World Cup Betting Guide; USA vs. Ghana; Week One in College Football

 

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Hartley Henderson
A Guide to Betting The World Cup
By Hartley Henderson – Exclusive to OSGA.com

While North Americans likely believe the Super Bowl and March Madness represent the biggest sporting events in the world, the truth is that it pales in comparison to what is wagered on
the World Cup. While no exact amounts are known it is estimated that World Cup gambling exceeds $10 billion and that’s only for the legal forms. In fact it was recently reported that
between $700 billion and $1 trillion USD is wagered globally on all sports with about 70% on soccer so the $10 billion estimate for the World Cup isn’t far-fetched.
Of course while betting on soccer is huge overseas, it is extremely small in the United States. Soccer betting in Las Vegas is minute to say the least and Major League Soccer has just
never taken off in the United States or Canada to the same extent as soccer has in other countries. Thus North Americans are likely somewhat confused when they see the array of soccer
options available for the World Cup. This article is a World Cup betting primer exploring the more interesting bet options available for each game and for the whole tournament and to
provide some predictions for each wager.
Tournament Wagers
To win outright: This bet is self-explanatory. The team that wins the final game is declared the winner. Brazil is the 3-1 favorite, Argentina is 4-1, Germany is 6-1, Spain is 13-2 and
the remainder are at least 20-1. Those odds are available generally including at OSGA Elite-rated books Bovada.lv, Bookmaker.eu and 5dimes.eu. In my opinion Spain is getting old and
just doesn’t have the firepower to repeat and Brazil, while a great team, have struggled in recent World Cups not having gotten past the quarter finals since 2002. The pressure of
being at home could also play on their psyches. Argentina and Germany seem to have the best players and are my picks to make it to the end. For longshots I look to the Netherlands at
33-1 since they were dominant in World Cup qualifying and Belgium at 25-1 who have a very good youthful team which could be important as fatigue sets in.
To win the group: There are 8 groups in the tournament consisting of 4 teams with the top 2 from each group advancing after a round robin within the group. Most teams will try to win
their group so as not to face another team that wins their group in the next round but there could be some strategy played out if a team prefers a different one in the next round. That
said the best teams usually win their groups and it’s pretty much a given that Brazil, Argentina and Germany will win their groups. Spain could face some competition from the
Netherlands and Chile who were sensational in World Cup qualifying. France should also win their group at odds of 5-6 in a very weak grouping.
Stage of elimination: If a team isn’t going to win a very profitable bet could be to determine in which round they will be eliminated. Obviously teams like Iran, Costa Rica and
Honduras will be eliminated in the group stage but the odds reflect that. Australia is 1/10 to get knocked out in the group stage which to most bettors is unplayable although a
colleague once pointed out to me that if someone offered you 10% interest on your bank account if you put it in the bank for 3 weeks you would jump at the opportunity. And the truth is
that many of these teams have virtually zero chance of actually moving on past round 1 including Australia who go up against Spain, the Netherlands and Chile. Some bets worth
considering for this wager is England to get knocked out in the group stage at +125 since Uruguay and Italy are better teams; France to get knocked out in the quarter finals at 5-2
odds since the team is in a terrible group which should let them proceed for 2 rounds but will likely get dominated against a much better team in the quarter finals; and Russia to get
knocked out in the round of 16 at 5-4 odds. Russia will lose to Belgium but should beat Algeria and South Korea but as the 2nd team in that group would have little chance against
Germany in the second round who will almost certainly win the group they would face.

Top Goalscorer: With so many teams in the tournament this bet seems like a crapshoot but in reality one needs to look at teams which will go far in the tournament, teams that should
score a lot of goals against weak opponents (most goals will take place in early rounds) and the top strikers. There’s no use looking at midfielders or defensemen, the top goal scorer
will almost certainly be a striker or as hockey players call it a goal hog – i.e. someone who only plays up field and takes the most shots. Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the best
player in the tournament playing for Portugal but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Portugal lose in the first round or definitely in the round of 16. With that in mind and looking at the
groups I’ve narrowed down the bets to Argentina, Germany and Brazil with the top 2 strikers for each team. For Argentina Lionel Messi is clearly the best player for the team having
scored 28 goals for Barcelona and 18 goals in the last 2 years playing for Argentina. Sergio Aguera is the next best player scoring 17 goals for Manchester City this year and 5 goals
for the international team and the only other real contender for top scorer for Argentina is Gonzalo Higuain. For Brazil Junior Neymar is by far the team’s most proficient scorer and
for Germany Thomas Muller always shows up for international competitions and has scored 13 goals for Bayern Munich this year. The best in my opinion are Messi at 8-1 odds and Muller at
a whopping 28-1.

