In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be bringing you plenty of betting tips, and the World Cup betting odds we like the most. We will, in effect, be putting together an entire World Cup betting guide.
Will it actually help you make any money? No guarantees!
Regardless, let’s kick off by getting right back to basics.
Betting on football is fun, exciting and challenging. When you’re just getting started, it can also be highly confusing. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to World Cup betting terminology. It’s one for the less experienced gamblers out there; the rookie punters.
We’ll explain the difference between doubles, trebles and accumulators. We’ll highlight the most popular World Cup 2018 betting options. We’ll explain the nuances of in-play betting, and cashing out.
Let’s get to it.
World Cup Betting Terms Explained
We’re going to start with the absolute basics, before getting into some more complex terminology later on.
The odds are, quite simply, the chances that something will happen.
Odds are determined by a bookmaker (or bookie). William Hill is our bookie of choice here at Full 90 Football (you can sign up here with them straight away, if you like), but other popular options include Bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power.
For the purposes of understanding betting odds, there are three main types you need to be aware of: fractional, decimal and American.
1) Fractional betting odds are by far the most popular in the UK.
They begin at “evens”, which implies there’s a 50/50 chance of something happening. Thereafter, if the first number is higher than the second number – e.g. 5/1 (implying there’s a 1 in 5 chance) – it’s judged as being less likely to happen. If the second number is bigger – e.g. 1/5 – it’s more likely to happen.
2) Decimal betting odds are less common in the UK, but they’re actually easier to understand than fractional odds.
Quite simply, all you have to is multiply your stake (how much you’re betting) by the decimal, and you get your potential returns. If you bet £1 at odds of 3.3, for example, your potential return is £3.30. The higher the decimal odds, the less likely something is to happen.
3) American odds are a different animal entirely. They’re written with a plus or minus symbol, followed by a number: -200, +350, and so on.
The base stake, assumed in American odds, is $100.
If there’s a minus symbol before the odds, it means you have to bet that amount of money to win $100. For example, if the odds are -300, you have to bet $300 to make a $100 profit.
If there’s a plus symbol before the odds, that’s the amount you’ll win on a $100 stake. If the odds are +350, for example, you’ll win $350 on a $100 bet.
Those are the three most common types of betting odds explained.
Of the three, my least favourite World Cup betting odds format is American. They’re not easy to adapt to your stake, and nobody really uses them outside the USA. Decimal is the easiest to understand, and is popular in continental Europe and Australia.
If you’re based in the UK, however, then I’d recommend sticking with fractional odds. All the World Cup betting tips you read will be in this format (including Full 90 Football’s), and they simply make it easier to discuss any wagers you’re considering with friends and fellow punters.
When you see the word “outright“, it refers to the overall World Cup winner. In short, it’s the team you think are going to win the whole thing, rather than just win a given match, or their group.
We’ll cover the World Cup winner odds in more detail in a future post, but here’s a quick once-over.
There might be 32 teams in the competition, but the likely winner will be one of four teams: Brazil, France, Germany or Spain. They’re the clear “big four” in 2018, and I’d be extremely surprised if anyone else triumphed.
The current odds (per William Hill) reflect this:
- Brazil are the favourites at 4/1 (something I disagree with, as I explained in my Power Rankings)
- 2014 champs Germany are 9/2
- Euro 2016 winners France are 11/2
- Spain are 6/1
After that, there’s a big dropoff to Argentina at 9/1 and Belgium at 11/1, and the odds plummet from there.
This bet becomes tempting because the odds for each team – even the favourites – are pretty high. This is for a reason though, of course. The old saying is that in a knockout tournament, anything can happen. That’s not strictly true – it’s unlikely a non-big four team will triumph – but it’s extremely difficult to pick which will take home the trophy.
Injuries to key players (see Brazil in 2014), mental collapses (see Brazil in 2014) and sheer overblown expectations (see… okay, you get the picture) can all see a potential World Cup winner crashing out before their time.
Outright winner is a fun, but risky bet.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s one of the most popular wagers at each competition, however, so it’s worth including.
It is, quite simply, the person who scores the most goals at a World Cup.
This is an extremely hard bet to predict, because it’s so intertwined with how far that team get in the competition. At least, it usually is.
If a player has more games, then he obviously stands a better chance of scoring more goals. But, if a player gets hot in the group stages, then he can still win the World Cup top goalscorer award, even if he only plays a few times. In 1994, for example, Russian Oleg Salenko scored six goals in only three games, and tied for the award with Hristo Stoichkov (who played six).
Accordingly, there’s a huge range of players who could win top goalscorer, making it difficult to pick one or two. Do you go for someone like Griezmann, with France likely to go deep in the competition? Or do you opt for a Salah, or a Lewandowski; incredible goalscorers, but on teams unlikely to get very far?
The choice is yours… but we’ll be on hand to give a little advice. Top Goalscorer will definitely be a subject for one of our World Cup betting tips columns.
Single Bets, Doubles, Trebles and Accumulators
Even a gambling rookie will surely have heard the term “accumulator”. What is an acca, and what separates it from single, doubles and trebles bets?
A “single bet” simply has one selection.
All three of the other bets involve multiple selections (i.e. multiple bets). To win the overall bet, you need all of your selections to come in.
A doubles bet has two selections.
A trebles bet – you guessed it – has three.
The mighty accumulator consists of four or more selections. They’re the hardest to win, of course, but can often grant astronomical odds.
