- The 2022 World Cup begins with Qatar hosting Ecuador on Sunday, November 20, 11:00 am EST
- See the World Cup odds for every team, plus breakdowns on all of the FIFA World Cup favorites and longshots
- Read on for your World Cup picks, odds, trends and some of our best predictions here
All eyes shift to the pitch this weekend when one of the biggest tournaments in sports kicks off on Sunday in Qatar. The 2022 FIFA World Cup begins Sunday afternoon and the World Cup winner odds for the tournament say a team from South America is likely to lift the trophy. Are the World Cup odds accurate with either Brazil or Argentina winning? Can 2018 champions France as third-favorites repeat? Or is there more value in betting on a World Cup longshot?
The tournament features 32 teams, playing in eight different groups, with the top two from each advancing to the Knockout Rounds. Starting in the Round of 16, teams will play single-elimination matches leading up to the final on Sunday, December 18.
We’re breaking down all of the World Cup odds, favorites and contenders in our 2022 World Cup preview.
2022 World Cup Odds
Odds as of November 18 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Claim a DraftKings Sportsbook promo code for your World Cup betting here. Or claim a FanDuel bonus for the World Cup here. Simply make a pre-live wager of $25 or more for any nation to win the World Cup and for every game your team wins you’ll get a $5 sportsbook site credit up to a maximum of $35.
World Cup Favorites
Not since 2002 has a team from South America won the World Cup—it’s been four European teams since. However, in 2022, that streak could end if you are to believe the oddsmakers. Brazil, the last CONMEBOL winners in 2002 are priced at +350 odds, followed by Argentina, who won in 1986 and who are priced at +500. In World Cup public betting trends, Brazil was getting the highest bet count percentage, while Argentina had the highest handle count earlier this month.
Brazil coasted to an undefeated first place during qualification going 14-3-0 to finish with 45 points, six above second-place Argentina. They scored 40 goals while conceding only five. The Brazilians are ranked #1 in the World in the FIFA rankings and are well-deserving favorites. There’s quality up and down their roster and manager Tite will have the likes of Alisson, Danilo, Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Casemiro, Fabinho, Viny Jr, Jesus and Neymar to call upon, just to name a few.
Heading into the World Cup, Brazil outscored their opponents 26-2 in their final seven matches. Qualifying from the CONMEBOL region also pits them against some stiffer competition, as five nations are ranked in the FIFA top 23. With nine forwards chosen and just six midfielders, it may be tough to pin down one player when it comes to awards like the Golden Boot—though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With only six midfielders, they could run the risk of wearing down in the middle of the pitch especially if they suffer any injuries.
For Group Stage bets, note that Brazil faced two of their 2022 opponents in the 2018 Group Stage as well. They drew Switzerland 1-1 and beat Serbia 2-0. Meanwhile, the Swiss beat Serbia 2-1.
Brazil's attack at the World Cup is DIFFERENT 🤩🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/9lnmhIt942
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 15, 2022
Let’s move on to their regional rivals Argentina. The Argentines are riding a 36-match winning streak coming into the tournament across all competitions. They’ve scored a goal in 33 of those 36 matches and finally got Lionel Messi a major trophy when they defeated Brazil in last year’s Copa America Final. In fact, Argentina is 2-1-0 against Brazil in their past three meetings. Their last loss came in July 2019 against Brazil at Copa America that year.
Residing in Group C alongside Poland, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, they’ll be expected to coast through the Group Stage to first place. Argentina was also undefeated in qualifying at 11-6-0, scoring 27 and conceding eight. Messi will get all the attention, but a roster consisting of Paulo Dybala, Angel Di Maria, Nicolas Gonzalez, Lautaro Martinez and others will have plenty of weapons.
There will be no easy matches come the Knockout Rounds, however, there is a real prospect of Argentina and Brazil meeting in the semifinals on one side of the bracket if they both finish first in their groups.
Just behind those two South American juggernauts, come the 2018 winners France. Les Bleus, coached by ex-national team player Didier Deschamps, own +700 odds to repeat.
They enter the tournament in poor form, 1-2-3, however, those results all came in the Nations League, not one of the top competitions.
They’ll be missing some key cogs in the midfield as Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante are both injured. Bundesliga top scorer Christopher Nkunku also suffered a knee injury in training this week and will miss out. Meanwhile, the likes of Anthony Martial and Ferland Mendy were not included. But with some of the top players on the planet in Kylian Mbappe and Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, France should be in contention again. France are the favorites in their group, however, Denmark did recently beat France in Nations League play 2-0.
Oddly, France’s group looks very similar to 2018’s where they drew 0-0 with Denmark and beat Australia 2-1.
World Cup Contenders
After the top three favorites, there are probably six other nations that stand a reasonable chance of winning the World Cup.
Spain will meet fellow contender Germany in Group E. One could argue it’s more advantageous to finish second in the group and avoid the side of the bracket that will likely include Argentina and Brazil (if they both finish first in their groups). Spain made it to the semifinals of the Euros last summer, losing to eventual champs Italy.
