Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
COLUMN: World Cup's 'best' bets
by Mike Woitalla, June 9th, 2010 11:01PM

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
Lloyd golazo ups her goal streak to seven games    
If there is one lesson NWSL opponents should have learned from the Women's World Cup, it's ...
What They're Saying: Abby Wambach on her future plans    
"I haven't made a decision about the Olympics next summer and I would have to make ...
USL Roundup: Board of Governors meets in Denver    
For the third straight year, the USL has held its annual midseason Board of Governors meeting ...
How does MLS All-Stars vs. Liga MX All-Stars sound?    
With Wednesday's AT&T MLS All-Star Game set to pit the MLS All-Stars against Tottenham at Dick's ...
TV Report: Gold Cup reaches more than 6.8 million viewers    
The Gold Cup final between Mexico and Jamaica was watched by 6 million viewers on Univision, ...
Donovan: 'I'm not going to be Mexico's next coach'    
Landon Donovan has always had a great sense of humor, and he's lost none of that ...
Video Pick: Houston's Miranda stands out with stylish finish    
On a week with 39 goals in nine games, there were lots to choose from for ...
Northwest Division teams dominate PDL All-League team    
Sounders FC U23 defender Jonathan Campbell, who was named to attend the U.S. Men's U23 College ...
What They're Saying: Osvaldo Alonso     
"This is a gift for me. When I come here, it was never to come back. ...
What They're Saying: Mexican federation president Decio de Maria    
"Our values, our principles, are above any result. In our profession, our industry, the matches are ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives