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How To Get Started
The first item on your to-do list should be to open an account with a respected bookmaker. In fact, it is better to sign up for several of them. For starters, you are likely to receive sign-up bonuses and promotions from each of them. And when it comes to placing a bet, you can compare and contrast to ensure you are getting the best possible price.
Sports betting is our forte here at Irishluck, and we have spent time and effort on picking out some recommended sportsbooks so you do not have to. At the top of this page, you will find the best bookmakers for your World Cup betting needs. You cannot really go wrong no matter which ones you pick, and the good news is you will be able to use the same sportsbooks to bet on other events too. That could be the Premier League, La Liga or the Champions League if you are all-in on football, or it could be other sports like golf, rugby, horse racing or hurling. Once you have signed up, simply deposit some money into your account and you are ready to start betting!
Popular Bet Types
Let's take a look at some of the terminology involved in football betting. Some of these terms might look daunting if you have not seen them before, but the vast majority can be explained pretty easily. This guide focuses on the World Cup (and, more specifically, the one in 2022), but much of the underlying information is also applicable to the Premier League, the Champions League, La Liga, the Bundesliga, and other football competitions.
The most basic form of football bet is on the final result: will it be a win for Team A, a win for Team B or a draw? This is known as betting the moneyline in America. There will almost always be a favourite and an underdog. The bookmaker will take several factors into account before setting a price. How have the two teams been performing lately? Are there any key players missing through injury? What is Team B's home record like? These are some of the questions punters should be considering too.
Predicting the final outcome is not the only way you can bet on an individual match. Total goals is another common choice, usually expressed in an over/under formula: over 2.5 goals or under 2.5 goals, for instance. You could also back both teams to score, Team A to win the first half, one of the sides to win without conceding, or a team to win both halves. There are more niche choices too: total corners, total cards, time of first goal, time of last goal.
All of the above bets should be self-explanatory. Now let's turn our attention to some football betting terms you might not necessarily know about.
1 refers to a home win, X to a draw and 2 to an away win.
Asian handicap betting is particularly popular when a game has clear favourites. The Republic of Ireland (-2.5) vs North Korea (+1.5) would give the Irish a theoretical 2.5 goal lead at the start of the game. If you bet on Ireland, they would need to win by three clear goals for the bet to be successful. This is a popular choice when there is a clear favourite in a game, such as Brazil vs South Africa.
In the days when you had to physically walk into a bookmaker in order to place a bet, this was not an option. But with the rise of betting online and on mobile devices, customers now have the opportunity to cash out - essentially settling a bet before the game is finished.
Let's say you put some money on Nigeria to beat Turkey in an international friendly. If Nigeria go 1-0 up, you could cash out for the return offered by the bookmaker. Doing so would guarantee your winnings even if Turkey were to go on and win.
Instead of just picking which team you think will win, you can also have a go at predicting the correct score - Jamaica 3-1 Ivory Coast, as opposed to a straightforward Jamaica win. You will get much better odds this way, but predicting the exact score is harder than it sounds.
This allows you to back two potential outcomes in the same bet, such as Team B to win or a draw. It is a useful way to hedge your bets if you are not convinced the underdog will win but are confident they can avoid defeat.
This selection removes the draw as an option, so you simply back Team A or Team B to come out on top. If the match ends in a draw, you get your stake back.
It is possible to combine several different selections into a single bet. This is particularly popular when multiple fixtures take place on the same day - the World Cup group stage, for example. You could pick out four different wagers and combine them into an accumulator (a term which is often shortened to 'acca') to get more attractive odds.
Be warned, though: if just one of your bets fails, you will lose the whole thing. Some bookmakers do at least offer acca insurance, where your stake is returned if you are let down by just a single selection.
Most customers place their bets before the game, but you can also do so after kick-off. If Iceland go 1-0 down to Burkina Faso, you will get better odds on a Burkina Faso victory than you would have done at the start of the contest.
This is a combination bet where a bettor chooses which player will score the first goal and what the final score will be.
An outright betting market is where customers put money on the eventual outcome of an event such as the World Cup. We have run through the most popular team outright markets below.
The most obvious team outright market is the overall World Cup winners. This market is usually open throughout the tournament, but you can usually find the best value before the action gets underway.
