WITH the summer’s biggest sporting event kicking off this Friday, football fans will surely be looking to spice it up with some spread bets. So, every Monday throughout the World Cup, City A.M. will be bringing you some top football tips.

The start of the competition is usually a nervous stage for any side and that can often mean tight games. England’s last three opening appearances at the World Cup have all produced exactly two goals, so there looks to be little downside in selling Sporting Index’s total goals for the match market at 2.6-2.8. Alternatively, you could sell England supremacy for the match at 1.2, also with Sporting Index. Fabio Capello will want to avoid defeat and win the group, but England can still do that if they draw with the USA.

If you want to take a view on England’s performance over the tournament as a whole, then history would suggest selling extrabet’s total England goals spread of 10-10.7. In the last five World Cups, England have scored six, six, seven, eight and seven goals.

Close attention will also be paid to the performance of South Africa. The host nation has always qualified for the knockout stages and while South Africa are not the strongest, their group (France, Mexico and Uruguay) is not brimming with talent either. Sporting Index markets suggest they are the team least likely to qualify from Group A but they could still claim the runners-up spot. You could therefore place a small buy of the Group A index at 5.5-7 with Sporting Index – 25 points for the group winner; 10 points for the runner-up.

If you’d rather avoid taking a punt on an individual team, there are a number of markets suitable for you. In every tournament since the 1990 World Cup, the number of yellow cards has risen, reaching 318 in 2006. Recent Fifa rulings would suggest that the total number of yellow cards will be in the 300s again. But extrabet is currently only offering 285-295, making the market a promising buy.

Goals within minutes of kick-off are always exciting and selling the time of the fastest goal has been a winner in the past three tournaments. Those expecting a team’s defence to be caught unawares or capitulate quickly could sell extrabet’s spread of 87-97 seconds from kick-off, which has a stop-loss of 150 seconds just in case strikers aren’t as aggressive as you had expected.