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With the World Cup under way, even many causal soccer viewers have heard that Spain is the early tournament favorite. Serious fans can handicap group play and rattle off projected leading goal scorers. But it's unlikely that even the most diehard soccer supporter could give you the in-depth betting lines of British bookmaker Paddy Power.
Here are the odds you really need to know:
Who will Diego Maradona insult first?
Lest you think this is a joke, the conditions of the bet are clearly presented. The insulting must take place at an official news conference, and insults doled out before the tournament begins do not count. A referee/official for an Argentina match is the overwhelming 11-8 favorite. Host country South Africa comes in next at 2-1. The media (keep in mind this a man that once fired an air rifle at a group of journalists) rounds out the top three at 3-1.
What's the likelihood of Wayne Rooney stomping another guy in the groin?
According to Paddy Power, the odds "Rooney stamps someone's swingers" is 150-1. That's excellent value considering Rooney's history. Just ask Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo go topless?
It might have been unexpected when Brandi Chastain ripped off her jersey following the U.S. women's 1999 World Cup win, but when it comes to Ronaldo, the 7-4 odds say it's not unexpected. Bettors probably would've gotten better value on this wager, except that the Portuguese star received a yellow card a few months back for just such a goal celebration.
How many goals will teams wearing red give up in Moses Mabhida Stadium?
Seriously, you can bet on this. The red teams in question are Spain, Portugal and South Korea, and the collective over/under is 3.5. The real key for these red teams might not be how many goals they allow, but simply scoring enough to avoid shootouts. Why? A recent study found that goalkeepers wearing red save twice as many penalty kicks. Rules require a goalkeeper to wear a different colored jersey than his teammates'.
Maria Burns Ortiz is a Page 2 contributor and writes for ESPNSoccernet. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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