have laid England to win their group and the competition and will lay France and Italy as the competition progresses I imagine. I’d really love to see England win but just can’t see them competing as there’s just no depth in the squad; Capello will pick the wrong keeper and the wrong right back; and both Barry and Rooney could easily get sent off.

  5. seanboyce Says:

    Well, one of us should find the winner!
    Interesting to note that the best bookmaker prices beat the excahnge odds on the top 9 when I was looking this morning (that’s well over 80% of the book). When there’s volume and when there’s no risk of dramatic and inexplicable movement bookies will not just stand bets but compete on price too. Oh happy days.

  6. Graeme Says:

    England are not too shabby at 8/1. It will be lower so there isn’t much risk involved. Germany at 14s ain’t too shabby either. Both seem back to lay if that you game, it ain’t mine. I think Spain or England will win.

  7. Patrick Says:

    I was never a fan of backing a team outright for the world cup, as an ew backer having only 2 places [ok 1/2 the odds a place] for a thirty team tournament is ridiculous, checked out oddschecker and only 4 bookmakers of the time of writing are offering 1/4 odds 4 places but the snag here is your win odds are dramatically reduced, at least the tournament offers you a myriad of other bets to get your teeth into, the top goalscorer market offers imo much better value for money with 4 places at a quarter the odds with 8/1 the field I was fortunate enough to nab Klose at 25/1 for the last World Cup.
    In the last 4 tournaments teams like Sweden, Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey and South Korea have got to the last four, I have a sneaking feeling some nation outside of the usual suspects might well win this years tournament

    The general consensus having read the racing post world cup pullout that the cream will rise to the top (France apart) I’m not so sure!, both Argentina and Brazil are tipped up in many places, both these teams struggled big time during the Conmebol, ok Brazil topped the qualifiers but on closer inspection Brazil won only 9 of their 18 games, drawing 7, as for Argentina they qualified by the skin of their teeth losing 6 games in the process, the other South American teams in the tournament would hardly be quaking in their boots at the prospect of playing them and neither should the rest of the nations be wary of meeting them, priced up on reputation rather than what they have been producing on the football field lately.
    Argentian look to have the easier qualifying group but none of the teams are pushovers but should qualify without screaming put the mortgage on especially with that brilliant footballer but stone mad Maradona in charge.
    Brazil have Portugal and the Ivory Coast by no means pushovers and I can see them struggling to qualify out of the group.

    Italy will probably be defensively strong but are hardly prolific goalscorers, Holland cruised through their group that had probably as much to do with the weakness of the opponents rather than anything wonderful from the Dutch.
    Germany have a tough group with Serbia and Ghana representing real danger to that porous German defence.

    Of the more fancied sides Both Spain and England look shoe ins with only Chile and the USA looking remotely like causing an upset.

    So all in all I believe if you’re selective [well imo anyway] there could be great value to be got opposing the favourites in certain Qualifying groups and individual matches.

    P.S No need for me to say that France look there for the taking a team of sulking prima donnas, nearly got knocked out by an average Rep of Ireland team, but I’m caught between a rock and a hard place between Mexico and Uruguay, the South Africans even with home advantage are a very average team so Boycie I think your 2 nil prediction over Mexico is doomed to failure.

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