With the countdown on until the mouth-watering World Cup opener between the tournaments two lowest ranked teams, Russia and Saudi Arabia, we take a look at some of the equally tantalising bets for the biggest sporting event of the summer.
Goals, Goals, Goals
The group stage is the place to be for goals in a World Cup, as the nervy latter stages will see teams tighten up defensively. With David vs Goliath encounters in the group stages such as Belgium vs Panama and Spain vs Iran, it’s possible that the Golden Boot could be all but decided as we reach the last-16.
One player to keep an eye on in Group A is Egypt’s main man, Mohammed Salah. The PFA Player of the Year is no stranger to topping the scoring charts and did so in Egypt’s WC qualification. Boasting 33 goals in 57 international appearances, the “Egyptian King” could cause havoc among the Saudi Arabia, Russia and Uruguay backlines and is 8/1 to score four or more tournament goals with Paddy Power’s World Cup betting odds and will likely be the same price to win Egypt’s next presidential election.
As 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez will tell you, this one can be something of a lottery. As ever, the big names lead the chase with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at 9/1 and 12/1 respectively. And, after a part-time role for PSG this season, Brazilian golden-boy Neymar is looking like good value at 10/1 to out-score the duo whom he was tipped to succeed.
Our one to watch is the Euro 2016 Golden Boot winner and Player of the Tournament, Antoine Greizmann. The French forward scored six in his last tournament, twice as many as any other player, and looks set to lead from the front once again for Les Bleus. So with some generous group stage fixtures and one of the easier routes to the semi-finals, 14/1 for Atletico Madrid’s star man to claim another Golden Boot is looking like, as the French would say, valuer magnifique.
England’s Points Tally
Group G sees England and Belgium drawn against minnows Tunisia and Panama. Now, surely, even England couldn’t fail to qualify from that group, but what if they were to do the unthinkable and top the group? Not even their World Cup triumph of 1966 saw them win three group stage games but, this time round, only Belgium should stand in their way.
England have looked surprisingly tough to break down under Gareth Southgate, even in friendlies against the likes of Italy, Germany and Holland. Should the Three Lions ease past Panama and Tunisia, then the third and final game against the Belgians becomes a winner-takes-top-spot clash. England are 11/2 to finish Group G with nine points and could provide fans with a profitable victory before they ultimately crash out on penalties in the knockouts.