We are approximately halfway through World Cup 2018, which is enough to bring a small tear to the eye that one of the finest sporting tournaments on the planet is nearly done and dusted for another four years.
Naturally popular with TV viewers around the world and the hundreds of thousands attending matches across Russia, World Cup 2018 has also proven to be a halcyon moment for the betting industry.
Even though it’s early days, the early numbers are staggering: almost £2.5 billion will be wagered on the World Cup this summer, which is an increase of some 50% from the last edition held in Brazil back in 2014, with £500 million placed in the last week alone.
There has been a considerable rise in the number of female bettors, according to the figures, and almost 80% of World Cup wagers are placed in-play or for later matches while a different game is currently playing.
Online Leading the Way
This is, arguably, only the second or third edition of the World Cup where a large percentage of punters will own a high-powered smartphone, and the capabilities these bring have clearly driven the increase in wagering.
The fact that 80% of all bets are placed during live matches indicates that people watching at home or on their phones are responsible for the bulk of the betting.
The amount of TV advertising is also helping, with around 20% of all ads played during the breaks in the action being produced by bookmakers.
With a fortnight of action still to come, you can be sure that plenty more millions will be pumped onto the big games – let’s hope it’s the punters and not the bookies doing most of the winning!
No Clear Consensus on the World Cup Winner
According to the bookies, the biggest slice of the Outright World Cup Winner pie is on countries outside of the main bets in the market of Brazil, Germany, Spain, England and France.
You would suspect that the majority of those wagers have been placed upon the most eye-catching performers thus far, namely Uruguay, Croatia and the hosts Russia.
As for the favourites, Brazil have been the best backed, with England – there’s plenty of patriotic punters out there – next and Germany third.
France and Spain are the next most popular, both commanding less than might have been expected before the tournament started after some unconvincing performances in the group stages.
The most backed named pairing in the ‘Name the Finalists’ market has been Germany vs Brazil, which has been turned on its head with the 2014 Champions eliminated in the groups. Mexico vs Portugal, which is available at 125/1 with the bookies, has surprisingly taken a lot of interest with the punting public.
The Golden Boot market is dominated by Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku, with around half of all bets placed between these two so far.