The group stages of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is by far the toughest thing to predict. So many scenarios can happen and sometimes a lucky play, a lucky bounce or maybe a bad game by a strong team could yield an upset at any given moment. Any team can get totally outplayed yet still pull off a victory or a crucial tie. If it were that easy to pick games, then we would all be retired millionaires or the bookmakers would go out of business and we know that isn't happening any time soon.
On some sportsbooks you can bet on the group winner or bet on group qualification. Picking the winner is going to be tough and qualification might be a safer bet to make.
That said here are our betting tips for the group stages.
Group A Tips
Group A is like another group of death, just not the official one. It features host nation Brazil along with Croatia, Cameroon and Mexico. All of these teams are strong and picking a winner is going to be tough.
Brazil - the host nation that everyone is expecting to win the tournament. They hosted the tournament 50 years ago and lost in the final to Uruguay. The pressure is on this team and perhaps the odds are over exaggerated for this team. Definitely probably not a good bet to pick Brazil as the winner of the World Cup, they might struggle to get out of their group and if they do they will have to take out at least 2 powerhouse teams in the process. Not the best odds including group qualification at 1/20. The one thing you can count on Brazil for is for a few players to use the spotlight to shine. Neymar is already a start but there are a few players in any tournament that will make a name for themselves.
Cameroon - This African nation are capable of beating any team although the word on this team is that they are limping into the tournament and not playing their best football.
Mexico - This team is full of great players and they are simply a tough team to play. Group qualification at 10/11
Croatia - Despite losing Simunic to a suspension, Croatia have historically been a strong football nation and we can only imagine what a Jugoslavia team would look like right now as Bosnia and Herzegovina qualified with Serbia narrowly missing out. Group qualification at 1/1
Tips: Brazil probably will qualify or win but the odds are brtual at 1/4 odds at Bet365 for them to win the group. This is a low payout as everyone is betting on Brazil to win everything. This group might be best to stay away from for betting. You could pick Brazil to qualify but again the odds are not great. It seems a coin toss between Croatia and Mexico.
Group B Tips
Welcome to Group B featuring 3 strong teams. The 4 teams in the group are defending World Champion Spain, 2010 finalist Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Australia you can almost count as being out, they need to win against at least Spain or Netherlands to qualify and a win and two draws probably won't cut it. Chile are a very good team and capable of causing problems for any team.
Spain - At 8/11 odds from Bet365, this seems like decent odds to pick. They will probably be able to pick up wins against Australia and Chile and the 2010 rematch against the Dutch will probably be a tough and feisty match but Spain are too strong in every category. They are probably the most complete team in the tournament, they have too much experience and too much confidence with players still playing in their prime. Since Spain look like they have a chance to win the group and face a weaker team, it might be an easier road to the final giving striker Diego Costa a chance to lead the tournament in scoring.
Netherlands - On paper this team is very strong but the team seems capable of a relapse at any given moment. 8/13 odds to qualify.
Chile - At 5/6 odds to qualify, might be a low payout for a high risk bet to consider them over Spain or the Dutch. If they qualify it will be the exit of a strong team in the process and make the tournament exciting.
Australia - Group qualification odds at 9/1, just probably isn't going to happen. Sorry Aussies.
Tips: Great odds on Spain here to either qualify or win the group. This looks like +EV all the way. 8/13 odds for the Dutch to qualify isn't too bad either.
Group C Tips
This group features Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan. Although Greece won the Euro 2004 and shocked the world with that win, I'm still calling it fluky. Well they were an OK team, well coached and that team might have been better than what it is today. After that tournament win, I think more teams will take them a bit more seriously and play them hard. Japan could be the mystery group here and Columbia are expecting Radamel Falcao to come back from injury to lead the team. On paper the two teams that should qualify are Ivory Coast and Columbia. Hold off on your bets until you know if Falcao will make the team or not. If he is fit enough to play then it is unknown how many games he would get to play in qualification. This would mean a good chance for Ivory Coast to win the group and Greece to qualify. I don't want to write off Japan too quickly as their team are capable of disrupting any game plan as they are fast.