Most sportsbooks also offer odds on the top team by continent, top club goal scorer and team group points. However, none of those bets offer any real value beyond what can be bet
elsewhere.

Game Wagers
While the tournament outrights will command a lot of the wagering, most of the interest will be in the games themselves. North American facing books tend to have fewer options than
European books although I’ve been told by a few books including the ones mentioned earlier that there will be a wide array of game betting options for the World Cup including in-game
betting on selected matches.
To win the match or Game Totals: One needs to look closely at the wagers to win the match. Most bets will have home win, away win or the draw. Although it specifies 90 minutes of play
that includes penalty time as well. I’ve been told in the past that when a goal is scored in the 92nd minute due to injury time to break a tie that it often invokes some dispute with
American bettors who believe they should not have lost since it occurred after 90 minutes. These bets are fairly straight forward for the group stage but in subsequent rounds the game
can go into extra time. It should be noted that if the game goes to extra time, a 3 way bet including the draw is for 90 minutes only and will not include extra time. Many sportsbooks
will put up a 2 way line without a draw bet in which case the team that wins including extra time will be declared the winner of the bet. Sportsbooks will also put up over/under for
the game (usually at 2 ½ or 3 ½ goals). This almost always excludes extra time although if there is some confusion a quick email to the sportsbook in question will resolve the concern.
For those lucky enough to have a European sportsbook account some places like Bet365 and William Hill offer a “bore” bet which means that if a game finishes at 0-0 then all bets
excluding the correct score will be refunded.

Correct score: While this may sound like a crapshoot, it is a popular bet because soccer games tend to be so low scoring. Generally speaking scores listed are between 0-0 and 3-2 for
either team with an “any other score” option although for mismatched games higher scores will be available. From my experience betting World Cup games, 2-0 and 3-0 represent the best
scoring propositions in earlier rounds. Odds for correct score generally range from 5-1 to 50-1 on higher scores.

First goal scorer or anytime goal scorer: This is always a fun bet since one can route for individual players as well as teams. As is the case with the top goal scorer in the
tournament mentioned earlier, it’s best to stick to strikers for the wagers such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Thomas Muller. It should be noted that a player must be on the
starting line for the bet to be action. If a player is a substitute to begin the game, wagers on that player will be refunded provided a goal is scored before he comes in to the game.
Scorecast: This may not be available at some U.S. facing books but it combines correct score and the first goal scorer. And not surprisingly most books simply multiply the odds on the
correct score by the odds on first goal scorer. So if say Portugal is 5-1 to win 2-0 and Ronaldo is 3-1 to be first goal scorer then a 2-0 Portugal final with Ronaldo as first goal
scorer will generally pay off at 23-1 which is equal to 6.0 as a decimal (5-1) multiplied by 4.0 (3-1) which yields a decimal of 24.0 or 23-1.

Handicap betting: Sportsbooks will often put up a handicap of -0.5, -1 or -1.5 goals with odds attached. So in the Brazil vs. Croatia game on Thursday as an example Brazil is -1.5 +110
and Croatia is +1.5 -130. For Brazil to win that handicap they need to win by 2 or more goals, otherwise Croatia will be the winner. Some places also offer Asian Handicaps which are a
bit more complicated. In that instance bettors will see 2 options and odds. It is a split bet. So if Croatia is +1, +1.5 +110 then it is 2 bets with ½ the wager on Croatia at +1 goal
+110 and ½ the wager on Croatia +1.5 +110. If they win or draw then the whole bet wins at +110. If they lose by 1 goal then ½ the wager is pushed and ½ the wager wins and if they lose
by 2 or more then the whole bet loses. Most sportsbooks will also offer wagers for the team to win with a draw being no bet or they will offer one team at -1/2 goal with odds attached
so a tie bet can’t occur.
Half time result: A lot of bettors like to wager on what will happen at the half. Most sportsbooks will offer odds for half time with all the same bet options mentioned before.
Other wagers available:

Winning margin – how many goals a team will win by at game end

Team to kick off – who will kick off first (no different than with NFL football)

Clean sheet – will a team hold the other team to zero goals

First red/yellow card – similar to a penalty a yellow card is a warning and a red card is a disqualification

First corner – team to get a kick in from the opposition corner after the ball goes off a defending player over the goal line. This can often lead to goals

Most corners – which team will get most corners in the game

To score on a penalty – If a player is brought down in the opposition box then that player is awarded the equivalent of a penalty shot. 90% of the time the player will score on a
penalty.

Own goal? – Will either team have a player that scores on their own goal?
The World Cup is always an exciting event to watch and with any luck the United States can make it through a round or two although my money is on Argentina and Germany.

 

Read insights from Hartley Henderson every week here at OSGA and check out Hartley’s RUMOR MILL!

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us world cup

Odds, props posted for USA’s World Cup opener vs. Ghana

Stars and Stripes a dog against Africans

 

USA striker Clint Dempsey featured in multiple World Cup props open for wagering in Vegas.
By: Marcus DiNitto
www.linemakers.sportingnews.com

The USA begins its 2014 World Cup Monday against long-time nemesis Ghana, and the African side is being called a slight favorite in Las Vegas.

Ghana, which has effectively knocked the U.S. out of the last two World Cups, is listed at +160 odds at William Hill, with the U.S. priced at +185 and a draw +215.

The three-way bet, though, is just one of several wagering options offered at William Hill, which is posting props on several group-stage matches in Brazil, including all three U.S.
games.

Think Clint Dempsey will find the back of the net for the Americans? You can get nearly 3-to-1 on your money on the ‘yes’ side of that prop. Envision a wide-open, attacking kind of
game? ‘Yes’ on the ‘Will both teams score’ prop is listed at +115.

From AccuScore, which is providing quantitative World Cup analysis for The Linemakers on Sporting News: Through 10,000 game simulations, Jozy Altidore was the leading goal scorer for
the USA and has a 13 percent chance of scoring at least one goal against Ghana. When he does score, the U.S. has a 52 percent chance to win. The leading goal scorer for Ghana is
Asamoah Gyan, with a 35 percent chance to net at least once. When he has at least one goal, Ghana has a 73 percent chance to win.

SN’s Mike DeCourcy: History not a factor in Group G opener

The full list of props is in the scrollable document below. And be sure to check back here at The Linemakers on Sunday and Monday for plenty more betting information and analysis ahead
of the USA-Ghana match.
WWW.WILLIAMHILL.US TWITTER: @WILLIAMHILLUS

2014 WORLD CUP: UNITED STATES VS GHANA

UNITED STATES VS GHANA MATCHUP

GHANA +160 UNITED STATES +185 DRAW +215

TO WIN 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP

UNITED STATES 50/1 GHANA 175/1

TO WIN GROUP G

GERMANY -175 PORTUGAL +230 GHANA 9/1 UNITED STATES 10/1

TO WIN 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP TOP GOALSCORER

ASAMOAH GYAN 100/1 CLINT DEMPSEY 150/1

UNITED STATES VS GHANA HALFTIME/FULLTIME RESULT

DRAW/DRAW +300 GHANA/GHANA +330 USA/USA +400 DRAW/GHANA +450 DRAW/USA +540 GHANA/DRAW +1400 USA/DRAW +1400 USA/GHANA +2800 GHANA/USA +3000

WILL CLINT DEMPSEY SCORE A GOAL?

YES +280 NO -340

WILL JOZY ALTIDORE SCORE A GOAL?

YES +300 NO -360

WHO WILL SCORE A GOAL FIRST?

GHANA -105 UNITED STATES +125 NO GOAL +650

WILL UNITED STATES OR GHANA SCORE IN THE FIRST 35 MINUTES?

YES -115 NO -115

TOTAL CORNER KICKS

OVER 10.5 +110 UNDER 10.5 -140

WILL BOTH UNITED STATES AND GHANA SCORE A GOAL?

YES +115 NO -145

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boise st helmet

Week 1 Odds & Analysis
By Brian Edwards
VegasInsider.com

5Dimes released lines for Week 1 of the 2014 college football season a few weeks ago. The offshore betting shop is currently showing numbers for 25 contests, so let’s take a look at
some of the marquee matchups.

Things were a lot different the last time Boise State visited the Georgia Dome. The Broncos had Chris Petersen on the sidelines and Kellen Moore under center, and the result was a
beatdown of Georgia in front of an enemy crowd in Atlanta.

On Thursday, Aug. 28, BSU returns to the Ga. Dome to face Ole Miss, which is an eight-point favorite, down from the opening number of 8.5. The Rebels are thriving under Hugh Freeze,
who enters his third year at the helm with hopes of getting the program to its first SEC Championship Game.

Ole Miss won’t have starting linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche against the Broncos. The redshirt junior, who was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2013, was suspended from spring practice
and the season opener following his February rest for disturbing the peace and not complying with a police officer.

Ole Miss bring back loads of talent, including quarterback Bo Wallace, who will be the starter for a third straight season. Wallace has one of the SEC’s premier wide receivers in
sophomore LaQuon Treadwell and an outstanding group of young running backs.

Petersen’s dynastic eight-year tenure in Boise ended when he finally took a job from a BCS school (Washington) after turning down more than a dozen inquiries through the years. His
replacement is Petersen’s former offensive coordinator and last year’s head coach at Arkansas State, Bryan Harsin.

