The 2022 World Cup is here, though it is not at its usual spot in the sports calendar. Thanks to the controversial decision to hold the event in Qatar, where temperatures during the summer can reach well over 100 degrees, the tournament will be held in November and December this time around. Scheduling and ethical concerns aside, though, this tournament promises to be a fascinating one as the top soccer teams have to navigate injuries picked up during the club season in addition to the teams they are scheduled to face along the way.
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2022 World Cup Betting Odds
The early World Cup betting odds have two South American powerhouses as the favorites to lift the most sought after trophy in the world of sports. Brazil and Argentina come into the tournament with plenty of flaws, but their upside is undeniable with Neymar and Messi leading their respective sides. Here is a look at the full list of World Cup futures odds heading into Qatar 2022.
|Brazil +400||Argentina +500||France +700|
|England +850||Spain +850||Germany +1000|
|Netherlands +1200||Portugal +1400||Belgium +1600|
|Denmark +2500||Uruguay +5000||Croatia +5000|
|Serbia +8000||Switzerland +8000||Senegal +10000|
|Poland +13000||Mexico +13000||USA +13000|
|Wales +15000||Ecuador +15000||South Korea +20000|
|Japan +25000||Canada +25000||Morocco +25000|
|Cameroon +25000||Ghana +25000||Australia +25000|
|Qatar +30000||Tunisia +30000||Iran +50000|
|Saudi Arabia +80000||Costa Rica +80000|
As you can see, right behind Brazil and Argentina are a ton of strong European squads that could easily come away with the World Cup. The last three champions, France, Germany, and Spain, are all inside of 10/1 odds to lift the trophy. England, who made the semifinals in 2018 and made the Euro 2020 final, are also inside of that 10/1 mark. And teams like Netherlands, Portugal, and Belgium are certainly not to be counted out either.
Where is the 2022 World Cup Taking Place?
The 2022 World Cup is taking place in Qatar, a decision that has certainly drawn consternation due to the human rights situations that popped up in the building of the venues for the tournament. Once the action on the field begins, though, the biggest impact of Qatar hosting the tournament will come in the form of the time difference between Qatar and the United States.
The time windows for matches at this World Cup will be 5:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 11:00 AM, and 2:00 PM Eastern time. These are mostly manageable for American soccer fans, even if the 5:00 AM ET start times may be a little early for most. The World Cup Final is set to start at 10:00 AM ET on December 18, 2022, which should mean that Americans will have no problem waking up to watch it.
2022 World Cup Schedule
The World Cup begins on Sunday, November 20, 2022 and ends on Sunday, December 18, 2022. From November 16 to December 2, the group stage matches will take place, where teams play a four-team round robin with the top-two teams in each group making it to the round of 16. From there, a 16-team single elimination bracket will play out, with the last team standing claiming the World Cup. Here is a look at the schedule for the group stage and knockout rounds.
November 20-December 2: Group Stage
December 3-6: Round of 16
December 9-10: Quarterfinals
December 13-14: Semifinals
December 17: Third place match
December 18: Final
Who Will Make it Out of The Group Stages?
The first hurdle in attempting to win the World Cup will be making it out of the group stage. Each group is comprised of four teams, made up of teams that qualified for the tournament through each confederation’s qualifying structure. The exception to this is the host nation, Qatar, which was granted entry into the tournament for the first time in its history by virtue of being the host nation. As for which teams will get out of each group, let’s break down each group one-by-one.
Group A consists of the Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, and the hosts Qatar. Barring a string of massive upsets, Netherlands should make it through as they are at -280 to win Group A. The fight for second place will be between Senegal and Ecuador. As of right now, Senegal should have the edge in the race for second place in this group, as Sadio Mane is in the team despite some injury concerns. If Mane plays, Senegal should be able to advance along with the Dutch.
In Group B, the United States are joined by England, Wales, and Iran. England is the clear favorite to win this group at -280, as they are on the short list of contenders to actually win the tournament. As nice as it would be to see the United States get through the group, they are going to face stiff competition from Wales. The first group game between those two countries could decide who advances, and it really could go either way at this point.
