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) . . .