Monday, April 26, 2010

2010 World Cup Top Goal Scorer Betting Prediction

Aside from the outright winner, one of the most fun things to debate, speculate, and gamble on in a World Cup is who will win the coveted Golden Boot, awarded to the top goal scorer in the competition.

Here we discuss some of the players in the running and take a look at what might work for and against them.

1 – David Villa – Spain (8-1)

With Spain the current favourites to win the tournament outright and David Villa’s excellent goal scoring record for both clubs and his national side, it is no surprise that he leads the pack in terms of the prices on offer to bet on the Golden Boot.

Despite it being logical that the longer a player’s team stays in the cup the better chance they have of scoring the most goals, the theory behind predicting this is actually a lot more complex.

The highest scoring games in the majority of major tournaments come during the group stages, before the weaker teams are sent home. In later stages, as teams become more evenly matched, low scoring games and matches settled on penalties (which don’t count towards the Golden Boot) become more common. For this reason, strong players like Villa in strong teams like Spain have a much better chance if their group stage opponents are “easy” teams they can beat with a high scoreline.

With Spain facing Honduras, Chile and Switzerland, their group does, with no disrespect to their opponents, look much easier than that which other strong sides were drawn in (Brazil’s group looks very tough by comparison with the Ivory Coast and Portugal).

What may work against Villa is the fact that one of the other favourites, his strike partner Fernando Torres, is on the same team. With only so many goals likely to happen in the tournament, whether either of them will lay claim to enough of them to win the Golden Boot remains to be seen.

2 – Lionel Messi – Argentina (9-1)

With some bookmakers offering him as joint favourite with Villa, again, there is nothing surprising about the short odds on the Argentina and Barcelona star. Many consider Messi to be the greatest current footballer in the world.

The Argentina squad are generally thought to be less strong going into the competition than Spain, with odds of 8-1 compared with Spain’s 4-1 at the time of writing, however they are still a fairly safe bet to progress far enough to give Messi a chance to notch up some goals. Like Spain, their first round opponents are not, on paper at least, likely to be too troublesome for the Argentine team – they faceNigeria, South Korea and Greece.

3 – Wayne Rooney – England (10-1)

These odds are from the UK betting market, where there is likely to be a slight bias towards England and England players in the odds, given that a lot of people in the UK will want to take these bets.

Even so, Wayne Rooney has a brilliant goal scoring record and when fit can give Villa and Messi a run for their money. As England’s top striker, Wayne may never quite have lived up to the “new Pele” talk around him when he shot to notoriety during the Euro 2004 tournament, but his skills are a force to be reckoned with and he should have no problem putting goals past fellow Group C competitors the USA, Sloveniaand Algeria.

4 – Luis Fabiano – Brazil (12-1)

With ultimate football heavyweights Brazil second favourites to win the Jules Rimet trophy outright with bookies almost unanimously offering 5-1 odds, Luis Fabiano is another man in with a very serious chance of securing the Golden Boot.

The Sevilla striker has scored 25 goals in 36 appearances for Brazil since 2003, and has had some amazing club seasons too, the peak being the 07-08 La Liga season when he scored an incredible 34 for Sevilla in 44 games across all competitions.

The one thing counting against Fabiano here is the comparative strength of the opponents in Brazil’s group. Whilst they can still be expected to progress to the next stage, defeating the Ivory Coast and Portugal by a number of goals will be no mean feat.

5 – Fernando Torres – Spain (12-1)

Liverpool’s golden boy is the second appearance by a Spanish player in the top five. Torres plays very well alongside Villa for the national side, and is a consistent, reliable scorer. Often scoring enviably inspired goals, Torres can almost certainly be relied on to supply some of the most entertaining goals of the competition, but can he also deliver the most?

With an injury keeping him out for the rest of the season, though he is expected to be fit to play in the2010 World Cup, Torres will be missing out on a lot of the preparation he was probably hoping for. Also, with Liverpool’s disappointing season, where it seems that they have lost their place as part of the renowned Premiership “Big Four”, it is possible that odds on Torres will drift as those favouring Spain opt to back Villa instead.

Friday, April 23, 2010

2010 World Cup Outright Winner Prediction

The biggest question of all, for supporters and gamblers everywhere, is who will win the tournament outright.

Will it be one of the football super powers, like Brazil or Italy? Will it be one of the teams who have looked good but stopped short of fulfilling their potential in the past like Spain or England? Are we going to see a surprise winner? Is the first World Cup on African soil also going to give us the first African winning side?

With over a month to go until the start of the tournament it is impossible to know, but we can take a look at what the bookmakers are offering in terms of favourites to lift the trophy on the 11th of July.

1 – Spain (4-1)

Having won the thrilling Euro 2008 tournament and with an enviable team featuring talent like up front goal scoring machines David Villa and Fernando Torres, Spain are the favourites going into the games in South Africa.

With a strong domestic league boasting teams of the caliber of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Spain are a very serious football nation, but they have never won the World Cup before. With a strong history of just not quite getting there and a better team than ever, Spain will be looking to prove something, and a win will mean a lot to supporters across the nation.

2 – Brazil (5-1)

The Brazilian national football team is almost synonymous with “World Cup Winners”. They have lifted the trophy 5 times, most recently in the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan.

A lot has happened in the 8 years since, and their performance in the last World Cup was disappointing, going out to eventual second place France in the Quarter Finals. They do however, still boast a very strong team, with stars like Fabiano and Kaka set to dazzle spectators in South Africa this summer.

It is worth noting though, that as starting groups go, Brazil’s Group G is one of the toughest draws there is. They have African favourites the Ivory Coast and an on form Portuguese side to contend with before progressing through the knockout stages.

3 – England (11-2)

With these odds coming from a comparison of the UK betting market, it is to be expected that England will have shorter odds than they possibly deserve as a result of this being a popular bet for English football fans. England are seeded 7th in FIFA’s world rankings.

There will however, be a lot of interest in how the new England regime under Fabio Capello fares in this tournament. With arguably the toughest domestic league in the world and a host of superstar players like Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and John Terry, the England squad have been notorious under achievers. Failing to even qualify for the Euro 2008 competition, and with a tradition of exiting tournaments on penalties, can England turn it around and actually live up to the undeniable potential within their ranks?

4 – Argentina (8-1)

With the unstoppable Lionel Messi up front, regarded by many as the best player in the current game, there is a lot of expectation on this year’s Argentine side.

With a reasonably easy group draw, including Greece, Nigeria and South Korea, Argentina will be hoping to better their 2006 result, going out on penalties in the quarter final against hosts Germany, and their 2002 performance, where they didn’t make it past the group stage.

5 – Germany (12-1)

Another footballing “super power”, Germany almost always feature among the favourites going into a World Cup. Third place in 2006 when they hosted the tournament and second in 2002, they definitely have the pedigree. They have won the trophy three times, though the most recent was back at Italia ’90, when the country was still divided and it was a West Germany team that won. Can the Germans do it again 20 years on?