If you’re already beginning to look ahead to the World Cup, and you’re fancying a bit of a wager on the overall winner of the tournament then the market seems to think it’s a bit of a done deal already – and the host nation has one hand on the trophy.
The thinking is obvious; Brazil are the best nation team in the whole history of world football and the World Cup in particular and, because this is the first time Brazil has hosted the tournament in the modern era, the home advantage will be more than enough to see them over the line in the Maracana next July 13th.
In fact, Brazil are just 3/1 with most bookmakers, followed by neighbours Argentina at 4/1. But there’s a problem with this reasoning. Not a single ball has yet been kicked in the tournament’s final stages. Also, the home side will be under far more pressure than they ever have been before – and this will surely take its toll. Brazil’s game traditionally depends on moments of individual skill and flair, but the more mechanically perfect games of other countries like holders Spain, may work better against a nervy, highly host nation.
This means there’s better value elsewhere. The fact that the odds are skewed so heavily in the South American’s favour (not least because no European nation has ever lifted the trophy when it’s been played in the Americas) is great news. Ignore the history – he game is very different now and the location isn’t as important as it was – save for the home nation.
For the best value of all, we should be looking at the second most successful nation in World Cup history; Italy. Italy are always hard to beat in the World Cup, no matter how badly the domestic may be doing compared with others. And at 25-1 sixth betting favourites, Italy really do represent excellent value compared with their main European and South American rivals.