How to Bet on the FIFA World Cup

World Cup betting explained

The FIFA World Cup is an international soccer competition played by the senior men’s national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association aka, FIFA. The championship has been awarded every four years since the tournament started in 1930, with the exceptions of 1942 and 1946, when the Second World War put the event on hold.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia, making it the first to be held in Europe since 2006 when Germany hosted the event. The event takes place from June 14-July 15, with a total of 64 games played at 12 different venues. The 8 groups of 4 have already been selected and are as follows:

Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran

Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark

Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

FIFA World Cup Format

Qualifying matches for any World Cup start in the three years before the actual event. This is because there are so many teams to get through. At writing, there are 211 FIFA member nations, and they must all play their way down to the 32 teams who will eventually compete in the main event. Good news if you’re the host nation, since you’re automatically qualified to play in the World Cup the year you host.

Once the 32 teams are known, a draw is held to determine how the teams will be seeded.  Teams are placed into eight groups of four in the Group Stage round and each of those teams lays three games against one another, earning three points for a win and one for a tie. Once the group stage is finished, the top two teams from each group are entered into the Knockout Round of 16. This is where the competition starts to get more intense, because if you lose, you’re out. The final two teams compete for the Championship title.

FIFA World Cup Betting Options

Like most sporting events, there are a wealth of options available for people wanting to bet on the World Cup. Whether you just want to make a simple pick-a-winner bet, or a more carefully considered point spread bet, Sports Interaction offers a number of World Cup soccer bet types for every kind of bettor.

World Cup Moneyline Betting

The moneyline bet is one of the easiest bets you can make. Pick a winner, make your bet. In this example, we’re looking at a game between Portugal and Spain. As it is in all moneyline odds, the negative sign (-) in front of the -108 shows you that Spain is favored in this matchup. The higher that number, the more heavily favoured the team is.

Moneyline odds tell the bettor how much they could potentially win, so in this example, you’d have to bet $108 to earn $100. The underdog in this example is Portugal, which is indicated by the plus sign (+) in front of the +313. Simply put, a $100 bet on Portugal would pay out $313. What if the game ends in a tie/draw? A $100 bet on that happening will earn you $236.

World Cup Over/Under Betting

The Over/Under bet is also known as the total, and is another fairly easy bet to make. Essentially, you decide if the combined score of both teams will go OVER or UNDER the number listed. In our example, we see that the Over/Under number is +2.5.  If you think Brazil and Switzerland will score at least three goals between them, a $100 wager on the Over will pay out $102. Don’t think they’ll muster up two goals or less? Put your money on the Under.

World Cup Futures Betting

Feeling good about your team long before the tournament gets underway and want to make a longshot bet that they’ll win it all? Then Futures betting is for you. Futures odds are often released far in advance of an event, and in the case of the World Cup, the odds are out before the Group matches are even announced.

Naturally, there’s a higher risk to betting on an outcome before you know who your team will be playing, if all their players will be healthy, if the weather will cooperate, or any other factor that could impact the odds on game day. But that’s part of the fun of a futures bet!

For the 2018 World Cup, the futures odds board shows Germany as the favorite to win. They’re listed here as +333 favorites, with Brazil a close second at +400. As with a moneyline bet, those numbers indicate how much you’d win if you bet $100. A bet on Saudi Arabia to win it all may seem ill-advised in this case, since they are clearly the ultimate tournament underdog at +90800, but if a miracle happened, and you’d put down your lucky $100 on Saudi Arabia to win it all, you’d come out over $90,000 richer.

World Cup Soccer Team Betting

Some sports betting sites, including Sports Interaction, offer bettors odds that go beyond the basics. For example, you can bet on how your team will fare in the tournament at every stage. In our example, you can see the odds as they pertain specifically to Belgium. Will Belgium qualify from their Group? Odds are -1001 that they will. Will they reach the semi-final? How about the final? These odds have them priced at +475 to make the final in the 2018 World Cup.