Jonathon Hurst, Head of Soccer at Kambi, looks at who bettors are backing to win in this year’s World Cup
The countdown to the FIFA World Cup is almost over. In just a few days’ time some of the greatest footballers on Earth will take to the field in Qatar for what is sure to be the largest sports betting event of the year and a tournament like none we have seen before.
As I highlighted in a column I wrote for EGR earlier this year, the World Cup’s location and the decision to schedule the tournament in the middle of a domestic football season is a real step into the unknown. It remains to be seen what impact these factors will have on total viewing figures for the tournament, which peaked at more than 3.5 billion in 2018, but based on the activity we’ve seen in the lead up to the tournament we are confident interest among sports bettors will be high.
With the domestic leagues now on a mid-season break, Kambi is seeing more and more interest across our global network in the World Cup outright markets. Brazil are the favourites to win the tournament and lift the trophy for the first time in 20 years, with 19% of bets on the Kambi network going on the World Cup’s most historically successful team. They are closely followed in second place by another giant of South American football, Argentina, who have received 18% of bets and head to Qatar with confidence after winning the Copa América last year.
The Golden Boot winner, however, is harder to call, according to bettors on the Kambi network. While England number nine Harry Kane is the favourite at 9.00/+800, only 8% of bets are on the Spurs talisman to be the tournament’s top goalscorer, while France’s Kylian Mbappé has taken the most bets at 15%. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi, who has one final chance to win the World Cup before he retires, is close behind having received 14% of bets to win the Golden Boot and is among the favourites to provide the most assists during the tournament too.
Patriotic betting is a trend we have seen in previous international tournaments and it is a similar story for World Cup 2022. In Argentina, for example, Lautaro Martinez and Messi make up 55% of bets on who will be the tournament’s top goalscorer, and it is a similar story in the Netherlands where Memphis Depay makes up 23% of bets on the same market.
Another notable industry trend in recent years has been the rise of bet builders, which have grown from a nice-to-have embellishment of the core product to a vital component for any sportsbook with ambitions of establishing meaningful market share. For Kambi Bet Builder customers during Euro 2020, Bet Builder made up 30% of their bets during the tournament while 40% of Bet Builder players placed four or more over the course of the tournament, highlighting the popularity of the product which has only grown since last July.
Multi builder functionality, where you can combine bets across different games, leagues and sports, has become increasingly important and there are some exciting opportunities for players in this regard during the World Cup as the NFL, NBA and NHL will all be in full swing.
We expect Bet Builder in general to only grow in importance during the World Cup and below are the most popular Bet Builder markets and combinations we have seen so far. Over recent years, Bet Builders have expanded to offer a wide range of betting opportunities, and Kambi will be offering stats-based markets as well as a greater number of player props.
Previously appeared on EGR Intel