Bias in World Cub odds?

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Bias in World Cub odds?

A common concept we often discuss is: the more fans a team have, the more people who will be inclined to bet on the team, and thus the market builds in a bias for that team . . . meaning that fading that team offers value.

For example, the Steelers have many more fans than the Browns - so the value is on the Browns because of all the Steelers bettors (fans) affecting the market.

An article by political pollster Nate Silver discusses that the same concept between World Cub countries.

But here's the question . . . is there any American sport with a bigger difference in fan support than the difference between (for example) Uruguay and Brazil? The sheer difference in population would seem to make the difference drastic (not to mention the disparate level of passion in the fan base).

If the difference is bigger, then it would seem the World Cup may offer value by simple betting on the teams with the least fans.

In the NFL, for example, I would say the team with the least fans vs. the team with the most fans is a significantly smaller difference than Uruguay vs. Brazil.

In college sports, I'm not so sure . . . the lopsided ratio between Notre Dame and Utah State (for example) would seem similar. (So does that mean fading the least popular teams offers more value in CFB than NFL?)

Lastly, consider that a team's number of fans has a multiplier effect, in that a team that is "marque" not only has more fans, but also receives more press coverage (which results in more non-fans betting the marque team).

CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION! . . . I'd like to hear your answers to my questions (and new questions that I overlooked) . . .  


  • In the case of England this would hold true.. Not a dominant team on paper and have not advanced two the second round in 3-4 of the past world cups, but yet they were favored heavily over the US. Ivory Coast a similar story, but is that perception/ HYPE or the fan base or some combination?????

  • I agree there our many factors that contribute to line bias (and you do a good job mentioning some of them) - but my point is that the size (and fan base) of the World Cup countries may be a big factor than in other sports.

  • Also,  one point you forgot to mention as the team begins to win lets say in football a 3 - 4 game win streak would increase the number of fans thereby lowering their favorable odds. Wrong!!!! The wins and exceeding the oddsmaker's expectations combined with more money on the team with the win streak caused the line movement not the fans. The ups and downs or the ebs and flows in previous discussions always impact the odds and are a greater factor than a fan base. Even the biggest Cowboy fan would slow his bets if he say the Cowboys lose 3-4 in a row.

  • Population is outweighed by the sheer popularity or how the public perceives a team... You have to equate Brazil to Jordan and the Bulls as people will just bet them no what country they are from. This year's Brazil team is a lot younger as is Germany, so there is/was  value on them.  Both teams will always get the bulk of the money due long running records. To equate odds to population of a country is meaningless or else teams fade USA & Japan