With the domestic football seasons wrapping up around Europe, the next big event on the horizon is the FIFA World Cup which gets underway in less than 50 days. Of course, bookmakers have had plenty of the betting markets available for a while now, but more and more will be added each week in the run-up to the Finals in Russia.
The good news is that, even at this early stage, there are some good opportunities to make a killing with the bookies. There is plenty of difference of opinion between major sports betting companies on the odds at this point, allowing savvy punters to swoop in and take advantage before they change. You can check out the latest World Cup betting tips by experts for a complete guide, but for the moment, here are five examples where certain bookmakers seemed to have gone too long in the odds:
Romelu Lukaku to be top scorer, 25/1 Bet Victor
Lukaku divides opinion, but the big Belgian’s goal scoring record – for club and country – speaks for itself. He is already Belgium’s leading all-time scorer and has bagged 22 goals for them since the start of 2016. Some bookmakers are as low as 16/1 (William Hill, Paddy Power) on Lukaku, which make Bet Victor’s odds look like some serious value.
Germany to beat Mexico, 4/7 Betfair
While the odds above are not spectacular, Germany winning their opening game is as close as we can get to a sure thing in Russia. Germany have an incredible consistency at World Cups, reaching the quarter-finals (or equivalent) at every Finals since 1954. They rarely let their standards drop, so expect them to make short work of Mexico on 17th June. They are priced at 4/9 or 1/2 with other bookmakers.
Jesse Lingard to be England’s top scorer, 25/1 Betfred
It’s understandable that most England fans will be clamouring to back Harry Kane in this market. However, do odds of 10/11 (Sky Bet) offer any value? If you consider England’s record in the last couple of World Cups (two goals scored in Brazil and three in South Africa), you will see why there is value in plumping for someone else ahead of Kane. Just two goals would have secured this as a winning bet in every World Cup since 1990. Lingard, in fine form for Manchester United, can do it. Some bookmakers go as low as 9/1 on Lingard getting the most goals for his country. Betfred’s odds are nothing short of a bargain.
Denmark to qualify from Group C, 8/11
The Danes, led by Tottenham’s talismanic Christian Eriksen, are perhaps one of the most underrated teams going to Russia. In fact, backing them at 6/1 to win Group C ahead of a disorganised France side. However, if you want the insurance policy, they look good simply to qualify ahead of other Group C members, Australia and Peru.
Spain to win the World Cup at, 7/1 888sport
This one will probably split opinion more than other. There are four – Brazil, Germany, France and Spain – teams locked at the very top of the outright odds, with very little to choose between them. 888, however, have decided to separate Spain from the pack, putting Germany and Brazil as 19/4 co-favourites. The 7/1 for Spain looks excellent for a side that hammered Argentina 6-1 a couple of weeks ago. Some bookmakers have them at 5/1. Some pundits believe they should be favourites.