They’ll likely control most games they play in as they typically dominate possession. But putting the finishing touch on all of that possession is sometimes a struggle. Midfielders Pedri, Gavi and Sergio Busquets (the last member from Spain’s 2010 win) will control the midfield and Alvaro Morata will be expected to finish the chances up front. In six games at last summer’s Euros, Spain scored 13 goals. However, ten of those came in two games. And two of those ten were scored in extra time. The inability to find goals has seen them draw 4/6 of their recent group stage matches (Euros and World Cup). I see Spain making noise this year but coming up short.
England will always be mentioned among the favorites in any major competition. But that doesn’t mean they win. In fact, it rarely means they win. Not since 1966 have they won a World Cup. They reached the semifinal in 2018, losing to Croatia. Last summer they made it all the way to the finals of the Euros while hosting the competition, but fell short, losing to Italy.
They’re loaded with top talent from the Premier League including Golden Boot favorite Harry Kane, plus Phil Foden, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka and more. But they enter this tournament in horrendous form going winless in six Nations League matches and being relegated from League A. It’s the Nations League, so do with that what you may, but it’s still not the way you want to be heading into a World Cup.
Germany is another team struggling for form heading into the World Cup after a poor Nations League showing where they were 1-5-1. They just beat Oman 1-0 in a warm-up friendly on Wednesday. That’s just two wins in their past eight matches, but we’re still just talking Nations League here.
The Germans won the 2014 World Cup, failed to advance out of their group in 2018 and went out to England in the Round of 16 at the Euros. Since that 2-0 loss to England last summer, they’ve only lost one other game in their past 16 though. Their obvious challengers in Group E are Spain, a team they’ve only beaten once in their past seven meetings. Germany will have revenge on their minds too after losing 6-0 to Spain in 2020 in the Nations League. While Germany is loaded with talent, along with several Bayern Munich stars, they lack one true star up front. During qualifying, Serge Gnabry, Ilkay Gundogan and Timo Werner led the team with just five goals. And Timo Werner has been ruled out of the tournament with an
The Dutch missed out on World Cup 2018 but topped their group during last year’s Euros. However, their tournament ended soon after, losing to the Czech Republic in the Round of 16. They finished first in their UEFA qualifying group at 7-2-1, and enter the tournament in fine form. The Oranje are undefeated in 15 matches and have lost just once in their past 23 across all competitions. Totals bettors can note that at least two goals have been scored in 10/11 recent Netherlands matches. A bet on Over 2.5 goals would have cashed in 7/11,
The Dutch should be shoe-ins to advance from Group A at -900 odds. In truth, they should win the group, especially with second-favorites Senegal missing their best player in the injured Sadio Mané. Netherlands have scoring threats in Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay and youngster Cody Gakpo. Depay tied Harry Kane for the most goals (12) during UEFA qualifying. But the Dutch haven’t won a match in the knockout rounds of a major tournament in eight years. They may do so this time around, but going all the way could be too much to ask.
🐐Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo's records at international level;
🏟️ 165 games
⚽ 91 goals
🅰️ 52 assists
🏆 Copa America 2021
🏆 Finalissima 2021
— World Cup Stats (@alimo_philip) November 18, 2022
It’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s final chance to win a World Cup in his career. And while Ronaldo is no-doubt the biggest name in Portugal’s roster, this squad is full of talent. So much so, that, there is an argument to be had if they are better or worse with Ronaldo in the lineup, as the aging star is now 37 years old.
The Portuguese boast the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Rafael Leao, Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo and fans will be hoping head coach Fernando Santos allows them to play to their talents, versus his typically ultra-defensive approach. For all of their talent, Portugal was just second in their UEFA qualifying group at 5-2-1 finishing behind Serbia.
The World’s second-ranked nation in the FIFA rankings is Belgium. The Red Devils have been ranked first overall in the past and are in the midst of having a “Golden Generation” of talent. But this group is aging and their window is closing. Belgium has been a top contender in every major tournament in recent years but has consistently come up short. They lost to France in the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup and lost to Italy in the quarterfinals of last year’s Euros. That’s losses to each of the past two major champions.
Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne leads the midfield, while Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku leads the forwards. However, Lukaku has been injured and out of form this season. This could be the last shot for the main core of this generation of Belgium superstars to lift a major trophy.
World Cup Longshots
Sure you could go way, way down the board and pick a huge longshot, but remember that only eight countries have ever won the trophy. North American soccer fans may be tempted to back the likes of USA (+13000) or Canada (+25000).
Both countries have players at some of the biggest European teams such as American Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) and Canadian Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich). The USMNT aren’t coming into this tournament in top form with just one win in five matches and that came over Grenada. They drew Saudi Arabia 0-0 and lost 2-0 to Japan in friendlies. While also drawing 1-1 with El Salvador in the CONCACAF Nations League. In World Cup Qualifying, they were just third behind Canada and Mexico.
Canada’s soccer program is on the rise and John Herdman has coached Canada to a world ranking of 41. They bettered their regional rivals in qualifying but are still making their first World Cup appearance since 1986. They’ll be hard-pressed to make it out of a group with Belgium, Croatia and even Morocco, who have lost just three times in 40 matches. Davies is also not at full fitness as he recovers from a hamstring injury. The Canadians also lost keeper Maxime Crepeau to a leg injury in the MLS Cup Final.
