Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
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
Video Pick: Soccer meets 'Game of Thrones'     
Does Brek Shea look like Brienne of Tarth? Lionel Messi like Bran Stark? You can be ...
What They're Saying: Jozy Altidore    
"I want to apologize to our fans and my teammates. Emotion got the best of me ...
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"He used some verbal words. I asked the ref, obviously -- I told the players at ...
Injured Player? Take Safe Steps in the Return-To-Play Decision    
One of the toughest decisions in youth sports is determining when a player who has suffered ...
ESPN2's MLS viewership hits low with Fire game    
For the second straight week, the Chicago Fire drew the lowest viewership for an MLS game ...
Sounders 2 forward Jones named USL Player of the Week    
Seattle Sounders Homegrown signing Darwin Jones was named the USL Player of the Week for the ...
TV Report: MLS adds to international presence    
After deals with Sky Sports (Britain) and Eurosport (Europe), Major League Soccer has signed agreements with ...
USA-Switzerland Player Ratings     
The USA tied Switzerland, 1-1, in Zurich on Tuesday. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann's team took a 1-0 ...
U.S. U-23s fall to Denmark's U-23s    
The U.S. under-23 national team finished with a split of its two games on its European ...
MLS Trade Central: NYCFC adds young Norwegian keeper    
Norwegian goalkeeper Eirik Johansen, who spent time with New York City FC in preseason, has been ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives