It’s almost time for the biggest tournament in all of sports. Are you ready? Get up to speed with our Top 10 list of 2018 World Cup betting facts:
1. Germany Don’t Always Win
It might be the most obvious of our World Cup betting insights, but it bears repeating. Germany were 20/1 outsiders when they fell to Brazil (7/1) in the 2002 Final. As West Germany, Die Mannschaft were 14/1 before their 1986 loss to Argentina (4/1).
2. But They Usually Go Deep
Not only have Germany won the World Cup four times (one shy of Brazil for the record), they’ve also been runners-up on four other occasions, and took third place another four times. Only once (1938) have they failed to advance beyond the opening stage.
3. Brazil Always Advance
The Canaries have reached the Round of 16 at every single World Cup – 20 in total. They’re +1000 to get eliminated during the Group Stage this year, and –350 favorites to win Group E.
4. The Cream Rises to the Top
In 1994, Brazil had the shortest odds of any World Cup champion since 1986 inclusive, winning the tournament as 10/3 favorites. Spain (2010) and Argentina (1986) were close behind at 4/1.
5. It’s a Tough Tournament for Long Shots
The World Cup format doesn’t leave much room for Cinderella stories. The longest shots to win over the past eight tournaments were Italy, who won the 2006 World Cup as viable +1000 contenders.
6. Chalk is King at the Final
Of all the Final matchups since 1986, only once did the loser have better odds to win the World Cup when the tournament began. That was Brazil in 1998, who lost as 10/3 top favorites to France (7/1).
7. The Canaries Pack a Golden Punch
Brazil have produced three Golden Boot winners at the World Cup, more than any other country. Ronaldo (2002) was the most recent, scoring eight goals and cashing in at 16/1. Will this year’s winner hail from Brazil? “No” is the favorite at –600 on the World Cup specials market.
8. Assists (and Playing Time) Matter Too
Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands was one of four players tied with five goals at the 2010 World Cup. He was a 150/1 long shot to win the Golden Boot, but it went to Germany’s Thomas Müller, who also scored three assists – everyone else with five goals had just one helper. The second tiebreaker is minutes played; Spain’s David Villa won the Silver Boot, leaving Sneijder with the Bronze Boot ahead of Uruguay’s Diego Forlan.
9. Scoring Isn’t Everything
Of the 17 World Cups where the Golden Boot (formerly the Golden Shoe, and just “Top Goalscorer” before that) didn’t go to a tiebreaker, only seven saw the winner come from a team that didn’t reach the Final. The top scorer in 2014 was Colombia’s James Rodriguez, who racked up six goals before getting eliminated by Brazil in the quarter-finals.
10. The Bar Is Low for Russia
Only once has the World Cup host nation failed to reach the Round of 16: South Africa didn’t make it past the Group Stage in 2010. Russia are +220 to get eliminated from Group A (featuring Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia), arguably the softest Group in World Cup history.
*Odds as of June 12, 2018