Can Salaries Help Us Pick The Winner of the World Cup?

This article was first published to the Ultimate Stats Betting Pack, World Cup group
A copy of the Ultimate Stats Betting Pack for the 2018 World Cup in Russia available here.

Latest World Cup News

Following hosts, Russia‘s, draw with Turkey the other day, they have now dropped down to 70th in the FIFA world rankings, making them the lowest ranked side in the whole tournament. The drop of four places took them below Saudi Arabia, who they will open the tournament with next week. They might be the hosts, but the lowest ranked side going off at odds of 1.41 looks more than a little skinny to me.

Check out the 11 most controversial moments in World Cup history, courtesy of CNN. Plus 10 up and coming players who could break out during the tournament – could be handy for fantasy football players…

World Cup Betting Strategy

Can Salaries Help Us Pick The Winner of the World Cup?

You'll notice that we refer to the Pinnacle Blog frequently as they are in the habit of producing excellent content when it comes to football betting. Today is no different as they have produced some insightful analysis on whether wage data is an effective measure for assessing a teams strength and quality.

You can read the full article here and we have surmised some of the key points below:

  • Transfer values are often used for correlation but for a short tournament, such as a world cup, salaries provide a more effective measure
  • Transfer values take into account age and resell value – which is not really useful for a month long tournament – e.g. Tripper is valued 3x as much as Dani Alves
  • Previous studies have demonstrated that wage bills can be an effective measure when assessing likely league finishing position
  • Salaries are the measured against the World Cup betting odds to determine correlation and insights
  • The correlation was much closer aligned to the betting odds than FIFAs own, and much maligned, offical rankings

The teams who were most reliant on a ‘superstar' are Iceland and Egypt. While the most balanced teams, solid in all areas, were England and Spain.

When comparing the teams agains the lowest paid player in the squad, Spain come out well again with Dani Carvajal the lowest paid player which indicates quality throughout the squad. England, Croatia and German all ranked well here as well.

Relative outsiders who performed well on all the wage data were Croatia, Senegal and Serbia, with the latter too most exposed at ‘goalkeeper'. But all three should be considered as good chances to make inroads in the knock-out stages,

The Group of Death, based on salary data, is Group H which contains, Colombia, Poland, Senegal, and Japan. with very close total wages.

Conversely, the Group of Life is tournament hosts, Russia's, Group A. This is because it contains the highest chance of a team with the weakest quality making the knock-out stages. Uruguay are more than a step above the others in the group, Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. What this does suggest is that there is better chance of, say, Egypt or Saudi getting out of this group then had they been in any other group. There is value there if you are willing to bet that Russia will crash out at the group stage.

One last interesting side note, Panama's data was so low compared to everybody else they were removed from the analysis. They are bar and and away the weakest team taking part. England losing to Panama will be a whole lot worse than Iceland in 2016.

Key Takeaways

  • Spain, followed by Germany and Brazil look the most likely winners
  • Senegal, Croatia, Serbia and England are worth looking at in the tournament progress markets
  • Potential value in Group A for group qualifying
  • The tournaments most uneven game will be Belgium v Panama

Today's Pre-World Cup International Friendlies

England and Portugal notched up comfortable wins against fellow world cup opponents last night, winning 2-0 and 3-0 respectively. While Iceland let go of a 2-0 first half lead to draw 2-2 with Ghana. We saw another draw as South Korea finished 0-0 against a Bolivia side who finished 2nd bottom in their World Cup qualifiers, and with the worst goal difference (-22).

Today we have several interesting matches involving teams who will both be attending the World Cup. Although, we can't read too much into the games with them being friendlies, i am still interested in seeing how they line up and approach the games, particularly Croatia v Senegal, and Poland v Japan. The other games include Switzerland v Japan and Germany v Saudi Arabia.

This article was first published to the Ultimate Stats Betting Pack, World Cup group
A copy of the Ultimate Stats Betting Pack for the 2018 World Cup in Russia available here.

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