Ten days from now, the World Cup kicks off in Brazil and the whole world will have their collective attention on it. It’s a pretty big deal. Die-hard fans will tune it, as well as bandwagon fans who probably have no idea about the national teams or players, let alone understand the objective of the game.
But everyone will be watching including online sportsbooks who will be offering a pu pu platter of odds to make watching the games more enjoyable. We’re not going the start down the usual route of dissecting each team’s odds of winning the World Cup. We’ll save that for the end after we have a clearer picture of the rosters of all 32 teams involved. (Side note: tough luck to Colombia, which now has to navigate through a mine field of a group without star striker Radamel Falcao.)
We’re diving to all the awesome prop bets first. Let’s begin with one that gets a ton of action: Top Goal Scorer.
The World Cup will feature the best goal scorers in the game so picking the one to win the tournament’s Golden Boot will be a veritable crapshoot. Fortunately, there are some names that have some intriguing odds, beginning with the world’s best football player, Lionel Messi, an Argentinian striker listed as the 7/1 favorite to score the most goals in the tournament—a juicy yet a tricky number because of the other notable choices on the board.
Just below Messi is his Barcelona teammate and Brazil striker Neymar at 10/1 odds. He is likely to get the most action, largely due to Brazi’s stature as the favorite of the tournament. Here’s a tip: If you’re betting on props like Top Goal Scorer, it’s always a good idea to bet on somebody who is on a team many believe will make a deep run in the tournament.
After the two Barca teammates, you have Argentina’s Sergio Aguero and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, both of whom have been priced at 14/1 odds. These seem like great odds for two of the best scorers in football, right? Well, not exactly. If you look a little closer and you’ll recognize that it’s not a smart idea to put your money on someone like Aguero knowing Messi or even Gonzalo Higuain, listed at 20/1, will be poaching goals away from him.
You need to bet someone who will be the featured scorer on their team. Somebody like Cristiano Ronaldo—except that football gods weren’t kind to Portugal, putting them in a group with Ghana, the United States and Germany. This goes back to the tip of picking a player on a team you think will advance deep into the tournament. Portugal has a chance but it won’t be easy in light of the competition in its group. Ronaldo is up there with Messi as a goal scorer but putting your faith in a player whose team could be bounced in the group stages is a risky proposition (pun intended).
So who’s the best bet? Scanning down the list there are some notable choices, including Luis Suarez (18/1), Romelu Lukaku (22/1), Diego Costa (22/1), Karim Benzema (25/1) and Robin van Persie (28/1).
All great players with great odds but taking a deeper look, you have to also consider injuries as a potential deterrent to how well they’ll perform in the World Cup. Suarez, Costa and van Persie have had to deal with recent injuries while Benzema and Lukaku play for a team that feature their own share of attacking options.
Outside of those already mentioned, other notable names are Thomas Muller (28/1), Mario Balotelli (33/1), Edinson Cavani (33/1) and Wayne Rooney (50/1).
Muller won the Golden Boot award during the 2010 World Cup, even if his five goals tied for first with David Villa, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan. The German clinched it because he had more assists (3) than the rest, all of whom had one each.
Who is the best bet in this tournament? Let’s ride the hometown whiz kid at 10/1. He’s the featured scorer for a Brazil team that’s one of the favorites to win the FIFA World Cup Trophy. More games played and more chances to scores means we’re more likely to cash our ticket on Neymar at 10/1.