The World Cup final is upon us this Sunday as France and Croatia duke it out to be crowned global champions in Moscow.
It’s one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, and few events can match it in the betting industry.
Ahead of Sunday’s showpiece, we’ve tracked down our Trading Operations Manager Tom Pullin to get the lowdown on how the World Cup is viewed from our odds boffins…
Ladbrokes News: How does the World Cup final compare to other major sporting events from a betting perspective?
Tom Pullin: In a World Cup year the highest sports turnover events by some distance are always matches England are involved in – and the World Cup Final.
It doesn’t matter if England are in it or not, it’s always a huge event.
With France being a fairly strong favourite in the Final, I would expect customers to be putting their money behind them on Sunday.
We also have the bonus of England being in the 3rd/4th play-off final.
This would normally be a relatively low turnover match for a bookie but we fancy customers will be backing England for one last time in Russia.
LN: What’s the nightmare result all traders are fearing for Sunday?
TP: Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe have been popular with customers throughout the tournament.
So if either of those two score first in a high scoring French win in 90 minutes that’s going to hurt us.
The worst possible result would be Mbappe scoring first and France winning 3-1 in 90 mins. So we’re hoping that doesn’t happen!
LN: Understood! Right then, what would be the dream result for the trading floor?
TP: We love a low-scoring game, and in a World Cup Final especially.
In most Football matches the best result for us is a 0-0 draw and this one is no different. We’re hoping for a bit of a dud match like at USA ’94.
LN: What are the most popular markets and bets?
TP: In major tournaments and particularly the latter stages where there is less opportunity for multiple bets, correct scores and goalscorer bets become really popular.
France to win and both teams to score has been well-backed and will continue to be so right until kick-off.
There’s been a lot of movement for Kylian Mbappe to score first too.
The Ladbrokes #GetAPrice markets have also been very popular throughout the tournament with markets involving scorers, cards, corners passes, assists and tackles, amongst others, giving us some interesting winners throughout.
LN: The last three WC Finals have gone to extra-time. Is that something you think could happen again? Have punters picked up on that in the betting?
TP: It definitely could happen again. The number of goals predicted for the final is very low so we are expecting it to be a tight affair.
Croatia have already played in three extra-time periods and two penalty shootouts.
A lot of people will be expecting a France win in 90 mins but there will be plenty of customers backing the game to go all the way to Penalties.
LN: Which player and team have really upset the odds and done us a favour in Russia?
TP: The best results in terms of upsets have been the last group matches of Group B where Morocco and Iran managed draws with Spain and Portugal on the same evening. That was a real surprise and a good result for us.
Argentina and Lionel Messi’s under-performance and early exit were also good for us.
Russia holding Spain to a 1-1 draw and going through on penalties was a pivotal result, though, with a lot of money running on from the previous day’s fixtures to a Spain win.
LN: The World Cup has been full of upsets, how have they been received on the trading floor?
TP: There have been a lot of upsets in terms of teams that we would normally see in the later stages such as Germany, Argentina, and Spain not featuring beyond the second round.
One of the main upsets of the pre-tournament odds has been England’s progression into the semi-finals which has given a lot of our customers a run for their money, and a lot of winners along the way!
LN: And finally, what’s the tip from the trading floor for Sunday?
TP: France’s centre-backs have broken the deadlock in the last two matches so with another tight match in prospect I think set plays will be pivotal.
I’ll be getting on either Samuel Umtiti or Raphael Varane to score anytime inside the 90 mins.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing