FIFA World Cup Betting Guide

When it comes to global sporting events, the FIFA World Cup is one of the most popular. It may be one of the only truly global tournaments, as teams from around the world convene to determine who is truly the champion.

While the winners of North American professional sports leagues may call themselves world champions, at the World Cup, there is no debating that the championship team is truly the best in the world.

Estimates of how much money is wagered on the World Cup land well upward of $100 billion, and gambling on the event takes place all over the globe. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about gambling on the World Cup, from how to do it to where to do it to strategies for placing wagers.

How to bet on the World Cup in New York

Sports gambling is legal in New York, but at the moment it’s only available at a few specific physical locations. Considering that in-person sports gambling was only legalized in 2019, the next World Cup will be the first one where New Yorkers have the chance to gamble on the tournament.

Some of the locations with current physical sportsbooks are Syracuse, Bridgeport, Monticello and Tioga Downs. Traveling to one of the physical sportsbooks is the only option at the moment, but with legal online sports betting potentially on the horizon, expect betting sites to experience a large rise in popularity.

Best World Cup betting sites in NY

As mentioned above, we expect online sports betting to hit the state soon. It’s more a matter of when instead of if. Once it does become legal in the state, there are a few major players that you should be aware of. These top online sportsbooks have established themselves as major players in the industry and have large presences in other states where you can place online sports bets.


MGM has established itself as a major player in several industries, including gambling. Its name carries many years of brand recognition and trust. BetMGM provides an online sportsbook in several other states that have already legalized online sports betting. It offers all types of sports to wager on and has been a success in several states.

Another benefit that gamblers may enjoy with BetMGM is the fact that they can accrue loyalty points that they can then spend on other MGM products, including hotel stays.


DraftKings has been one of the major daily fantasy players in the country and has expanded its offerings to include sports gambling in legal states. The Boston-based company continues to expand, recently partnering with the NBA to become its official partner for sports betting. So if you’re looking to place a basketball bet in a legal state, DraftKings may be the choice.


FanDuel is another company that began with daily fantasy offerings but then expanded to sports gambling. FanDuel also has carved out a role in legalized states and has established itself as a major player in the industry. The sportsbook offers many options for all types of betting. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to make a parlay, place a future, or make a teaser bet; FanDuel offers all of those options.

Once online gambling is legalized in New York, all three of these companies are likely to move into the market quickly. The competition among them should lead to better World Cup betting offers for customers and great bonuses.

Popular bets for World Cup

There are all sorts of bets you can make on the World Cup — everything from single-game bets to ones that span the whole tournament. Here are some of the most common options:


Futures bets are quite typical on the World Cup and especially popular among gamblers who want to try their hand at getting some higher returns. Futures bets are wagers with a longer time frame than just the next game.

The most common World Cup futures bet is definitely on which team will win the tourney, and this is a bet that is often available years in advance. In fact, as soon as the World Cup has wrapped up, the odds for the next tournament often become available. For savvy gamblers who are looking to get the best odds on their team of choice, this can often be a time when those odds are available.

Other futures include choosing who will lead the tournament in goals, as there are many different options, and thus the returns can be very good.

Single-game bets

Single-game bets may be the most popular wager for the World Cup as they are straightforward and easy to learn. The most common single-game bet is the moneyline bet, which is just a choice on which team will win the game.

Be careful if you have never bet on soccer before, as there is usually a draw option, which means that your bet will not push if the game finishes in a tie. Over/under bets are another common one, as every game has a line set for the combined goal total for the two teams. Betting that the game will go over or under this posted number is very common and a fun way to follow along with the game while not choosing a team.

Prop bets

Prop bets include ways to gamble on the smaller contests within the game. Common examples of prop betting include the timing of the first goal, the total corners or cards handed out and player-based specials such as the person to score a goal or record an assist.

Live betting on the World Cup

Live betting is an exciting way for gamblers to get in on the action mid-game and add a little more excitement. Live betting involves wagering on matches as they are in progress and is best done from an electronic device for the ease compared to physical wagering.

If you do not wish to gamble from an electronic device, or online sportsbooks are not legal in your state, then traveling to physical locations to make a live bet is possible, just less than ideal compared to online sports betting.

During the game, you can bet on almost anything that is available pregame — though the odds will be changing as events unfold — including the moneyline, the over/under and many prop bets. Because of the major momentum swings that happen in sports, live betting can offer you a chance to take advantage of those swings.

World Cup betting tips for beginners

For those looking to wager on the World Cup, here are a few betting tips to help you out:

1. Shop around for the best lines

As with most sports, various oddsmakers will have different odds for World Cup events, and the importance of making sure that you’re getting the best World Cup odds possible cannot be understated. The line differences can often be quite major, and not taking the time to shop around is severely limiting your potential profits.

2. Be careful about backing your country

We all love our country and are sure to want to back it if it is in the tournament, but be careful. We can often overvalue our own team’s ability and then end up making a wager that we should not have.

3. Trust yourself

When it comes to sports gambling, it can often be easy to follow what the experts think. However, sports are unpredictable, and the experts can be wrong. If you have a strong counter feeling, then don’t be afraid to follow it.

4. Study the groups closely

Knowing which teams are in which groups and the quality of the competition that they are going against can allow you to predict their path to the finals and have a better idea of the strength of the teams they will have to beat to get there. Not all roads are created equal.

World Cup history

The FIFA World Cup began in 1930 and has been held every four years since (except twice due to war) and is regarded as the greatest international soccer tournament in the world. Over the twenty-one tournaments that have occurred, only eight nations have won. Brazil has the most wins with five, one more than Germany and Italy.

Seventeen nations have hosted the tournament, including five that have hosted it twice, with the host decided by the FIFA governing body. It’s the most-watched sports tournament in the world, and the 2006 World Cup was watched by around one in nine people on the planet.

The tournament was much smaller in its first edition but has expanded over the years all the way up to the current 32 teams, and it looks as if it will potentially be moving to 48 teams in the future.

Players’ legacies have been built and destroyed in the World Cup. Mistakes are amplified on the largest stage, and one major slip-up can be remembered for a lifetime. On the other hand, a big performance by a player can entrench that person in history forever.

How does the World Cup format work?

While there are only 32 spots in the World Cup, over 210 teams start the qualification process. They all compete in qualification tournaments to earn one of those coveted spots.

Qualification tournaments are split across continents. Thus each nation plays against other nations for a predetermined number of spots. The number of spots each continent receives depends on the perceived strength of the countries that reside there. Thus Europe and South America receive many, while North America receives few.

After the teams have qualified, it’s time to make the groups. The teams are first arranged into four groups of eight and from there, divided into eight groups of four.

Once the tournament starts, there’s a three-game group stage before it moves into a single-elimination bracket. Two teams advance out of every group, which means that 16 teams advance to the single-elimination portion of the tournament. From there, the bracket works down until just two teams remain to battle it out in the championship.

Past World Cup winners

Here are the 10 most recent winners of the World Cup and which team they played:

YearWinnerOpponentFinal Score
2006ItalyFrance1-1 (5-3 penalties)
1994BrazilItaly0-0 (3-2 penalties)
1990West GermanyArgentina1-0
1986ArgentinaWest Germany3-2
1982ItalyWest Germany3-1