The World Cup the biggest football competition there is. It’s where the heroes and villains are born and the emotions encapsulated in a single month of football create for an unmatched global event.
The next World Cup brings a lot of controversy with it. Qatar will host the competition in the Winter of 2022 due to intolerable heat of the middle east in the summer. You ought to study this World Cup in-depth because it will offer some under-the-radar betting opportunities to take advantage of.
Format & Uncertainty
World Cup in Qatar will be the last-ever to host 32 nations in the final tournament. From 2026, the competition will oversee an expansion of 48 teams who will participate in the final stages of the World Cup.
While this is a solid move financially, it could easily backfire in the form of watering down the competition and making it less interesting and intense. That being said, we should all enjoy this one, as four teams will fulfill eight groups with 13 of those coming from Europe. In recent World Cups it is the European continent that dominated the competition. From 2006 onwards, European teams took seven out of possible eight World Cup final spots, with Argentina the only exception in 2014. Needless to say, Europeans also won all of the last four tournaments, and Brazil were the last one to “steal” the trophy in 2002.
Put Your Money Where Your Host Is
Tradition has it that the hosts have a big advantage in the World Cup. Even though there’s sometimes even a lot of foul play involved, such as in 2002, the home nation usually finds their way to the latest stages of the World Cup.
Looking at it historically, France won the 1998 World Cup in their own country. Four years later, South Korea shocked the world and got to the semi-finals, even though there’s still a veil of mystery surrounding that tournament’s referee integrity. 2006 saw Germany repeated South Korea’s success and reach the semi-final as the hosts. In 2010, when South Africa became the first African nation ever to host the World Cup, Ghana was Luis Suarez’s handball away from becoming the first African country ever in the World Cup semi-final. Brazil reached the semi-finals in 2014 (although it would be better if they didn’t), while Russia got to the quarter-final in 2018 at their home soil.
All this points to - obviously - Qatar. They took this seriously, and the country invested a lot in preparing the team for the biggest stage of them all. They seem to be doing well, too. The Copa America cameo brought a lot of enthusiasm, as Qatar are taking full advantage of the modern-day technology, advancing and researching football to the core. So, if you’re looking for a safe and prosperous bet, Qatar is your team! There will be plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this, too. Welcome offers are usually going rampant ahead of the World Cup. Free bets are always an option, especially in a tournament of this magnitude.
Waiting on a Sunny Day
As we already mentioned, this will be the first-ever World Cup to be played in the winter. This is a pretty big deal because it changes everything - the leagues have to be ready to pause their competitions and possibly go deep into the summer afterward. This also poses another big issue - the players’ fitness.
Players are being run into the ground with the modern football requirements nowadays. There’s only so much preparation and medicine can do, but the tempo set at the biggest stars is neck-breaking. With the World Cup in the middle of the season, it will be a very interesting change, though. This is when most players typically reach the peak of their physical performance during the season, as they’re just hitting the right form while having the rest still in their feet from the summer vacations.
It’s still early to talk about specific squads and players who will travel to the World Cup. However, it’s sure that the older players will welcome this change of schedule even more than their younger colleagues and the aging squads could benefit. Keep this in might, especially for outright bets, such as those offered at Betfair.
image: Betfair Exchange FIFA World Cup Winner Market (September 2020)
The Winners’ Fatigue
France, we’re looking at you. It seems that there’s been a change of pace since 2006 when Italy won the World Cup. They dropped out in the group stage in the following tournament in 2010. Then, after Spain conquered the world, they, too, dropped out of the group stage in the subsequent competition in 2014. Afterwards, that years’ winners, Germany, repeated the “success” of their predecessors and left the 2018 World Cup early after losing to South Korea. And now, with French historic unpredictability, is anyone ready to put their money on them?
Don’t Count on Goals in the Final
The World Cup finals are, for various reasons, often somewhat disappointing. Probably due to immense pressure, teams are fully focused on protecting their own net in the final, and the fear of conceding is bigger than the potential reward of scoring. Four of the last five finals saw less than 2.5 goals scored. The only exception was the last one, where Croatia were dead meat by the time they got to the final, and there wasn’t any real competition for France there.
