The Confederations Cup is always a nice little insight for sports bettors a year ahead of the World Cup, and this time around both events are being hosted by Russia; another handy betting angle.
Eight teams will battle it out for honours. Russia automatically qualify as hosts, while Germany and Portugal will take their places in the event as World Cup and European Championship winners respectively.
That trio will be joined in the tournament, which will run from June 17 to July 2, by the winners of the other ‘confederation’ areas, so Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Mexico and Cameroon.
1. Confederations Cup - Russia 2017
The big news is that Brazil, who have won each of the last three editions of the Confederations Cup, will not be in Russia to defend their trophy. They missed their chance to take part after being bested by Chile and Mexico in the American confederation competitions.
Refreshingly, the format of the tournament is dead simple to understand. The eight teams will be split into two groups of four, with each side playing each other once. The top two from each group progress to the semi-finals, where a straightforward knockout stage ensues.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this tournament is considered something of a ‘second class’ event; unable to match the glitz and glamour of the World Cup or European Championships, or even the importance of the African Cup of Nations and Copa America to those involved.
But typically each country sends their best players to compete. At the 2013 contest, Fernando Torres won the golden boot, while the likes of Neymar, Sergio Ramos and Luis Suarez all played key roles for their nations. It typically is a case of the best team winning, rather than who has selected the strongest squad.
In the seven editions of the competition the South Americans have enjoyed a near monopoly with five wins (Brazil x4 and Mexico). Will that extend to this year’s edition too?
2. The Bookies Choice - Favourites
As you might expect given their status as reigning world champions, Germany are the bookmakers’ favourites for the Confederations Cup 2017 at odds of 1.95. The fact that the event is hosted in Europe would give them some kind of advantage you would fancy too.
But they showcased certain vulnerabilities at Euro 2016. They are without a quality central defensive partnership and a proven goalscorer in the number nine shirt, so perhaps they can be taken on.
Portugal are an interesting proposition at 4.00 – will Cristiano Ronaldo appear? – but one team who will certainly attract interest is Chile at 4.75.
The host nation has won the Confederations Cup three times in the past… so how about Russia at 9.50?
3. 2017 Confederations Cup Winner Betting Tips
With the Confederations Cup being played every four years, it is hard to get an accurate read on trends and patterns to follow for bettors. And with Brazil winning more than 50% of the editions, that makes it even harder!
We can discount a few teams from the running in this 2017 event straight away. Australia, New Zealand and Cameroon surely won’t win, while this is a Mexico team in transition at the moment and they are unlikely to take the honours. Russia, even as hosts, were terrible at Euro 2016, and there was nothing to suggest they are ready to shock the world.
So that leaves Germany, Portugal and Chile. Portugal, you fancy, rely very heavily on Ronaldo as their guiding light, and if he doesn’t make the trip to Russia – quite possible after another hard campaign – they would surely struggle.
Are Germany deserving of their tag as short price favourites? They are clearly a very talented side with outstanding pedigree in international tournaments, but there are a couple of gaping holes in their team at present.
Which leads us to Chile. The Copa America winners in 2015 had proceeded to the quarter finals of the World Cup a year earlier, where they lost on penalties to Brazil, and so this is a nation moving in the right direction as far as big tournament performances go.
A large number of their squad plays their club football in Europe – Claudio Bravo, Gary Medel, Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz, Alexis Sanchez and more – so we don’t need to worry about acclimatisation, and at odds of 4.75 quite simply the South Americans are the best value in the field.