We preview the 2022 World Cup and share our best World Cup picks, from tournament favorites to underdogs and sleepers.
Caesars Sports SPECIAL OFFER
The world’s single largest sporting event kicks off just in time for the holiday season this year!
Playing the World Cup in Qatar, a small country of about 2.6 million people in Western Asia, meant making the move from a summer event to a fall/winter format.
The average high temperature in June and July – the typical months for World Cup play – is about 108 degrees in Qatar. November and December see temperatures closer to the high 70s or low 80s.
As such, the climate shouldn’t provide a particular advantage for any team. But moving the tournament out of the sweltering summer months should make for a higher quality of play and remove a potential disadvantage for nations located in cooler parts of the world.
2022 World Cup Format
Thirty-two teams are divided into eight groups of four. Each group plays a round robin to determine the two teams that advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.
Knockout play begins December 3 with 16 teams and proceeds in single-elimination format until the World Cup Final on December 18.
World Cup 2022 Tournament Betting Odds
Here is a full list of tournament participants and their odds to win the 2022 World Cup (odds from BetMGM). Let’s take a look at everything from World Cup sleepers to World Cup favorites:
|COUNTRY||ODDS TO WIN 2022 WORLD CUP|
Now, let’s take a closer look at a few betting favorites, some contenders, and maybe a longshot or two. The World Cup always throws up some surprises, right?
2022 World Cup Favorites
The current three front-runners is the World Cup betting odds are Brazil, France and Argentina.
Brazil (+400 to Win World Cup):
It’s been 20 years since the Brazilians took home top honors, but they’re at or near the top of the betting favorites every four years.
That’s because the depth and talent of this team is traditionally unsurpassed. They were undefeated through 17 qualifying matches in the CONMEBOL federation and boast talent at all levels of the field.
Neymar, one of the world’s best strikers, is back at the front for Brazil. And this time he’s joined by 22-year-old Vini, an emerging Real Madrid star who has a chance to be this year’s answer to Kylian Mbappe, the breakout star of the 2018 World Cup.
After four straight World Cups without so much as a Finals appearance, it’s all or nothing for Brazil in 2022.
Speaking of Mbappe…
France (+600 to Win World Cup):
The defending world champs suffered another blow on October 31, when midfielder Paul Pogba announced he’d miss the World Cup with a knee injury.
That makes four potential French starters who won’t be available in Qatar, including fellow midfielder N’Golo Kante, center back Raphael Varane, and back Lucas Hernandez. The French have depth to spare and can still contend, but no team has been hit harder by injuries.
With Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema, and Mbappe up front, this team remains plenty dangerous. But recent history isn’t on their side either. No team has repeated as champion in 60 years (Brazil, 1958 and 1962).
FanDuel Sports SPECIAL OFFER
Argentina (+500 to Win World Cup):
By now, most fans know that 2022 will be superstar Lionel Messi’s final World Cup, and he hopes to go out on top.
But is that the only reason Argentina’s such a popular pick?
Well, they haven’t lost a single match in over three years, the type of hot streak that Italy was able to ride to top honors at Euro 2020 (actually played in 2021) before failing to qualify for the World Cup at all. The lesson? It’s not always the best team who wins, but often the hottest team.
Argentina has an argument to be both the best and hottest team, with unparalleled midfield depth offered by Leandro Paredes, Rodrigo De Paul, and Giovani Lo Celso.
Their final advantage? Age. Argentina’s main contributors, Messi excluded, are in their mid-late 20s, the age most often associated with players’ best performances on the international stage.
And if you have a player who’s a bit long in the tooth, it helps if that player is Lionel Messi.
2022 World Cup Contenders and Sleepers
We can’t talk about World Cup betting markets and picks without taking a look at some of the outsider shots and World Cup sleepers. After all, fairytale stories and surprises contribute to the magic of the World Cup.
Portugal (+1400 to Win World Cup):
Cristiano Ronaldo, regarded as Portugal’s greatest player ever, also figures to be playing his final World Cup at the age of 37.
Unlike Messi, Ronaldo isn’t in his finest form. He’s been benched by Manchester United and is dealing with calls for his nation to do the same in Qatar.
That isn’t likely, but neither is Ronaldo single-handedly delivering Portugal its first World Cup. Instead, the Portuguese will look to rely on midfielder Bruno Fernando and right back Joao Cancelo in playing the same style that pushed them to the top of Euro 2016 – but without quite as much scoring upside from Ronaldo.
PointsBet SECOND CHANCE
Senegal (+8000 to Win World Cup):
Africa’s best team got a favorable draw, joining hosts Qatar, uneven Ecuador, and the inconsistent Netherlands in Group A. Senegal is one of the most disciplined, tactical teams in the field, and can use this to its advantage in an open group.
Should they win Group A, they figure to match up with the United States or Wales (No. 2 team from Group B). Honestly, either of those matchups could slightly favor the Senegalese.
Then, if they pull through you’d be sitting three wins away from cashing an 80:1 ticket. It’s still unlikely, so don’t go wild with this bet – but your hedging options are numerous at that point.
Korea Republic / South Korea (+25000 to Win World Cup):
Let’s save some time – South Korea is VERY unlikely to win the 2022 World Cup.
This bet is about one player – Son Heung-min. The 30-year-old is the star of Tottenham Hotspur, tying with Mohamed Salah for the Premier League Golden Boot last year (leading scorer; 23 goals).
Son appeared to escape serious injury in a Champions League match on November 1 but may require surgery to stabilize a facial fracture. He immediately said he was feeling better, and the injury was not expected to prevent him from playing in Qatar. Nonetheless, check his availability before wagering.
The odds for Son to win the Golden Boot (most goals scored in tournament) are +8000. You can rest assured South Korea will get him as many opportunities as possible, and anyone who follows sports knows how one star player having the best few games of his career can push a team to a higher place.
So no, South Korea isn’t likely to pay off at 250:1 odds. But even 3-4 games of Son give him a chance to contend for the tournament’s top scorer at 80:1.