The ‘glory bet’, otherwise known as the ‘mug’s bet’ is a huge long shot with massive potential returns. Everyone knows someone who is looking for a jackpot win and places bets that have absolutely no chance of winning. Bets like Elvis Presley to be found alive and well, or David Beckham to be next Manchester City manager!
However, both of those crazy bets were priced up at similar or shorter odds by the bookmakers than Leicester to win the Premier League in 2016, and we all know what happened there. If you were one of the lucky punters that took 5,000/1 about the Foxes claiming that unlikely title, you were laughing all the way to the bank after Mahrez, Kante and Vardy led Claudio Ranieri’s side to victory.
We’ve got plenty of serious and sensible bets lined up for the World Cup, but we are also going to indulge ourselves with a lottery bet designed to produce a huge payout. Small stakes but lots of fun! The markets that draw attention are the outright winner of the trophy, the tournament top goal-scorer, and the winner of the Golden Ball (player of the tournament). Combining the three produces a bet at odds well in excess of 1000/1.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to see Germany and Brazil leading the World Cup winner betting market. The German national side won the 2014 edition of the tournament in Brazil, beating Argentina 1-0 in the final thanks to Mario Gotze’s extra-time goal. They fairly breezed through the qualifying campaign with 10 wins from 10 matches, and at odds of 9/2, are a worthy favourite.
Brazil is the most successful World Cup nation with 5 titles to their name, the last of which came in the 2002 tournament. They were strongly fancied by many to win the 2014 edition on home soil, but succumbed to that humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals, eventually going on to finish 4th after losing the third-place play-off to the Netherlands. They top the ELO football rankings (arguably a better indicator than FIFA rankings), but apart from Sweden 1958, Brazil has failed to win a World Cup in the Northern Hemisphere.
France is next in the betting at 11/2, most likely on the basis of such a fine generation of players. However, the French failed to win Euro 2016 on their own patch, losing out in the final to Portugal.
Our bet is on Spain to come out on top at odds of 7/1. Spain is something of a forgotten side of international football after that disastrous World Cup campaign in Brazil 2014. At that time they were hot favourites having won Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, and Euro 2012. The Spanish were surprisingly knocked out in the group stage in 2014 and didn’t fare much better at Euro 2016, losing in the second round to Italy. However, Spain coasted through qualification for this tournament with 9 wins and a draw from ten games. They are 3rd in the ELO football rankings – behind Brazil and Germany – and could be getting back to their dominant best. The Spaniards are unbeaten in 16 matches since that 2-0 defeat to Italy at Euro 2016. Friendlies to come prior to Russia 2018 include mouth-watering games against Germany and Argentina in March, and a double-header against Switzerland and Tunisia in the lead up to the tournament.
Spain’s World Cup Group B opponents are Portugal, Morocco, and Iran. They will play the winner or runner-up of Group A in the second round – most likely one of Uruguay, Russia or Egypt. It’s difficult not to see Spain reaching the quarter-finals at least, and they should give us a good run for our money.
It’s from group A that we take our tournament top goalscorer with an ambitious punt on Luis Suarez. Interestingly, none of the last three winners of the golden boot has come from the side to win the World Cup. In 2014 James Rodriguez of Colombia took the award, despite his country only going as far as the quarter-finals. Thomas Muller took the prize in 2010, although Germany fared better by reaching the semi-final. His compatriot Miroslav Klose won the golden boot in 2006, with Germany also reaching the semi-finals that year.
Messi and Neymar are favourites in this market at odds of 10/1, with Ronaldo not far behind at 12/1. The likes of Kane and Greizmann are 14/1, but is there a hotter striker in the world right now than Luis Suarez at a generous 25/1?
He is already his country’s all-time top scorer and has scored 19 times in 30 appearances for Barcelona so far this season. Uruguay is a small nation but it has punched above its weight in international competition, reaching the semi-finals in South Africa 2010 and the second round in Brazil 2014. In group A, up against Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, there should be plenty of opportunities for Suarez to find the net. The maverick player does come with a certain amount of controversy, but we recommend taking a bite out of the goalscorer market at what looks a very generous price.
Finally, to complete our treble we’re tipping Neymar to come out as player of the tournament and win the golden ball at odds of 8/1.
Apart from Germany goalkeeper Oliver Khan in 2002, every winner since Adidas sponsored the award from 1982 has been an attacking player. We can be fairly sure that unless a keeper or defender has a stupendous tournament, the winner this time around will be a forward. Naturally, the market is led by Messi, Neymar, and Ronaldo, with other players a minimum of 25/1 odds. Out of Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal, it is Neymar’s side that looks best equipped to go far in the competition, thus giving the talented PSG star every chance to shine.
The treble on Spain to win the World Cup, Luis Suarez to be top scorer, and Neymar to win the golden ball, comes in at a massive 1871/1. That’s a glory bet worthy of the name!