We are just days away from the 2023 Womens’ World Cup kicking off in Australia and New Zealand and it is shaping up to be a historic tournament for many reasons.
It’s the biggest ever edition of the tournament with a 32 teams competing for the first time and the field is headlined by joint-hosts Australia and New Zealand.
This is the first time a World Cup has been jointly hosted across two confederations with Australia representing Asia and New Zealand coming from Oceania.
While the futures markets are heavily favouring tournament heavyweights and two-time defending champions, the USA, there is still value to be found from the July 20 kickoff right through to the final a month later.
Read on for our best futures bets for the upcoming World Cup.
Teams: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland
Thanks to New Zealand earning the A1 spot in the draw as tournament co-hosts, there is a whole lot of intrigue in the race for the runner up spot in Group A.
Norway is the clear favourite in the market and deservedly so, with 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hererberg back in the mix after a five year absence from the national team, joining an already talented lineup, the Norwegians are tipped by many as a side ready to make an impact here.
Behind them it will be a two horse race between the Swiss and New Zealanders and the market is shading La Nati to progress.
However the gap between these sides is not as big as the respective prices would suggest, especially with the Swiss failing to win a game in 2023, drawing five and losing to Iceland.
Rounding out Group A is a side that is going to be a tougher out than some are giving them credit for, with the Philippines rolling out a few familiar faces to local fans.
Lead by coach Alen Stajcic, who was in charge of the Matildas up until his controversial sacking just before the 2019 World Cup, his record speaks for itself and he will have this side ready to compete.
There is no shortage of top level experience in his squad with a number featuring in the A-League Women’s comp including Angie Beard, Sarina Bolden and Jaclyn Sawicki as well as a number of players involved in clubs across Europe.
Asking them to progress out of this group is a step too far but do not be at all surprised if they cause some chaos with a surprise draw or even win.
PREDICTED ORDER: Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, Philippines
New Zealand to Qualify @ $2.10
Teams: Australia, Ireland, Nigeria, Canada
The expectations for an Australia senior national football team have never been higher as the Matildas are rated by many as a legitimate chance to win the whole thing.
While it won’t be easy for Tony Gustavsson’s squad, the emotion of playing at home could give them the extra boost they need in the big games.
Before worrying about the knockout stage however, they have to ensure they get through a tough group with Canada shaping up as their chief rivals.
Less than 12 months ago the Canadians came to these shores and knocked off the Australians twice, admittedly in a friendly setting though.
Working against the Canadian side however is the labour dispute that has disrupted their build up and while captain Christine Sinclair is confident a deal will be struck before their first match on July 21, it’s tough to imagine they will be firing on all cylinders early.
Ireland will be hoping to sneak through on the back of a strong defence, however they appear to be a step behind the Aussies and Canadians.
Then bringing up the rear of the group will be Nigeria and the world number 45 side did defeat New Zealand earlier this year, but their best (and possibly only) chance for a point will come when they face Ireland.
It’s not the biggest value bet to take but at least in the group stage, you have to like the Aussies chances of finishing on top, even if they don’t win all three of their games.
PREDICTED ORDER: Australia, Canada, Ireland, Nigeria
Australia to Win Group B @ $1.57
Teams: Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia, Japan
Some groups are going to be a lot easier to predict than others and this all set up for Spain to coast through in top spot.
Such is the confidence in La Roja, that they are $1.22 to win the group and are not even priced in the To Qualify market.
For the world number six, this tournament starts in the knockout phase.
Unfortunately from a competitive stand point, the race for second spot is unlikely to offer up a whole lot of intrigue either with Japan miles ahead of Zambia and Costa Rica.
If you fancy a bit of chaos, there is $4.00 available for Japan to surprise pretty much everyone and top the group but it’s not one that I’m willing to jump on.
PREDICTED ORDER: Spain, Japan, Costa Rica, Zambia
Teams: England, Haiti, Denmark, China
It’s the same story in Group D with England at an even shorter price to qualify for the Round of 16 in the D1 slot.
While they will be without captain Leah Williamson, there is no shortage of talent in this squad with the only non-domestically based players turning out for Barcelona (Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh) and Bayern Munich (Georgia Stanway).