So, if you’re looking at betting markets for that one specific match, some braver amongst you might even pick less than 1.5 goals, as it’s a pretty realistic option when you take it all into account and it could be the value bet that you’re looking for.
- 2006 - Italy 1 - 1 France
- 2010 - Spain 1 - 0 Neatherlands
- 2014 - Germany 1 - 0 Argentina
- 2018 - France 4 - 2 Croatia
The biggest competition in the world also brings the biggest awards. You can use it to stay ahead of the market by carefully picking your picks and looking at historic data as guidance. In the end, it all comes down to fiesta and a wonderful month of global football even taking over our lives in one way or another!
What Free Bets Will Be Available For The World Cup?
Pre Tournament Free Bets
Lots of bookmakers are running promotions during the build up to the World Cup. With these offers, you need to be on another event and when you do, you will receive a free bet during the World Cup. William Hill have been running this kind of offer for the FA Cup and Champions League finals, where you get a £10 free bet during the World Cup, when you place a £10 bet on each of the finals. Netbet have been running a similar offer for a few weeks now as well.
Enhanced Sign up Offers
A lot of the major bookmakers will be offering free bets for the World Cup. These will normally take the form of enhanced sign up offers. This means that you will get enhanced odds on a particular market, for example England to win their first group game when you join and place a bet. Typically you will be paid the normal odds as cash and the enhanced price in free bets.
Free Bet Per Goal Scored
Last time the tournament was held, a number of bookies offered a free bet every time your player scored a goal when you backed them in the top goalscorer market. Pick a player that has a good tournament and bangs the goals in for fun and you can end up with plenty of free bets for the World Cup in 2022. If a number of different bookmakers offer the promotion, why not back a few players and increase the number of free bets you receive?
Players that we think are worth taking a look at for this offer would be Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, griezmann and even Harry Kane. For longer odds you may want to pick Salah who has been in sparkling form with Liverpool this season.
Ongoing Free Bets For Backing The Tournament Winner
This World Cup Betting Offer works in a similar fashion the the top goalscorer offer. You back a team to win the World Cup and you get a free bet every time that your selected team wins a match. If the team you backed is fortunate enough to reach the final, that’s a potential of 7 games for which you can receive a free bet for. When picking a team to back, we’d suggest one of the favourites that always perform well like Germany, France, Spain, Brazil or Argentina.
What Are the Best World Cup Betting Offers?
With the tournament only days away, which offers are worth getting on? We´ll take a look at some of the best that the bookies have to offer and how you should look at completing them.
Skybet - £10 Free Bet If Your Tournament Winner Bet Loses
Skybet are offering a £10 free bet if you place a £10 bet on the tournament winner and it loses. This represents some great insurance if you are looking to have a flutter on the eventual winner in Russia. For the patriotic folks out there, this could be the best place to stick your £10 on England to win the tournament. If they don´t win, then you´ll get your £10 back as a free bet. Skybet have priced England at 16-1, so if they did win you´d be profiting to the tune of £160 and get a £10 free bet if they don´t. We think that Belgium also represents good value here at 10-1. They have a strong squad, but much like England in the past, have performed poorly in large international tournaments. Could this be the year where that all changes.
William Hill - Bet £10 on The Top Goalscorer and Get £5 Per Goal Your Selection Scores
The Top Goalscorer market is always one of the most popular betting markets for the World Cup and William Hill have released a fantastic offer to encourage you to bet with them. Place a £10 bet on the Top Goalscorer market and get a £5 free bet every time your selection scores a goal. Considering that the top goalscorer has scored no fewer than 5 goals in any World Cup tournament since 1978, pick the correct player and you could have £25 in free bets from this offer.
Before you go lumping on the obvious choices like Ronaldo and Messi, bear in mind that international tournaments can throw the odd spanner in the works. Whilst both players score for fun domestically, Ronaldo for example, has only scored 1 goal at his last 3 World Cup tournaments. And who could have predicted that James Rodriguez would bag 6 goals at the 2014 tournament?
If we were to pick a player for this offer, we´d be tempted to go with Antoine Griezmann. He is a player bang in form and scores plenty for his country. France also have a fairly easy group and plenty of support from quality players. We can see he him getting at least 2 goals in the tournament barring injury. At 9-1, he has a good chance of making your stake back in free bets and more.
