It’s mandatory for everyone involved in the betting industry to give a tip for the World Cup, so here’s mine: Chile at 40/1.
Here are Ladbrokes’ latest tournament winner odds.
There’s no clever system here. Most pundits who base their selections on things like “European teams never win in the Americas” and such like can safely be avoided. They are relying on ridiculously small sample sizes, and tournaments played in eras when football was very different. Forget all that and concentrate on good teams who aren’t all that fashionable and might be overpriced as a result.
Chile are an excellent side. They played England off the park at Wembley in a 2-0 win last November and then went to Germany where, despite outplaying the hosts, they lost 1-0. They have some sort of “home” advantage playing in South America (although I think that is mostly over-rated by pundits).
There is no getting away from the fact that they have an horrendous draw. They’re stuck in a group with the two finalists from the 2010 World Cup; Spain and Holland. I note that most “experts” in the betting industry think Holland are probably on the downgrade, so I still think Chile have a pretty good chance of qualifying. However, once they get past that, they might end up with Brazil in Round 2. Still, it’s very much reflected in the odds we’re getting. The football boffins at Ladbrokes tell me they would probably be around 20/1 had they been given a more favourable draw.
Ladbrokes have employed Countdown’s Rachel Riley to pick a winner and, co-incidentally, she’s come up with Chile as well. Not that I think that much of her “analysis”. I am slightly dubious of any system which involves excluding teams who did too well in qualifying or have strikers that score too many goals. Still, I hope she’s right.
Much more interesting is Nate Silver’s model. He makes Brazil a very strong favourite, although their model also makes Chile a good bet.
A couple of other teams who I think might do a little better than the odds suggest are Japan and Switzerland. I could make a case for each of them to make at least the quarter finals at 11/2 and 3/1 respectively.