10 World Cup bets that could make you rich

Still more than 20 days to go until the start of you-know-what, so let's take a look at some interesting long-range bets. Nothing like a cheeky little bet to keep things interesting/make you rich/ruin your day… (prices correct at time of publishing)

1 Carlos Tevez to win the Golden Boot 40-1 (generally)
Argentina are too strong to f**k up again, and I can see Tevez really making a name for himself in Germany. 40-1 is a very attractive price.

2 Group H to be highest-scoring group 8-1
(Stan James)
The bookies have Group H as only sixth-favourite in this market but I see a group containing Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia as one of the most open, goal-rich groups.

3 France to win World Cup 14-1 (Bet Direct)
France are some way behind Germany, Italy and England in the running, but don't forget they have a fired-up Thierry Henry in their side, not to mention a pool of experienced, world-class players like William Gallas, Lilian Thuram, Zinedine Zidane, David Trezeguet, Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele. I rate them as the strongest European nation going into Germany '06.

10 World Cup bets that could make you rich cont…

4 England vs Paraguay to finish goalless 13-2
(William Hill)
England are notoriously slow starters and Paraguay aren't exactly goal machines. I predict a cagey, frustrating match with no goals.

5 Wayne Rooney to play no minutes at the World Cup 5-4 (William Hill)
Really sticking my neck out here, but I really think Sven will be forced to accept Rooney's injury (no mattter how fast he's progressing) and bring in Jermain Defoe as a last-minute replacement. Just a hunch.

6 USA/Ghana to finish 1st/2nd in Group E 50-1 (Sky Bet)
Sounds crazy but why not stick a quid on? I really think Italy and Czech Republic are both too old and overrated - youth will prevail at this World Cup. The USA and Ghana have a realistic chance to cause a big upset and progress at the expense of the European superpowers. Nurse, the straitjacket please…

7 Steven Gerrard to be England's top scorer 8-1
Not a bad punt at all, given Sven's comments about playing Stevie G as a second striker. And he is in cracking form.

8 England to score under eight goals in the tournament 11-8
In 1990, England scored seven goals
In 1998, England scored seven goals
In 2002, England scored six goals
In 2006… England will score under eight goals, again

9 Brazil to score 4-5 World Cup goals 28-1/Brazil to score 2-3 World Cup goals 150-1 (Ladbrokes)
OK, this almost certainly won't happen, but Australia, Japan and Croatia are no mugs and will pull out all the stops against the tournament favourites. What's to say that Brazil won't be on the end of a huge shock this year? At 150-1 and 28-1, I'd be willing to stake 50p on each bet to find out.

10 Total World Cup goals to be under 154 6-4
(Stan James)
Defences are so well-organised these days, as the low-scoring Champions League proved.  There are 64 matches scheduled for this World Cup, so the average goal-per-game ratio would have to be higher than 2 for you to lose out - can't see that happening, cause there will surely be several 0-0s and several 1-0s.

As long as you gamble responsibly, you'll be fine… (nervous cough)