If you take up Willam Hill´s sign up offer, you can also get £30 in free bets, when you place a £10 bet
If you are looking to matched bet this offer, Neymar looks like the best value with a qualifying loss of £2.05 with Betfair.
Ladbrokes - £5 Free Bet If England Don´t Win the Tournament
Another offer for the patriotic members out there. Place a £5 bet on England to win the World Cup and if they don´t you get your money back as a free bet. If you were going to have a fiver on England to win the tournament, then this is probably where I´d stick it. Ladbrokes are offering 14-1 on England to win it in Russia, so your £5 stake would net you £70 profit if they did bring the trophy back to England this summer.
If you don´t already have an account, the Ladbrokes sign up offer entitles you to £30 in free bets when you place a £10 bet
If you were looking to matched bet this offer, the qualifying loss is £1.58, so I´d be tempted to just let this one ride and hope for the best. Alternatively, you could wait until the tournament starts and if England do well, look to lay them off at a later date when the odds drop.
William Hill - Bet £10 on the Tournament Winner, Get £5 Free Bet Every Time They Win
Another great offer from William Hill. Place a £10 bet on the tournament winner in Russia and get a £5 free bet every time that your selection wins a game. It´s important to bear in mind that once the competition reaches the knockout phase, in order to receive the free bet, your team must win in normal time. You won´t receive the free bet if your selection wins in extra time or penalties. That said, any team that reaches the final and wins will play 7 games, so that´s £35 in potential free bets available.
When you are looking to complete this offer, stick to the usual suspects. Brazil, Germany, France and Spain tend to do well in international tournaments like the World Cup and are most likely to win their games and progress far in the competition.
If you are wanting to matched bet this offer, Brazil look like a good price with a £1.59 qualifying loss at Betfair. I would also be expecting £15 in free bets at least with them as well, so this represents great value.
888 Sport - Bet £20 on the Winner, Get £1 Free Bet Every Goal Your Selection Scores
Perhaps not as good as the William Hill offer, but if you take a look at the record books, the top goal scoring team in any tournament hasn´t been less than 14 goals since 1930. Germany have been the top scoring team for the last 3 tournaments (14- 18 goals), so if the past has any reflection on the future, we´d be backing Germany for this offer. You can matched bet this offer with a qualifying loss of just £3.01 with betfair, so you´d need Germany to score 5 goals to make this one profitable, which we think is very probable.
You can get a tasy £30 in free bets with the 888sport sign up offer, so if you don´t alrady have an account, why not grab one and grt some extra free bets?
The Best of the Rest
Both Fun88 and TLC bet are running the same promotion. Bet £10 on both the Top Goalscorer and Winner markets for the World Cup and get a £10 free bet. They are both very good value offers and you can either punt the qualifying bets on a team or player likely to win and hope for the best, safe in the knowledge that you have a free bet to come to the same value. Alternatively, if you want to matched bet them, Germany look like a good option, with a £1.13 qualifying loss for the winner offer. For top goalscorer, Neymar looks like the best option with a qualifying loss of just £0.83.
The World Cup Format
In total there will be 32 teams fighting it out to be the overall winner in the final taking place on 14th July. Before any team gets to the final, they must navigate the group stage and 3 further games in the knockout stages. Let’s take a closer look at how the competition will progress.
The Group Stage
There are 8 groups each containing 4 teams. Each team will play each other once during the group stage. The top 2 teams from each group will progress to the knockout stages of the competition. A popular bet for many punters during this stage of the competition is the “to win the group” bet. At the time of writing you can currently get odds of 13/10 on England to win group G, but we’d be wary of Belgium to top the group at odds of 5/6 with Coral.
The Knockout Stage
From the knockout stage, each team must navigate 3 further matches to reach the final. This comprises of the last 16, the quarter finals, the semi finals and the final itself. Of course a popular bet here is to place a bet on the actual winner of the World Cup. Currently Germany and Brazil are joint favourites at 9/2 each. When betting on the eventual winner of the world cup, bear in mind that the odds will change throughout the tournament as we get a feel for who is in form and who isn’t.