There are eight different World Cup groups in the first phase of the competition, and you can predict the winner of each. For the 2022 World Cup, Senegal to win Group A instead of the Netherlands could be a profitable choice.
There is also the opportunity to bet on the stage of the tournament a team will reach, such as England to reach the semi-finals.
Tips and Tricks
One of the key things to bear in mind as a bettor is that you are always looking for value in the market. If you want to make a profit on a consistent basis, there are a number of steps you can follow that will increase your chances of success. Thankfully, you are not alone - here at Irishluck our experts are always searching for an edge so that they can provide the best betting tips for the World Cup.
What To Do
Search for Value
|As we mentioned earlier, signing up for several sportsbooks will allow you to find the best price. Check a few different bookies before placing your bet - it could pay dividends.|
Stay Up to Date
|You do not want to find out a team's star player is injured after you have placed your bet. Use social media and football websites to keep up to date with the latest team news.|
|Do not just rely on basic statistics such as match results. Czech Republic might have won three games in a row, but once you dig a little deeper you might realise they were fortunate in each of them.|
What Not To Do
Place Too Many Bets
In the group stage of the World Cup, there will be four matches per day. Rather than spreading yourself too thin, focus on one or two.
Bring in Your Bias
|World Cup betting is a pursuit for your head, not your heart. We would recommend completely avoiding betting on your favourite team. If you insist on doing so, make sure you are thinking rationally rather than emotionally.|
Chase Your Losses
|Do not change your strategy if a few bets are unsuccessful. The worst thing you can do is panic and attempt to win the money back quickly. Keep calm and carry on.|
FIFA World Cup Top Teams
History of the FIFA World Cup
FIFA was founded in 1904 but it took another 26 years before the World Cup came into being. The biggest international forum for football before the inaugural edition in 1930 was the Summer Olympics. The success of the Olympic competitions compelled FIFA to launch its own world football tournament, and 13 teams made the journey to Uruguay to compete in 1930. The host nation triumphed over Argentina in the final in Montevideo, building on their victories in the Summer Olympics of 1924 and 1928.
Most Successful Sides
There have been 21 editions of the World Cup up to now. Brazil are the most successful nation in the history of the tournament, having lifted the trophy five times: in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. Italy have been successful on four occasions, getting their hands on the prize in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006. Germany/West Germany also have four successes to their name, coming out on top in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014. The other previous winners are Argentina (1978 and 1986), France (1998 and 2018), Uruguay (1930 and 1950), Spain (2010) and England (1966).
Other FIFA World Cup Participants
Qatar will become the 180th country to participate in a World Cup when the action gets under way in November. They will be the first host nation to make their World Cup debut since Italy in 1934. Mexico (16) have appeared at most World Cups without ever winning the tournament. The other non-victorious sides to have featured in 10 or more editions are Belgium (13), Sweden (12), Serbia/Yugoslavia (12), Russia/Soviet Union (11), Switzerland (11), the Netherlands (10), the United States (10) and South Korea (10). The 1930 World Cup was made up of teams from UEFA, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF. The first African participants were Egypt in 1934, while the first Asian representatives were Indonesia (then known as the Dutch East Indies) in 1938. Oceania debuted with Australia in 1974, although the Socceroos have since joined the Asian confederation.
FIFA World Cup Qualification Process
While FIFA determines how many World Cup places are available for each region, the confederations are handed responsibility for organising their own qualification processes. For the 2022 World Cup, UEFA (Europe) divided its 55 teams into 10 groups. The winners of each group qualified automatically for the World Cup, while the runners-up advanced to the play-offs.
- CONMEBOL (South America) stuck with its round-robin, single-league format, with all 10 teams facing each other home and away. The top four qualified automatically and the fifth-placed finisher will be involved in the intercontinental play-offs.
- CAF (Africa) divided its qualification process into three stages. The 28 lowest-ranked sides on the continent contested play-offs in the first stage. In the second round, 40 teams were split into 10 groups - the winners of which went through to the third round, where two-legged play-offs determined Africa's five qualifiers.
- The AFC (Asia) began with a play-off round involving its 12 lowest-ranked teams. In the second stage, 40 sides were divided into eight groups, with the winners and five runners-up going through. In the third round, 12 teams were split into two groups - the top two in each qualified for the World Cup, and the third-place finishers will contest a play-off in June. The winner of that game will go through to the interconfederation play-offs.