Croatia, Denmark and Uruguay
Croatia could be a better World Cup longshot bet at 50-1 odds. Little was expected of the Croats in 2018 and all they did was go all the way to the final before losing to France. Luka Modric is still patrolling the midfield for the Vatreni and they’ve lost just once in 16 matches.
You could also consider Denmark (+2200). It was just last summer that the Danes went all the way to the semifinals of the Euros, losing to 2-1 to England in extra-time. Their run will be best remembered for the team rallying around Christian Eriksen who suffered a heart attack on the field during their opening game. Ericksen is back and healthy and Denmark pulling off some shock results would not be a surprise.
Uruguay is probably the final team you could consider as a reasonable longshot pick at 40-1 odds. They’ve won multiple World Cups (albeit long ago), have lost just once in their past nine matches and are battle-hardened after playing against the likes of Brazil and Argentina in qualifying.
World Cup Trends
Here are a few World Cup betting trends to consider when making your World Cup picks.
- When the World Cup is not hosted in Europe, only two non-European teams have won.
- The host nation has advanced from the Group Stages in 20/21 World Cups. Additionally, host nations usually show up in the first game of the tournament. If we look back to 1994, the USA beat Switzerland, in 1998 France beat South Africa and both host nations in 2002 failed to lose with Japan tying Belgium and South Korea beating Poland. Keeping on, Germany beat Costa Rica in 2006, South Africa drew Poland in 2010, Brazil beat Croatia in 2014 and Russia beat Saudi Arabia in 2018. Sure, Qatar is much weaker than most (maybe all) of those teams. But the “host bump” is still worth a thought when looking at the World Cup odds for each match and specifically in the opener.
- In four of the past five World Cups, the previous champion has failed to advance out of the Group Stage — bad news for France?
- In 48 Group Stage games in the 2018 World Cup, 24 games fell under 2.5 goals, while 24 games also went over 2.5 goals
- If your online sportsbook allows bets on set pieces, it’s worth considering that in 2018 over 40 percent of goals came from set pieces
Way back last summer I had predicted an Italy over England European Championship result. Much of that came based on the fact that Italy was entering the tournament in imperious form. Along with England being the host and possibly landing on a more manageable side of the bracket. But that was then. This is now. The hosts are Qatar this time around and there’s no way they’re playing on December 18.
But we do have another team entering in scorching-hot form. And that team is Argentina. Manager Lionel Scaloni has guided La Albiceleste to 36 games undefeated since July 2, 2019. The all-time record is held by Italy at 37 games and that record could be broken during the group stage.
Argentina just beat Brazil in the Copa America Final last summer and if the two meet in the semis, I’ll back them to win again.
I’ll take their World Cup odds of +500 for my best bet to win World Cup 2022.
Meeting them in the final, I’m going a little “dark horsey” here and taking Denmark. This will require them to top France in Group D to likely get on the opposite side of the bracket from Argentina. However, they’ve beaten France twice already this year. They reached the semis in the Euros, only losing in extra-time to England, and I’ll pick them to make it one step further this time around. While they lack one standout attacking threat up top, 18 different players scored for the Danish Dynamite during qualifying, as Denmark scored 30 goals and conceded just three.
World Cup Knockout Round Picks
- Round of 16: (1A) Netherlands over (2B) Wales, (1C) Argentina over (2B) France, (1E) Germany over (2F) Croatia, (1G) Brazil over (2H) Uruguay | (1D) Denmark over (2C) Poland, (1B) England over (2A) Senegal, (2E) Spain over (1F) Belgium, (2G) Serbia over (1H) Portugal
- Quarterfinals: Argentina over Netherlands, Brazil over Germany | Denmark over England, Spain over Serbia
- Semifinals: Argentina over Brazil | Denmark over Spain
- Final: Argentina over Denmark
World Cup Futures Picks
|Winner to come from CONMEBOL (South America)
|France and Denmark to advance in any order (Group D)
|England to win Group B / Argentina to win Group C (Parlay)
Here are a few more futures props to consider for your World Cup picks.
- Winner from South America (+160) at DraftKings Sportsbook: While I’m going with Argentina as my World Cup best bet, I also see Argentina and Brazil playing in the semifinals. If that happens, no matter the result, you’ll have someone in the final with a bet on South America or “CONMEBOL” to win the tournament. As an added bonus, if Uruguay or even Ecuador were to go on a wild run, you have them in this bet too.
- France and Denmark to qualify (dual forecast -225) at Caesars Sportsbook: It may not pay out huge but it would be a shock if France and Denmark don’t move out of this group. A dual forecast bet is a bet on two teams to advance in any order. Tunisia and Australia, both +400 odds, are longshots to qualify out of Group D. While not in the table above, a group dual forecast bet on both Spain and Germany to advance (-400) could be good parlay piece to add here if your book allows it.
- England and Argentina to win groups parlay (-119) at Caesars Sportsbook: Argentina should stroll through their group while England, still looks the class of Group B. Wales are overly reliant on Gareth Bale and USA were third in their CONCACAF qualifying group