World Cup Betting
The biggest sports betting event in the world is about to kick-off, as South Africa host the 2010 World Cup of football (or soccer, if you will).
There has already been strong betting activity on the event amongst North American online sportsbooks, while for the European sportsbooks the betting action has been fast and furious as June 11th approaches.
Italy enters the tournament as defending champs, winning it all in Germany 2006 — thanks in part to a Zinedine Zidane head butt to Marco Materazzi — and is a +900 favorite to win it all.
At SPORTSBETTING.com, the Azzurri are also listed as the odds-on favorite to take Group F at -400 and +115 to record 9-points during Group play.
A number of players from that 2006 team are back this time around, including goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Buffon has missed time with a knee injury and his spot has been taken by Frederico Marchetti in the national team’s last two friendlies against Sweden and Cameroon respectively — the game against the Swedes resulted in a 1-0 win and the Cameroon game ended as a 0-0 draw.
However, “Gigi” seems fit for South Africa.
On the offensive side, a player expected to contribute is Daniele De Rossi, who was a mere 23 year old last time around.
He is four years older and wiser now.
England isn’t the odds-on favorite to win the World Cup in South Africa but they’re close, listed at +300.
However, some English players are nursing some wounds.
While aging midfielder David Beckham wasn’t expected to be a key contributor, he did suffer an Achilles’ tendon injury and won’t see any action. However, of real concern is the condition of forward Wayne Rooney who has suffered from a number of injuries in the past few months, including ones to his groin knee and ankle.
However, reports quote English coach Fabio Capello as saying Rooney is 100 percent.
Rooney is listed at +800 to be the leading goal scorer in the World Cup. But can he stand up to the grind of a long run in this tournament?
England begins its 2010 World Cup journey with a game against the U.S. and is listed at -270 while the Americans are +535 underdogs and the Total is set at 2.5.
Rooney is an extremely talented player, but has a rep as being “hot-headed”. Another talented player is targeting him.
Argentina player Lionel Messi says that he wants to meet Rooney in an England-Argentina final and wouldn’t that be a World Cup match for the ages?
Argentina begins its 2010 World Cup campaign against Nigeria and is listed as a -270 favorite for the game while the Nigerians are a +561 underdog with the Total at 2.5.
Messi and company are also -350 to take Group B and +550 to win the World Cup.
Messi is also listed at +700 to be the top goal scorer.
There are some analysts that suggest that the United States has a fairly easy schedule in the Group stage.
Besides its opener against the English, the U.S. only has to face the likes of Slovenia and Algeria.
If the Americans manage to grab a draw against England and defeat the Slovenians and Algerians, they could move in to the next round.
The USA isn’t receiving bad odds either for a non-soccer nation, listed at +900 to win the World Cup and +250 to take Group C.
The Beautiful Game is about to be showcased and that means that some good football, er, soccer is about to played.
Posted: 6/3/10 5:00PM ET