World Cup 2018 Specials Betting: Individual Propositions

Attention! Actual odds referenced are correct at time of publishing at 12:32 pm May 28, 2018 and are subject to change.

At any major tournament the bookmakers will release a series of special markets but naturally, when the World Cup comes along there will be more choice than ever. Among those markets are bets that are tailored to individual players and like most options, there is the potential for some serious value for those that make the right call.

The Golden Boot betting for the tournament’s leading goal scorer is likely to be the most popular and we’ve covered that in full elsewhere but aside from that obvious punt, there are some slightly more obscure bets relating to individuals that we’ll look at in more detail now.

Golden Ball Betting

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior

The Golden Ball is awarded at the end of every World Cup to the person who, in the judges’ opinion, has been the best player across the tournament. There is potential for value in this because, the award doesn’t always go to the most obvious candidate and since 1986, the Golden Ball winner hasn’t actually played for the team that lifted the trophy.

Four years ago in Brazil, Lionel Messi won the award although most TV pundits agreed that the Argentinian had a poor tournament. For 2018, Messi is highly fancied again as the best-priced 9/1 second favourite with BetFred.

Brazil’s Neymar starts as favourite at 8/1 with William Hill but many punters will be interested in the price of 16/1 next to the name of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Those numbers come from Sky Bet and Coral amongst others while additional names include Antoine Griezmann at 17/1 with Unibet and Gabriel Jesus at 25/1 with William Hill.

Golden Glove Betting

As the name suggests, the Golden Glove is awarded to the best goalkeeper of the tournament. It’s decided by FIFA’s technical panel and doesn’t necessarily go to the stopper who concedes the fewest goals. Like the Golden Ball, this award goes to the goalkeeper who the judges feel is the best overall and while this relies on individual opinion, there haven’t been too many surprises here over the years.

On the last three occasions, the Golden Glove has gone to the player whose team has won the tournament and back in 2014, it was therefore handed to Germany’s Manuel Neuer. Neuer is the favourite once again and in a restricted market where a number of bookmakers have yet to declare, he starts at odds of 7/2 with Sky Bet.

David De Gea is just marginally behind at 4/1 while Brazil’s Alisson is at 9/2. The market remains tight with Hugo Lloris at 5/1 and Thibaut Courtois at 7/1 before we move out to England’s Jordan Pickford at 16/1. Once again, all of those prices are with Sky Bet.

Looking at the market, Neuer looks to be a worthy favourite and we do need our selection to go deep into the tournament in order to win the Golden Glove. Of the longer prices, both Lloris and Courtois have enjoyed strong seasons with their respective English Premier League sides so, if we do get a marginal outsider coming through, it could be one of those two men.

Best Young Player

In contrast to the other options listed above, this is a very new award which was first announced in 2006 when Germany’s Lukas Podolski came through to be named the World Cup’s best young player.

Germany were represented again four years later when Thomas Muller took the award before Paul Pogba of France claimed it in 2014.Unfortunately, it’s not heavily supported by the bookmakers and there is no market for 2018 at the time of writing but if that changes, we will bring you the latest odds as they land.

Request a Bet

Harry Kane

An increasing number of bookmakers are getting involved in ‘Request a Bet’ where the customer suggests an unusual single or multiple and asks the operator to price it up for them. Sky Bet are one of the more active bookies here and on their World Cup page they already list a number of options in this category.

Currently included in the Player Specials is Raheem Sterling to score more goals than Harry Kane at 3/1 and Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Neymar to score three goals or more at 5/1.

There are lots more available and you can also make your own suggestions to the Sky Bet team who will price them up before you decide whether or not to get involved. Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral are among the other bookies who offer Request a Bet facilities.

Penalty Shootouts

While teams stand together in any penalty shootout, ultimately it all comes down to two players – kicker versus keeper – and that’s why we’ve included this bet in the individuals section.

With this bet, we are simply looking to bet on the number of penalty shootouts we expect to see at Russia 2018 from the start of the knockout rounds right through to the final. Four years ago in 2014, we saw four shootouts across the tournament so what are the bookmakers expecting this time around?

Sky Bet have published a full set of prices in another market where bookmakers have been slow to get involved and they have the favourite down as 2-3 games which is quoted at 10/11. For 0-1 matches, the price is 6/4 and then, if we get a repeat of 2014 with 4-5 matches going to penalties, the odds are a generous 11/2.

Finally, for 6 or more games, the figure is 28/1. In total, there is the potential for 16 matches to end with a penalty shootout at Russia 2018.


Cristiano Ronaldo

Our first suggested bet is for Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Golden Ball for best player at Russia 2018. As we’ve seen with those stats, we don’t need our winner to play for the tournament’s best side and as he has won the FIFA Ballon D’Or on no fewer than five occasions, he’s clearly a favourite of the game’s governing body.

Portugal are the reigning European Champions and they should hang around long enough for CR7 to impress and deliver a profit.

That’s a long priced tip at 16/1 so for our second suggestion we’re going with a favourite by backing Manuel Neuer to win the Golden Glove. The Germans are our preferred team in the outright winner markets and another impressive campaign for their keeper would see him win this for the second tournament in succession.

Lastly, we’re opting for a similar outcome to 2014 by predicting 4-5 games to go to penalties. That would require one in four to go beyond extra time and that seems like an average figure in cagey knockout games and it comes with a generous price of 11/2.

Best Bets:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Golden Ball at 16/1 with Coral
  • Manuel Neuer to win the Golden Glove at 7/2 with Sky Bet
  • 4-5 Games to go to Penalties at 11/2 with Sky Bet
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