It’s almost time for World Cup soccer.
We are just over one week away from kickoff of the opening 2022 World Cup match between Ecuador and host nation Qatar at Al Bayt Stadium.
That will be just the first of 64 games in Qatar to determine the top squad in world soccer.
So who is the pre-tournament favorite to take home the sport’s most prestigious trophy?
Brazil, which received the No. 1 FIFA ranking last month, enters the World Cup as the favorite to win the tournament +400, according to our partner, PointsBet.
Coming off a quarterfinal loss to Belgium in 2018, the Brazilians are absolutely loaded with star power. The roster is obviously headlined by PSG forward Neymar, but Brazil also boasts Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, Manchester United midfielder Casemiro, Tottenham forward Richarlison, Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus and Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr., among several other big names.
Argentina, led by soccer legend Lionel Messi, has the second-best World Cup odds at +550. The Argentinians, who were bounced in the 2018 Round of 16 by eventual champion France, are looking to hoist their first World Cup trophy since 1986.
Speaking of France, the defending champs come in behind Argentina with +650 odds. Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Co. will be trying to become the first team to successfully defend a World Cup title since Brazil in 1962.
England and Spain are tied for the fourth-best odds at +400.
Here’s a full look at the World Cup favorites:
Oddsmakers see these eight teams finishing atop their respective groups:
Group A: Netherlands (-223)
Group B: England (-304)
Group C: Argentina (-250)
Group D: France (-228)
Group E: Spain (-112)
Group F: Belgium (-150)
Group G: Brazil (-304)
Group H: Portugal (-140)
The United States men’s national team, making its first World Cup appearance since 2014, has the second-best odds of winning its group. The Americans are +550 to finish atop Group B, which trails England (-304) and leads Wales (+600) and Iran (+1800).
The USMNT’s odds to win the World Cup, however, are much longer. The U.S. is tied with Mexico and Poland for the 16th-longest odds at +15000. The Americans have never made it to a World Cup final, let alone winning the whole tournament.
Could it be two Golden Boots in as many World Cups for Harry Kane? After leading the 2018 World Cup with six goals, the Tottenham striker is the favorite to claim the Golden Boot once again at +700.
Kane has a slight edge over Mbappe, who’s listed at +800. Mbappe netted four goals during France’s 2018 World Cup run, tied for second-most in the tournament.
Fellow Frenchman Benzema, Messi and Neymar, all of whom have +1200 odds, round out the top five Golden Boot favorites. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is in sixth at +1600.
USMNT star Cristian Pulisic is a longshot to win the Golden Boot in his World Cup debut with +10000 odds.
Here’s a full look at the leading candidates for the award:
Harry Kane, England: +700
Kylian Mbappe, France: +800
Karim Benzema, France: +1200
Lionel Messi, Argentina: +1200
Neymar, Brazil: +1200
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal: +1600
Romelu Lukaku, Belgium: +2000
Memphis Depay, Netherlands: +2500
Vinicius Jr., Brazil: +2500
Lautaro Martinez, Argentina: +2500
Gabriel Jesus, Brazil: +2800
Richarlison, Brazil: +2800
Editor’s note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.
Here are the favorites to win the World Cup, Golden Boot in Qatar – NBC Sports