Bookies favour Spain
Hlengiwe Mnguni, News24
Cape Town - If bookmakers are to be believed, the current European champions Spain have the best chance of winning the World Cup.
"The odds are 4-1 for Spain, Brazil is at 5-1 and England at 6-1," Brent Graham, who runs the sports betting website www.goodforthegame.co.za, told News24.
Although sports betting is not an exact science with perception and demand deciding the odds, Graham said bookmakers were "generally speaking, good" at setting the odds, although "big upsets" are possible.
150-1 on Bafana Bafana
But like most bookmakers, Graham said the chances of Bafana Bafana lifting the trophy on July 11 were slim - ranging from around 100-1 to 150-1, depending with which bookmaker you place your bet.
He said however, that the odds were 2-1 for South Africa reaching the second round of group matches.
"I don't think they stand a chance at winning, but if they reach the second round, that will be an achievement for South Africa."
Apart from placing bets on which team will take top honours (the most popular category according to Graham), bets can be placed on "literally hundreds of other options".
These include top goal scorer, best African team, group match results and individual matches.
Graham said interest in soccer betting had increased in the run-up to the World Cup.
"There's big excitement for the World Cup in the industry. We have recently been seeing increasing traffic on our website," he said adding that with every World Cup, South African bookmakers see more interest.
Graham said despite football betting being among the most popular sports betting options in other countries, rugby was tops in South Africa - although soccer was making inroads.
"Three or four years ago you could barely get a bet on the PSL, but since then we have seen more and more interest. If it keeps growing this way, it will soon match rugby," he said.
Professor Peter Collins, executive director of the National Responsible Gambling Programme, offered a word of advice to those eager to bet on the World Cup however.
"Before engaging in any form of gambling a person should work out how much they can afford to lose and stick to that," Collins told News24. "You have to be comfortable that if everything goes wrong you can still pay the bond or feed the family."
He said people who gamble should always remember that the odds are stacked against them and that they should gamble for fun only.
Collins said, in sports betting in particular, it was important, to compare odds offered by bookmakers to ensure that they are getting a fair price.
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