World Cup 2018: The view from the Betfair Trading floor
With just 48 hours to go until this summer's World Cup in Russia we get the latest from the Betfair traders to see where the money is going and who to back and who to avoid...
"Whether it's just punters being patriotic, punters being genuinely impressed and keen on their chances, or punters just wanting to put their fivers and tenners on a solid 16/1 chance, England are without a shadow of a doubt our worst losers at this summer's World Cup."
Most backed team in the World Cup 2018 Winner market?
That has to be the favourites Brazil, and by a significant margin. The five-time World Champions are still available to back at 4/1 - just ahead of Germany 5/1, Spain 11/2 and France 13/2 - and I envisage they'll be a popular choice right up until they play their first group game on Sunday night.
Any teams Betfair are keen to take on?
Argentina look very vulnerable and performances in qualifying and friendlies have been pretty poor; 4-2 and 6-1 defeats to Nigeria and Spain respectively in two of their most recent games can't help but raise concerns. Lionel Messi and his teammates are 1/3 to beat Iceland on Saturday and they're 10/1 to win the whole tournament, but we're happy to take plenty of bets at those prices.
Worst result in the book for Betfair?
That's an easy one. England. Whether it's just punters being patriotic, punters being genuinely impressed and keen on their chances, or punters just wanting to put their fivers and tenners on a solid 16/1 chance, England are without a shadow of a doubt our worst losers at this summer's World Cup.
Any surprising money for outsiders?
Uruguay and Portugal have both been pretty well-backed. Cristiano Ronaldo and Co are the current European Champions let us not forget, yet they can be backed at 22/1 to win the World Cup, while two-time World Champions Uruguay are just a shade bigger at 25/1.
Are England's low expectations reflected in their odds?
England's price looks fair to us. They're still our biggest loser in the book and those expectations could change quickly if they look impressive in their two relatively easy opening games against Tunisia and Panama respectively. And should they go on to beat Belgium - they're 11/8 to Win Group G - then you can just see the whole country, and a huge weight of money, getting behind them causing their outright odds to collapse.
Most backed in the Top Goalscorer market?
Neymar by a wide margin, and that's despite him missing a few months in the build-up to the tournament with injury. But I guess punters feel that he is going to Russia a refreshed man, he's playing for the tournament favourites in what should be a straightforward group, and his ability isn't in question. He's our 8/1 favourite to be Top Goalscorer, and that would be a very bad result for us.
We'd be keen to take on Mo Salah (80/1) whose injury and Egypt's lack of quality makes him a long shot to contend, and Cristiano Ronaldo (18/1) who also faces an uphill task in a tricky group with strong defensive teams in Iran and Morocco.
Worst Top Goalscorer result?
As alluded to already, Neymar is the worst result in the book by a country mile followed by Antoine Griezmann (10/1). We've seen a fair bit of money also for Griezmann's countryman Kylian Mbappe (28/1) though we suspect that might dry up given the pictures emerging this evening (Tuesday) of him limping out of training after being clattered by Raphael Varane.
Although we've seen plenty of money on England to win the World Cup, it' not such a similar story in this market with Three Lions' striker Harry Kane (16/1) only being the seventh most backed player.