The 2022 World Cup is almost here! That means bettors have just a few short days left to place their futures bets for which teams can advance out of the group stage and make a run in the knockout round.
So which teams should you back to make a run in the tournament? And which long shots should you put some money on for a potential big pay day? FOX Sports betting analyst Jason McIntyre breaks it down with gambling analyst Sam Panayotovich, soccer reporter Doug McIntyre and guest soccer analyst Chad Ochocinco.
Gambling Analyst Sam Panayotovich
Denmark exceeded all expectations four years ago.
The Danish surprisingly advanced out of group play in the 2018 World Cup and took eventual runner-up Croatia to penalty kicks in the round of 16. And they have had all this time to grow together as a unit since then, which should be beneficial.
Look at the way Denmark has played in international competition over the last few months. They’ve been very, very good against some of the best countries in Europe, and they just shut out France in the Nations League in September. If France cannot overcome a plethora of injuries, look out for Denmark in Group D.
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Betting Analyst Jason McIntyre
When betting World Cup futures, the top two priorities are the group and the knockout draw. Argentina will roll over its group, with the only threat being Mexico. Apologies to fans of Poland star Robert Lewandowski.
Lionel Messi & Co. are one of the hottest teams in the world. Argentina enters the World Cup unbeaten in 32 straight matches, and that includes capturing the 2021 Copa América title.
Looking ahead, the Round of 16 World Cup matchup would likely be against defensive-minded Denmark, a game in which Argentina should be favored. That will be the case again in the quarterfinals, where Argentina should be the favorites against either the Netherlands or the United States.
It feels as if Argentina is on a collision course with at least the semifinals. Plus, if you buy into the charming narrative that Messi’s destiny is to capture the country’s first World Cup since Diego Maradona did in 1986 and stake his claim to the title of the greatest soccer player ever, well, that is certainly one I can get behind. But it’s not just Messi against the world. Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Golden Boot candidate Lautaro Martinez round out a very balanced Argentina attack.
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Soccer Journalist Doug McIntyre
Germany is not quite the in-form side they were coming out of the Nations League in June, when they had just capped a nine-win, zero-loss, four-tie run with a 5-2 shellacking of Italy. A loss at home to Hungary in September snapped that unbeaten streak and raised fair questions about the potential of Hansi Flick’s rebuilding side heading into Qatar.
Yet Die Mannschaft still enters the World Cup playing better than injury-plagued drama kings France (+600 to win the World Cup) or England (+750). The Germans are still on the easier side of the bracket. And this is still a team deep and talented enough that, with a little luck, can win it all.
Soccer Analyst Chad Ochocinco
I think it will be France and Argentina in the World Cup Finals, with Argentina winning it all. I do not think you can ever count out Lionel Messi and that squad.
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