How to bet the 2022 World Cup

Next week’s World Cup will be the first to legalize widespread sports betting in the United States, so many bettors looking to bet on the world’s most popular sporting event will flock to soccer for the first time.

Soccer betting options and terminology are a bit different than most American sports, so let’s cover the basics and then look at a few World Cup specifics.

Lines before the game

Three ways: It offers prices for (you guessed it) three different outcomes: a win for either team or a draw. When the teams are tied, you can see a bonus on all three options. For example, in the United States-Wales match, the United States national team is +160, Wales +195 for a win, and +195 for a draw. For those used to two-way lines, it may take a while to process the three options, but you’ll soon catch up.

Goal line: This line is a spread similar to what you would find in the NFL or NHL. Because goals are relatively rare in soccer, you rarely see a -110 type of goal line. Instead, the lines are often skewed to one side. In the USA-Wales example, the USA currently has a half-goal advantage, but the price is +145, while Wales is +0.5 -185, because you will get both a Wales win and a draw. Obviously, some games have bigger spreads, such as Argentina’s 180 against Saudi Arabia for one-and-a-half wickets.

Asian Disability: Some books offer lines in order of quarter goals, which is often confusing for first-time soccer bettors who don’t favor teams with 0.25 goals, points or anything else. A line containing 0.25 or 0.75 means you are splitting your bet between the two nearest half goal lines. Think of it as two half bets on two different lines. The easiest way to explain with an example is:

If you bet $10 on Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia at -1.75 goals, you’re basically betting $5 on Argentina, one at -2 and the other at -1.5. If Argentina wins by more than two goals, the entire $10 will be won. If Argentina win by exactly two goals, you win half of your bet ($5 from the -1.5 part) and the other $5 pushes the -2, so you come out ahead by $5. If Argentina win, draw or lose by exactly one goal, you lose all bets. If you’re not sure which simple line to choose, the Asian Handicap can be a good option with a moderate margin. Over/under. It’s very basic and has fewer numbers than most sports. A typical starting point for over/under is 2.5 goals, usually with some juice on the advantage. For reference, Premier League games have averaged 2.8 goals over the last two seasons. You can usually find other lines from 0.5 goals to at least 4.5 goals, all adjusted, and for high scoring teams, the default lines are usually 3.5. You can also find over/under for each team, each half and a combination of the two.

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Two teams to score (yes or no): It’s exactly what it sounds like: you’re betting that each team will score at least one goal, or that each team will not score a goal. This is similar to over/under betting, but with more accurate results. And don’t get confused about your goals. Regardless of how the ball enters the net, each team is betting on a goal in their score column.

No betting: This selection is based on a three-way result, which means you are taking one team to win the match and a draw will refund the bet. So Team USA vs. Wales is +160 to win and -135 for no draw. If the game is tied, instead of pushing it, the US will obviously win less money. There are other versions of the no-stakes game, but the most common one involves no wagering at all.

Double Chance: This bet has a few different names (such as Team and X), but the game is ultimately the same: you get two sides of a three-way line, usually one team to win or draw, and it’s the same as playing one team. team +0.5 goals.

There are, of course, dozens of other markets, many of which are similar to those in other sports. Common team and game options include goals, kicks, corners and cards. Which team scores the first goal, when the first goal was scored, and more. Similar options are available to individual players, and there are countless combinations of all these things.

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Elimination stage

I may have buried the lady here. If there’s one thing you’ll learn from this article, it’s how betting works in the knockout stages. As per the rules of the knockout matches, all the above mentioned bets are for 90 minutes and stoppage time only. This means that regardless of what happens in extra time or penalties, bets are settled at the end of regulation.

Most books use this rule for all bets on teams and players. So if you bet on Germany to beat Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final, you probably didn’t because Germany needed extra time to win 1-0. If you’ve ever placed a bet on Mario Götze’s scorer, chances are you didn’t cash that ticket when he tallied the winner.

Almost every football bettor (myself included) has made this mistake, misplacing their emotions in overtime, causing confusion when cashing tickets and checking accounts. As always, know your book rules.

Having said all that, you can bet on which team will advance to the next round regardless of extra time or penalties. These selections are often referred to as “promotion” or “elimination” or “lifting the trophy” in the case of finals. You’ll find separate options for certain scenarios, such as winning in overtime and advancing on penalty kicks.

World Cup Group Futures

In addition to single match betting, many futures options are offered, including the World Cup. The simplest group options are for a team to win their group or finish in the top two of the four teams to qualify for the knockout stages. With most groups favoring one or two, football is a high-stakes sport where one goal, mistake or bounce can make a huge difference, so you can make good money on underdogs.

A tip if you are looking to bet on group futures is that there are better options than betting directly on the same team. For example, let’s say you like Mexico to advance from Group C. Argentina national team is favored to advance -1100, to win the group -275. There may be more interesting options than betting on Mexico to advance at -135. Consider both Argentina and Mexico advance bets, or Argentina/Mexico exact order bets, or Mexico to finish second in the group. The first two options are essentially parlays, so the price may or may not be worth it, but they’re always worth checking out.

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Golden shoes

One of the most popular futures in any competition is which player will score the most goals. It sounds like a simple game, but whether your book is an actual Golden Boot winner or just top goalscorer, it’s important to know how your bets are determined. The difference is…

Golden Shoes: The tournament itself, usually awarded by tiebreaker. At the World Cup, FIFA made the first tiebreaker the second tiebreaker with the fewest minutes played. For example, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Ellen White each scored six goals in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Rapinoe and Morgan each had two assists, White didn’t have two assists, and Rapinoe won the Golden Boot because she played fewer minutes than Morgan. Top Goalscorer: The player with the most goals will be counted regardless of the competition award rules. In the event of a tie, the bookies split the bet by the number of winners. In other words, if you bet 40-1 on the top scorer and he draws with another player, you will be paid 20-1. If four players tied, you would be paid something like 10-1.

Find out what to bet and how your book is paying for potential links. Also, the Golden Boot should not be confused with the Ballon d’Or, which is awarded to the tournament’s best player as voted by a committee selected before the final. A player who has won six consecutive Ballon d’Ors has not won the World Cup, so the winner does not have to be from the champion either. These are just some of the numerous betting options for soccer in general and the World Cup in particular. Enjoy the competition!

Paul Carr, a former ESPN senior analyst, is TruMedia’s senior director of content and is covering his fourth men’s World Cup.


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