It’s just days until the beginning of the World Cup in Brazil and the latest odds suggest it is the hosts that are the team to beat.
At the time of writing Brazil are the 3/1 favourites whilst England’s World Cup Odds to win the tournament are a relatively unfancied 28/1.
It’s hard to argue against the chances of Brazil with most stats pointing towards yet another World Cup going the way of the hosts.
Almost a third of World Cups have been won by the host nation and no European team has ever gone to North, South or Central America and won a World Cup.
Add to that the fact that six of the last seven World Cups have been won by a team that started the tournament rated 7/1 or lower by the bookies and it looks as though Brazil and Argentina are arguably the only two teams in with a chance.
With Brazil having won the Confederations Cup on home soil so convincingly twelve months ago most punters will probably favour their chances over Argentina who still have plenty of questions to answer defensively.
Messi to reignite with goals?
What Argentina may offer is the eventual top goalscorer of the tournament.
They look almost certain to reach the semi finals which would give their players the maximum allowance of seven games in which to get as many goals as possible.
Their journey to the semis should be a high scoring one with group games against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria and then likely knockout games against Switzerland then probably Portugal.
Whilst many might fancy Lionel Messi for top scoring honours Gonzalo Higuain might offer better value at around twice the price of 25/1.
He only scored one less than Messi in qualifying and one less than the eventual top scorers at the World Cup four years ago.
That was despite playing two less games than those that tied at the head of the betting.
As for England, the bookies don’t fancy them too strongly with the most likely stage of elimination being the group stage at 6/4.
If looking for a bet in this market it could be worth splitting stakes between a group stage exit and a quarter final exit.
England undoubtedly have a tough group but if they do qualify they’ll face an easier second round match than two of their group games with Colombia (minus Falcao) or Ivory Coast looking the most likely outcome.
That would be a very winnable match with Brazil likely to be waiting in the quarter final. That would almost certainly be the end of England so that should be the other outcome worth covering at 4/1.