World Cup favorites and betting odds

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The usual football powerhouses lead the list of favorites to win this year’s World Cup in Qatar, with DraftKings picking Brazil, Argentina, defending champions France, Spain and England. My betting recommendations are a bit more eclectic – see below – but I briefly review the capabilities of the leading contenders:

Brazil (+400 to win; bet $100 to win $400)

The five-time World Cup winners haven’t lifted the trophy in 20 years and have caught fire in the quarter-finals in three of their last four tournaments, but the South American’s impressive qualifying run (14 wins and three unbeaten draws) is paying off. glorify on the table. The Seleção has arguably the best goalkeeper in the world (Alisson) and plenty of attacking options, including Neymar, who will be fully fit for the first time at the World Cup.

It’s the last chance at World Cup glory for 35-year-old legend Lionel Messi, who has only reached the World Cup quarter-finals once in four attempts with Argentina. The two-time champions are on a 35-game unbeaten run, a streak that includes a triumph over Brazil in the 2021 Copa América final. This time, Messi is surrounded by talent and plays with a passing system that suits his game.

As noted below, the four-year defending champion from 2018. triumph in Russia has been a messy year, with no team having defended their World Cup title since 1962. Brazil. But any team that has Karim Benzema (the last Ballon d’Or winner). , which is awarded to the best player in the world at a European club), Kylian Mbappé (only 23 and one of the most dangerous goalscorers in the world) and Antoine Griezmann (a wise veteran) will be hard to stop. France’s greatest enemy is France itself.

Manager Luis Enrique insists on full adherence to his “attack first and always attack” system: “We always want to be on the opposition side and take risks,” he said. But that system isn’t much without effective finishers, and Spain may be lacking in that department. (A lot of expectations are placed on the diminutive shoulders of Pedri, who is 19.) Also, Enrique’s methods could leave Spain’s defense vulnerable to counterattacks.

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Expectations haven’t been high for the Three Lions for a long time, but that seems fitting for a team that reached the World Cup semi-finals four years ago and is set to qualify for the 2020 World Cup. In the final of the European football championship, they lost to Italy on penalties. However, their recent form has not been great, with England on a six-match UEFA Nations League winless run this year, losing three and drawing one, although on 26 September. 3:3 draw with Germany was pleasing. Harry Kane is key and if he can’t get going then England could struggle.

How to manage a world cup pool

There are a number of compelling options to win the Golden Boot, which is awarded to the top scorer at the World Cup. According to DraftKings, here again are the top contenders.

Harry Kane (England) +700

Kane is a Golden Boot winner after scoring six goals in Russia four years ago. He needs three goals to overtake Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time top goalscorer.

Kylian Mbappé (France) +800

As a 19-year-old, Mbappé scored four times in Russia, and he and Pelé are the only teenagers to have scored in a World Cup final. He has scored 190 goals in five-plus seasons at French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, including 19 goals in 20 appearances in all competitions this season.

Lionel Messi (Argentina) +1000

Despite all his achievements, Messi has only scored six goals at the World Cup, four of which came in Argentina’s 2014 final. He has never scored in the playoffs.

Neymar has scored six goals in two World Cup appearances for Paris Saint-Germain this season and has 15 goals in all competitions.

Here are the top 12 DraftKings picks for November 15th.

It can be fun to throw a few bucks on the team you think will win or the top scorer, but there are plenty of other betting options. Here are some bets that I think might be worth your time.

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Costa Rica Fewest Goals, +800 (FanDuel)

Of the four Concacaf teams to qualify for the World Cup, the defensive-minded Ticos have scored the fewest goals in the final round of qualifying (13 in 14 games) and are the only side without a player, with three goals in qualifying. Instead, Costa Rica are content to let their opponents press the attack and hope their defense and goalkeeper Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain) excel.

When considering this bet, you want to pick a team with little hope of making the knockout stages, with Costa Rica facing European titans Spain, Germany and Japan in Group E. FanDuel’s betting odds for Costa Rica in the group stage are a staggering -2000, which far exceeds every other team’s odds for the same bet.

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Spain under 8.5 goals, -110 (DraftKings)

Spain scored just 15 goals in qualifying, making Switzerland the lowest-scoring winners of UEFA’s qualifying group, with seven of those goals coming in four games against Spain’s group-worst teams, Georgia and Kosovo. The last time La Roja went over two goals was on March 29. against Iceland, and the last three World Cup teams, including the 2010 a team that has won all its matches has not scored more than eight goals. Since 2019 David Villa’s departure after scoring a career-high nine World Cup goals in Spain has left La Roja short of goals, which, combined with being in perhaps the toughest group at the World Cup, could reduce their goal tally.

France eliminated in round of 16 +400 (DraftKings)

The last three defending World Cup champions were eliminated from the tournament in the group stage. In mid-table Group D with Denmark, Australia and Tunisia, France should avoid that fate, but Les Bleus are a mess on and off the pitch heading into this year’s tournament, and an early knockout stage exit is not that unlikely.

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France enter the tournament with just one win in their last six matches. Nine players considered candidates for the World Cup roster have struggled with injuries, while star player Kylian Mbappé has battled with the national federation over image rights. There have been blackmail cases involving sex tapes and accusations of witchcraft threats among players, and the head of the national federation has been accused of sexual harassment. It’s ugly.

Denmark will certainly not be intimidated by France, who have beaten Les Bleus twice in the last five months. A runner-up spot in the group likely means a match with likely Group C winners and tournament second-favourite Argentina in the round of 16, and that will not be an easy task.

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Canada is in the playoffs, +280 (FanDuel)

The Canadians are returning to the World Cup for just the second time (and first in 36 years), but that doesn’t mean their players don’t have experience in the spotlight. Jonathan David (Lille), Cyle Larin (Brugge), Stephen Eustáquio (Porto) and Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) all played in the Champions League, and that experience against the world’s best will be carried over into Group F matches against Belgium, Croatia and Morocco.

Finishing ahead of Belgium is probably too much to ask, but finishing second is not. Croatia, runners-up four years ago, are stuck between eras, a combination of age and inexperience that shouldn’t do them any favors, with Morocco a long way off. Canada topped Concacaf qualifying ahead of continental big brothers USA and Mexico and will not be intimidated here.

World Cup Odds (according to DraftKings as of November 15)


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