The gambler's on a roll

The folks at the Sports Desk are surprised beyond belief that I'm topping the World Cup tipping chart.

Perhaps the ignominy of finishing fourth out of five in the EPL tipsters' chart last season - even behind The Chick - has caused them to write me off as a punter.

Well, tipping throughout a 10-month-long season and a short international tournament are two different things.

The World Cup is easier. It reads more like a script, and there are streaks waiting to be broken.

For instance, Algeria hadn't scored in the World Cup for 28 years.

I tipped that they would on Tuesday, and also that Belgium would win. So, I wagered on the Over 2.5 goals in that game.

Most satisfying for me was United States' win on Monday.

Ghana beat the Yanks 2-1 in each of the last two World Cups. Revenge was on the cards this time around, and the Americans are a good team this year. I wagered big and won. But, that's all past.

Here's what you should do next:

Bet early on Argentina on the -2.5 handicap against Iran. Do not over-think this one. Messi and Aguero will conquer Persia.

England, as always, are over-hyped, but Roy Hodgson's team do have a cavalier, gritty quality about them this time, and they will be rewarded for it. After losing to Italy, they won't lose their second "Group of Death" match.

Do not underestimate Greece. Yes, they are the weakest - and slowest - European team, but I fancy them to score more than Japan.

Algeria are better than their display in the second half against Belgium. They were punished for their defensiveness, and will atone when they take on the very average South Koreans.

Brazil will absolutely thump Cameroon. You don't have to bet all of your kids' savings... just half will suffice.



It is with a load of confidence that I will continue to support the Germans.They have finished off their main rivals in the group, Portugal, so now for the easy part.

Ghana and the United States will put up token resistance before caving in. I may not get much for my dollar but I believe I'm looking at a sure thing.

The team to avoid are Greece. They were hopeless against Colombia.

They'll be easy meat for the exuberant Japanese and Drogba's Ivory Coast.


Many of you might think that I'm backing Italy because of their good-looking players. That's not the case.

The Italians are pleasing on the eye, no doubt, but it's hard not to be impressed by their football either.

The Azzurri have finally shed their slow-starters' tag with a gritty 2-1 win over England. I expect them to go from strength to strength now.

Team to avoid? England. Seriously, ignore the hype. They will never deliver, certainly not now in Brazil.


I genuinely can't remember an opening week of a World Cup to match what we've seen so far in Brazil.

We've had the world champions being smashed by a rampant Holland, Uruguay crashing to Costa Rica and England outfoxed by the old maestro Pirlo despite performing as well as they ever have under Roy Hodgson.

However, the fact that Ronaldo had no answer to the German machine during Portugal's crushing 4-0 defeat has been the most significant moment for me in terms of picking an overall winner of the competition.

I despise stereotyping teams based on nationality, but the efficiency of the Germans was astounding. If anyone can beat them, they will be worthy world champions.


The critics are out in full force after Argentina's sloppy win over Bosnia.

Sure, Argentina didn't play well at all in that match, but many World Cup winners have started their campaign slow.

In any case, punters are going to get a better price on Argentina now than if they had thrashed Bosnia 6-0.

They simply have too much firepower to be written off after just one match.

Avoid Honduras at any price.

Their roughhouse tactics against France would not have won them any fans.

They are unlikely to win over the punters as well.

They are always only one wild tackle away from a sending-off, so save yourself the agony.

This article was first published on June 19, 2014.
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