On This Page

The Best World Cup Betting Markets

If you love soccer and betting, you surely love the FIFA World Cup. The most prestigious international tournament of all provides TONS of opportunities to win big.

The bookmakers and sportsbooks typically offer all kinds of betting markets, and there are also plenty of promotions related to the tournament.

If you are among the many who try to make some money while watching World Cup games, it’s a good idea to have a strategy. Our expert soccer betting guide provides some useful tools and tips and is always worth checking out for that reason.

However, the World Cup is a different animal, and you need to adjust accordingly. For a start, it’s a good idea to take a look at the specific betting markets you should be targeting. And that’s exactly what you can do here.

Traditional Betting Markets

Let’s begin with some of the more conventional World Cup betting markets that could bring you some solid value. You’re probably familiar with these already, but a quick recap is no bad thing.

Match Result

The classic match result betting market is one of the most popular soccer options for a reason. It gives you the chance to analyze both teams and pick a winner or select the draw.

With the World Cup running almost non-stop for a month, you will have the chance to pick a game or two virtually every single day. This is why the match result is certainly one of the best ways to make some money during the tournament.

You should also ensure you’re familiar with the other soccer wagers based specifically on the result of an individual match. There are more of these than you might think, and they’re typically available for all World Cup matches.

Over/Under Goals

Another mainstream betting market that certainly has tons of potential is the over/under goals market, also known as goal totals. The reasoning is similar to the match result option. There are so many World Cup games that you will have many chances to find good spots and capitalize.

Also similar to the match result option is the fact that there are several variations of wagers based on the number of goals scored in a match. You can learn more about them here.

Asian Handicap

A lot of professional bettors prefer the 2-way Asian handicap option instead of the match result betting market. The reasons are simple – the draw is eliminated, and the odds are closer to 2.00.

If you know how to play the Asian handicap or can learn, the World Cup is the perfect place to utilize your skills.

Outright/Future Betting Markets

The bookies are always offering all kinds of outrights and futures related to the World Cup tournaments. Sometimes there are hidden gems you could discover.

If you do your research on betting markets such as the ones outlined below, you’ll find countless opportunities for making some money. Just remember to always check the odds and make sure there’s good value to be had.

World Cup Winner

In almost all editions of the World Cup, there are at least a couple of teams who are considered as favorites. You will rarely see one single nation favored significantly above the rest. As a result, you can get some solid odds on countries that have a realistic shot, and INSANE prices on underdogs.

This gives you some interesting options. You could go for just one team to win it, or you could choose to spread your money across two or more selections and still end up with a solid profit.

Despite the unpredictable nature of the World Cup, there are some traits that suggest which teams have the chance to lift the trophy and which will probably come short. Make sure you go through each of them carefully before picking your best bets.

You will find detailed instructions on how to assess a team’s chance of winning the World Cup on the following page.

The information and advice on this page will help you to prepare and understand the process behind winning the tournament. Exploring all the aspects mentioned before actually placing a real-money wager could greatly enhance your chances of making money.

World Cup Top Scorer

If you are looking for some really big odds, the top scorer betting market is the one that can oblige. We’ve often seen surprising winners of this World Cup mini competition, with the odds for the eventual top scorer regularly surpassing 10.00.

This makes the betting market a fantastic opportunity to win big.

There are a couple of things to explore when going for the top scorer. For a start, such players are usually part of a squad that reaches at least the quarterfinals because of the sheer number of games. So, you need to think about a team’s chances of progressing that far.

Of course, the guy with the most goals should be a regular starter for his respective country and, ideally, the one who takes penalties and free kicks.

The opposition that a player is likely to face plays a role, too, as the top scorer in the World Cup will often have scored multiple times against weaker opposition. Players from teams that are placed in “easier” groups therefore have a massive advantage over those from teams that are in tougher groups.

You should also check the form of a player in the months prior to the World Cup and his overall record for the national side. Both are good indicators of what to expect at the tournament.

If you do your homework well and select one or more players priced well, you COULD secure a big profit for a relatively small stake. This is the reason why the World Cup top scorer market is one of the most exciting options when the competition gets close.

Group Winners

Another cool outright World Cup betting market is related to the groups. Some of them have a clear favorite, while others are tight. There’s always at least one that journalists and soccer specialists label “The Group of Death.”

Most bookies provide odds for the winner of each World Cup group. You should always explore your opportunities there, as sometimes there are some interesting situations to consider.

For example, some teams might actually rest players if they’ve qualified for the next round before the last group game. This can be because they don’t mind finishing in second place or if they’re expecting to face a really strong opponent in the first round of the knockout stages.

Either way, this kind of situation can change the dynamic of a World Cup and present some interesting opportunities for finding value.

There are other also potential scenarios which can make this World Cup betting market one worth your time. A lot of value may be up for grabs, and you should be prepared to take full advantage.

To Reach a Certain Round

The majority of sportsbooks both online and offline will give you the chance to bet on which stage any of the teams could actually reach. For example, you could bet that a specific team will reach the last 16.

