Biggest betting spree in history?

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Gambling experts say the World Cup, which kicks off Friday, is going to be a betting bonanza.

London-based Global Betting and Gaming Consultants projected a staggering $5 billion will be waged on the tournament worldwide.

As gamblers are making their decisions on their picks for the World Cup, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has offered up some odds.

"Just a few weeks ago, you could have backed the Dutch at 14/1 to finally win the World Cup. After the classy performances of Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder in the Champions League, and the return to fitness of key man Robin van Persie, it's now just 9/1 that the Netherlands will lift the trophy in Johannesburg on July 11," the bookmaker said in a release Friday.

Paddy Power said England has seen their odds drift after problems with form and injuries. The one-time 11/2 third favourites have been gradually drifting in the betting and are now 8/1 to reclaim the trophy they last won in 1966.

"As the tournament draws nearer more and more people are looking elsewhere for the eventual winners. Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Holland are now looking like the favourites ­ although that could all change if England get off to a flying start in South Africa," the bookmaker said.

But if you ask the fans, the clear choice for winning is Brazil. A new Reuters poll conducted by Ipsos and released Friday shows 31% of fans surveyed said Brazil would take it, which was a far higher percentage than the second favourite, Argentina, which had 9% of the vote. The rest of the top ten included Spain (8%), Germany (7%), Italy (6%), England (4%), France (3%) and both Portugal and Australia at 1%.

Most South African fans also chose Brazil to win, with the team garnering 34% of the vote from people in the host country.

The survey, which as conducted between May 12 and 21, was part of an online panel system in 24 countries. It has an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points for a sample of 1,000 and an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20 per country of what the + results would have been had the entire population of adults in that country had been polled.

For the results, only those respondents who follow the sport and residents of South Africa were questioned.

As for who fans think will be in the final and be runner-up, 14% said Brazil, while 11% said Germany, and 9% said Argentina.


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