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World Cup: James Milton's betting tips

The World Cup is fast approaching and Racing Post football tipster James Milton has picked out his best bets in the key tournament markets.

James's selections includes tips on who will lift the trophy, which players can take the top-goalscorer and Golden Ball honours, and how far England can make it in Qatar.

WhatWorld Cup
When20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown live on either the BBC or ITV
Odds Brazil 4/1, Argentina 11/2, France 6/1, England 8/1, Spain 17/2

Squad depth makes Portugal big runners in Qatar

The World Cup betting suggests the trophy is heading to South America with Brazil 4/1 and Argentina 11/2 leading the way despite the fact that the tournament has been dominated by European teams recently.

Since Brazil's 2002 triumph, Italy, Spain, Germany and France have been crowned world champions and all four semi-finalists in Russia in 2018 were from Europe as Les Bleus beat Belgium and Croatia edged past England.

The South American giants have to be respected after impressive qualification campaigns and rock-solid international form but they look short enough.

France, 6/1 to retain their title, and 8/1 England had dismal 2022/23 Nations League campaigns which suggested the pair may have gone a little stale under cautious managers Didier Deschamps and Gareth Southgate.

Spain played some lovely football on their way to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 but their lack of a top-class striker may mean they come up short again and preference is for their neighbours, Portugal, at 14/1.

Long-serving coach Fernando Santos led Portugal to glory at Euro 2016 and his 2022 squad looks far stronger than the one who won the European Championships.

Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo are some of the Premier League's top talents while youngsters Vitinha and Nuno Mendes have established themselves at Paris St-Germain and winger Rafael Leao helped AC Milan win the Scudetto last season.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be desperate to sign off his World Cup career in style and Portugal's blend of youth and experience gives them a great chance of seeing off Group H rivals Uruguay, Ghana and South Korea and going deep into the tournament.

Argentina ace could eclipse main man Messi

WhatTop Goalscorer, World Cup 2022
When20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown live on either the BBC or ITV
Odds Harry Kane 7/1, Kylian Mbappe 9/1, Junior Neymar 12/1, Karim Benzema 12/1, Lionel Messi 12/1

England's Harry Kane is 7/1 to be top goalscorer at the World Cup, as he was in Russia four years ago, but the Three Lions seem to have lost their attacking mojo this year.

A big-priced alternative at 33/1 is Argentina's Lautaro Martinez, who has scored 21 goals in his first 40 international appearances and looks set to start at centre-forward for the highly-rated Albiceleste.

Martinez finished just one goal behind teammate Lionel Messi and Colombia's Luis Diaz at the 2021 Copa America, scored 21 goals in 28 Serie A starts for Inter Milan last season, and has made a bright start to the 2022/23 season.

Fernandes worth backing to strike gold at finals

WhatGolden Ball, World Cup 2022
When20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown live on either the BBC or ITV
Odds Kylian Mbappe 10/1, Lionel Messi 10/1, Karim Benzema 12/1, Junior Neymar 12/1, Harry Kane 14/1

The Golden Ball betting for the player of the tournament is dominated by some of the leading contenders to be top goalscorer including Messi, Kane and France duo Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema.

However, Croatia playmaker Luka Modric won the award at the 2018 World Cup and Fifa's technical committee could be charmed by the performances of Portugal's Bruno Fernandes in Qatar.

Fernandes, 28, has become increasingly influential for Manchester United under Erik ten Hag, overshadowing his illustrious compatriot Ronaldo at Old Trafford, and at 50/1 he is worth a bet to pick up the Golden Ball.

He scored both goals in the playoff final victory over North Macedonia and should play a significant role in an exciting Portugal side.

Three Lions may struggle to match Euros effort

WhatStage of Elimination - England, World Cup 2022
When20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown live on either the BBC or ITV
Odds Group Stage 8/1, Last 16 3/1, Quarter-Finals 2/1, Semi-Finals 4/1, Runner-up 7/1, To Win Outright 8/1

After reaching the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties, England are rated serious trophy contenders in Qatar at 8/1.

However, enthusiasm about the Three Lions chances has been tempered by a winless 2022/23 Nations League campaign in which they lost at home and away to Hungary and scored just twice from open play in six games.

They have an excellent draw and are 1/3 to win Group B in which they face the USA, Wales and Iran and the betting suggests they would face Senegal in a winnable last-16 tie.

However, France, Denmark or even Argentina could lie in wait in the last eight so the 2/1 that England are eliminated at the quarter-final stage looks the best bet.

Danes look a great bet to upset world champions

WhatGroup D, World Cup 2022
When20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown live on either the BBC or ITV
Odds France 2/5, Denmark 11/4, Australia 14/1, Tunisia 16/1


The best group bet may come in Group D as defending champions France have had a difficult build-up to the World Cup 2022 and are well worth opposing at 2/5 to win the section.

Les Bleus are up against a progressive Denmark side who beat them at home and away during the 2022/23 Nations League campaign and reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020.

Kasper Hjulmand's side cantered through World Cup qualifying, winning nine of their 10 matches, scoring 30 goals and conceding just three, and the 11/4 shots have little to fear from section outsiders Australia and Tunisia.

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