I hope you have some time squared away because I’m going to discuss the best plays to win the FIFA World Cup in 2014 in depth. These teams are listed in order of odds and there are eight decent plays to make. Brazil and Argentina are the leading teams heading in to the tournament this summer and that won’t change until the action gets underway (and one of them suffers an unexpected loss in the group stage).
Everyone needs to understand that betting on the FIFA World Cup is as much about sentiment as it is about potential. There are teams that don’t do well on the international stage (like Argentina), others that fare far better than they should (like France) and others that have been building towards this particular year (like Portugal). There are those that have suffered routinely (like England) and those that continue to be stalwarts that set the golden standard (like Germany). And, as always, there’s that unexpected underdog who busts through (like the Netherlands in 2010).
So go with your heart, back the team you have some strange allegiance to for whatever reason or just put your faith in your favorite player. There are no bad bets at the World Cup. There are only “smarter” and “less informed” plays – and that’s all relative. All this being said, here is your mini-guide to who you should bet on to win the FIFA World Cup!
Why You Should Bet On Brazil To Win the FIFA World Cup
Many years ago, the longstanding joke in soccer was that the only team capable of beating Brazil on the international stage was their own team of reserves. That’s how dominant Brazil has been at soccer. No country has won more World Cups and there was a stretch where Brazil seemed unbeatable. They reached three consecutive finals from 1994 to 2002 and won two of them in thrilling fashion.
Yet times have changed. In the last two World Cups, Brazil has been amongst the lead dogs but has failed to break past the quarter-finals. The global level of soccer has risen to meet and exceed the standard set by the Brazilians. And in their search for an eighth championship, no team will face more pressure than the hosts.
Glossing over the lineup is like looking at a list of All-Stars, and if you’re going to bet on Brazil to win the FIFA World Cup, then there’s enough talent here to make it a worthwhile play. Legendary goal keeper Júlio César will sit behind captain Thiago Silva and Dani Alves while the strong punch of their uber talented forwards like Hulk and Neymar will continue to give Brazil a solid chance of pushing straight through. It’s a lavish and luscious list of talent to be sure.
One of the other major reasons why you should bet on Brazil to win the FIFA World Cup outside of their talent is their group draw. Group A is filled with some castaways and while Cameroon and Mexico are fun outside shots, nobody should be able to stop Brazil from ramping up goals and burning through the group stage. They’re basically set up to succeed.
Brazil is the strongest, emotional play on the board. No country is more deserving of seeing their own team win within its own borders. If you’re going to bet on Brazil, you’re going to bet on Brazil. And you should.
That doesn’t mean it’s an open and shut case.
Why You Should Bet On Argentina To Win The FIFA World Cup
The next favorite on the board is Argentina, who hold 4-to-1 odds to win the World Cup and would probably be the outright leader in the futures market if this tournament was held on neutral territory. With Lionel Messi, who is undeniably the greatest goal scorer of this generation, leading an insanely gifted squad there’s plenty of value here. And what be more punishing if Brazil lost the World Cup: losing in the Finals or watching Argentina win? Exactly.
Of course, there’s a problem with betting on Argentina to win the FIFA World Cup. This team has a nasty and almost pre-destined knack for completely imploding at some crucial moment in the tourney. Their last championship was in 1986, they were runners-up in 1990 and since then they’ve never escaped the quarter-finals. It’s been five straight tournaments of misery and frustration for one of soccer’s powerhouses. Why would 2014 be any different?
I actually have no reason to think it would be. Some teams just never do well when it matters. And if you love Argentina and are angry that I wrote that, just understand that Messi is one of my favorite athletes in all of sports. I want him to win a World Cup because it needs to be part of his legacy. I just know what I’ve seen – and that’s Argentina tripping over their own feet. In my heart I will always root for Argentina because Maradona was my – and everyone’s – favorite player growing up. But I wouldn’t trust them with my money and you should probably think twice about doing the same.
Why You Should Bet On France To Win The FIFA World Cup
When it comes to international competition, France always seems to find a way to blow through their ceiling. They’re 22-to-1 mid-plays to win the World Cup. No country is more bipolar than France and they don’t have the talent that most other countries are brining to Brazil. The only reason you should bet on France to win the FIFA World Cup is their rhythm of success in the tournament itself. Here’s what I mean:
1998 – Champions
2002 – Group Stage Exit
2006 – Runners-UP
2010 – Group Stage Exit
2014 – See what I mean?
Why You Should Bet On Spain To Win The FIFA World Cup
Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernádez, Koke, Diego Costa and Sergio Ramos. These are all reasons you should be betting on Spain to claim a championship at the World Cup. As the fourth favorite at +650, you could do a lot worse. I mean, these are the defending champions and like any other team they have as much talent as anyone else. The difference might be that they know they can win despite a lack of world beaters (and many would suggest that this team is loaded with them anyways).
There are no good or bad reasons to bet against Spain, and that’s really the crux of any argument heading in to World Cup betting. You have sentimental plays, suspicion plays and reachers like Team USA. There is a flavor for everyone and at +650, you’re getting a pretty good return on the defending champions. The only reason to steer clear? The World Cup has seen one back-to-back winner and that was Brazil back in 1958 and 1962.
Why You Should Bet On England To Win The FIFA World Cup
The 25-to-1 odds on England are always worth a take because…well…it’s still England and this is still a tournament that involves soccer. I don’t need to go in to specifics about Rooney or the manager or anything. I’ll just phrase it like this: England has a notorious habit of combusting in the World Cup. So would you rather launch $50 at 25-to-1 odds or 4-to-1 odds? That’s the payout difference between England and Argentina.
Considering that the World Cup drought in England is two years away from hitting the half-century mark, the only reasons you should bet on England to win the World Cup is because you love taking a shot at reasonably sentimental longshots or if you’re from England.
Why You Should Bet On Italy To Win The FIFA World Cup
The Italians went from a shocking win in 2006 to an early exit in 2010 and currently own +2500 odds alongside their Group D counterparts from England and Uruguay. As much as I love adore legendary keeper Gianluigi Buffon, the problem with betting on Italy or England or Uruguay is that they’re all lumped together. Any one of the three could survive the group stage, and any one could draw the short straw. That’s pretty much why Uruguay, England and Italy have the same odds to win the World Cup: nobody knows who’s going to survive that dreaded group phase.
Why You Should Bet On Germany To Win The FIFA World Cup
It should come as no surprise that Germany is viewed as the well-oiled machine of international soccer. Since 1982 they have been to the Finals four times with one victory in 1990 and two third place finishes. Germany invokes fear from the oddsmakers because they’re so damned consistent. In terms of talent, they’re not a 5-to-1 favorite. But in terms of overall performance at this event, they’re more than deserving of your attention.
Why You Should Bet On Portugal To Win The FIFA World Cup
Any time a player of Cristiano Ronaldo’s magnitude suits up for any team, it’s going to draw attention. The issue isn’t with Ronaldo – it’s with the rest of the squad. Portugal has long 30-to-1 odds to wint he FIFA World Cup and will probably survive the Group Stage despite being bunched with the Americans and Germans.
They have never enjoyed a ton of success at the World Cup, mostly because they’ve only been in six of them, but they’ve also managed to take their lumps as a team and continue to grow as a unit. No team past 30-to-1 odds is really worth taking a shot at, and if you’re going to take a longshot play on any team, Portugal’s as far as I would stretch my money.
I like them a lot as a team, and think they’re in a position to really shock the tournament given their recent call-ups. They have been building to this moment ever since Ronaldo started to climb towards the summit. There is as much reason to believe that they are ready to peak with him as there is to believe that they will once again fall short.
I wouldn’t go crazy with a bet on Portugal but I also wouldn’t totally ignore them.
Why You Should Bet On Team USA To Win The FIFA World Cup
Unfortunately I have nothing truly positive to say about Team USA. They suffered the perilous draw of competing with both Germany and Portugal in Group G and probably won’t survive the group stage. At an almost comical 160-to-1 number, this part should probably be titled “why you should not bet on Team USA to win the FIFA World Cup”.