Such a betting option is useful for both going for the favorites and backing some of the dark horses. In the latter case, you might like the chances of a “weaker” team to make a deep run at the World Cup but know that winning the whole tournament is probably beyond them.

This is where this betting market comes into play. It allows you to bet on surprises, but to a reasonable extent and with a higher probability of success.

It’s a balanced approach that could bring you some nice wins.

If you decide to focus on this World Cup betting market, you should always check the structure of the World Cup. Take a look at the possible match-ups in the knockout stage, the order of the games in the group stages, and anything else that might reflect the route of the team you want to bet on.

Best Team by Continent

This is another exciting outright that has the potential to bring you cash, where you can pick the best team by continent. For example, you could back Brazil to rank the highest in the World Cup from the teams from South America.

Your approach will be very different depending on the continent or region in question. For example, when looking at South America or Europe, you will probably have to identify the team with the best chance to reach the final or even win the World Cup.

If you go for North America, Africa, or Asia and Oceania, your main goal would be to determine which team has the best chance of reaching the knockout stage.

Either way, you can often find some good value bets if you decide to take a closer look at this betting market.

World Cup Specials and Props

The competition between the bookmakers is constantly growing. Every online bookmaker or betting site is essentially forced to accommodate their customers as best they can if they are to have any chance of success.

A lot of sites focus on offering more and more promotions, which are always popular with bettors. Increasingly, though, operators are finding that a good range of “fun” bets is what really keeps the punters coming back for more.

This is why you will typically find a LONG list of specials and props for the World Cup.

Specials and props are bets that are not specifically based on the outcome of an individual match or the tournament as a whole. They’re usually on outcomes that are hard to predict with any kind of accuracy, which is why they’re generally considered fun bets.

However, serious bettors should still take a look at these bets, as there are often some excellent opportunities to take advantage of.

World Cup specials and props are usually related to certain aspects of what a team or player will (or won’t) do during the tournament. For example, you can bet on the total number of goals a team will score. You can also bet on whether a player will be booked more than once or whether he’ll be sent off at some point.

There are also some general options, such as the total number of goals scored collectively in the tournament or the total number of bookings.

A fairly recent development in the betting industry is the introduction of “request a bet” type options. With these, you can combine multiple specials and props into one bet to try to really win big. Here’s an example.

  • Team A to score less than 5 goals
  • Team B to score more than 5 goals
  • Player X to be sent off at least once
  • Player to score in at least three different games

With a bet like this, ALL outcomes need to be correct to secure a payout. The odds would be enormous, as the likelihood of such a combination being 100% correct is low. So, they’re not the type of wager you should risk big bucks on. It can be worth placing a few with small stakes, though, for a bit of excitement, if nothing else.

The bottom line with props and specials is that you need to look through all the options to find the most interesting ones, and then dig a little deeper to determine if there’s any value to be had.

You should be analyzing related stats and checking other relevant facts to see if it’s worth having a shot. You’ll sometimes uncover some really good spots to get your money down.

World Cup Parlays and Accumulators

Before we wrap this page up, we should include a little something on parlays/accumulators.

If you’re not familiar with these terms, you can take a look at the following page for a detailed explanation with some examples.

In simple terms, these are wagers that combine multiple selections into one single wager. For example, you could pick five games and try to pick the winner of each one. If you got all five right, you’d get a nice payout. If you got just one wrong, though, you’d lose your stake.

Conventional soccer betting advice suggests that you should generally avoid these wagers, simply because they’re so hard to get right with any consistency. There’s some logic in this advice for sure, but it’s also worth noting that accumulators and parlays CAN provide long-term profits with the right approach.

However, in an international tournament like the World Cup, games are typically even more unpredictable than usual. This makes it hard enough to get SINGLE wagers right, never mind the multiples.

We therefore suggest that you use multiples very sparingly during the World Cup and keep the stakes low.


As you can see, each edition of the World Cup comes with plenty of opportunities to make some money. There are three main stages you should focus on.

The first one is to check the outright odds a couple of months before the tournament. The bookies are sometimes a bit careless early on, and this is the perfect time to take advantage of your soccer knowledge.

Next in line is the week before the World Cup starts. By this time, you will have a list of the squads for each nation, a good idea of what the atmosphere is like in each camp, and you’ll know what the form of the key players is like. This is an excellent time to make your selections in the outright betting markets.

Once the World Cup starts, it’s time to pay more attention to the daily opportunities you will have. If you did enough solid preparation for the outright markets, you will already have a solid base for the actual games. Use it to your advantage, and keep observing how each team is doing.

If you put the necessary effort in, the World Cup could be the perfect combination of enjoying your favorite sport and making some good money in the process. Sounds like win-win to us!

Betting on
the 2018 FIFA World Cup?
Make sure you’re using the right sites! Our carefully chosen list of World Cup betting sites features THE best options for this year’s tournament. All recommended sites offer competitive odds, exclusive promotions, an abundance of betting markets, and much, much more.Show Me the List!