The World Cup is only a week away and the excitement for the tournament is being felt worldwide. I’m going to start my World Cup previews with an article about the countries with the best value to win the World Cup using odds from Bovada.lv. I will give out a favorite, dark horse and long shot where I see value.
Favorite: Spain 6/1
Spain is the only team ever to win three straight major tournaments but only have the fourth best odds to win this World Cup. Brazil, Argentina and Germany have better odds. At 6/1, I still think there is some value on the Spanish. Injuries at defense and an aging midfield might hamper Spain this World Cup. However, they have enough depth at those positions for coach Vicente del Bosque to pick the right players. The difference between this Spain team and the Spanish side that won Euro 2012 is a dominant striker. Brazilian-born Diego Costa is racing to be fit for the tournament, but would be a great option if healthy. Spain is in a tough group and it will be important for them to finish first so they avoid potentially playing Brazil in the round of 16. I think Spain will win their group and after that will rely on strong defensive efforts like the ones they had in 2010. Spain didn’t give up a goal in the four knockout games and only conceded twice all tournament. I’m not sure if Spain will win the World Cup but I feel there is some disrespect in the betting market for the reigning world champions.
Dark horse: Uruguay 25/1
Spain might be relying on the health of a star striker. The same can be said for Uruguay who is hoping that Luis Suarez will be fit for the tournament. Suarez may miss the first game against Costa Rica but it looks like he is on track to be ready for the second group match against England. If Suarez comes back they will be a challenging team to beat playing in South America. Edison Cavani and Diego Forlan are experienced attackers who can produce with or without Suarez in the lineup. They are in a challenging group with England and Italy but there is value for them to win the tournament. They have the second best odds to win their group ahead of England but England are 22-1 to win the World Cup. The math doesn’t add up there.
Long shot: Bosnia 150/1
It’s hard to find much value from the teams in the favorite to dark horse range. It’s even harder to spot a team with a realistic chance of winning the World Cup at odds of 100/1 or more. I don’t think it’s realistic that Bosnia will win the tournament but they are a long shot because of their potential path if they make it to the knockout stages. They are in a group with Argentina, Iran and Nigeria. I think they will finish second in the group behind Argentina. If that happens they will play the winner of Group E, which is the weakest World Cup group in my opinion. France, Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras make up Group E with France being the favorite to top the group. Bosnia has the squad to frustrate a team like France with strong defense and a top-class striker in Edin Dzeko who can finish scoring chances. I can see Bosnia making the quarterfinals and they would just need to win three more game after that. At that point, you can start hedging bets at a price of 150/1 and guarantee a profit.