There’s a reason the reigning European champions are the second favourites to win the entire tournament (at the time of publish) and this group should be a breeze, starting with a nice opportunity to lock in a healthy goal difference right off the bat against Haiti.
There’s plenty of recognisable players in the Danish squad and as long as they show up in their respective games against Haiti and China.
In the battle for third, it will likely come down to the Matchday 2 game between China and Haiti in Adelaide and whichever side is able to recover from their first up defeat.
Like Group C this is a good one to steer clear of with the value on the teams here residing in the later stages of the tournament.
PREDICTED ORDER: England, Denmark, China, Haiti
Teams: USA, Vietnam, Netherlands, Portugal
There’s just the one game that really matters in Group E and we will see it on August 27 in Wellington when the USA and Netherlands face off.
The two-time defending champions will be coming off a (likely) massive win over Vietnam first up, while the Dutch will ideally be coming off a win over a Portugal side that would love to offer up a first up shock.
However this Dutch side, even without one of the best players in the world Vivianne Miedema, is a proper heavyweight and will be cursing their luck that they drew Group E.
They lost the final in 2019 and will like their chances of returning to that stage if they can stun the Americans and top Group E.
It is not completely out of the question either with this all-conquering side coming to the end of that era with the likes of Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe potentially playing in their final World Cup (Rapinoe announced her retirement in the lead up to the tourmanent).
They are still the best team in the world but they will have their work cut out for them if they want to finish with a perfect group stage record.
If the Dutch odds were a little bit longer to win the group, it might be worth having a small play on them but at $3.60 the value just is not there.
PREDICTED ORDER: USA, Netherlands, Portugal, Vietnam
Teams: France, Jamaica, Brazil, Panama
Now we come to one of the few groups with some genuine intrigue over who is going to win.
France is on the sixth line of betting to win the whole tournament at $13 and there is the old rule in football that is applicable here, never count out the Brazilians at a World Cup.
The ninth ranked side in the world will feel like they are a great chance to not only win the group but make a deep run in the tournament and this group will be decided when France and Brazil meet in Brisbane on July 29.
With both nations chasing their first win in this tournament, that is every chance to be the best fixture in the group stage and a reunion in the Semi Finals is well and truly on the cards.
The group winner market is giving the edge to the French as the top seed in the group and it they look like they are in a better spot to boost their goal difference against Jamaica and Panama.
Neither of those two nations look like they are going to be offering up a whole lot of resistance and if the French put up big scores, which they should, they will be able to get away with a draw in that Brazilian game in Brisbane.
PREDICTED ORDER: France, Brazil, Jamaica, Panama
Brazil to Win Group F @ $1.50
Teams: Sweden, South Africa, Italy, Argentina
If this is your first Women’s World Cup then there are a few major differences between this and the men’s power structure that you need to know about before predicting Group G.
For starters, Sweden is one of the most competitive nations in the world, boasting a pair of third place finishes including in 2019, they are the runaway favourites in this group.
Italy is rolling out a team that is actually capable of qualifying for a 32-team World Cup and we only have to look back to 2019 to see just what they are capable of, defeating Australia and winning the group ahead of the Matildas and Brazilians.
They might not be in the tournament for a long time but they are going to cause some chaos.
Argentina’s team is not quite as talented as their world champion men, but they do present an unknown factor with many of their squad turning out in local and other South American leagues.
While that does potentially work in their favour when it comes to scouting, it’s tough to back them with any confidence.
Finally, we have South Africa who is a side that is not at the same level as the rest of the group and a point would be an achievement for them.
We’re going to tip Sweden and Italy to progress but avoid the market where the prices for that happening are very short.
PREDICTED ORDER: Sweden, Italy, Argentina, South Africa
Teams: Germany, Morocco, Colombia, South Korea
While the world rankings are hardly gospel, they do provide a decent barometer regarding the tiers in which teams sit heading into the tournament.
The Germans sit third in the rankings with South Korea 17th, Colombia 27th and Morocco 76th heading into the tournament.
It provides a decent explanation regarding why the Europeans are at $1.06 to win the group, but that’s not where the value lies in Group H.
South Korea might be one of the value plays in the group stage with their disciplined approach giving them a great chance of limiting the damage when they play the Germans, compared to a Colombian side that lost to France 5-2 back in April.