In Group C, Argentina is the favorite to finish on top at -250 to win the group. They are joined by Mexico, Poland, and Saudi Arabia in this section of the draw. As for who will join Argentina in the knockout rounds from this group, Poland has to be the best option. They have a legitimate star in Robert Lewandowski to carry them through any tough spots, while Mexico is not at their usual standard coming into this tournament.
Defending champions France headline Group D, and they are the favorites to win this group at -225. France is joined in Group D by Denmark, Tunisia, and Australia. Denmark should have no problem joining France in the top-two of this group, and Denmark could even win this group. All neutral fans will be pulling for Denmark after what happened to Christian Eriksen at the Euros, and the fact that Eriksen is on the field for this tournament is huge for the Danes.
Spain and Germany are the clear headliners in Group E at this World Cup. Spain is the slight favorite to win this group at -115, while the Germans are at +115 to finish at the top. They are joined by Japan and Costa Rica, who will be looking to really upset the natural order of things by stealing a spot in the round of 16 from either Spain or Germany. But it is likely to be the two European sides coming away with the top-two places here.
Group F is going to be simply incredible at this World Cup. Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, and Canada make up this group, with Belgium sitting as -190 favorites to finish in first place. Led by all-world midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium should be able to win this group. But do not count out the reigning runners up in Croatia, whose aging core could still have a little magic left in it. Those two sides should finish in first and second in some order here, but Morocco and Canada have both proven capable of some high-level play of their own.
Brazil are heavy favorites to win their group, entering Qatar at -300 to finish in first place in Group G. The South American giants are joined in this group by Switzerland, Serbia and Cameroon. As far as who finishes in second place is concerned, we give the Swiss the slight edge, but Serbia could very well find themselves moving on instead. All we know is that it very likely will not be Cameroon moving on.
Group H will be a lot of fun at this World Cup as well. Portugal is a slight favorite to win the group, followed closely by Uruguay, who are always worth watching in the World Cup thanks to proud villain Luis Suarez. They are joined by Ghana and South Korea, who are unlikely to advance, but have some star power and are entertaining in their own right.
How to Bet on the 2022 World Cup
Betting on the World Cup is a ton of fun, as every team is giving it their all to try and win this prestigious tournament. And there are a lot of ways to wager on the World Cup, from single match bets to futures wagers, which we will go over right here.
Moneyline betting is the most common form of soccer betting. In soccer, moneyline wagers come with three options: either team to win, or for the match to end in a draw. As a result, if a match ends in a draw, those who bet on either side to win will see their bets graded as a loss instead of a push like in other sports. Bettors will be able to wager on moneylines for every match of the tournament, as they are the most popular way to bet on the World Cup.
Totals are also a ubiquitous form of World Cup betting. The goal (pun intended) of totals betting is to accurately predict how much scoring will take place in a match. Sportsbooks will set a total number of goals for a match, and it is up to bettors to choose whether they think the goal total will go over or under that amount. This can be done for both teams combined, or for just one team.
With futures betting, it is up to bettors to predict the outcome of betting markets that look beyond the outcome of just one match. In the World Cup, these most typically come in the form of betting on which team is going to win the tournament or a specific group during the group stage. However, there are other futures available, such as which teams will meet in the final, who will be the top scorer in the tournament, and many more depending on what your preferred sportsbook has to offer.
The Asian handicap market is a variation on spread and totals betting that is pretty unique to soccer betting. With the Asian handicap, bettors can wager on spreads or totals that feature quarters of a goal instead of the typical half-goal that accompanies spread betting in sports like football or basketball.
When a quarter of a goal is included in an Asian handicap, it means that the bettor is going to be splitting their bet in half, with half their bet on that number rounded down by a quarter and half rounded up by a quarter. For example, betting on a team -1.25 goals would mean half of the bet would be on that team -1 goal, and the other half on that team -1.5 goals.
Another soccer-specific market is the double chance market, where bettors have two chances to win their bets. Bettors are able to wager on one team to win or a draw, their opponent to win or a draw, or on either team to win the game. Betting on two of the three outcomes using this market results in less favorable odds than taking one outcome on the moneyline, but it can come in handy in matches that are expected to be highly competitive.
