2018 FIFA World Cup Betting Guide

Bet on the World Cup

Ever since the inaugural competition took place in Uruguay 88 years ago, the FIFA World Cup has been capturing the attention of soccer fans across the globe. Different countries host the international soccer tournament every four years, with the last one seeing Germany beat Argentina in Brazil. From Rio de Janeiro to Moscow, soccer fans will turn their attention to this year’s World Cup in Russia, where competition will be fierce. More nations applied to qualify for World Cup 2018 than ever before. The best 31 of them, plus the host nation, will be center-stage, competing for the top honor between June 14 and July 15.  


How to Bet on the World Cup

To elevate your World Cup spectating experience, we’ve compiled a guide to help you bet on the World Cup. Having a wager staked on a country of choice makes the tournament more thrilling and engaging. Most casual fans would like to bet on their nation of choice, but don’t know how, so we’re making betting on World Cup easy by providing plenty of wagering choices and explanations for each one.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to decide what type of wager is best for you. We’re covering point spreads, moneylines, totals, futures, props, parlays, and live betting, complete with examples of how to make each bet. After the educational portion of the guide, we offer some betting tips to make sure you’re set up for success. Without further delay, let’s go over all the different ways to wager on this quadrennial event, starting with spread betting.

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World Cup Spread Betting

The spread is the most popular way to bet on the outcome of a single game. With spread betting, the dominant team (the favorite) must win the game by a predetermined number of goals. It also allows the underdog to lose by a modest amount of goals, while still paying its backers. This evens the playing field in a lopsided matchup, making both teams equally appealing picks. 

Let’s use the Russia vs. Saudi Arabia game as an example for spread betting. As we go to press, Russia is favored by 1.5 points on the spread. That means Russia must win the game by at least 2 points in order for bets on Russia to pay out; this is known as covering the spread. If Russia wins by 1 point, the Russia bet is a loss. As for Saudi Arabia, they’re 1.5-point underdogs. They could lose by 1 point and still cover the spread, paying their supporters. The reason the spread includes a half-point is to avoid a tie, also known as a push. If Russia were favored by just 1 point, and then won the game by 1 point, the bet would neither win nor lose and money would be returned.

If you look beside the spread on the gameline, you’ll see odds between brackets in multiples of 100, either negative or positive. 

RUS –1 ½ (+110)
KSA +1 ½ (–140)

Through these odds, you can figure out how much money you’d win on either team. The positive number denotes the amount you’d win on a $100 bet, whereas the negative number denotes the amount you’d have to bet to win $100. With point spread betting, oddsmakers can shift the odds to ensure there’s equal action on both sides, thus reducing the book’s risk of exposure.

Team Russia, who are 1.5-point favorites on the spread, come with +110 odds. You’d win $110 on a $100 bet. As for Saudi Arabia, their odds are –140, so a $140 bet would generate a $100 payout. Keep in mind, we’re using multiples of 100 for simplicity. You can bet any amount you want, provided you stay within the betting limits. 


World Cup Moneyline Betting

While most sports fans in the United States are used to the concept of spread betting, the rest of the world is more familiar with betting the moneyline on their soccer matches. Unlike the spread, the moneyline doesn’t require the favorite to win by a specified margin. Simply pick which of the two teams you think will win, and if they do, you win your moneyline bet.

There is a twist, though. With moneyline betting on soccer, there’s a third possible outcome: the draw, which you can also bet on. This format is also known as 1X2 betting, where “1” represents the home team winning, “X” represents the draw, and “2” represents the away team winning. Picking the draw is one of the most powerful options in World Cup 1X2 betting, especially during the Group Stage, where teams often have the incentive to play for the single point rather than go for the win.

The moneyline is also useful during the knockout phase when dealing with a team like Portugal that tends to play defensively, hoping to win on the counterattack or on penalties. Note: The score after 90 minutes, plus stoppage time, is used to determine the winning bets – no extra time or penalties included. You might also find some situations where betting on Team 1 or Team 2 to win straight-up gives you more value than betting against the spread.

How World Cup Moneyline Betting Works

Portugal, the top seed in Group B, will face Morocco on June 20 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Portugal are –145 on the moneyline at press time; the negative sign indicates that they’re the favorite in this matchup. Morocco are the underdogs at +475 on the moneyline. Portugal bettors will wager $145 to win $100, while Morocco supporters will win $475 off a $100 bet if Morocco pulls through. Once again, you don’t have to bet exactly $100. A $10 bet would yield $47.50 for Morocco, and a $14.50 wager would yield a $10 payout on Portugal.

Don’t forget about that third option with World Cup 1X2 betting. The draw for Portugal-Morocco is available at +265, so if the two sides are even after 90 minutes plus stoppage, draw bettors will earn $265 for every $100 wagered.

World Cup Double Chance Betting

In addition to the standard 1X2 wager, there’s a World Cup prop bet called Double Chance, where you can bet on two of the three outcomes at the same time: 1-X, 1-2, or 2-X. Here’s how the Double Chance prop for Portugal-Morocco looks as we go to press.