Accumulators are fun bets during the domestic season, but I wouldn’t advise including them in your World Cup 2018 betting arsenal. There are only three games per day, after all, and I don’t really like putting down bets ahead of game day. I prefer to know the latest injury news, and see if I can find any leaked lineups which tell me who is and isn’t playing.
Stick to doubles and trebles this summer.
I’d recommend trebles for the World Cup group stages, firstly because you’ll get significantly better odds, and secondly… because it’s fun to have a bet on every game! Take it easy on the first round (i.e. each team’s first game), then – when we’ve got a better idea of what each team’s about – look to accelerate in the second and third rounds.
There are only two games per day during the knockout rounds, so swap to doubles then (again, so you’re not having to take selections a day in advance).
Now we’re getting into the more complex side of World Cup betting.
Bookmakers use handicap bets – also known as Asian handicaps – to increase the action on games in which there’s a clear favourite. In short, the bookie gives a virtual advantage to the favourite before the game has even kicked off.
Let’s say Germany are playing South Korea. Germany will obviously be favoured so heavily that their regular odds wouldn’t be appealing. You’d have to bet a lot of money to make any kind of reasonable return.
In this situation, the bookie might give South Korea a 2-0 handicap advantage. The game is basically starting 0-2 to Korea. If you bet on Germany, but they only win the real game 1-0, then you still lose your bet; in the handicap situation, they lost the game 1-2.
Handicap betting can be a little confusing for the inexperienced gambler. Handicap bets are useful tools, however, opening up games that would normally be difficult to bet on. Just make sure you fully understand them before getting involved.
This is perhaps my favourite type of bet. If you read my weekly gambling preview column during the 2017-18 Premier League season, you’ll surely have noticed how many time I used it.
In an over/under bet for a game, you’re betting on the total number of goals being more or less than a given number. The goals can be scored by either team. If you bet over 2.5 goals, for example, then you win if the final score is 2-1, but lose if it’s 2-0.
You can pick the number of goals you’re setting as your marker, from 0.5 goals upwards. The odds dip around the more likely numbers – 1.5 and 2.5 goals – but increase on either side.
Like Asian handicaps, over/under bets are a great way to wager on a game where you don’t like the odds on the actual winner.
Let’s say France play against Argentina in a knockout game. Either team could easily win, making picking an actual winner risky. What I would bet on though, is that a lot of goals would be scored in that game. In a situation like that, for example, I’d definitely take an over 2.5 goals bet, and would take a good, long look at 3.5 too.
Both Score No Draw
This is a simple but highly useful wager.
In a both score no draw bet, you’re simply betting that both sides will score, but that one side will win. It doesn’t matter which team actually triumphs.
Both score no draw is a great, relatively safe way of betting on a game which you expect to be close, but in which you also expect a few goals to be scored. It’s slightly riskier than an over/under bet, but – in turn – the odds will tend to be better.
In-play betting refers to betting whilst the match is going on.
Combined with the rise of mobile betting apps, this has revolutionized modern gambling. You no longer need to get all your analysis done, and all your bets placed, before the opening kickoff.
Instead, you can take your time and get a feel for the game. You can gauge which team or players are playing well, judge accordingly what you think is likely to happen next, and place your bets. The flip-side of this coin is that – in return for being better-informed – you’ll get worse odds from the bookies.
The bookmakers (/their computers) are also watching the games. If a particular team is dominating, or if a team goes a goal up, the odds will shift accordingly. Of course, you can then flip this around on them.
To use our previous example, let’s say Germany are playing South Korea. Germany are heavy favourites going into the game, and it’s 0-0 at half-time. Then, to everyone’s surprise, the South Koreans go 1-0 up in the 55th minute. Suddenly, the odds on Germany to win will shift significantly, potentially offering you great value if you want to bet on their comeback.
These types of cat-and-mouse games are extremely common with in-play betting, and it’s probably the most fun way to conduct your World Cup 2018 betting. The downside is that – with a lack of proper analysis – you’ll often find yourself drawn into more emotional and/or spontaneous bets that you quickly grow to regret.
Cashing out goes hand-in-hand with in-play betting. When you cash out, you effectively quit a bet early in exchange for money.
The odds on a bet you made pre-match will be constantly shifting during the game. You can follow them on your bookie’s mobile app, or the desktop version of their site.
Not far away from those odds, you’ll probably see a “Cash Out” button. If you press it, then you’re effectively agreeing to end your bet based on the odds at that precise moment, rather than the odds you originally got. The bookies will offer you odds that are designed to tempt you into accepting.
Let’s say you bet on England to beat Belgium, at odds of 3/1. You bet £1, for a potential £3 profit. If England go 2-0 up after 60 minutes, your bet obviously becomes far more likely to come in, and the bookies will offer you a nice return – £2, for example – if you agree to cut and run.
This cuts both ways. If you make the same bet, and England go 2-0 down after 60 minutes, the bookies will still offer you a way out of your bet. The offer will be less than your original stake, but more than nothing (which you would get if your bet lost).
Again, this throws up some fascinating cat-and-mouse situations between bettor and bookie, both in single selections and doubles, trebles and accumulators.
If you’d like to get involved in the World Cup 2018 betting action, we highly recommend using our bookie of choice, William Hill. Sign up with them here, in just a couple of minutes.
Finally, there’s still plenty more World Cup 2018 preview goodness coming to Full 90 Football, including a whole lot of World Cup betting tips. We started off with a quick look at all 32 teams, in our pre-tournament Power Rankings, which you can still read here.
Keep checking back regularly for all that lovely stuff, and – in the meantime – do your best to enjoy the international friendlies. They’re all we’ve got right now!