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2014 World Cup Betting Guide

Strategies - Tips

 

As the World gears up for the 2014 World Cup, many American sports fans will take an interest in the event, and soccer, in general, for the first time. With all of the coverage we are likely to see here in the States, especially if the USA team wins a few games, many of those fans are likely to try their hand at wagering on the World Cup. Before you do that, it's important for you to understand the rules and the opportunities their may be to profit as a result of those rules.

By knowing the rules, and the situations that may arise, a sharp bettor can take advantage and profit. Particularly in dealing with some of the sportsbooks that are not used to dealing soccer lines on a daily basis. The event is so huge, sportsbooks that normally just deal in the major USA sports are forced to put up betting lines rather than taking the chance their faithful customers will go elsewhere.

When a baseball or football line changes, the sportsbooks that focus on American sports know about it immediately and make adjustments right away. It's rare for there to be longer than 30 seconds to take advantage of a stale line in US sportsbetting. Not the case when dealing with soccer. It's very easy to catch books sleeping which can create some fantastic opportunities to profit.

But catching a book sleeping isn't the only way to profit. Just knowing the rules and the situations that develop as a result of those rules can be enough. Here's a look at some situations that have happened in the past and are likely to happen again. Be alert, and be ready when they do. You can profit from these situations without knowing much about soccer in general!

In major soccer events the rules for how teams advance from each group can often impact coaching strategies. In the World Cup and European Championships, qualification from the group stage is identical with the top two teams from each group advancing to the knockout stage of the competition.

If two or more teams finish even on points (earning 3 with a win and 1 for a draw), tiebreakers are used. The first decider is goal difference, then total goals scored, followed by head-to-head results, and finally the drawing of lots.

One clear trend you see happening is in a team's final game. Due to tiebreaker rules, there are times when a certain match result will guarantee both teams advance. A classic example of this happened in the 2004 European Championships in Group C. Before the final group games were played, Group C's table was as follows:

W D L GF GA Pts Sweden 1 1 0 6 1 4 Denmark 1 1 0 2 0 4 Italy 0 2 0 1 1 2 Bulgaria 0 0 2 0 7 0

If Sweden and Denmark tied at 0-0 or 1-1, Sweden and Italy would advance. If the game tied at 2-2 or higher, Sweden and Denmark would advance. During the second half, the score became tied at 2-2. At that point, the players on the field stopped attacking and were content doing passing drills until time elapsed.

A similar situation happened in the 2002 World Cup when Brazil played Turkey in the last match in their group. If Turkey lost 2-1, drew or won, both Brazil and Turkey would advance. Sharp bettors identified this and bet on the exact score of the match, Brazil to win 2-1. Not surprisingly, that was the score of the game.

Another less obvious situation to look for is coaches who are content with a tie in the group stages. While every coach would like their team to win, it's often more important during the pressure cauldron of a major tournament to simply not lose. In the 2002 World Cup, 13 out of 48 group stage matches ended in a draw and during France 98, 16 out of 48 matches at the group stage also ended in a draw including 5 out of the first 16 opening matches played.

Betting the draw can be profitable if you carefully select your positions and look for value when making bets. Unless there's a strong angle it might be wiser to pass on the draw as you're typically betting into a line that has far more juice or bookmaker's commission than an "Asian handicap". An Asian handicap is like a bet on the point spread in the NFL - where you have a spread and moneyline combined.

As it's harder for most players to calculate the bookmaker's commission on 3-way betting lines (home team, draw, away team) many bookmakers will 'hide' additional juice on 3-way lines, which offers substantially less value to the player.

If you're used to playing 3-way lines, you can often make a similar bet on the Asian handicap at a much better price. If a team is a goal favorite on the Asian handicap, betting that team either on a 3-way or on the Asian handicap will amount to the same thing - a winning bet if the team wins.

Another type of Asian handicap is the "quarter-ball" line. For example, if the line is "England -0.5 and -1 -105", half the amount of your bet will be graded at -0.5 and the other half of the stake amount will be graded at -1. Some players get frustrated trying to compare prices between the quarter ball line and the Asian handicap. The general rule of thumb for handicaps is that a quarter-ball is worth about 35 cents. So if "England -0.5 and -1 -105" was the fair price, "England -0.5 -140" would be a similar price.

These are just a few of the ways to profit when betting on the 2014 World Cup. Have fun. It's a great event. It will never reach the same level of popularity here in the States as football, hoops and baseball, and certainly won't become a sport that we care about on a daily basis, but once every 4 years, it should deserves to dominate the sports landscape here in the states for a month. It truly is "The Worlds Game".

 

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