6 Football Prop Bets to Make in World Cup 2014

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Football fanatics can’t enough of the game, especially during the sport’s biggest event. World Cup prop betting is a great way to get deeper into the action.

Wondering how to bet on the World Cup 2014 in Brazil? Prop betting is all the rage in the sports world these days. From betting shops to online bookies to mobile apps, football fans can place props anywhere and on anything. Yes, that includes how many times Wayne Rooney will scratch his private parts during England’s opening match against Italy.

If you’re of the sports wagering persuasion, take advantage of the opportunity this world cup to bet on a few things other than the actual outcome of matches. We’ve highlighted a few props that are both interesting and relevant to the average fan.

Which team will score the first goal in World Cup 2014?

The tournament’s opening match features a potentially head-turning Croatian squad versus host Brazil. The Brazilians are tabbed by some as the favorite to win their sixth title. Given that host sides usually have success, we wouldn’t bet against them.

• Prop betting is all the rage in the sports world these days, so don’t hesitate to make a few off-beat wagers during the World Cup

• Expect Mario Balotelli to be up to his usual tricks and receive at least one yellow card

• Put your money on Wayne Rooney breaking out of his World Cup slump and scoring at least one goal

During the opening match Brazil will face an undermanned Croatian team. Croatia’s top striker Mario Mandzukic is suspended for the opening match after receiving a red card during the qualifiers. That’s a significant blow to their offense.

On the other side of the field, top defender Josip Simunic is also suspended. Both of those factors increase Brazil’s chances of scoring the first goal, and superior talent doesn’t hurt either. This one is a gimme. Pull up that mobile betting app and put your money on Brazil.

Mario Balotelli will receive at least one yellow card

Italian striker Mario Balotelli is considered one of the bad boys of football. While he’s a great player in his own right, his hot-heated behavior has also garnered a lot of attention. If you enjoy placing prop bets on which players will receive bookings, we’d advise you to take a close look at the Italian Stallion.

During the 2013/14 season Balotelli received 14 yellow and two red cards, not outrageous but higher than most players. Last year AC Milan Massimiliano Allegri said: “Mario is 23 years old, he is no longer a child…he must change this behavior.”

While he has matured as a player since debuting as a professional in 2006, his tendency to draw the ire of officials has increased rather than decreased. This past season he received the highest number of cards in his career. Now is not the time to believe that he’s learned his lesson.

Cristiano Ronaldo will lead all players in goals scored

The Portuguese striker and Real Madrid star is considered by many to be the best football player in the world. In a recent appearance with British youth, David Cameron asked the kids who they thought was England’s best player in the World Cup 2014. They overwhelmingly responded: “Cristiano Ronaldo.”

He’s facing stiff competition from other stars like Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but he led the Champion’s League this past season with 17 goals. No one else came close. Portugal is also talented enough to make a deep run. We’re putting our money on him to lead the World Cup in goals scored.

Wayne Rooney will score his first World Cup goal

The English striker is a good stand-in for English football in general: great in league competition, but less impressive in international tournaments. England hasn’t won the World Cup since 1966 and Rooney has never scored a goal on football’s highest stage.

Should you bet on him breaking out of his funk and getting into the net in 2014? Absolutely. Rooney has matured mentally and emotionally over the past few seasons, and he’s entering the Brazil games in much better physical condition than in 2006 or 2010, when injuries slowed his play.

Even if England doesn’t advance far, Rooney will impress. He’ll score at least one goal, and possibly several. This is one World Cup prop bet to make.

Will the US advance to the quarterfinals?

Most observers agree that the quality of American Major League Soccer has greatly improved, and the national team is led by proven veteran Landon Donavan and managed by German import Jurgen Klinsmann. However, in 2014 they are stuck in Group G with heavies Germany, Portugal and Ghana. The media have dubbed it “the Group of Death.”

Advancing against that kind of competition would be tough for any team. America’s difficulties will be augmented by the fact that its overall talent level is lacking. Football writer Sam Tighe had this to say: “The U.S. don’t have the talent or the stability/continuity to get that far.” Don’t bet on them to go far.

Group D will produce the most goals overall

For betting on which group will collectively score the most goals, online sportsbooks in the UK like Ladbrokes and Bet365 are targeting groups B and D, giving them mostly even chances. While B features high-scoring clubs Spain and the Netherlands, Chile and Australia are not exactly known for offensive fireworks, and Spain has arguably the world’s best defense.

By contrast, Group D is both high-scoring and evenly matched. Between powerhouses Italy, Uruguay and England as well as upstart Costa Rica, expect to see a few broken scoreboards. While B and D both have potential to take this prop, we’re putting our money with D.

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