The World Cup is always a huge betting event, with punters and sports fans around the world making numerous predictions ahead of the tournament. There are always plenty of ante-post markets priced up ahead of the event as well as hundreds of options for each and every match throughout the competition.
Betting on the World Cup is always an enjoyable experience but it can also be life-changing for some punters who have somehow managed to land audacious wagers during recent tournaments and profited from some wonderful foresight.
2014 World Cup: Brazil 1-7 Germany
Very few punters would have predicted this surprise scoreline in the semi-final of the World Cup 2014, however, one lucky bettor in Essex was able to profit from Germany's demolition of the hosts.
They took odds of 500/1 on a 7-1 scoreline and their £5 bet returned the handsome sum of £2,505 – not a bad night's work. Very few would have predicted Brazil's demise at Belo Horizonte on 8th July, with the shock outcome leaving thousands of home fans aghast at their side's inept performance.
Toni Kroos was man of the match and netted twice during the 90 minutes with 82 savvy punters taking 80/1 on the midfielder to net two or more goals in the game. A £20 bet in Shropshire landed £1,620 for one bettor who will have been toasting Joachim Low's side's efficiency in the final third.
There was also a near miss with one fan taking odds of 1000/1 on a 7-0 scoreline which was scuppered by Oscar's late consolation for the Selecao. Brazil have since undergone a major overhaul and coach Tite has done a magnificent job restoring confidence back into the side.
Brazil are joint-favourites at 19/4 with Germany in 888sport's World Cup outright betting markets and the pair are likely to command a large number of bets ahead of the tournament. If the two dominant forces meet in the final, there will be many people having a small-stakes play on the 7-1 scoreline once again.
Luis Suarez Biting An Opponent
Luis Suarez's moment of madness in the 2014 World Cup may have evoked disbelief from the majority of fans but it prompted mass celebrations in Norway. One firm were offering punters 175/1 for the fiery Uruguayan striker to bite an opponent during the tournament and 167 bettors decided to snap it up.
Suarez's misdemeanour wasn't his first brush with controversy and once he sunk his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini, several Norwegian punters were able to start counting their cash. One winner took to social media to show off his winning betting slip, which netted him the equivalent of $916 USD for a $5 bet.
Suarez will feature at the tournament again in 2018 with his side drawn in Group A alongside hosts Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Uruguay are a 6/5 chance to top the group and the Barcelona forward will team up with the prolific Edison Cavani - a 20/1 shot to finish as the top goalscorer this summer.
Many punters love a pre-season multiple bet, with fans aiming to predict the winner of each division or perhaps even the top goalscorer for the season. In 2014, one bettor decided that predicting the outcome of four leagues wasn't enough of a challenge and combined his selections with Germany to triumph in Brazil.
Betting on the World Cup winner is a hugely popular way of keeping an interest throughout the tournament; however, this market is rarely combined with domestic selections.
After seeing Real Madrid wrap up the Champions League, Manchester City finish top of the Premier League, QPR secure promotion back to the top flight and Wolves make light work of League One, his attentions turned to Joachim Low's side.
Following Germany's 7-1 destruction of hosts Brazil, only Argentina stood between the punter and £83,000. Luckily, they prevailed with a narrow 1-0 win and the huge prize was collected but it can't have been an easy 90 minutes for the bettor in question who had staked £100 on the five-fold.
Although not a bet of any monetary value, French weather forecaster Doria Tillier promised viewers that she would strip off and present the weather completely naked if France were able to qualify for the World Cup 2014.
Les Bleus had been less than convincing under Didier Deschamps and required a play-off in order to secure their place at the tournament in Brazil and with Ukraine leading 2-0 from the first leg, Tillier wasn't confident that her side would turn things around.
She suggested that there was no way France would score three times and overturn the deficit but Didier Deschamps' men had other ideas. A 3-0 victory with goals from Mamadou Sakho and Karim Benzema ensured Tillier was forced to stick to her promise and there was a huge spike in TV viewing figures the following evening.
Deschamps' men qualified in a straightforward fashion for Russia 2018 and Les Bleus are priced at 11/2 to win the tournament this time around.
Good Fortune In Qualifiers
There have been many memorable results across the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, although for most football fans, Armenia 3-2 Montenegro isn't one that is likely to stick in the mind. However, for one punter in Coventry, it is unlikely to ever be forgotten.
The bettor placed a multiple bet that featured 11 selections across two days. Using the Match Result and Over 2.5 Goals market, he saw Denmark, Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic get his bet off to a solid start, although there was one game that wasn't going according to plan.
Armenia had been tipped to clinch victory over Montenegro, but unfortunately, they got off to a sluggish start and found themselves 2-0 down with 38 minutes on the clock. Armenia pulled a goal back through Artak Grigoryan just after halftime to reduce the deficit but it still appeared to be a huge ask.
A 74th-minute strike levelled matters and suddenly it was looking much rosier for 11-fold. Nobody could be blamed for writing off the wager whilst also cursing their luck as the clock ticked into injury time, but a 93rd-minute winner from Gevorg Ghazaryan prompted mass celebration both inside the stadium and in one household in Coventry.
The punter took odds of 820,728/1, scooping around £205,000 for his 25p bet. Betting of the World Cup qualifiers was hugely profitable in this instance but it was far from plain sailing for the small stakes punter.
Wales narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2014 World Cup, yet 62-year-old Peter Edwards didn't seem to mind too much. The grandfather of young Liverpool midfielder Harry Wilson netted £125,000 from a £50 bet, which he struck when his grandson was just 12 years old.
Edwards took odds of 2,500/1 on the youngster to one day play for Wales and the 16-year-old made his debut from the bench during his side's World Cup Qualifier against Belgium on the October 15, 2013.
Not only did Wilson's appearance net his grandfather an eye-watering sum of money but it also secured him a place in the record books with the teenager becoming the youngest player to ever feature for Wales.
Belgium had already clinched their place at the World Cup by this stage and have once again qualified with ease for the tournament. They are likely to be amongst the most popular bets on World Cup 2018 and Roberto Martinez's side are currently priced at 5/1 to reach final.
The 2018 World Cup is likely to throw up yet more drama and plenty of unexpected results with punters hoping to capitalise on the often unpredictable nature of the tournament. There are likely to be numerous ambitious and potentially ludicrous bets placed ahead of the 2018 competition getting underway in Moscow with punters already casting their eyes towards the numerous betting markets priced up ahead of the event.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*