The 2014 World Cup is fast approaching and as usual, future bets on who will raise the trophy in Brazil have gained steam leading up to the opening of the tournament. Host Brazil remains the favorite at 3/1 odds to win its sixth World Cup title, followed by Argentina at a close 5/1, Germany at 11/2, and defending champion Spain at 13/2.
But over in Europe, none of these teams can lay claim to being the most bet-on side. According to OddsChecker.com, that distinction belongs to a team that didn’t even qualify in the last two World Cups.
With odds ranging from 14/1 to 20/1, the Red Devils are getting all the red-hot action at 23-percent of bets taken in Europe, clear of the second most bet-on team, Germany, at 18 percent. That’s a testament to Belgium’s meteoric rise in stature that’s largely attributed to the collection of world-class players the country that isn’t famous for anything other than waffles has developed over the years.
It’s a far cry from where the team was even as recent as three years ago when it was ranked somewhere in the 60’s in the FIFA World Rankings. But with its golden age of players reaching their peak years, Belgium has turned into world-beaters since missing out on Euro 2012.
In that short space of time, the Red Devils – shouldn’t they be called the Waffle Makers? – have vaulted their ranking to an all-time high of fifth after it breezed through the qualifying stages of the tournament. The team has since settled at 12th, but it’s still a quantum leap from where they were a few years ago and indicative of their new-found status as legitimate dark horse contenders in the World Cup.
Should the team live up to its potential, it should have no problem claiming the top place in its group ahead of Russia, Algeria, and Korea. In that scenario, Belgium gets the task of facing the second-place team of Group G, which could be anywhere from Germany, Portugal, the USA, and Ghana.
A potential quarter-finals showdown with Argentina is a daunting task, followed by possibly Spain in the semis and then Brazil or Germany in the finals. Going through that murderer’s gauntlet of some of the best teams in the world is pretty incredible for even the highest of seeds, let alone a team like Belgium and its roster of rising football stars.
But can the Red Devils pull it off? It’s a lot to ask for any team, but run through the roster of players in the Belgium squad and you can see why the team is receiving the most action from bettors in Europe.
Even at 14/1, putting a small amount on Belgium is pretty enticing. But at 20/1, you’d be wise to at least put a little change in there, too.
Who would’ve thought that Belgium would be getting this much love ahead of a World Cup. Certainly not us, and in all likelihood, neither did a lot of other people.