Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
COLUMN: World Cup's 'best' bets
by Mike Woitalla, June 9th, 2010 11:01PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  world cup

MOST COMMENTED

[MY VIEW]Online bookmakers, led by British firms such as William Hill, expect billions of dollars of World Cup wagers from around the globe. I put much thought and time into the making my tournament predictions for Soccer America, but would I bet on them?

I may have correctly predicted all eight quarterfinalists of the 2006 World Cup, but I haven’t picked the World Cup winner since 1990. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.

A few years ago, a Los Alamos National Laboratory study declared soccer the most unpredictable sport after studying 300,000 soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey and football games.

That study comes as no surprise, considering soccer’s low-scoring nature. The last World Cup averaged 2.30 goals per game. An underdog scores a goal, bunkers down, and there's your upset.

Plus, when most games are decided by one goal, a referee's decision has all the more chance of swaying the result one way or the other, regardless of who's the deserving victor.

Then you've got the penalty-kick tiebreakers, which in the last five World Cups have decided 14 knockout-stage games, including two finals (1994 and 2006).

Of the last five champions, only Brazil in 2002 lifted the title without winning a game on penalty kicks!

Betting on a sport in which great teams are frequently stifled by inferior foes’ defensive tactics and the most important games are decided by an artificial tiebreaker -- that just doesn't make good gambling sense to me.

So while others are enticed by quadrupling their dollars with a wager on Brazil to lift the trophy, my money stays home.

But millions of people will bet, and it won’t just be on game results or the overall winner. The British bookmakers offer so much more.

There’s 5/1 odds that Michael Bradley will be the first player to foul Wayne Rooney. It’s 8/1 that Landon Donovan will score against England. It’s 10/3 and 5/1, respectively, that Rooney or Peter Crouch strike for England.

One dollar will get you seven if a Brazilian is the first player to reveal a Jesus Christ T-shirt during a goal celebration.

At Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest bookmaker, you can bet on how many England players will sing the national anthem before U.S. game, how many matches Nelson Mandela will attend, and who Diego Maradona will verbally insult before the first game of the tournament.

British gamblers can even bet on whether an ITV commentator will utter the phrase, "They’re confiscating all the Vuvuzelas!" The smart money won't wager that, but I'll be happy if there's a winner.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: Giovinco aces two free kicks    
Sebastian Giovinco's hat trick in Toronto FC's 4-1 win over D.C United included two free-kick golazos, ...
NASL Rewind: Omar Bravo scores on debut    
Former Mexican World Cup striker Omar Bravo scored in his debut for the Carolina RailHawks in ...
MLS Talking Points: 'Hatred' seeps into New York derby    
The intensity of the Hudson River Derby took on a new level, rising with the midday ...
U.S. Abroad: More bad luck for Garza    
Greg Garza, who missed most of last season with a hip injury, suffered more bad back ...
MLS Talking Points: Sounders feel the heat    
The Seattle Sounders hit bottom Sunday in the oppressive Midwest heat when they fell to Sporting ...
Video Pick: Solo golazo by Andrey Arshavin    
The 35-year Russian star Andrey Arshavin, who played for Arsenal in 2009-2013, now plies his trade ...
What They're Saying: Bruce Arena    
"We won the game. That's what you do in soccer games. We were on the road ...
What They're Saying: Patrick Vieira    
"The comment from Jesse during the week had a massive impact on the referees. And of ...
What They're Saying: Alejandro Bedoya    
"Just watched that performance by Seattle vs KC. Still remember them telling me my value & ...
MLS Moves: Former U-20 star Steffen joins Crew    
Zack Steffen, who starred for the USA at the 2015 Under-20 World Cup, signed with the ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives