In our final ‘early look’ football piece of the week, Jake Pearson takes a look at where the value lies in the antepost market for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, picking out three best bets.
2pts Germany to win the World Cup at 10/1 (General)
1pt Italy to win the World Cup at 19/1 (Unibet)
1pt Denmark to win the World Cup at 40/1 (William Hill)
Arguably no team were more impressive in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup than Hansi Flick’s Germany.
Die Mannschaft may have lost to North Macedonia three games in, but that was under Joachim Low. Since former Bayern Munich manager Flick took charge post-Euro 2020, the Germans have been utterly ruthless.
Rejuvenated under their new coach, they won all seven qualification games, scoring 31 goals and conceding just twice.
Germany boast an impressive mix of young talent and experienced heads, and crucially, are a well-rounded team. They do not rely on individuals, with 12 different players netting since Flick took charge.
Their round of 16 defeat by England at the Euros will be a distant memory, and a general price of 10/1 about GERMANY TO WIN THE WORLD CUP looks a little big at present.
Odds correct at 1530 GMT (16/12/2021)
If Germany were the most impressive team in qualifying, then Denmark were a close second.
The Danes won all but one of their qualification games, keeping clean sheets in their opening eight, and it was only once they had clinched top spot in Group F that their defeat to Scotland came.
Denmark were a joy to follow throughout Euro 2020, responding manfully to the traumatic events of their opening match, going all the way to the semi-finals before being knocked out by England in extra time.
They have carried that form on, and though admittedly Denmark’s group wasn’t the strongest, they were thoroughly impressive throughout, cementing themselves as one of the strongest teams in Europe.
There are nine European teams ahead of them in the betting and considering two still need to qualify via the play-offs – and only one will – taking the current price of 40/1 about DENMARK makes appeal; they are unlikely to still be that big come November.
After tipping up Italy to win Euro 2020, it would be remiss to overlook Roberto Mancini’s men for World Cup glory, but this is by no means a tip from the heart, this is all to do with the price.
The first obstacle Italy must overcome to win the World Cup, is to qualify.
After finishing second to Switzerland in their group, the Azzurri must now come through the play-offs, and a potential showdown with Portugal, to ensure they do not fail to qualify for successive World Cups.
As much as it would be marvellous from an England fan’s point of view were Mancini’s men to miss out, ultimately it would be a shame were the Italians not to feature, even if it is only to see what Armani suit they sport this time around.
Italy were breathtaking for the majority of Euro 2020, and if they do make it to Qatar they will not be 19/1 to go the whole way.
In fact, most firms do not have them anywhere near that price, some as short as 15/2, and that means Unibet’s standout price about ITALY TO WIN THE WORLD CUP is worth taking.
None of the tips feature teams outside of Europe. That is not to definitively say that the World Cup will be won by a European nation, just that the prices for non-European teams do not particularly appeal.
Brazil, the current favourites, are potentially worth backing at 31/5 should you have an SBK account, but at a general 11/2 they are worth passing up.
The 11/1 available about Argentina is also on the short side, particularly with Lionel Messi’s seemingly perpetual power now beginning to wane somewhat.
It is also difficult to side with any African team given their collective struggles in tournaments based outside their own continent, though there could be potential milage in the group betting once those markets are priced up.
And we couldn’t finish without talking about England.
While the general 7/1 on offer about Gareth Southgate’s side going all the way in Qatar offers little in the way of inspiration, there is reason to believe that a best price of 9/1 with Unibet represents a small amount of value.
The biggest issue with backing England is that due to patriotism, it is always difficult to tell how much margin is applied to their price for the bookmaker to offset liabilities.
The perfect example of this being that of all the money matched on the World Cup antepost market on the Betfair Exchange, more than 20% has been traded on England – Brazil is the next highest with just over 13%.
If you imagine a bookmaker taking those bets, then the price on England will naturally shorten due to the money staked, but how much of that money contains information, and how much contains patriotism?
There is no denying that the Three Lions are one of the best international teams around, World Cup 2018 semi-finalists and Euro 2020 finalists, and as the tournament approaches, it would be a surprise were the 9/1 still on offer.
Just how much the last two tournaments have taken out of Southgate’s side though, particularly mentally, is difficult to judge, and for that reason they may be best left alone for the time being.
Having said that, never completely rule out England. The Jules Rimet is still gleaming, after all.
Published at 0800 GMT on 22/12/21
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