We will get an early guide on how this group is going to unfold with the two contenders for second spot facing off first up in Sydney on July 25.
In what is shaping up as a 50-50 proposition, the underdog South Koreans look like a worthwhile play.
PREDICTED ORDER: Germany, South Korea, Colombia, Morocco
South Korea to Qualify @ $2.00
PROJECTED ROUND OF 16 DRAW
Norway v Japan | USA v Italy | Spain v New Zealand | Sweden v Netherlands
Australia v Denmark | France v South Korea | England v Canada | Germany v Brazil
From 32 down to 16, the World Cup knockout stage promises plenty of drama and above is how it is projected based on the predicted group stage placings.
One half will chase down a Semi Final in Auckland, with the other on a path for a Semi Final in Sydney.
Japan will be a tough out for Norway in that Round of 16 match in Auckland, but the Norwegians are going to go into that game as favourites, which makes the $2.38 on offer for them to make the Quarter Finals well worth the value.
Getting this Dutch team at even money to make it to the final eight, but their emergence since first qualifying in 2015 is a sight to behold, and they have some damn good players leading the way.
Finally, the third play here is to take Brazil because… well it’s Brazil and they are going to produce something special for Marta’s final World Cup.
Brazil to Reach the Quarter Finals @ $1.80
Netherlands to Reach the Quarter Finals @ $2.00
Norway to Reach the Quarter Finals @ $2.38
PROJECTED QUARTER FINAL DRAW
Norway v USA | Spain v Netherlands
Australia v France | England v Brazil
Now comes the pick that has an admittedly slight green and gold tinge to it.
Were the tournament in Brazil, England, Germany or Canada, the easy pick would be to take France to end the Matildas’ run at the Quarter Final stage, however this is where the home crowd boost will give them the edge.
Australia will get to run the rule over France (and vice-versa) when they face off in the “send-off” match on July 14 and this is going to be the pick of the Quarter Finals.
Home teams tend to overperform at World Cups (Qatar excluded) and this is where the Matildas look like great value, to reach the Semi Finals at $3.20.
Elsewhere in the draw, if Norway finds a way past the USA they may well go on to win the whole thing, but the Americans are too strong to back against, and too short to actually back.
Spain and the Netherlands might need extra time to be separated but the edge remains with Spain and in the last Quarter Final, Brazil is more than capable of beating England (or Canada if there’s an earlier upset).
Spain to Reach the Semi Finals @ $2.10
Australia to Reach the Semi Finals @ $3.20
Brazil to Reach the Semi Finals @ $4.00
PROJECTED SEMI FINAL DRAW
USA v Spain | Australia v Brazil
Now comes the stage where you have to decide if you want to start to back the USA with $2.25 on offer for them to reach the final.
However Spain once again is the pick here, with their golden generation set up to deliver on their promise and I’m happy to take on the Americans here.
Then in Sydney, the Matildas will face Brazil in what is sure to be a blockbuster.
If you are hoping for the green and gold flavour to continue in the Semi Final stage… this may be a good time to stop reading because as good as this side is, at some point they are going to run out of steam.
Brazil has a clear path to the final and they are one of the few teams unlikely to be overawed by the stage with a very pro-Australian crowd.
Spain to Reach the Final @ $3.50
Brazil to Reach the Final @ $9.00
Name the Finalists: Brazil and Spain @ $26.00
PROJECTED WORLD CUP FINAL
Spain v Brazil
With Brazil likely emptying the tank to just reach the final, taking on a strong Spanish side might just be a step too far.
The Spanish are one of the best teams at the tournament and if they reach the final, they are going to put on a show.
Spain to Win the World Cup @ $5.50
However since this is the World Cup, why not include a couple of roughies in the mix as well.
Let’s start with my projected finalist, Brazil whose odds appear to be a touch over at $29 considering the quality in this squad.
Secondly the Norwegians are a lot better shot than their $51 quote suggests and if they can get through the Americans, that could easily provide the motivation to go on with it from there.
Brazil to Win the World Cup @ $29.00
Norway to Win the World Cup @ $51.00
And finally, it’s a home World Cup so we have to include this one, even if it is being written with one hand on the keyboard and a green and gold scarf in the other.
Australia to Win the World Cup @ $10.00