Thursday, 27 May 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010 - Group Stage Preview

Well, it’s almost here. 64 football matches, featuring some of the best players in the world, as well as some of the worst. I know half of the Scoop Troop have probably forgotten about this year’s World Cup in South Africa, owing to the fact that Scotland are shit and have once again failed to qualify, but hey, they’ll be used to it by now.

So anyway, here’s my preview of the 2010 FIFA World Cup group stages. Prices quoted are to win the World Cup outright unless specified otherwise and are best price at time of writing. Enjoy.

Group A:
France (20/1 - BetFred & StanJames; 21.00 - Betfair)
Mexico (100/1 - Ladbrokes; 110.00 - Betfair)
Uruguay (125/1 - Bwin; 170.00 - Betfair)
South Africa (150/1 - Bet365 & StanJames; 190.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: France are favourites for the group even though they shouldn’t be in South Africa. Still, they’re not exactly a force these days and will struggle to hold off Uruguay, who I fancy to surprise a few this year. With South Africa having the home advantage and Mexico looking a useful outfit in defeat to England, this is a tricky group. I’ll plump for Uruguay to top the group, with France in second.

Group B:
Argentina (15/2 - ExtraBet; 8.60 - Betfair)
Nigeria (150/1 - Bet365; 180.00 - Betfair)
South Korea (250/1 - Victor Chandler & BetFred; 310.00 - Betfair)
Greece (250/1 - Blue Square; 320.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: Argentina are far too good for this group and despite trying their best to fail qualify for South Africa 2010, I can’t see them losing a game at this stage. I quite fancy South Korea to upset the odds and fill second place at Nigeria’s expense.

Group C:
England (13/2 - Victor Chandler; 7.60 - Betfair)
USA (80/1 - SportingBet & ToteSport; 90.00 - Betfair)
Slovenia (400/1 - Bwin; 630.00 - Betfair)
Algeria (600/1 - PaddyPower; 770.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: England are clearly going to win this group, by virtue of being far less poor than the other three sides. I’ll be amazed if it’s not the USA filling the runner-up slot. No shocks here, should finish in market order.

Group D:
Germany (16/1 - Ladbrokes; 16.00 - Betfair)
Serbia (66/1 - ExtraBet & Ladbrokes; 75.00 - Betfair)
Ghana (80/1 - ToteSport & Victor Chandler; 110.00 - Betfair)
Australia (150/1 - Bet365; 200.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: I’ve seen a few folk waxing lyrical about Serbia after their qualifying campaign, but they did still manage to lose to France and Lithuania in a weak looking group. I personally fancy Germany for the group, with Australia, who are very unfairly priced for me, scraping through at Serbia’s expense, probably on goal difference.

Group E:
Holland (12/1 - Ladbrokes; 13.00 - Betfair)
Cameroon (125/1 - Bwin; 140.00 - Betfair)
Denmark (150/1 - Bet365; 190.00 - Betfair)
Japan (400/1 - Bwin; 740.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: World Cup underachievers Holland should stroll this group and my predictions have the group finishing in market order. Japan may have been the first side to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals, but I can see them being one of the first out.

Group F:
Italy (14/1 - Ladbrokes & Victor Chandler; 16.00 - Betfair)
Paraguay (80/1 SportingBet & Bet365; 110.00 - Betfair)
Slovakia (400/1 - Bwin; 550.00 - Betfair)
New Zealand (2,500/1 - SportingBet; 1,000.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: Italy have got the easiest 2010 World Cup group by far and they will qualify in first place, with Paraguay in second. The season in New Zealand finishes in March and though they may be fresh, they won’t be sharp enough to cope. If Slovakia beat Paraguay, they will have a really good chance to qualify, but I can’t see it.

Group G:
Brazil (5/1 - Bet365 & BetFred; 6.20 - Betfair)
Portugal (28/1 - ToteSport & SportingBet; 32.00 - Betfair)
Ivory Coast (33/1 - Ladbrokes & Bet365; 44.00 - Betfair)
North Korea (2,000/1 - ToteSport & SportingBet; 1,000.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: North Korea, lol. Anyway, Brazil will widdle all over this group, while Portugal and the Ivory Coast do battle for second. It will be really close and go to the last game for sure, with Portugal needing a point against Brazil, or relying on Ivory Coast failing to beat North Korea by enough goals. Portugal it nick it, for me.

Group H:
Spain (4/1 - BoyleSports & StanJames; 5.30 - Betfair)
Chile (66/1 - Bet365 & SportingBet; 80.00 - Betfair)
Switzerland (200/1 - Bet365 & StanJames; 320.00 - Betfair)
Honduras (1,000/1 - Bet365 & StanJames; 1,000.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: World Cup favourites Spain will have no bother getting out of this group. I can’t see either Honduras or Switzerland having enough for a dangerous Chile outfit and I think they will have the second spot locked up after two games.

So is there anything worth having a bet on during the World Cup group stages?

I think the 11/10 about Uruguay (BoyleSports) to qualify from Group A is a great shout and although my own predictions have them topping the group, I don’t think I’m brave enough to take the best price 7/2 for them to win it.

I also like the 9/4 being offered by Bodog that England get exactly 7 points in their group. England have never finished a World Cup group on nine points and have only taken maximum points once, way back in 1982, when it was still two points for a win. They always find a way to draw and I reckon America are the likely candidates this time round.

Spain, Brazil, Italy and Holland are certainties to win their groups and I’ll be investing in the following group winner trebles on Betfair:

Brazil, Spain, Italy - 2.88
Brazil, Spain, Holland - 3.00
Brazil, Holland, Italy - 3.60
Spain, Italy, Holland - 2.92

For now at least, I’m totally undecided on who the FIFA World Cup 2010 winners are going to be. I can see a Brazil vs Holland Quarter-Final tie and the winner may well come from that, probably beating Spain in the final. The Spanish have finally proven they can do it on the big stage, but they’ve still never been beyond the Quarters in a World Cup and they may well bottle it.

I just can’t bring myself to back the Dutch, as they always fail to deliver too. It may be dull, but at this stage I’d probably go with Brazil, though I will wait until I’ve properly got my teeth into the Knockout-Stages before nailing my colours to the mast.

Watch this space and don't forget to check out the offers in the post below, if you're opening new accounts for World Cup betting.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

World Cup 2010 Offers and Free Bets

I’m currently working on a preview for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which is going to be epic. As that might not be here for another day or two, why not cast your eye over this little Aladdin’s Cave of free bets and bonuses? That way, when you read my awesome World Cup predictions and want to bet on such fantastic football forecasts, you’ll know who has the best offers.

Bet365 – The usual £200 free bet offer is still in place, which is a 100% deposit bonus on any amount between £10 and £200. Simply sign up and follow the instructions.

Betfair – If the exchanges are more to your tastes for your World Cup bets, then the world’s biggest betting exchange are offering a £25 no risk bet to all new customers.

Betfred – Fred Done and the BaldyBet team are offering a £50 free bet to new customers during the World Cup. Simply bet between £5 and £50 and within 48 hours of the bet being settled, the Bonus King will award you your free bet. Full Ts & Cs here.

BoyleSports – Boyles are not only offering their usual £20 free bet during the 2010 World Cup, but they also have a free to enter prediction competition, with a guaranteed prize of €50,000 to be won, plus the chance to win up to €1,000,000. Check the website for full details.

ExtraBet – These guys have increased their fixed odd betting sign up promotion for the World Cup, giving away up to £100 in free bets. Stake between £10 and £25 between now and July 11th, and they will match it with a free bet. They will then match your 5th bet up to £25 and 15th bet up to £50. Full Ts & Cs on the website.

Ladbrokes – The Magic Sign are currently offering new customers are £10 free bet. Not a great introductory offer, but they are a reputable firm that you know you can trust.

SportingBet – Sign up at SportingBet and get a £25 free bet, as well as daily promotions and offers during the World Cup. Also, any £10 bet placed between now and July 11th will earn you an entry into their million pound World Cup predictor game!

StanJames – In addition to a £25 free bet for new customers, StanJames are offering money back on all World Cup outright bets up to £250, if Spain win the competition! See the website for full details.

Titan Bet – This lot are offering their usual £250 sign up bonus to new accounts, which is impressive enough on its own, but for the World Cup, Titan are offering $100,000,000 to anyone who can correctly predict all 64 matches during the tournament. Okay, it probably isn’t going to happen, but they are still awarding $1,000,000 to whoever is closest! Get along to the website to take part.

ToteSport – Open an account with the Tote in time for the 2010 World Cup and you’ll instantly earn a £10 free bet.

Victor ChandlerVC are keeping their usual sign up offer for the World Cup: up to £100 in free bets plus £25 to use in their online casino. Bet an initial £50 and get a free £50 bet, then after five more consecutive bets of £10 or greater, you’ll get another £25 free bet. Five more £10 bets in a row will land you a further £25 free bet, plus the £25 casino bonus. Nice!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Food for thought

Things have been a bit queit recently, partly my own fault for not getting round to writing up my Ayr and Perth visits. One thing that really got me angry and I left the need to share was the massive gambles landed by Barney Curley and a former forum favourite Chris Grant last week. I need to be careful what I say here for legal reasons but the fact that 3 horses tumbled in odds (one from 25/1 into 6/4) and showed improvement from nowhere to win really leaves a sour taste. I have not had a bet since and am not sure when the next one will be.

Anyone who has followed the form of the Aidan O'Brien runners will also note that a number of these have barely been put into the race/given a chance to win the race. One thing we like as punters is to know if our horse doesn't win then at least it was given every chance to land the odds. With the O'Brien runners at the moment this is questionable. I think in terms of flat racing I may await the normally fruitful July and August period to continue punting.