FIFA World Cup odds, predictions: Our two best futures bets
Nick Hennion of The Action Network lays out his two best futures bets for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Three months separate soccer bettors from the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Although the current domestic calendar finds itself in full swing, there are ample opportunities to get involved in the current World Cup futures market.
As it stands, Brazil (+500) is the favorite to win in Qatar, closely followed on the odds board by defending champions France (+550) and European championship runner-up England (+700). Rounding out the single-digit prices in the current market are Argentina (+700), Spain (+750) and Germany (+950).
But we’re not here to provide best bets among the favorites. Rather, I’m here to share my two best bets further down the odds board. Let’s dive into those selections. All odds come courtesy of Fanduel Sportsbook and are reflective at time of writing.
Best Bet No. 1 - Denmark (+3200)
The 2021 European Championship semifinalists share a group with France, but arrive in Qatar with a very high ceiling.
At the European Championships, Denmark finished with the third-highest expected goals tally, generating 1.55 expected goals per 90 minutes. Plus, among those sides that reached the quarterfinals, manager Kasper Hjulmand’s squad finished with the third-best expected goal differential per 90 minutes, per fbref.com.
From there, Denmark absolutely dominated in World Cup Qualifying, albeit against a relatively weak group. In 10 qualifying fixtures, the Danes finished 9-1-0 (W-L-D) and posted a +27 goal differential. In the final seven qualifying fixtures after the Euros, Denmark posted a +13 goal differential against a +15 differential on big scoring chances.
Plus, I give Denmark a good chance at winning this group, especially considering it handed France a defeat in France. That victory was no fluke, either, as Denmark won the big scoring chances battle 4-3 against a French side playing all of Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.
With Christian Eriksen back at full health, Denmark should boost its underlying attacking metrics while relying on defender Simon Kjaer and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to anchor its defense. Play the Danes at anything better than 30/1.
Best Bet No. 2 - Senegal (+10000)
Although an African side has never won the World Cup, this number is too good to pass up.
Led by Bayern Munich winger Sadio Mane, Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, Senegal won the African Cup of Nations this past January, posting a +13 advantage in big scoring chances in seven matches.
Now, they find themself in a (relatively) easy group in Qatar. The Netherlands should provide a challenge for manager Aliou Cisse’s squad, but I’ll be surprised if Senegal falls out of the group at the hands of either Ecuador or hosts Qatar. In fact, I give Senegal a better shot than most to win this group as their attack should be able to match the level of the Netherlands.
Obviously, Senegal would have to win the group to have a chance at reaching the quarterfinals or beyond, as a second-place finish would (presumably) see them draw England for the round of 16.
But, at 100/1, I’m willing to take a flier on a team that’s loaded with talent and has a goalkeeper that — if presented with the challenge — is capable of carrying the squad into subsequent rounds.
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