World Cup prop betting kicks off with hundreds of unique wagers
Handicapping and betting on the World Cup is serious business and experts predict billions will be wagered in Brazil this summer.
But while there are plenty of betting options for the serious bettor, there are also some fun prop bets available for anyone from the casual fan looking to have something to root for.
So whether it's serious odds on the outcome of the Brazil vs Croatia matchup to open the tournament or more gimmicky odds on which Real Madrid player will score the most goals for his country, there is something for everyone.
Here's a look at some of those random prop bets.
Total Tournament Own Goals
There is no greater embarrassment in soccer than to be credited with an own goal, a goal that a player is directly responsible for putting past his own 'keeper.
The embarrassment is magnified in the World Cup when the entire world is watching your every move. In 2010 there were only two own goals scored, down from four in 2006.
In what is expected to be an offense-driven World Cup this year, the total is set at 3.5 own goals, with the Over at -130 and the Under at +100. The World Cup record for own goals recorded came in 1998 when six were registered.
Total Tournament Red Cards
When the referee raises a red card into the air, it totally changes the complexion of a game as the guilty player is kicked out of the match and his side must play one man short for the duration of the match.
There were 17 red cards handed out in the 2010 World Cup, down from 27 back in 2006. Oddsmakers have set the line for this year's World Cup at Over 17.5 red cards. The number also landed on 17 red cards in 2002.
Total Tournament Converted and Missed Penalties
In the same way that a red card can completely change a game, an infraction in the box leading to a penalty is one of the most crucial plays in soccer.
In the 64 matches between the group and knockout stages, how many penalties will be converted, and how many penalties will be missed? In this prop bet, shootout penalties do count, so bettors must consider how many games they expect to go the distance into penalty kicks.
The total for converted penalties is set at 31.5, while the total for missed penalties is set at 11.5. Even the best players in the world feel the pressure under the bright lights in the World Cup.
Total Tournament Substitute Goals and Headed Goals
Every goal scored in the World Cup will have some significance, but the ones that usually grab the headlines are goals scored in spectacular fashion or goals scored by substitutes. Substitutes are usually brought in to try to score a late equalizer or go-ahead goal for their squad.
The total for goals scored by substitutes is set at 19.5. As for spectacular goals, some of the best are scored on headers on great pass and finish plays. The tournament total for headed goals is set at 30.5, with the Under favored at -125 over the Over (-105).
Real Madrid top scorer
Real Madrid won the prestigious Champions League trophy last month and send a huge contingent of players to Brazil. Which star from that club team will score the most goals for his national team?
It's a good question, and the odds are very close with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo favored over Frenchman Karim Benzema. There are also odds on the top scorer for some of Europe’s other marquee sides, such as Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona.
Cristiano Ronaldo 2/3
Karim Benzema 2/1
Angel Di Maria 10/1
Sami Khedira 20/1