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When to back a draw in World Cup games?

When it comes to backing a draw, you need an extraordinary amount of discipline. Indeed, most of the time, the lure of backing a win or loss almost always gets the better of punters. After all, draws are, by their very nature, games where neither side can typically gain an advantage which leads to a stalemate; an outcome that no one wants.

Put another way, punters can be forgiven for opting for an outcome that provides a lot more entertainment. Having said that, the reality is that for all their dullness, draws are full of value. Ultimately, it’s all about knowing when they’re likely to happen.

Looking out for a draw

There are a few telltale signs to look out for when deciding which option to back. Naturally, there are times when it’s probably better to avoid betting on a draw at the World Cup, this is especially the case if a team has a striker who seemingly can’t stop scoring. It’s always helpful to keep an eye on the latest World Cup Golden Boot odds when trying to figure out who is in red-hot form going into a game. Notably, Tottenham Hotspurs’ Richarlison is currently one of the outright favourite at odds of 15/2 to leave the Middle East with his maiden Golden Boot, which is why as things stand, it may be best to back the Brazilians to win their games in 2022.

During other times, however, there are other revealing factors to take into account when assessing the chances of a draw.

The head-to-head record between nations at the World Cup

One such time when a draw was on the cards was the Group B game between England and the USA in Qatar. At the time, the England vs USA odds priced a draw at 3/1 whilst the most popular bet, a win for England, was set at odds of 1/2.

As we now know, neither side could gain the upper hand and the match ended 0-0 after 90 minutes at the Al-Bayt Stadium. For all of the uproar in England about Gareth Southgate’s negative tactics and apparent insistence on holding back the country’s best players, the truth was that a draw was always the most likely result in Qatar.

To start with, England had previously never managed to win a World Cup game against the USA. Going back, the last time they met was in the 2010 World Cup when they drew 1-1 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in South Africa. Admittedly, it was a game that few will think back fondly of owing to the lack of quality on display, although it should be said that one man who will never be able to forget it, try as he might, is Three Lions goalkeeper Robert Green whose mistake led to Clint Dempsey’s equalizer.

It was a costly error and set the tone for any other future match between the two nations in the World Cup with a lack of quality again being the most prominent feature during their most recent encounter in Qatar.

The wider point here is that history can often give us a reliable indication as to when draws are likely to happen owing to the fact that when two teams meet who haven’t been able to get the better of each other in the past, draws normally follow.

World Cup stage fright

On top of being aware of the head-to-head record between two teams, punters should also look to back draws in a World Cup game when the knockout rounds begin, this is especially the case in the quarters and semi-finals. The reason is simple: with so much on the line, neither team wants to put a foot wrong and therefore the game turns into a cagey affair.

This was the case in 2018 when England could only manage a 1-1 draw against Croatia after 90 minutes of football at the Luzhniki Stadium, only for Ivan Perisic to break the deadlock in the 109th minute to send his nation to the final. Again, this trend of draws in semi-finals can be observed, this time in 2014 when the Netherlands and Argentina played to a 0-0 draw in Sao Paulo before the Argnetinains won the tie on penalties. In short, when the pressure is turned up, quality is often in short supply.

The tension that these fixtures inevitably bring, on top of the discussed head-to-head history between two nations, will help shine a significant amount of light on the likelihood of a draw in a World Cup game.