Great betting opportunities are on offer in the 2014 World Cup tournament winner and top goalscorer betting markets. To help you make the best selections in these markets, we look at past trends to help you narrow down your selections for the 2014 World Cup.
Every team that travels to the World Cup believes that they can win the tournament. The minnows of world football can upset more fancied teams at the tournament, but these countries have not – to date – been able to string together the seven victories required to lift the cup.
In fact, 76 teams have competed at the World Cup to date and only eight have managed to win the tournament. Twelve have reached the tournament final, and five of these winners account for more than 80% of all the World Cup titles won to date.
This suggests that you can easily narrow down the likely winners of the World Cup by focusing on the teams that have already lifted the cup.
The list of former winners includes:
Along with the previous winners, there are four other sides that have a realistic chance of making the final. These include:
All four teams are either currently ranked in the top ten by FIFA, were outstanding during qualifying or field a large number of world class players. Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands have all reached the World Cup semifinals on previous occasions. Colombia are fielding their golden generation and are currently ranked 4th in the world by FIFA.
Bookies currently consider Brazil, Argentina and Germany to be the favourites to win the tournament.
Brazil is the strongest candidate in this list. While they were not required to participate in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying tournament, they showed what they were capable of in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. During the tournament they went unbeaten in five matches before beating reigning World Cup champions, Spain, 3-0 in the final.
The Brazilians have the strongest forwards at the tournament, including Neymar, Hulk, Jo and Robinho. The midfield also has teeth with Oscar, Paulinho and Hernanes all capable of joining the attack. These players are in turn backed by a disciplined defence that conceded just three goals at the Confederations Cup.
Second World Cup predictions favourites, Argentina, can match Brazil in the strike department, with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain on call. That said, the Argentinean midfield does not quite match the caliber of the Brazilian midfield, and the defence – while sound – has more give to it than that of Brazil’s.
The European side most likely to lay down a serious challenge to the Latin American favourites is Germany.
The German side is packed with the players who have helped German clubs dominate European football in recent seasons, including a dangerous midfield which features the likes of Mesut Ozil, Andre Schurrle, Thomas Muller and Marco Reus. These players will distribute the ball to the experienced and capable strike partnership of Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez.
Thinning out the field
Brazil, Argentina and Germany are deserved favourites, but it would be a mistake to dismiss the prospects of the other contenders. None of the five remaining previous World Cup winners can be ruled out as each has a strong track record at the tournament, world class players and the proven ability to win close matches during the knockout stages of big tournaments.
To narrow down this field and ensure that we’re not simply following cues from the betting markets, we can consider the history of World Cups that were hosted in Latin America, to determine whether local conditions and support levels have influenced team performances in the past and will favour particular teams in 2014.
The World Cup has been played in Latin or Central America six times. Every one of these tournaments has been won by a Latin American team, with Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina each taking two wins. Latin American teams made up both finalists in three of the six of the World Cup finals played on the continent.
This suggests that the prospects for all Latin American teams appear to be better than their African, Asian and European rivals. The cause of Brazil and Argentina are strengthened by this factor, as these two teams field classier squads than their Latin American counterparts, and will enjoy strong ‘home’ support.
Who will win it?
Considering all the factors above the most likely finalists for the World Cup are Argentina and Brazil, while Germany are the most likely European semifinal contenders, and any one of the remaining nine contenders are capable of reaching the semis.
With this in mind our World Cup 2014 Predictions in terms of the tournament winner are to back Brazil as outright winners, and include each-way bets on Germany and Argentina to profit if these teams finish the tournament as losing finalists.
Investigating past trends holds the key to making good 2014 World Cup predictions for the top goalscorer.
Every top goalscorer in the last five tournaments has been part of a team that played the maximum number of seven games at the tournament. All the teams who reach the semis will play the full number of matches at the tournament (including the final and 3rd place playoff), so we can expect the Golden Boot winner to come from the twelve most likely World Cup final contenders we identified earlier.
Another factor to take into account is the overall defensive strength of the group your player will be competing in during the group stages.
During this stage of the tournament more goals will be on offer than in the knockout stages due to the inevitable mismatches between giants and minnows. This means that a single match against a weak defensive side can be very high scoring, giving top players from the opposition the chance to score multiple goals and boost their chances of winning the Golden Boot.
The list below features the twelve teams we have identified as most likely to reach the World Cup final. We have calculated the average number of goals conceded per match by their World Cup group opponents during qualifying. This gives a clear overall picture of the quality of the defences they’ll be up against during the group stage.
- England – 1.01
- Spain – 0.97
- Netherlands - 0.93
- Portugal – 0.87
- France – 0.85
- Germany – 0.85
- Italy – 0.85
- Brazil – 0.75
- Belgium – 0.72
- Uruguay – 0.68
- Colombia – 0.65
- Argentina – 0.58
From this list we can see that Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Belgium are in for an uphill battle when it comes to scoring group stage goals.
England have been handed the most favourable draw, followed by Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal. All four of these teams are more than capable of reaching the semis, and with the exception of Spain rely on a world class primary striker - who won’t have to compete with other world class strikers for a share of the goals.
The contenders for top goalscorer based on this assessment would therefore be:
- England – Daniel Sturridge
- Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Netherlands – Robin van Persie
Why didn’t we include players from Argentina and Brazil at this point? After all, both teams have players priced among the favourites in the top goalscorer betting markets, with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Sergio Aguero all priced in the top four.
The answer is that the talent of these players is undisputed, but both teams are so packed with attacking players that it is hard to imagine any one player monopolizing the goalscoring. To compound the issue, Argentina have been drawn against the toughest defences in the tournament, while Brazil won’t have it easy in a group where their opponents conceded just 0.75 goals a game on average during qualifying.
Who to back?
Robin Van Persie and Daniel Sturridge both offer top value in the betting markets, with both priced over 25/1, while you can get Cristiano Ronaldo at prices over 12/1. We recommended placing level each-way bets on each of these players in the top goalscorer market – this will pay out an overall profit if even one of these players finishes amongst the top four scorers at the 2014 World Cup.Go Place Your Bet on The Golden Boot Winner at William Hill
If you’re looking for morer FIFA World Cup 2014 predictions you can visit our match betting tips for all of the individual matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.