The world’s biggest sporting event, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, begins Sunday with a match between the hosts and Ecuador. That gives bettors just a few more days to lock in their futures before the sweat begins.
Here’s a look at our four favorite bets across the board:
2022 World Cup predictions
Spain (+800, BetMGM)
If you’re shopping near the top of the odds board, Spain stands out for a few reasons. For one, it’s being offered at longer odds than other favorites like Brazil (+400), Argentina (+500), and France (+600), despite the fact Spain has just as much talent and depth as that trio, besides maybe Brazil.
Additionally, Spain’s projected path through the knockout rounds should be relatively soft compared to Argentina, France, England, or the Netherlands.
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Another thing that should play in Spain’s favor is: This tournament is being played in the middle of the soccer season, which means depth is going to be incredibly important. That’s a big plus for La Furia Roja, who are basically two-deep at every position and have several world-class midfielders they can rely on to get them through this 32-team competition.
Uruguay (50/1, BetMGM)
Favorites almost always win the World Cup, but we do see long shots make deep runs. Croatia made it to the semifinals in 1998 and finals in 2018, Turkey and South Korea made it to the final four in 2002 and Uruguay was a semifinalist in 2010. The latter is set up to make noise once again in 2022.
La Celeste is always one of the best defensive sides in world soccer, but this roster has plenty of play-making talent too in the form of Fede Valverde, Darwin Nunez, Luis Suarez and Rodrigo Bentancur.
What’s most appealing about Uruguay at this number is its path if it can win Group G, which has a lukewarm Portugal team as the favorite.
If La Celeste do top the group, they’d avoid Brazil and would likely play Switzerland or Serbia in the Round of 16 and another vulnerable favorite, Belgium, in the quarterfinals.
Best bet for Golden Boot
Cody Gakpo, Netherlands (50/1, FanDuel)
Gakpo ticks a lot of boxes for a good Golden Boot (awarded to the player who scores the most goals in the tournament) punt.
Not only is the 23-year-old winger in great form — he leads the Eredivisie in goals, assists, and shots — but he’s also playing for a team that has a good chance to go deep in the tournament and has a couple of soft group-stage matches that could allow him to pad his account before the knockout stages.
Best bet for Team USA
To make the semifinals (16/1, FanDuel)
The United States didn’t get a particularly easy draw, but things could have absolutely been worse for the Stars & Stripes.
Drawn into Group B with England, Wales and Iran, the odds suggest it’s a coin flip as to whether or not USA progresses into the Round of 16. The Americans are -105 to progress, putting them just ahead of Wales (+105) and a step above Iran (+300).
But Teaam USA does make it to the knockout stages, their section of the bracket should be relatively manageable. Their likeliest opponent in the Round of 16 would be the Netherlands, though if they beat the odds and win Group B it would likely be one of Qatar, Ecuador or Senegal.
A lot would have to break right for the Americans to gate-crash their way into the semifinals, but they are a brightly talented bunch that is capable of pulling off an upset or two in Qatar.
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