World Cup Picks: Last Minute Group Predictions Based on Betting Volumes

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2014

World Cup Picks: Last Minute Group Predictions Based on Betting Volumes

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    Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press

    Sometimes the numbers in the boxscore and the comparative stats on each team don’t tell nearly as much about picking a game as the betting data.

    If the vast majority of the betting public is picking one team, it’s good handicapping practice to look very hard at their opponents.

    The reason is that the wagering public isn’t correct very often. If they were, Las Vegas wouldn’t have all those shiny casinos and more people would become professional sports bettors.

    With that in mind, let’s look at some last minute World Cup picks based on data gathered from Odds Shark on the group betting phase.

    Odds and data courtesy of

An Upset in Group B?

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    Fernando Bustamante/Associated Press

    Spain are the defending World Cup champions and the Netherlands boast a star-studded lineup seeking revenge for the defeat the last squad suffered in the final four years ago

    So why are the "sharp" bettors (veterans or professionals) paying more attention to Chile? Is Spain overrated and is their golden age about to come to a screeching halt?

    Can Chile, playing to friendly crowds in South America, muster an upset here?

    Beware of Chile in Group B.

France a Flimsy Favorite in Group E?

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    Jacques Brinon/Associated Press

    France were terrible four years ago and are under pressure to perform well in Brazil—especially since they have been drawn into a relatively weak group with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras this time around.

    Yet, looking at the betting patterns—and the sportsbook’s response to them—could indicate that France are a flimsy favorite here.

    Bovada says that more than 80 percent of the group-betting wagers in Group E are on France. Regardless, the book has not changed the line, apparently inviting more action at short 4-5 odds.

    “That says to me they are OK taking bets on France because they don’t think they will win it,” said Jack Randall, an analyst at

Belgium to Win Group H?

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    Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press

    According to data from, this is a group the betting public has shied away from. Possibly, Belgium, Russia, South Korea or Algeria don't have enough star power to attract interest from the casual fan.

    But sharp bettors have targeted this group and they have bet heavily on Belgium. The Belgians are young and talented and have been a chic pick to win it all in Brazil.

    While that may be a bit ambitious, they seem like the favorites to win the group and people who are smart with their money think the same.

Argentina Safe in Group F?

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    Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

    In Group F, the betting public is all over Argentina—currently the second betting choice to win World Cup 2014.

    While seeing 95 percent of the betting public backing one team is often enough to automatically place a bet on one of the other three teams, it’s not the case here.

    The reason?

    Sharp bettors have not touched any other team in Group F, leading most savvy bettors to believe none of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria or Iran has any hope of winning the group.