Double-digit Dutch overpriced to be top scorers

NetherlandsHaving flagged Australia as the best bet to be the team that concedes the highest number of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil goals, now it is time for Playing The Long Ball to take a look at the market on the side to score the most goals.

The starting point with any such bet should be the history books to see what light, if any, they shine on the subject. The first statistic that stands out is that fewer than half of the FIFA World Cup-winning teams have been the highest scoring sides in their respective tournaments. Of the 19 FIFA World Cups, the team scoring the most goals has won only eight of them. For the record, the sides to do the title-highest scoring double have been Italy (12 goals in 1934), Brazil (14 goals in 1962), Brazil (19 goals in 1970), Argentina (15 goals in 1978), Argentina (14 goals in 1986), West Germany (15 goals in 1990), France (15 goals in 1998) and Brazil (18 goals in 2002). Under the current format, which dates back to 1998, the highest scoring team has netted between 14 and 18 goals during the competition.

Most punters who bet on such FIFA World Cup markets place a great deal of importance on the make-up of the eight groups because they feel that the first three games that each side plays will go a long way to determining the highest scoring team. But, again, what do the history books say about that. Well, they support the theory that this market is, to a large extent, all about the first 48 tournament matches. There have been 17 round-robin phases to start FIFA World Cups and the highest scoring side in the tournament has led the way after the initial group stage on 10 occasions. For the record, the teams to end up as the highest scorer after kicking off the best have been Argentina (10 goals out of 18 in 1930), Brazil (eight goals out of 22 in 1950), Hungary (17 goals out of 27 in 1954), France (11 goals out of 23 in 1958), Portugal (nine goals out of 17 in 1966), Poland (12 goals out of 16 in 1974), West Germany (10 goals out of 15 in 1990), France (nine goals out of 15 in 1998), Brazil (11 goals out of 18 in 2002) and Germany (eight goals out of 14 in 2006). And it appears to be a growing trend as well.

So one is looking for a 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil side that scored freely during qualification for the competition, that finds itself in a group in which at least two of its rivals have suspect defences and that has a reasonable chance of making the semi-finals since France (fourth in 1982) has performed the worst of all the highest scoring teams.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup group that contains two sides with porous defence is Group B because it houses Australia and Chile. Australia conceded six goals in each of its recent friendly games against Brazil and France and gave up four goals to Ecuador in London after that. Australia could be the 2014 FIFA World Cup whipping boy. Chile is a level or three above Australia but it let in 25 goals in its 16 qualifying matches five more than non-qualifier Venezuela. The 2014 FIFA World Cup Group B big guns are Spain and the Netherlands so one is going to pick one of those as the long-term play. The 2014 FIFA World Cup draw and the odds make that decision rather straightforward: the Netherlands represents the value bet at odds of 34.00 with Betway.

One of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Group B top two is long odds on to run into Brazil in the round of 16. The probability of that team being Spain is not much lower than of it being the Netherlands, yet the Spaniards are 9.50 with Betway and the Dutch are 34.00. Whichever 2014 FIFA World Cup Group B side ends up avoiding Brazil could have a very nice run through the knockout stage and the Netherlands scored 34 goals in its 10 qualifying games. Back the Dutch at double digits.

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