The FIFA World Cup is probably the biggest and most anticipated sporting event on the planet. Occurring only once every four years, soccer fans from all over the world look forward to cheering on their home nation in soccer’s biggest showcase. Both hardcore and casual fans alike will also spend more than a few of their hard-earned dollars betting on everything from top goal scorer, to fastest red card, to overall champion. Only the Super Bowl, and maybe March Madness, can rival the World Cup in terms of dollars wagered. Whether you’re in a friendly pool with friends, or hoping to make some serious coin with your local bookie, here are the top nine betting favorites for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
*All odds from Bodog.ca
Italian soccer has taken a bit of a dip in the last few years. Their top flight league, Serie A, has been littered with accusations of match fixing and corruption. Despite the distractions, the Italian national team continue to be a consistent threat. Only two years removed from playing in the Euro 2012 finals, and beating Germany along the way, the Azurri are ready to prove doubters wrong again. With GianLuigi Buffon, arguably the best goalkeeper of the last generation, and the ageless Andrea Pirlo, the team has serious leadership and organization. Can young strikers Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy replace the incumbent Gilardino and Osvaldo? They have a tough opening game against England, another team desperate to perform well. Following that, tough games against two teams who will be more accustomed to the stiffing South American heat in Uruguay and Costa Rica. Assuming they can get out of their group, Italy could make some noise in the knock out stages. 22/1 to win the whole thing.