Betting on the World Cup is always full of emotion. Do you back your national team? Your favourite stars? Or are you ruthless in looking for the best lines and opportunities to win?
National teams are the stuff of legends, but they also come with a unique set of challenges for managers and coaches. You can’t fill a gap in talent, cover an injury, or flesh out a line by throwing money at a problem. You have a finite set of resources and talent. And heading into the 2022 Qatar World Cup, almost every favourite is feeling the crunch.
Let’s review the favourites, and why I think each won’t win!
You’ve heard the phrase, “the best defense is a good offense”. Well, the Belgian team is about to test the theory. With an aging defense, their forwards need to overperform to compensate for an average 1.2 goals allowed per game.
They might have a more evenly distributed collection of talent than most of the other favourites. The outstanding question… what will they do with Cristiano Ronaldo? He might still be influential in Portugal, synonymous with football itself, but Ronaldo is no longer as influential on the pitch. Portugal has a balanced team… except for its striker.
The Netherlands @13.25
Since losing to the Czech Republic at last year’s Euros, they’ve bounced back in a big way. And, they pulled a good draw, seeing Qatar, Senegal, and Ecuador in the first round. But here’s the rub… they’re light on goal scorers, relying almost entirely on Memphis Depay.
They currently have the best xG (expected goals) differential of the teams on this list, but does it mean anything? They blew all the teams they played in the World Cup qualifying out of the water, but their xG differential against Italy, England, and Hungary is actually negative! They’re confident, but do we know what they’re going to do against the best teams in the world, on the biggest stage in the world?
Yikes. Now, I love the NHL and cheer for the Leafs. So I know what a rug pull feels like. England’s got amazing attacking talent; does Gareth Southgate know what to do with it?
They may dominate the teams in possession numbers, but I question if that’s going to lead to wins. High rates of possession are balanced by how slowly the Spaniards move the ball up the field – just 0.89 meters per second. That’s slower than any of the other national teams. Possession is meaningless if you can’t get the ball to the net.
If they could get their act together, the French team would be the safest bet in this list. But with feuding players, and injured stars like Pogba, the jury’s out. They could cruise to victory just as easy as they could succumb to in-fighting.
I… have nothing to say here, and maybe that’s a problem in and of itself. Things seem almost too good for the Argentinian team. Can they handle the pressure of being deserved favourites?
Over the last several years, Brazil has been the most consistent national team in the world. They have Neymar, Vinicius Junior, Gabriel Jesus, Antony… I could list attackers all day. But like every national team, there’s a bench weakness. Full-backs.
Ready to back a couple outrights? Bet on your favourite team at Maverick Games.