As it kicks off on Friday in South Africa when the host nation faces Mexico, the 2010 World Cup will mark a furious month of wagers between soccer fans across the globe. Oddsmakers from Vegas to Monte Carlo to Macao are open for business, whether at casinos or simply via online accounts, and billions of dollars will be at stake.
So who are the bookies picking to hoist the trophy on July 11? While the odds of winning for each team depend on the bookmaker one uses, here's is a rundown of the favorites, and a snapshot of the ever-shifting wagering splits:
Their star, Fernando Torres is a bit older than when his team last one the 2008 European Championships, but with help from Xavi Hernandez the team's other hotshot player, Spain have managed to retain their first place FIFA ranking. Chance of winning 4/1.
Perennial favorites, the Brazilian team will be attempting to win its sixth World Cup. With Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, aka Kaka, leading the charge, there's good reason to think the team will fare well again. Chance of winning 9/2.
Behind the talent of Lionel Messi, who is considered by some to be the world's best player, Argentina yet may shock everybody. Chance of winning 6/1.
Wayne Rooney and his mates are only ranked ninth by FIFA, but the oddsmakers seem to have a good feeling about these English lads. Chance of winning 7/1.
And what about Team USA?
The American squad is now seeing its odds of winning hover around 66/1, which is a big improvement from 2006's dismal 200/1 split. While winning still seems a remote possibility, the debate these days has centered on whether the US team can win a game at this year's tournament. Still, whatever the outcome for the Stars and Stripes; The largest number of World Cup ticket holders will come from the U.S. for the first time ever this year.
And finally, just for fun, here's a video picking the top 50 world cup goals in history. Place your bets right, and you too could be shouting GOALLLLL!:
In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.