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World Cup: Liam Flin's betting tips

The first ever winter World Cup in Qatar is only a week away and there are plenty of ways to get involved from a betting perspective.

Here is a look at the best bets for the tournament winner, top goalscorer, Golden Ball, stage of England elimination and the group phase.

WhatWorld Cup
WhenSunday 20th November - Sunday 18th December
How to watchBBC / ITV
OddsBrazil 4/1, Argentina 11/2, France 6/1, England 8/1, Spain 17/2

Portugal the value to win a World Cup like no other

At the head of the World Cup outright betting are the usual suspects from five-time winners Brazil, who are 4/1 to lift the trophy, to defending champions France, who are 6/1 to win back-to-back tournaments.

But having been shoehorned into the middle of the European domestic season, this year's World Cup is likely to be affected by player fatigue more than any other and that could make for an unpredictable tournament.

With that in mind, punters may want to consider backing outsiders to win the 2022 World Cup and few make more appeal than Portugal at 14/1.

Only six years ago, Portugal were crowned Euro 2016 winners under the stewardship of Fernando Santos, who remains in the dugout and has a much better squad at his disposal heading to Qatar.

From back to front, the squad is loaded with big names from Joao Cancelo to Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota.

And while they are far from a one-man team nowadays, the influence of Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be ignored.

Ronaldo has been underwhelming for Manchester United this season but will be out to prove a point in Qatar, where he is set to feature in his final World Cup.

A group featuring South Korea, Ghana and Uruguay could throw up a couple of challenges but ultimately Portugal have enough quality to progress and represent great outright value at a double-figure price.

Look to Gakpo for each-way value

Harry Kane won the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia with six goals for England and is 7/1 to repeat the feat in Qatar.

But it remains to be seen how far Gareth Southgate's side will progress and they are in a tough section with USA, Wales and Iran - all teams who are likely to sit back against the Three Lions.

Indeed, the group stage can play a key role in the race for the Golden Boot and the Netherlands find themselves in one of the softer sections with hosts Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal.

They could rack up the goals in Group A and with that in mind, a real outsider in Cody Gakpo could represent terrific each-way value at 50/1.

Memphis Depay is the main man for the Dutch but has been out of favour at Barcelona, whereas Gakpo is on nine goals and 12 assists in the Eredivisie this season and has scored in two of his national team's last three matches.

Expect more magic from Messi in Qatar

The World Cup Golden Ball has typically been awarded to players approaching the ends of their careers in tournaments gone by with Diego Forlan and Luka Modric among its more recent recipients.

And, although he scooped the award as recently as 2014, Lionel Messi could be a decent bet at 10/1 to claim the accolade in Qatar.

At 11/2 in the outright betting, Argentina are expected to progress far under Lionel Scaloni and the award is typically given to players who reach at least the semi-final phase with their country.

Messi comes into the World Cup in great form for Paris Saint-Germain and was named player of the tournament at the 2021 Copa America.

Like Ronaldo, Messi will be playing in his last World Cup in Qatar and he will be determined to go out with a bang.

Three Lions could bow out prematurely

After decent showings in their last two major tournaments under Southgate, England head to Qatar with high expectations but it could be tougher than expected for the Three Lions.

Their group is not ideal - both Wales and USA will have added motivation playing against England and can be dangerous sides, while Iran are well-drilled and make themselves tough to break down, which is not great for an England team often criticised for failing to make the most of their attacking options.

They should, however, progress to the knockout stage and the round of 16 could represent value as their stage of elimination at 3/1.

England will likely face the Netherlands or Senegal in their first knockout match and both of those sides are capable of unsettling the Three Lions.

The Dutch performed well in the recent Nations League and have a strong spine of players from Virgil van Dijk to Frenkie de Jong to Depay and Gakpo up top, while Senegal can call on the likes of Eduoard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly and Sadio Mane - if fit - and are a more physical side than England.

Southgate's side benefited from a soft draw at the 2018 World Cup and played most of their games at Wembley at Euro 2020 and a shock last-16 exit should not be ruled out.

Anticipate Dutch dominance in Group A

A number of the groups at this year's World Cup could swing either way but the Netherlands should be fairly comfortable in Group A.

They get their toughest match out of the way first, playing Afcon champions Senegal on the second day of the tournament and, if they can squeeze past them, they should sweep aside Qatar and Ecuador with ease.

They finished their group at Euro 2020 with a 100 per cent record and again look a solid bet to win all three of their group matches at 9/4.

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