- CONCACAF (North America, Central America and the Caribbean) started with a group stage involving the region's 30 lowest-ranked teams. The group winners went through to the six-team play-off round, and the three victors in that stage joined the confederation's five highest-ranked sides in a round-robin format. The top three advanced to Qatar, with fourth place going through to the intercontinental play-offs.
- The OFC (Oceania) began its process with a qualification match between the two lowest-ranked sides. This game was actually cancelled due to pandemic-related complications, but the winner would have advanced to the group phase, where eight teams were split in two. The top two in each group progressed to the semi-finals, before the winners played the final. The winner of that game went through to the interconfederation play-offs.
FIFA World Cup Best Players
Best Current Players
World Cup football gives us the chance to see some of the best footballers on the planet strut their stuff on the biggest stage of all. Kylian Mbappe has only got better since he helped France win the tournament in Russia four years ago. Karim Benzema was not involved in that competition but will be central to his country's efforts in Qatar.
Mbappe's team-mates at Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar and Lionel Messi, will be desperate to go all the way with Brazil and Argentina respectively. Portugal's campaign will be spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo. England's talented squad will be led by Harry Kane, who won the Golden Boot in 2018. Spain will look to the teenaged Pedri for inspiration despite his tender years, while Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane will be relied upon by Poland and Senegal.
Elsewhere, look out for Kevin De Bruyne with Belgium, Virgil van Dijk with the Netherlands and Thomas Muller with Germany. Several top players will miss out on Qatar. Egypt did not qualify, which means Liverpool star Mohamed Salah will be absent. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden have also missed out, while Italy's failure to qualify means television audiences will not get to see the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Marco Verratti and Federico Chiesa in action. Luis Diaz (Colombia), Arturo Vidal (Chile), Erling Haaland (Norway) and Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) are among the other big names who will be watching from their sofas.
Best Historical Players
The most successful player in the history of the World Cup is Pele, the only footballer to have won the World Cup three times. The Brazilian legend was part of the winning squad in 1958, 1962 and 1970. Diego Maradona inspired Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986. The forward scored the greatest goal the tournament has ever seen as Argentina beat England in the quarter-finals that summer.
Other historical World Cup stars include Johan Cruyff (the Netherlands), Bobby Charlton (England), Paolo Rossi (Italy), Jose Nasazzi (Uruguay), Ferenc Puskas (Hungary), Didi, Garrincha, Romario, Ronaldo (all Brazil) and Zinedine Zidane (France).
Betting on FIFA World Cup Players
When we think of football betting, we usually focus on teams - who will win, how many goals they will score, whether both teams will find the net. But there are plenty of markets that focus on individual players - and there is usually value to be found in this area. The most common way to bet on a player is in the goalscorer market, where bookmakers offer the opportunity to place a wager on which player will score the first or last goal. You can also back a player to score anytime.
For big matches in particular, bettors can put money on a player receiving a card, a player scoring a hat-trick, a player registering an assist and various other in-game events. Player bets can be combined with team bets. A popular example is predicting a goalscorer and a result - Robert Lewandowski to score and Poland to win, for example.
We explore team outright markets earlier in this guide. The same principle applies to player outrights - bets which are placed on an eventual outcome of a particular competition. The most obvious player outright bet relates to the Golden Boot, the award given to the player who scores the most goals at the World Cup. In 2018, Harry Kane won this prize after scoring six goals as England finished fourth.
Some sportsbooks will offer punters the chance to put money on an individual to be named Player of the Tournament or Young Player of the Tournament. There might even be an option to bet on who will finish the World Cup with the most assists.
FIFA World Cup FAQs
At the time of writing in April 2022, 29 of the 32 available spots for the 2022 World Cup have been filled. The line-up will be complete by the middle of June. Europe will be represented by Germany, Denmark, France, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal.
The qualifiers from South America are Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador. The North America, Central America and Caribbean region will supply Canada, Mexico and the United States. Iran, South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia got through the Asian qualification process, while Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Tunisia and Morocco have made it from Africa.
There are still three places up for grabs. One will go to the winner of a European play-off series involving Wales, Scotland and Ukraine. Another play-off pits New Zealand against Costa Rica, while Peru will face the winner of Australia vs the United Arab Emirates.