Draw No Bet
With the draw no bet market, bettors can wager on either team to win a match without having to worry about a draw. If a match does end in a draw, bettors on either side of this market will get their money back in the form of a push. This market is also less favorable from an odds perspective than a three-way moneyline bet, but some bettors will prefer its peace of mind to protect against a draw.
Goal Scorer Bets
Goal scorer betting markets are focused on wagering on which players will score goals in given matches. These are similar to touchdown scorer bets in American football, where bettors can wager on a player to score the first goal of a match, or they can bet on a player to simply score at any time in a match. Either way, the top stars on each team are often popular selections in this market.
Correct Score Bets
For adventurous bettors, there is the option to wager on the exact score of each match. These can be hard to predict, but the precision required to get these bets right can make them massively profitable for those who nail them down.
World Cup Betting Strategy
Many of those betting on the World Cup may be new to soccer betting, or at least not accustomed to betting on soccer year-round. As a result, it is worth going over some of the World Cup betting strategies that can help increase profitability when wagering on the tournament in Qatar.
Look at Lineups
The most important piece of strategy in World Cup betting is to look at the lineups for each team before locking anything in. Injuries, or just the desire to rotate players to avoid fatigue, can have a huge impact on the strengths and weaknesses of each side going into each match. This is especially true in the final group stage game for each team, where some teams may need to win more than others.
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
As easy as it sounds to bet on the “better” side in each match, bettors have to remember that the World Cup is way different than betting on club competitions. Because each team needs to be comprised of players from each specific country, there are more weaknesses that cannot be remedied by throwing money at players. As a result, upsets are always possible, and bettors should be willing to back sides capable of pulling those off, even if doing so can get a little sweaty.
Find In-Play Opportunities
In-play betting is your friend during the World Cup. Even the best teams in the world can get off to slow starts in this tournament. Finding opportunities to get good teams at better prices than usual, or to bet on other markets at discounted prices, is a great way to reduce your liability while having a chance to be more profitable betting on all of the action from Qatar.
USMNT path to the World Cup
The United States qualified for the World Cup through the CONCACAF region, but there was some concern surrounding how they did it. They finished in third place behind Canada and Mexico in qualifying, but managed to finish ahead of smaller countries like Panama and Costa Rica to earn their spot.
For the United States, the question in this World Cup campaign is going to be whether or not they can overcome a lack of World Cup experience with their current group. This team has not played in the World Cup since 2014, and they are without the star players from that campaign like Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard. Instead, a young generation is getting its first taste of World Cup action, which can either go really well or really poorly.
2022 World Cup Best Bets
When it comes to the best bets at this World Cup, bettors may want to look a little further down the list of favorites than usual when making selections. With health concerns from club seasons adding a new wrinkle to the tournament, we may not see the best versions of several top teams.
One such option worth taking a shot at is Belgium, at 16/1 odds to win the tournament. They have all of the talent necessary to win in Qatar, even if they do not have the same history as teams like Brazil, France, and Germany. The best player in the world right now resides with the Red Devils, and they could come out of this thing with the title easily.
For those looking for more of a longshot bet to win the World Cup, Uruguay at 50/1 odds could be the team to get the job done. They may be getting up there in age, but they are always going to be frustrating to opponents defensively. And with the talent they possess up front, even if it is a little past its prime, they could very well make a run in this strange version of the tournament.
FIFA World Cup History
There have been 21 total World Cup tournaments played so far, with Qatar 2022 set to be the 22nd. The first was in 1930, with the tournament being held every four years. The exception to that rule came during World War II, when the tournament was not held in 1942 and 1946.
In the 21 all-time World Cups, South America and Europe have dominated the proceedings, combining to win all 21 tournaments. So far, there have only been two teams outside of those two confederations to finish in a top-four spot in a World Cup. The United States claimed third place in 1930, while South Korea claimed fourth place when hosting the tournament in 2002. No African team has ever made the semifinals to this point.