Brazilâ€™s World Cup is less than three months away, and despite most national leagues now approaching their most hectic periods, excitement about the tournament is building rapidly. Millions will change hands as people across the globe back their teams to win, and odds are already available on each team to lift the trophy in July, as well as the scorelines of individual matches. Here weâ€™ll have a look at who the bookies are favoring at this stage. All odds quoted are the best available in mid-March.
It wonâ€™t surprise you to hear that Brazil are favorites to win the World Cup for a sixth time. In fact you might think that the current best odds of around 13/4 are quite generous â€“ in which case get a bit of money on them quickly! Argentina are considered second best at 5/1 at the moment, with the advantage of being close to home a significant factor. Even without such an advantage, Germany are â€“ as usual â€“ seen as very strong at 6/1, and holders Spain are a close fourth at 7/1.
After Spain thereâ€™s something of a drop-off, with an in-form Belgium side 5th favorites at odds of 18/1. Longer shots include England at 35/1, but if you fancy backing a team with a close-to-home advantage and a decent price, consider a small bet on either Colombia (28/1) or Uruguay (30/1). Real outsiders include the USA at 200/1, Australia at 1000/1 and Honduras. If you put ÂŁ100 on Honduras today and they win the World Cup in July, youâ€™ll walk away with ÂŁ600,000. Just remember â€“ theyâ€™re definitely not going to do so!
Now letâ€™s look at a few of the matches. The opening game sees Brazil take on Croatia in Sao Paulo on 12th June, and of course Brazil are huge favorites at 1/3. If you think an attack of first-day nerves might upset them, youâ€™ll get 11/1 on a Croatian victory. On day 2 of the tournament, Spain play the Netherlands in a rerun of the 2010 final, which saw 14 yellow cards handed out (most of them to Dutch players, it has to be said.) It should be a great game with a bit of an edge, and Spain are fancied to win again at 11/10, with the Netherlands priced at 16/5.
Some of the longest match odds are available for the Argentina – Iran match on 21st June. A ÂŁ5 bet on Argentina will see you walk away with just ÂŁ6, but if Iran manage some kind of miracle, the same bet on them will pay ÂŁ100.
DISCLAIMER: That isnâ€™t going to happen either!