The biggest shock in qualifying was Italy's failure to secure a place at this year's World Cup finals. Only Brazil have won the tournament more often than the Azzurri, but the four-time champions have now missed two World Cups in a row. Remarkably, they have not triumphed in a World Cup knockout game since they last won the tournament in 2006.
Italy finished second in their qualification group, as draws with Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Switzerland saw them finish two points behind the Swiss. Italy advanced to the playoffs but suffered a shock home defeat by North Macedonia in the semi-finals.
Thirty-two teams will take part in the 2022 World Cup. Thirteen places go to Europe, five to Africa, 4.5 to Asia, 4.5 to South America, 3.5 to North America, Central America and the Caribbean, and 0.5 to Oceania (the .5s refer to inter-confederation play-off places).
At the first edition of the World Cup in 1930, there were 13 competing nations. This rose to 16 for the 1934 World Cup and remained that way for almost 50 years, with the exception of 1938 (15 teams) and 1950 (13 teams). From 1982 to 1994 there were 24 teams involved, before an expansion to 32 in time for the 1998 World Cup in France. Qatar 2022 will be the last tournament featuring 32 sides, with 48 set to be involved in four years' time. Canada, the United States and Mexico will co-host the 2026 tournament.
The FIFA Under-20 World Cup was launched in 1977 and has been held every two years since then. Argentina (six trophies) and Brazil (five) are by far the most successful teams in the history of the competition. Several players have won both the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the FIFA World Cup at senior level. Diego Maradona was named the Player of the Tournament as Argentina's U20s triumphed in 1979, six years before he starred for the victorious South American nation at senior level.
Dunga was Brazil's captain when the Selecao won the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Eleven years earlier, he was part of the side that won what was then known as the World Youth Championship. In more recent times, Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez won both tournaments with Spain, while Paul Pogba did the same with France. Other double winners include Bebeto, Jorginho, Muller, Claudio Taffarel, Dida (all Brazil) and Carlos Marchena (Spain).
Ever since it was founded in 1930, the World Cup has been held every four years - with the exception of 1942 and 1946, when minds were distracted by the Second World War. However, there has recently been talk of making the World Cup a biennial event. The proposal to stage a World Cup every two years was made by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation in 2021. FIFA carried out a feasibility study and the move secured the backing of Arsene Wenger, the organisation's Chief of Global Football Development, and Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president.
However, the project appears to have lost momentum in recent months. It has failed to secure the support of UEFA or CONMEBOL, the governing bodies of Europe and South America respectively. As such, it is difficult to see a way forward for Infantino and Wenger. Supporters of the change argue that staging the world's most popular football tournament more often can only be a good thing. It would give smaller countries more opportunities to qualify and would allow international football to rival the club game for focus and attention.
Critics charge that holding the World Cup every two years would diminish its prestige. There is also uncertainty over continental competitions such as the European Championship, the Copa America and the Africa Cup of Nations, while a biennial tournament would mean yet more demands placed on overworked players.
It is fair to say that the choice of hosts for this year's World Cup was controversial. Qatar was chosen as the host country by the FIFA Executive Committee back in 2010, beating the bids put forward by the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia. This will be the first World Cup held in the Middle East and only the second in Asia, after Japan and South Korea co-hosted the 2002 FiFA World Cup. There was widespread surprise when Qatar won the hosting rights at the end of the bidding process.
For starters, theirs is a small country of less than three million people which does not have much football heritage. It was never going to be possible to play matches in the usual World Cup timeframe of June and July due to the extreme heat in the country at that time of year, necessitating a disruptive move to November and December (the middle of the European season) which has attracted much criticism. Most seriously, the Qatar government has been accused of numerous human rights abuses, while the country's bid was marred by allegations of corruption and bribery. There have been 40 recorded deaths of workers employed on World Cup stadium construction projects in Qatar.
The favourites to win the 2022 World Cup are Brazil. The five-time winners are the most successful nation in the history of the competition, but they have now gone 20 years without getting their hands on the famous trophy.
Here at Irishluck, our tipsters are experts in their respective fields. They pay close attention to the latest developments within their chosen sport, and use data and analytics to find value in the market - so if you need some help with sports betting, be sure to check out our website. Things may change as the tournament gets closer, but at this moment in time, we believe Spain are attractively priced to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
More World Cup
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