World Cup 2022: A Way-Too-Early Look at the Betting Odds
In a lot of ways, it's pretty silly to talk about a tournament that's more than two years away.
Then again, with the sports world on pause, we need something to talk about, and FanDuel Sportsbook has listed its 2020 World Cup odds -- so why not?
So much is going to change between now and when the 2022 World Cup kicks off; we all know that. But let's take a look at some of the teams I like to win it all in Qatar, starting with a list of the 10 squads with the best odds.
The Usual Suspects
Only eight countries have ever won the World Cup, and it's almost always a pretty small pool of realistic champions. That should be no different in 2022, with just five teams sporting better than +1000 odds to lift the trophy. Among that five-squad group, France and Germany are the two bets I like most.
France are the reigning champs, and they're absolutely loaded at every level of the squad, led by superstar Kylian Mbappé, who will be just 23 at this coming World Cup. While Antoine Griezmann has struggled to adapt quickly to life at Barcelona this season, he'll be just 31 in two years and should still be at his best in attack. With those two up front combined with N'Golo Kanté and Paul Pogba in midfield and Raphaël Varane at the back, much of the core that led Les Bleus to the 2018 crown will be central figures in Qatar.
Plus, they will likely get contributions from Aymeric Laporte, Ferland Mendy, Kingsley Coman, and Ousmane Dembélé -- talented players who either didn't play much in the 2018 tournament or didn't make the squad.
On the flip side, no nation has repeated as winners since Brazil did so by winning the 1958 and 1962 tournaments. But you're getting France at respectable odds, and we know they'll be among the most talented sides at the tourney. A few years back, Spain won back-to-back Euros (2008 and 2012) with a 2010 World Cup title in between. We could be looking at a similar type of run from the French. They certainly have the talent and depth to challenge for every title for the foreseeable future.
As for Germany, Die Mannschaft had a miserable 2018 World Cup. One of the pre-tourney favorites, the Germans lost two of their three group stage matches and failed to advance out of their group for the first time ever (since the current format began being used in 1950).
Joachim Löw has started to right the ship. While the level of competition wasn't always the best, Germany won six of their seven Euro 2020 (now 2021) qualifying matches in 2019 and did so by a combined score of 27-5, with four of the five goals against coming in a loss to the Netherlands.
Betting on Löw's side is betting on their immense talent. If they're all fit and firing, Leroy Sané, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Serge Gnabry give Germany some really fun attacking players, and Marc-André ter Stegen is one of the world's best in goal, though the team may opt to continue to stick with Manuel Neuer. In midfielder, they'll likely be paced by Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos and İlkay Gündoğan. Kimmich already owns 48 caps as a 25-year-old, and Kroos will be just 32 for Qatar.
If you like narratives, the Germans should be plenty motivated to make up for their 2018 debacle, and they will likely bring with them as good of a roster as anyone.
So You're Telling Me There's a Chance
After not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, the Netherlands are one of the teams on the rise, and I'd bet on them being closer to +1000 to win it all once we get closer to the tournament.
While their roster might not feature the depth of some of the other top sides, the Oranje boast Virgil Van Dijk and Frenkie De Jong, two of the best in the world at their positions. This team beat England and France on their way to the Nations League final, which they lost to Portugal, and the Netherlands topped Germany, 4-2, in Euro qualifying.
The Netherlands' fate may come down to whether or not their attackers -- with Memphis Depay at the forefront -- can generate enough goals.
If the Italians are at +1600 entering a tournament, it's probably not a bad idea to throw down a few bills on them.
One of the world's soccer powers, Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the first time that's happened since 1958. Roberto Mancini was brought in to fix the squad's problems, and he's done just that as Gli Azzurri breezed through Euro qualification by winning all 10 of their matches -- just the seventh time in Euro history that a side won all of its qualification matches.
Marco Verratti is one of the very best midfielders in the world, and Jorginho is superb in a sitting role in midfield. Up-and-comer Gianluigi Donnarumma has a chance to be among the best keepers in the tournament two years from now, and Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile could be a fun tandem up front. As weird as it is to say, the questions for Italy -- at least as things stand now -- come in defense as the end of the line is approaching for aging stalwarts Leonardo Bonucci (will be 34) and Giorgio Chiellini (38).
Still, the team is obviously in stellar form right now, and Italy's odds will be slashed if they show well at Euro 2021. Now is a good time to get on them.