It seems odd to me to gamble on soccer. Not enough goals. I know you can bet on all those "propositions" (like who takes the first corner kick, who commits the first foul, etc.) ... but it just doesn't seem like a bettor's sport. American football and basketball seem more attractive betting propositions. Rugby, too.
Though much of the world disagrees with me on this, because people writing about the soccer match-fixing stories coming out of central Europe are keen to note how many millions and millions are wagered online on soccer, in Europe and Asia.
So, think of this list of odds (posted on Sports Illustrated) as less of an incentive to bet ... and more as a piece of real news interest -- from the sense of the teams the bookies believe will receive the most support.
Here they are, from best odds to worst:
9-2: Brazil, Spain.
12-1: Germany, Italy
16-1: France, Portugal
22-1: Ivory Coast
66-1: Ghana, Paraguay, Serbia
80-1: Cameroon, United States
100-1: Australia, Denmark, Greece, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Uruguay
200-1: Japan, Slovakia, Slovenia
250-1: South Korea
300-1: Algeria, Honduras
500-1: South Korea
1,000-1: New Zealand
Some thoughts: I might be interested in a couple of exotic bets. If gambling were legal here. One would be "I'll take Brazil and Spain against the field ... what odds will you give me?"
And I wonder what sort of odds I could get for picking a half-dozen middling teams (beginning with Argentina) with the proposition being, "These X number of teams will not win. How much can I win if I bet $100 on that?"
But just looking at the list, I might lay a fiver down on Nigeria, at 100-1. I believe the African teams are going to have their best World Cup, and Nigeria has a decent draw. I also fancy the Netherlands at 14-1. Though I wish Van Persie hadn't hurt his ankle the other day. I'd bet $1 on New Zealand, too, but that is just so not going to happen, I may as well sail a dollar bill out the fifth-floor window of my hotel in Abu Dhabi.
Anyone you see there that seems like a bargain? Or a sucker's bet?