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World Cup Betting History

Being played in Russia’s for the first time the 2018 World Cup will be the 21st World Cup finals with Germany having the the best pre tournament odds to win. Throughout the past 21 events this global tournament has provided some of the most historic moments in sports involving some of the greatest players in football. The World Cup was introduced in 1930 after FIFA President Jules Rimet identified opportunity for teams to represent their nation on a global stage follow the popularity of the olympic games. The first World Cup was hosted in Uruguay and consisted of only five teams including the host country France, Belgium, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Evidently in its early stages the tournament struggled to attract both competitors and viewers, this in part was due to the current World War II and the unwillingness of nations to send their teams.

Fast Forward to 2014 and every nation in the World was trying to qualify for the event and it was one of the most popular football tournaments in the world. Brasil was the host nation in 2014 and also held the highest odds to win the event combining to be a perfect mixture for success. They took full advantage of playing at home comfortably making it to the semi finals where they lost to Germany 7-1 in a one side affair. Most Brazilians would blame the defeat on the absence of their star player Neymar after being injured in the quarterfinal match. Germany would go on the beat Argentina in the final 1-0 and claim the 2014 World Cup Trophy.




1930 Uruguay Uruguay Uruguay 4-2 Argentina
1934 Italy Italy Italy 2-1 Czechoslovakia
1938 France Italy Italy 4-2 Hungary
1942 – Not held
1946 – Not held
1950 Brazil Uruguay Uruguay 2-1 Brazil
1954 Switzerland Germany Germany 3-2 Hungary
1958 Sweden Brazil Brazil 5-2 Sweden
1962 Chile Brazil Brazil 3-1 Czechoslovakia
1966 England England England 4-2 Germany
1970 Mexico Brazil Brazil 4-1 Italy
1974 Germany Germany Germany 2-1 Holland
1978 Argentina Argentina Argentina 3-1 Holland
1982 Spain Italy Italy 3-1 Germany
1986 Mexico Argentina Argentina 3-2 Germany
1990 Italy Germany Germany 1-0 Argentina
1994 USA Brazil 0-0 Brazil Defeats Italy 3-2 Penalties
1998 France France France 3-0 Brazil
2002 Japan Brazil Brazil 2-0 Germany
2006 Germany Italy 1-1 Italy Defeats France 5-3 Penalties
2010 South Africa Spain Spain 1-0 Netherlands
2014 Brazil Germany Germany 1-0 Argentina
2018 Russia TBD TBD


2018 World Cup

With the start of the World Cup approaching and football fans beginning to predict which teams will have success based on the existing pre tournament statistics, attributes, and ratings. With endless amounts of data available for betting on international football, it can sometimes be too much for the average sports bettor to comprehend within a betting model. Below we will discuss some of the most critical factors that should be taken into account before placing World Cup bets.

By June 14, the 31 teams will have qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The highest level of international competition will display five of the six confederations that are part of FIFA. The qualifying process for this year’s tournament started in September 2016 and the groups were drawn in December of 2017. By this time sports fans and bettors all over the world began calculating which teams would win particular groups and whom had the highest chance of making it to the finals.

2018 World Cup Groups

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

Predicting the 2018 World Cup

There are a number of different methods that can be used to estimate the abilities and attributes of international teams competing in the World Cup. Most of the analysis will be based of past performances, player quality, and team rankings. Taking into account the current FIFA ranking and the probability of difference outcomes based of the assets involved in each group. Breaking down the eight groups and considering all factors within each group is the best way to begin simulating the outcome of the World Cup. Regardless of seeding in the initial draw, inevitably there are stronger groups with more competitive teams, making the path for teams within this groups much harder to predict. These scenarios also allow for a limited number of combinations for the remaining games prior to the group stage.

Based off our analysis and including both Germany (FIFA Rank 1st)  and Mexico (FIFA Rank 12th); we consider Group F to be one of the strongest groups while Group A and H appear to have some of the weakest competitors. Groups A, G, and H are predicted to be some of the most competitive groups with at least two teams having equal chances to win the group outright.

By simulating the tournament based off a predetermined ranking system we can predict the probability as to when a particular team will be eliminated or how many goals they may concede throughout the tournament. For example, based off their schedule and current rank Australia has about a 85% chance to be eliminated during group competition, 10.5% chance off losing in the second round, 3.5% chance to go to the quarterfinals and only 1% chance to play in a semi final match.  

Group Assessments

With the large consistent amounts of data available, most experienced sports bettors would say that betting on national league championships is much easier than trying to predict match outcomes in league competitions. Considering the length of qualifying process compared to the few games each team plays; it can be hard to accurately assess data from this stage of the tournament.

FIFA Ranking

When trying to quantify the national team ranking before the tournament, there is an objective methodology in calculating the average score based off opponents current FIFA ranking. Through simulating results based off the pre tournament FIFA ranking we can make estimates on stage outcomes, secondary markets, and probability of a team having success given the path and teams they will face. Another factor that will be accounted for is the path in which each team has faced in order to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

For example Uruguay had one of the toughest schedules coming out the traditionally difficult group of CONMEBOL. Having faced team such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia there road to the World Cup was much more difficult than most. Receiving a ranking of 22nd out of the 31 participants; it is vital that bettors factor in Uruguay’s pre tournament competitions in order to accurately predict future matches based off their current FIFA ranking. After taking into consideration the highly competitive five representatives of CONMEBOL – (Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay) it only makes sense to assume their abilities are slightly better than what is represented in their current FIFA ranking. For example based off our pre tournament predictions Brazil is more likely to be ranked in the top 5 rather than in 15th, if you take into account the teams they faced in qualifying.  

On the other hand Australia had one of the more impressive records leading into the 2018 World Cup. They also had one of the easiest pre tournament schedules, with an average FIFA score of only 362 points. Another great example that when evaluating a team based of their current FIFA ranking it is a good idea to also account for the strength of their schedule leading up to the event. After reviewing the impressive records displayed by Switzerland, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Morocco, and Australia it is evident that their FIFA rank may be higher than what it should be considering their pre tournament competitors; therefore we impacting prediction models when it comes to World Cup play.