Portugal/Draw           –650
Portugal/Morocco     –335
Morocco/Draw           +125

As you can see, World Cup Double Chance betting gives you the opportunity to hedge your moneyline wager – while the payouts are smaller, your chances of cashing in are greater. For example, if you like Portugal to win this match, but you’re concerned about their defensive style, you can include the draw in your Double Chance wager and get paid at –650 instead of –145. Conversely, a Double Chance bet on Morocco and the draw will pay out at +125 instead of +475, but gives you extra breathing room if the Atlas Lions settle for the single point. The “1-2” option can also be useful in wide-open matchups where the draw is less likely.

To access the Double Chance bet, and all the World Cup props on the menu, go to the “World Cup betting” page at Bovada Sportsbook and look for the match you want to bet on. You’ll see “+X BETS >” to the right of the odds for that match, where “X” represents the number of bets available. Tap or click on that, and you’ll be taken to the full list of lines, alternate lines and props for that match. The closer we get to the start of the match, the more bets you’re likely to find on the World Cup odds board.


World Cup Over Under Betting

The Over-Under, also known as the Total, is a bet on how much scoring will take place in a game. Before a game, oddsmakers come up with a total score (the combined score of both teams), and bettors get to decide whether the actual score will be higher or lower (Over or Under) than the oddsmakers’ prediction.

The highest totals on the game lines as we go to press are the Belgium-Panama and Brazil-Costa Rica matchups. Both games have 3-point totals, so you can bet that the total amount of goals scored in either game will be more than 3 or fewer than 3. If it’s exactly 3, for example, Belgium wins 2-1, the result is a push, and bets are returned.


World Cup Futures Betting

The futures market is full of wagers on events that will happen in the long run. This is where you’ll find bets on team’s individual odds to win World Cup and odds to win each of the eight groups. As we go to press, Brazil is the favorite to win the 2018 World Cup outright – you’ll find this bet among many others in the futures section of our sportsbook.


Bet on the World Cup


World Cup Prop Bets – What is a Prop?

Prop bets can also happen in the future, but they’re less focused on the winner of a game or group, and more focused on peripheral events, like an individual’s performance. Oddsmakers get to be creative with prop bets and will release a lot of them as we get closer to the main event.  

One famous prop bet that people cashed in on at World Cup 2014 was whether or not Uruguay’s Luis Suarez would bite someone during the tournament. He had committed the offense twice before, and sure enough, did it a third time in his team’s last group game against Italy. Suarez will be representing Uruguay once again in World Cup 2018.  


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World Cup Parlay Bets – What is a Parlay Bet?

A parlay bet is a series of World Cup betting lines that are linked together. These bets pay more than you’d get from each single bet, but come with more risk: all bets in a parlay must win for the parlay to pay out. If one bet loses, the parlay loses.

Let’s use a simple example to demonstrate the parlay bet. On June 18, Belgium will face Panama, and on June 19, Colombia will face Japan. You can bet that Belgium and Colombia, the two favorites, will win their respective games and parlay these two bets together for a bigger return. Parlaying these two bets would yield $116 from $100 staked. Alternatively, betting $50 on each team individually ($100 total staked, which is the same as the parlay) would yield a total win of $50.  

When betting on soccer, you can’t parlay multiple lines from the same game. For instance, you can’t parlay the Total and the Moneyline in a World Cup matchup. 


World Cup Live Betting

Betting live is one of the most thrilling ways to bet on World Cup. Odds are constantly changing, opening up opportunities for bettors to make stronger predictions based on the action happening then and there. You can bet live on the goal spread, the moneyline, total, and prop bets like Correct Score. Correct Score is a popular option that lets bettors step into the shoes of the oddsmakers by trying to predict the final score of the game. You don’t need to assign a score to the teams in the game, simply a “2-0” or “2-1” would suffice for the Correct Score prop.


FIFA World Cup Betting Tips

Betting on World Cup has become very popular over the years. Picks for the game winners and sleepers can be found online by handicapping experts, making it possible for everyone to take part in World Cup betting. Our tips are focused more on practical things to remember when placing bets, as opposed to suggestions on who will win the games. 

•    For World Cup match betting, the result of the matchup is established at the end of the 90-minute game. Overtime and penalty shoot-outs don’t count in these bets.

•    Generally, futures have the most value when betting in advance. However, this is also the toughest time to analyze a team’s potential.

•    In addition to goaltending quality and scoring strength, game totals are affected by external factors, such as inclement weather. Extreme weather conditions, including hot and cold temperatures, rain and wind, usually result in tighter games with fewer goals being scored.

Now that you know the difference between spread and moneyline betting, how to bet the over/under, what’s available in the futures and props markets, as well as how to parlay your bets for bigger payouts, you’re equipped to maximize your chance of profiting from World Cup fever. It’s time to put down the paper and pen and start hunting for value in the sportsbook before the betting market influences the lines.


*Odds as of June 6, 2018