Ivory Coast - This team is strong lead by star players Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure. At 10/11 odds to qualify, take it!
Columbia - They got to the WorldCup through Radamel Falcao and his injury will greatly affect how far Columbia can make it. He might not be at 100% so at 1/4 odds to qualify might not be the best bet. Wait for injury updates.
Greece - 2/1 odds to qualify, not bad but the more I think about it, the more I think Japan is the stronger team and that reflects in the odds. Sorry Greece
Japan - Odds of 1/1 to qualify, they might be a team that too many people overlook and underestimate.
Tips: Ivory coast at 15/4 odds to win the group look great. Wait for Falcao updates but realize that he was expected to miss the tournament so he might not even get any group stages in, if that is the case then this opens the door for Japan or Greece.
Group D Tips
Ouch! England, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Italy in this group. Two quality teams will not qualify. The two star players in this group will be Luis Suarez and Super Mario Balotelli. Suarez is having a career season and has never played better. He is probably capable of rising in this tournament and will have to if Uruguay will qualify.
England - At 4/7 odds to qualify, this isn't a good payout on a high risk play. England are in theory fielding a weaker team in the past but maybe the younger players might be able to shine with less pressure. Too many people will bet on England so this makes the odds less desirable.
Costa Rica - Against England, Italy and Uruguay I don't think they have a good chance to make it out of this group. That said they could steal a game from any team and ruin their chances of qualifying. 9/1 odds to qualify says it all.
Italy - For some reason the Italian teams are usually good. Not only do they have good players, they go into tournaments with swagger thinking they can beat anybody and intimidate them with defensive football and then dominate the penalty kicks. Might be tough to predict a victory but almost a safe bet to qualify, assuming they beat England which is not a given. 2/5 odds to qualify.
Uruguay - Lead by Luis Suarez, expect this team to build off of his leadership and impressive season where he won player of the year honours in England. When he isn't biting people, he is one of the best players in the world and you can expect him on his best behaviour. Their kind of offense might be able to penetrate a tough Italian defence and take apart England. Group winner odds at a 7/4 might be a gamble and 1/2 to qualify.
Tips: The teams to watch are Italy and Uruguay. Although I"m writing off England, they have a strong enough team to still win the group but consider Italy and Uruguay as slight favourites to win.
Group E Tips
The teams in this group are Switzerland, France, Honduras and Ecuador. This is a very strange group as everyone might focus on France for the obvious reasons.
Switzerland - Always considered an underdog team for being a small nation, they still produce quality footballers but against these 3, I don't see them getting out of the group but I could be wrong. 4/6 qualification odds. They do have a high FIFA ranking but I think two games against Honduras and Ecuador could end up being a loss and against France ...
Honduras - Ranked 30th in the world, Honduras are a small nation but have passionate footballers. Similar to Ecuador, watch these 2 teams playing like they have nothing to lose.
Ecuador - What do they have to lose? 10/11 qualification odds
France - On paper this team is strong but since their 98 World Cup and 2000 Euro Championships, this team hasn't done much aside from being a finalist in the 2006 World Cup where they lost to Italy. Their Euro 2012 exit was painful as the team and coach had problems and that happened in 2010 as well. The result is a strong player like Samir Nasri is left off of the team hinting he was a problem maker. The last two tournaments France were just embarrassing. Odds 4/6 to win the group and 1/5 to qualify.
Tips: I don't like betting on any of these teams. 3 underdogs where Switzerland has a high ranking and don't know how they will do against the Ecuador and Honduras. France have been brutal the last 2 tournaments as the players seem to clash with each other and their coaching staff. They have world class players in Benzema and Ribery but after that, maybe they'll easily win their group but you don't know what you'll get with France.
Group F Tips
This group features Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria and Iran. Watch out for this group!
Argentina - This team is super stacked with more than just Lionel Messi. Their strikers include Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain. Even without Messi on the team on paper they are very good. Their problem over the years has been their coaching. Great players plus poor and inconsistent coaching = poor results. Everyone is going to bet huge on this underachieving team and until they do something special in this tournament you might want to be cautious on betting on this team and also watch out on picking Messi or Aguero for the goal scoring lead in the tournament. They need to qualify and beat teams to get more games to score goals, that just might not happen. 2/9 odds to win the group.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - At 5/6 odds, this looks good. This team dominated to get into the World Cup and so far we expect them to continue. Lead by striker Dzeko, this team is on a roll and to amplify things, their country has endured a massive flood that has devastated the country and you can expect a strong performance by the team to give moral support to their people and also use the World Cup as a platform to raise funds to help their people and rebuild.
Iran - 5/1 odds to qualify says it all. The bottom line is against the other 3 teams, they need a miracle to qualify.
Nigeria - 11/8 odds to qualify are good odds but they have it tough against BIH and Argentina.
Tips: At 1/25 odds for Argentina to qualify, that just isn't a good enough payout so don't bother taking this bet.
Group G Tips
Welcome to the group of death: Germany, Portugal, USA and Ghana. While some are saying this group isn't that bad, they say it because they don't respect how strong Ghana and USA are. Most will assume Germany and Portugal are the stronger teams expected to get through but a loss to either Ghana or USA will hurt their chances and the biggest match of the group will probably be Germany vs Portugal. This might not be the group you want to place a bet on.
Germany - Considered a favourite to win the tournament but their chances of getting out of the group stages are not as good as other teams and that is just the luck of the draw. At 1/9 odds to qualify, that isn't a good payout for something that isn't a sure shot.
Portugal - This team is tough and lead by Cristiano Ronaldo who can steal games out of nowhere and is the leader of the team. 1/2 odds to qualify. If Portugal can advance, then that gives Ronaldo more games in which to score goals. Might be a risky bet to take for most goals scored in the tournament for Ronaldo.
Ghana - At 11/4 odds, this suggests they are the weaker team in the group but remember their strong play at the last World Cup took them very far.
USA - At 13/5 odds they are considered the underdog and for good reason against Portugal and Germany. The Americans are still a strong team and shouldn't be written off at all.
Tips: The odds are just not good no matter what team you pick here. This is called the group of death for a reason and it might be wise to avoid any bets involving these teams or players. Although Germany can be a strong team to win the tournament, they will have the toughest road to get there out of any team.
Group H Tips
This group features Belgium, Korea Republic, Algeria and Russia. This is certainly the most intriguing group of nations to watch in a matchup.
Belgium - This team features some star players and the team is young too. They walked over strong competition to qualify and were top of their group over Croatia and Serbia which is no easy feat. They will rely on Eden Hazard and Lukaku to score goals. Forget odds to qualify for the group stages, 4/6 odds to win the group and 1/6 to qualify. Might be risky but but consideration.
Russia - You never know what you'll get with Russia but we have seen this team in the past make some upsets. Overall they are a strong team. At 2/5 odds to qualify seems like a safe bet.
Korea Republic - 7/4 odds to qualify. They are good but not sure they will beat Belgium or Russia.
Algeria - At 5/1 odds to qualify, that would be a nice payout except that they don't really have a chance against these 3 teams.
Tips: You can count on Russia and Belgium to probably qualify. Perhaps Korea could cause an upset here.
There are not many betting exchanges around however for the ones that do exist we got to give you some special tips on why betting exchanges are awesome. You can offer bets to players and they can select your odds giving you a head to head matchup. This can result in getting better odds than any other sportsbook would ever consider. So if some people do want to make higher risk bets then this is something you can take complete advantage of. You can get a signup bonus or free bet for joining and then just be patient and you can compare odds from Bet365 and see if you get a better price against another person. Quite often you can and it just takes a bit of shopping around.
So which betting exchanges can you play at?
Bet365 bookmaker is one of the best sportsbooks around. They have so many odds and betting options for the WorldCup, you'll find something to bet on and they have a great 100% bonus for new players too. You can definitely bet on your mobile phone and they just have all sorts of cool features and promotions.
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