Soccer Magazine

What Are the Odds on That?

By Stuartnoel @theballisround

England World Cup Betting
Usually, before a World Cup, the England hype machine goes into overdrive, with pundits claiming that this could finally be the year where they repeat their 1966 heroics. However, after a sluggish qualifying campaign, few are expecting that this will be their year, least of all the bookies, who have them down as 33/1 outsiders to end 48 years of hurt.

So although they might not be the best bet to win the competition outright, even at those long odds, there are plenty of other ways that you can bet on England in this year’s World Cup. Here is a selection of some of the more interesting examples – for a complete list, check out the England World Cup betting section at https://www.betfair.com/sport/football.

The Squad
One of the more interesting markets as far as the English team is concerned is the make-up of Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad. Although there are a fair number of players that are guaranteed a seat on the plane unless they suffer an injury, there are a few players on the fringes that could be worth betting on to make it to Brazil.

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Defence-wise, the squad selection seems fairly settled, although there are a couple of intriguing possibilities around the fringes. With Ashley Cole losing his starting role at Chelsea, there could be an opportunity emerging for another left back, such as Southampton’s 18-year-old Luke Shaw, who looks a decent bet for inclusion at 2/1, possibly at Cole’s expense. Even more tempting are the 9/4 odds on both Luke Shaw and Leighton Baines making the trip. If there are any injuries, Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs looks a decent outside bet at odds of 16/1, as does Man City’s Joleon Lescott at 7/1.

The midfield is another area of the park that pretty much picks itself, but there are still a couple of decent outside bets in the form of Adam Johnson, whose career revival at Sunderland seems to be happening at just the right time, and Ashley Young, who has been getting plenty of game time at Manchester United, both at the seemingly-reasonable odds of 8/1.

Things are less cut and dry in the forward positions, where there could be as many as two places up for grabs alongside Rooney, Welbeck, and Sturridge. Were it not for his ill-timed move to the MLS, Jermaine Defoe would almost certainly be heading to Brazil, but he has been a squad regular for many years now and could be a decent bet for inclusion at 6/1. Other leading contenders include Rickie Lambert and Andy Carroll, both of which are in decent form and sitting at 7/2 for a place in the squad.

England Specials
With most pundits and fans quite pessimistic about England’s chances, there should be more interest in bets of this nature than usual. That said, there are plenty of reasons for optimism as well – such as the fine domestic form of veterans such as Steven Gerrard and John Terry, solid seasons from England mainstays such as Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart, and the emergence of promising youngsters such as Adam Lallana and Ross Barkley. With that in mind, here are a few of the more interesting England specials bets, starting with the more optimistic ones:

England to get maximum points in the group stage – 12/1
Although qualifying from group consisting of Italy, Uruguay, and Costa Rica might seem like a tall order, with the exception of a few key players none of these teams are particularly strong at the moment. Therefore, if you look at it objectively, England should have a decent chance of beating all of them and taking all nine points to win the group. Admittedly, this is a bit of a stretch, but it could be worth a punt at odds as long as these.

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England to win a penalty shootout – 8/1
Traditionally the Achilles heel of the English national team, a succession of exits on penalties has made many pessimistic about their chances of ever winning one. Yet, on paper at least, they have as good a chance as anyone, and by the law of averages, a penalty shootout win is long overdue. With Hodgson taking extra steps to improve this side of England’s game, including hiring a top sports psychologist, maybe this will be the year that the penalty ghost is finally exorcised.

England to go out on penalties – 8/1
If you are optimistic enough to expect that England will make it out of the group stages, but pessimistic enough to believe that England will revert to their old penalty-fluffing ways in Brazil, these odds look pretty good.

England to lose to Germany on penalties – 40/1
Although it looks less likely than in previous years, given that they would probably have to make it to the semis to face their arch-rivals, history has a nasty habit of repeating for England at the World Cup, which makes this long-odds bet look strangely appealing.

England not to win a game – 6/1
The ominously short odds available for England not to chalk up a single win may be depressing, but looked at realistically, it’s not that far-fetched. They are in a tough group, with Uruguay and Italy both capable of besting an out-of-sorts England side, and while England should at least beat Costa Rica they could manage to snatch a draw or even a defeat from the jaws of victory, particularly if morale is low.

 


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