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

TAGS:  world cup


[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



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Landon Donovan    
"If [Lionel] Messi scored a goal like that, people would be talking about it for weeks. ...
USWNT: Five regulars return for Romania series    
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis recalled five regulars who had sat out the Switzerland ...
MLS Playoffs: Youngster Boateng takes charge for Galaxy    
Emmanuel Boateng made up for a penalty whistled on him that negated the LA Galaxy's early ...
Report: Barrett out of running for Dynamo head coach    
Wade Barrett, who served as the Houston Dynamo interim coach for the last five months, won't ...
What They're Saying: Michael Bradley    
"For tonight, every player, every person who is a part of this club, every fan, every ...
What They're Saying: Harvard dean Rakesh Khurana    
"As a human being, and a member of the Harvard College community, I am always profoundly ...
MLS Moves: Robinson stays with 'Caps, but changes coming    
Three days after a 4-1 win over Portland ended a disappointing MLS season for Vancouver, the ...
MLS Playoffs: Toronto FC stars come to play    
Ten years. That's the time it took Toronto FC to finally win its first playoff game. ...
MLS: SKC takes win streak into first playoff meeting    
The Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City have been playoff mainstays -- eight straight appearances for ...
MLS Playoffs: Teams at familiar stage    
MLS's Knockout Round concludes Thursday with two games: D.C. United-Montreal and Seattle-Sporting KC. All four teams ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives