How to Bet on the World Cup

World Cup Qatar 2022 Ball
(Getty Images)

World Cup 2022
Betting Sites | Odds | Free Picks |
Matchups | Venues | Betting Trends
Groups: A B C D E F G H
Knockout: Round of 16 | Quarterfinals | Semifinals | Finals

Every four years, we get to see the greatest soccer tournament on earth.

There will be some of the world’s greatest athletes, playing sports at the highest level, but it’s still soccer. This November, the World Cup will energize the world. This is a global event with all the excitement you can want, but it’s still just futbol.

Here’s the secret to betting on this huge event: forget that it’s the World Cup.

Betting on soccer is vastly different than any of the four major sports in the US. Sports betting experts know that if a soccer match ends in a tie, usually lots of people lost. That’s because the sport involves three-way wagering. You can bet that Team A will win, or Team B, and you have a third option which is a draw.

Ties lose in soccer. They’re not a push, like in American Football. Unless you bet on it being a draw, a tie in soccer is just another ticket heading to a trash pail near you. What’s the most important thing to know about betting on the World Cup? There are quite a few of them!


World Cup Odds

TeamTournament WinnerTo Reach Final
Updated July 24, 2024 8:53 AM ET - Odds Provided by BetMGM - Subject to Change

World Cup Money lines

Since soccer is traditionally a low-scoring sport, the chance of a draw happening is always possible. Playing your action on the money line eliminates having to cover a point spread. Early in this World Cup, there will be some powerhouses favored by many goals. Odds on those teams to win the match, without having to lay the points, require too much risk for most soccer bettors.

Laying money line action, later in the knockout round, Vegas boards will see numbers posted that have the teams’ odds much closer together. Most of those games will be tight. An important element is the aspect of a draw. When games are tied near the end of a match, the teams will sometimes play cautiously. Watching the end of a money line play in soccer when you’re up by at least one goal is less stressful than when the score for both teams is the same.

When England and the USA meet up later in November, the Americans won’t even be the second choice amongst bettors. You’ll have to lay $145 to win $100 on England (-145), and the next choice isn’t the Red, White, and Blue. It’s that the game will end in a tie (+270). If you’re betting the good guys, they’re +400, the third choice on the odds board. Now, hitting a bet on the USA with a parlay-level payoff would be an impressive way to start building your bankroll for World Cup betting.

World Cup Spread Betting

Wagering using the spread in soccer usually eliminates the draw as an outcome. Most sportsbooks will use incremental points for the spread. When you wager on World Cup using the spread, favorites will be laying a fraction of a goal, and the underdog will get that same amount.

Adding that small percentage of a point eliminates the draw as a possible result, and the odds are impacted accordingly. In German’s opener against Japan, they are a big favorite. While Japanese bettors will get +750 on every wager, those betting in Germany will have to lay -275. So, if you bet $275 on Japan, and they beat the Germany, you’ll win $2,025 plus your original $275.

A successful play on the favorite for that same amount of $275 would get you back $100. However, if you are using the point spread, the numbers would look much different.

Let’s look at Germany laying 2 ¼ goals. That changes the odds for both sides and levels the playing field when it comes to wagering on the winner. Now, Germany has to win by three goals or more, and their odds have increased to +105. As long as Japan wins or loses by less than two goals, the spread play would get you odds of -105.

World Cup Totals

Totals in soccer matches tend towards low numbers. Occasionally, when the game is expected to be a blowout, one team’s strength can push the number for the over or under above three or four. Usually, it’s in the 1 ½ to 2 ½ range.

During the World Cup group stage, you’ll see higher numbers for the totals. When England faces Iran or Argentina matches up with Saudi Arabia, you’ll see the total at 2 ½ to 3 ½ or higher. If both those favorites win and match up in the knockout stage, that England and Argentina game would see a number closer to that lower range.

Betting whether the combined goals of the two teams in a soccer match will go over or stay under the total for the game makes it a little different to watch the contest. Under players love the amazingly long and accurate passes that world-class players make with ease. Across the entire pitch, they can lay a 40-yard pass directly on the feet of a teammate that doesn’t even need to break stride.

Over players find that part of the game nerve-racking. All the activity happening in the middle of the playing field doesn’t offer many scoring opportunities. When teams are being aggressive, getting shots on goal and lots of corners, having an under ticket can be quite stressful. It’s those headers off of the corners, fouls that are awarded kicks, and breakaways with two against one that will really get your blood pumping if you’re in possession of a ticket with the over.

World Cup Props and Specials

Bet365 offers some great futures and props when it comes to the World Cup. Here is a small breakdown:

Golden Boot Futures

The top goal scorer prop has become very popular in the last few years. Bettors can wager on who will score the most goals through the World Cup tournament. Check out our full Golden Boot odds page for in depth analysis on who we think will capture the prestigious award.

Stage Of Elimination

Think you have what it takes to bet on when exactly a team will be eliminated? Bet365 has odds listed for Group Stage, Last 16, Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals, and Runner-up position finishing. Think the US will be the runner up, why not bet that exactly?

Other Props

Stay tuned for other World Cup special props and bets. Until then, check out our best World Cup betting sites!

World Cup Betting Rules and Quirks

Wagering on the World Cup means you’re betting on soccer.

There are a few aspects of the game that will impact your wagering and how successful you’ll be. One thing that’s unique about soccer is extra time. Most sporting events that involve teams start the contest with a specific amount of time on the clock and play until the scoreboard reaches 0:00, but not soccer. Soccer matches include two 45-minute halves and have something called extra time.

Extra time is the amount of running clock a first half or match will be extended by the officials. Sometime around the 45-minute mark of the game and then again in the second half at the 90th minute, officials will hold up a number on the sidelines. That’s the number of additional minutes that will be added to that portion of the game. It’s an arbitrary number based on the estimated amount of delay that occurred during that time frame from injuries, flops, and anything else that interrupted the game.

Here’s another important thing to note when making your best World Cup best bets. Once the last of those extra time minutes play out, most soccer wagers are graded. That’s where the three-way betting comes into play. If the game is still tied after the last of that game’s extra minutes, the contest is considered a draw for all bets that were made before the contest started. Here’s a great place to learn more about the rules and quirks for betting on soccer and the World Cup.      

World Cup Stages

Group Stage

Thirty-two teams start the tournament in the group stage. The math gets you eight groups made up of four teams each. These groups will all play one game against the three other teams in their foursome. After those six matches are completed, two teams will be at the bottom of the standings for each group. They go home. The top two countries in each group become the teams that will move on and make up the knockout round or Round of 16.

Knockout Stage

Unlike the group stage, where Round Robin games will end despite the numbers on the scoreboard, the Round of 16 is a “play until someone goes home” format. Hence, the Knockout Stage moniker. There will be a winner, it just may not be you.

Most soccer bets are graded early as mentioned previously. Your team’s goal is to win the game in regulation. A tie after 90 minutes means extra time, and eventually, penalty kicks. Winners go on to the Quarterfinals, while losers, usually heartbroken, are sent packing.

World Cup Betting FAQ

Can I bet on the World Cup?

Compared to the Super Bowl, the World Cup will have an estimated 10X-20X more wagering activity. Most countries in the world are ahead of the US when it involves sports betting. If the state you’re in has legalized sports wagering, you will have a plethora of options. Otherwise, head out to Vegas! November in Sin City is awesome!

What are the odds for the World Cup?

Teams that have previously won the World Cup make up the lowest odds in this year’s contest. Brazil is the favorite at +475. France at +600 and England and Argentina at +700 round out the lowest odds on the board.

What are the odds for the United States to win the World Cup?

Our USA Men’s team would be a surprise at this tournament, and their odds of +10000 are a reference to the public’s expectations for the club. If this team does make it into the Round of 16, the beginning of December will see some of the craziest sports betting volume in our country’s short history of legalization.