THE WORLD Cup kicks off in Brazil this Thursday, and some put the figure that is going to be wagered at a cool £1bn. It’s an extraordinary number, and quite what the bookmakers’ liabilities are on a win for the favourites Brazil is anyone’s guess.
With raucous home support, and star names like Neymar, David Luiz and Thiago Silva, the hosts are probably right to be sitting at the head of the market at a general 3/1. Brazil is looking to extend its record of five wins in the sport’s pinnacle tournament, and manager Luis Felipe Scolari is bidding to become the second coach (after Vittorio Pozzo, who managed Italy in 1934 and 1938) to win two World Cups.
Brazil’s price will appeal to many, but there are far more exciting ways to bet on the tournament with sports spread-betting. For example, Sporting Index has Brazil trading at 47-50 on its Outright 100 Index (100 points for the winner, 75 for the runner-up, 50 for the semi-final losers, 25 for losing in the quarter-final, 10 for making the last 16). Just as many of you will take an opinion on a share price and trade accordingly, sports spread-betters can buy or sell quotes on thousands of World Cup markets, with profits and losses calculated on how right or wrong you are.
Buy Brazil at 50 and you will make at least 25 times your stake if the team makes the final, and a whopping 50 times your stake if they lift the trophy. On the other hand, if they are beaten in the quarters or before, you might have to put your summer holiday plans on hold.
There are markets on everything – outright results, team totals, goals, specials and even on the number of bookings. Shrewd betters will be looking at leading fancies with easy groups to secure a quick profit. And groups don’t get much easier than Argentina’s, which includes Iran, Nigeria and Bosnia. Buying Argentina total points in the group stage at 7.5 looks a great bet, as it would be a big surprise if they didn’t progress with a 100 per cent record. Argentinian strikers Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero are both prominent on the Golden Boot Index, and could be worth a buy. The last two winners secured the honour with only five goals, and it’s possible that one or even both could reach that total in the first round alone.
Ben Cleminson writes a football trading column for The Punter.