Welcome to the England misery fest!

With only 41 days to go to the World Cup, I think it’s a good time to get to know the early match schedule, the groups and the initial betting markets that we have at our disposal.

And now would be a fine time to sniff out that ‘New Zealand-type’ team: the minnow who will serve it up to the big boys. Find out this New Zealand-type team and we can prepare for a superb assault on the betting markets.

The first place I’d like to look is at the results from 2010. Do they signal any patterns or potential shock results which we could not have envisioned at the time?

In 2010, 12 of the first 13 matches played were under 2.5 goals. Is this because teams don’t want to lose these important group matches?

In the round of 16 in 2010, six of eight matches were over 2.5 goals. Is this because teams need to win at all costs?

Both teams scored in six of eight matches in the round of 16.

Were there any surprises in 2010? Spain lost to Switzerland 0-1, Germany lost 0-1 to Serbia, England drew 0-0 with Algeria, Italy drew 1-1 with New Zealand and France lost 1-2 to South Africa.

The two results involving African nations may have come about because of the location of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

It is clear therefore that there will be shock results in 2014’s World Cup – will they involve South American sides?

Will there be a surprise quarter final team? In 2010 it was Paraguay.

The semi finals in 2010 saw three European teams and Uruguay. Is European football still as dominant four years on? The favourites for the World Cup are Brazil and Argentina and I would be wary of the obvious here.

World Cup schedule

If you want a quick look at the World Cup schedule, then you can download this PDF.

The Groups can be found here and they provide a great starting point.

Group A sees Brazil head the market and all else follow!

Group B has 2010 semi-finalists Spain and Holland, along with South American representatives Chile, who must be the dark horses here.

Columbia are favourites to qualify from Group C. It is an interesting group featuring very defensive Japan and Greece and the Ivorians. My initial impressions? Columbia look far too short at 1.3 to qualify. They may well qualify but I favour Group C as a potential ‘surprises’ group.

Group D sees our heroic, erm, heroes heroically struggle heroically against Italy, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. This is a tough group for England, featuring two South American sides – one a semi-finalist in 2010 in Uruguay. England are third-favourites to qualify here. At least David Moyes isn’t the England manager, which is one positive I suppose.

Group E sees France, Switzerland (another highly defensive side), Ecuador and Honduras. France are overwhelming favourites to qualify, but are not reliable and definitely layable at 1.34 to qualify. They have a history of making a pig’s ear out of the qualification process. Two South American sides in a group might produce competitive matches where the markets point to strong favourites.

Group F sees Argentina head the market to qualify, followed by glamour teams of Bosnia, Nigeria and Iran. No doubt tickets for this group were sold out in seconds.

Iran have been free-scoring in their World Cup qualifying group. Bosnia are quite simply unknowns and that is always interesting (remember New Zealand in 2010?), and Nigeria are my favourite country as I have been promised some £100 million from a friendly Nigerian banker, just in time for the World Cup.

Group G is a very interesting group, with Germany and Portugal dominating. The USA reached the round of 16 in 2010, which surprised many. Ghana meet the USA again, a team they beat in 2010. Indeed the Ghanaians meet Germany in the group stages again. Germany struggled to beat them 0-1 in South Africa. This makes for an old familiar group and all not potentially going the obvious favourites’ ways.

The final group, Group H, sees dark horses Belgium 1.2 on Betfair to qualify. Russia, South Korea and Algeria make up the remaining teams in the group. All bar one of South Korea’s matches in 2010 were over 2.5 goals. Their opponents tended to need two goals at least to beat them.

Russia and Belgium return to World Cup duty after missing out in 2010 and will be keen to prove themselves. Algeria matches in 2010 were 1-0 or 0-0, so we know where their, erm, ‘strengths’ lie.

So already there are angles emerging. I will be looking more in depth at each team’s qualification path in future weeks, in the hope I can decipher the attackers (Argentina) from the defenders (Switzerland, Greece, South Korea, Algeria).

The Colonel could never have been a jockey!

It’s the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, and it’s bound to be a finger lickin’ affair. California Chrome is the strong favourite at a current 9/4, with Hoppertunity and Wicked strong the only other horses under 10/1 in the betting.

There have been three double-figure odds winners in the last four meetings. If you want a play in this race, I would advise each way, and if with Betfair, ½ stakes on the win and ½ stakes on the place.

I will be looking to the big odds for my selections. Dance with Fate, Ride on Curlin and Tapiture are my three each way horses, on or around the 20/1 mark.

I hope the race is as competitive as it has been in the past and we can avoid these short-priced favourites. Good luck if you’re having a play.

Noses and necks – no thanks!

On the subject of each way plays, I have had some rather bad luck with my each way selections provided free for readers of What Really Wins Money.

Why, earlier in the week, one of my each way plays finished second at lovely odds of 26 by a nose! Why did the horse have to have a conker like Barry Manilow? And only yesterday, another neck second selection at odds of 8 had me cursing the betting gods.

Still, my each way idea has legs I think: 29 April saw a nice winner at odds of 10.5, and three frustrating seconds (oh so close again!) at odds of 12.22, 15.11 and 15.43.

Try it out for yourself. Limit yourself to 8/9 runner races, and look for the following:

  1. A short-priced favourite in the Betting Forecast.
  2. Two or three outsiders.
  3. Make two selections. One is a ‘usual’ selection – more likely to place; and one a ‘speculative’ selection – a not necessarily obvious selection.

It’s doing very well and these noses and necks will come for us soon!!

Scoop the Scoop 6?

The Tote Scoop 6 might well be worth your attention this week.

The win-fund rollover has reached £2,096,863. The bonus fund rollover stands at £1,777,220 – a combined total of £3,874,083.

Here’s some info on how to play this weekend.

I am not sure of the races myself, so will take a look tomorrow and post my ideas on Twitter @whatreallywins.

I’m off now to listen to the Smiths, to get me in a miserable mood for Brazil.