Harsin’s transition year will be made easier by the presence of QB Grant Hedrick, RB Jay Ajayi and WR Matt Miller. Hedrick performed well while getting most of the snaps in the last
seven games of 2013. He posted a 16/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and also ran for six scores. Ajayi and Miller are two of the best at their respective positions in the Mountain
West Conference.

Also on Thursday night in the first game on the new SEC Network, South Carolina will take on Texas A&M at Williams-Brice Stadium. 5Dimes opened the Gamecocks as nine-point home
favorites and the line hasn’t budged.

Connor Shaw never lost a home game during his storied career, but he’s off to the NFL along with defensive star Jadeveon Clowney. Dylan Thompson inherits the starting QB job and he’s
well prepared to do so. Thompson has already had plenty of big moments in his career. He threw the game-winning TD pass to beat Michigan at the Outback Bowl and torched Clemson for 310
passing yards and three TDs without an interception in the 2012 regular-season finale.

Kevin Sumlin’s team will have to replace the greatest QB, Johnny Manziel, in school history, in addition to All-American OT Jake Matthews and WR Mike Evans. The Aggies had the SEC’s
worst defense in 2013 and will need to vastly improve on that side of the ball in order to contend in the West.

Other Thursday games include Vanderbilt (-21) vs. Temple, Wake Forest (-7) at Louisiana-Monroe and Minnesota (-34.5) vs. Eastern Illinois.

On Friday, Colorado State vs. Colorado is a pick ’em game in Denver. Also, BYU is a 13-point ‘chalk’ at UConn.

The Saturday action gets started at 8:30 a.m. Eastern when Penn State and Central Florida collide in Dublin, Ireland. The Nittany Lions will begin the James Franklin Era in a four-
point favorite role vs. the Golden Knights, who are off a banner year that was capped by Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor as double-digit underdogs. However, George O’Leary’s squad must
replace QB Blake Bortles and leading rusher Storm Johnson.

Georgia will open against Clemson for a second straight season in hopes of avenging a gut-wrenching 38-35 loss at Death Valley last year. The Bulldogs, who lose four-year starting QB
Aaron Murray, will have Hutson Mason under center. Mason orchestrated a comeback win at Ga. Tech in last season’s regular-season finale on The Flats. He will benefit from the return of
the best RB combo in the country, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

Clemson has to replace a long-time starting signal caller too, as Tajh Boyd is gone after throwing for more yards than any QB in school history. The Tigers have to replace playmaker
Sammy Watkins as well.

5Dimes has Mark Richt’s team favored by seven.

Auburn had an incredible first season under Gus Malzahn and will be looking to repeat as SEC champs. That quest begins at home against Arkansas as a 22-point favorite. The Razorbacks
ended the 2013 campaign on a nine-game losing streak, but they have a dynamic group of RBs led by Alex Collins. The key for the Hogs will be improved play out of QB Brandon Allen.

5Dimes opened Alabama as a 23.5-point ‘chalk’ for its opener vs. West Virginia from the Georgia Dome. This will be the fourth time the Crimson Tide has played in Atlanta to start the
year during Nick Saban’s tenure. They are undefeated in the three previous games against Clemson and Va. Tech (twice). 5Dimes has adjusted this number to 22.

This game could feature a pair of starting QBs that used to play at FSU. Jacob Coker joins ‘Bama in August and many think he’ll earn the starting gig. Meanwhile, Clint Trickett was
WVU’s most effective QB in 2013, but he did miss the spring and will have to perform well in August. Going into his fourth season on the hot seat, Dana Holgorsen would be best served
by helping his team avoid a blowout in this spot.

LSU and Wisconsin will square off at Reliant Stadium in Houston. 5Dimes opened the Tigers as three-point favorites, went up to 4.5 and are now down to four. These teams will play at
Lambeau Field in 2015.

Florida State opened as an 11.5-point favorite for its opener vs. Oklahoma State from Arlington, Texas. The defending champs were quickly adjusted up to 13, but the game is now off the
board, presumably because of Jameis Winston’s recent shopping spree at Publix. Like TNT’s Charles Barkley noted last week, “who the hell goes to Publix to order seafood?”

I have no idea why 5Dimes has Tennessee as a 7.5-point home favorite vs. Utah State, especially after opening the line at 6.5. This trip to Neyland Stadium for the Aggies has outright
upset written all over it. Matt Wells’s squad will have a major edge at the QB position with Chuckie Keeton coming back after tearing his ACL last September.

Finally, Louisville is a 3.5-point home favorite against Miami in Bobby Petrino’s second debut at the school. Back when the ‘Canes were still among the nation’s elite in Petrino’s
first tour of duty at U of L, he nearly guided the Cardinals to a shocking upset at the Orange Bowl, only to see his team allow a 24-7 lead at halftime get away.

All of these spreads have a -120 price tag attached to them and may be subject to $100 maximums.

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