Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic
- The World Cup final is Sunday.
- Croatia was +3500 to win the title before the tournament began.
- Bettors have three options to hedge their Croatia future bet.
The World Cup final is set. On Sunday (11 a.m. ET), France and Croatia will meet in Moscow with the title on the line. The French were among the favorites before the tournament began, but few imagined Croatia would reach the championship match.
The lucky few who did wager on the Vatreni might be looking to hedge. In fact, a number of our readers sent us emails asking (humble bragging) for the best strategies to ensure a profit. Here is a sampling of messages we received:
- $15 to win $525 on Croatia (+3500 odds) — Brian M.
- $200 to win $8,200 on Croatia (+4100 odds) — Michael Z.
There is no right answer, and the final decision is in your hands, but here are three ways to hedge your Croatia World Cup bet.
Les Bleus for the Win
France are a -215 favorite to win (5Dimes). When you remove the juice, the implied probability of a Les Bleus victory is 66%. Croatia were a bigger underdog against Argentina in group play, a match they won 3-0, but it is hard to imagine the Vatreni shocking Les Bleus in the same way.
Not only are the odds stacked against Croatia, but so is history. Since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1998, the biggest longshot to win the World Cup were Italy (+1000) in 2006. Croatia were +3500 or longer before the tournament began.
The simplest strategy to ensure a profit is to hedge by betting France to win. For example: If you wagered $10 on Croatia at +3500 odds, you could place a $215 wager on France to win (-215 odds). If Croatia are triumphant, you’d win $135 ($350 minus $215). If France wins their second World Cup, you’d profit $90 ($100 minus $10). Again, this is one option, but it is guaranteed to cash.
Mbappe to win Golden Ball
Kylian Mbappe has been compared to Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Pele. The 19-year-old striker for Paris Saint-Germain is the favorite (-110, 5Dimes) to win the Golden Ball, the MVP award of the World Cup.
Hedging your Croatia future ticket by wagering on Mbappe to win the Golden Ball is riskier than taking France straight-up, but at -110 odds you have to wager less, which increases your profits. For example: If you wagered $10 on Croatia at +3500 odds, you could place a $110 wager on Mbappe to win (-110 odds). If Croatia are successful, you’d win $240 ($350 minus $110). If France wins and we assume Mbappe is named tournament MVP, you’d take home $90 ($100 minus $10).
If you are going to hedge, I like this option the best. Mbappe is like Tom Brady. When the Patriots win the Super Bowl, TB12 takes home the MVP, just as the French striker would.
Your third hedging option is to not hedge at all. Bill Simmons opined on his podcast this week that hedging is for the weak — he used more colorful language, but his podcast occasionally touches on mature subjects.
Why should you sacrifice any profit when you are this close to a monster payday? Plus, the computer models give Croatia a better chance of winning than the betting markets.
What option will you take? Let us know, and good luck on Sunday!