The FIFA World Cup is the biggest football tournament on the globe, with every international team striving to compete in the prestigious competition. In this World Cup Qualifiers betting guide, we’ve listed the best sites, the latest odds and have also provided our top tips to help sharpen your insights!
World Cup Qualifiers Betting Strategy
- Research – Always perform your research and consider certain factors before placing a bet. Which teams are in form? Which players are taking part in the match? Are key players missing for a certain team? There are a lot of factors that can influence a game on the field, so ensure you’re fully aware before putting down a stake on a World Cup qualifier.
- Value – Shop around for the best odds on the market. Follow our list of the best World Cup qualifiers betting sites to ensure you get the best prices. There may be minute differences between bookmakers, but even the slightest of variations can increase or decrease your potential profits.
- Promotions – Capitalise on the promotions offered by the best World Cup qualifiers betting sites – they will be eager to maintain their customer base even when the popular domestic leagues are not in action. There will be regular available offers, such as free bets and odds boosts during qualifying.
- Keep your eyes on the action – If you’re betting on teams or a specific side, it’s probably a good idea to watch the game(s) they’re playing. You might pick up useful knowledge to use in a live or future bet, based on what you’ve witnessed.
- Gamble responsibly – Only wager with money that you’re comfortable putting down as a stake. Have a set budget in mind and stick to it – you don’t want to be chasing wagers when betting on World Cup qualifying or any sports bet. Bookmakers have ways and means to place limits on your spending. Be mindful of those restrictions before considering a bet.
Top 5 World Cup Qualifiers Betting Sites
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Now that we’ve filled you in on the top bookmakers, we’ll dive into how the qualifying teams are selected, and when the qualifiers and playoffs take place. We’ll then take you through World Cup qualifiers betting markets and strategies, answer some FAQs, and finish off with our final say on betting on the qualifiers this year.
The qualifiers take place two years before the World Cup and sees teams competing to earn their place amongst the world’s best. If you want to learn more about the World Cup, we cover all you need to know in our exclusive World Cup guide.
World Cup Qualification Odds – UEFA
*Odds are subject to change.
UEFA Playoffs Path A
Wales took on Austria with team captain Gareth Bale producing two beautiful goals: one from a direct free kick, and another top-corner finish from open play. Wales forward Daniel James also had the chance to add 2 goals to his name, but was not able to convert the chances given to him. The team will now face the winners of the match between Ukraine and Scotland which will take place on 1st June 2022 in Hampden Park, Glasgow.
UEFA Playoffs Path B
Sweden and Czech Republic could not find the back of the net in regular time, despite a couple of very good chances for both sides towards the end of the match. Robin Quaison then broke the deadlock by slotting home the return ball after a quick 1-2 with Alexander Isak which got them into the box, sending Sweden into the final.
Poland's team was awarded a place in the final after Russia were disqualified following their country's invasion of Ukraine. The Swedes then faced Poland in the Path B final. Despite the former enjoying more than 60% of the possession, Poland found 2 goals through Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinski to make it through to the World Cup finals.
UEFA Playoffs Path C
In the semi-final, Portugal left it quite late to secure the victory and will be thanking Turkish veteran Burak Yilmaz for hitting the crossbar in a very important penalty towards the end of the 90 minutes. A goal at that time could have easily taken the match into extra-time, but it was not to be, with Portugal then going on to find a 94th minute goal to put the match away.
After North Macedonia surprised everyone by knocking out Italy with an injury-time goal in Palermo, they faced Portugal in the Path C final. Portugal then managed to do what Italy failed to, putting 2 goals past North Macedonia to qualify.
World Cup Qualifiers Associations
The World Cup Qualifiers are broken down into regions across the world, where governing bodies are given a select amount of spots for teams to earn their place in the competition.
As the governing body of European football, UEFA dictates which teams from the continent will represent the region at the World Cup. There are 55 teams from the confederation that are broken down into 10 groups, which includes five groups of six sides and five groups of five.
The teams compete over 10 rounds of fixtures to earn an automatic place in the World Cup or to advance to the playoffs, where they face further fixtures to battle for a spot in the ultimate tournament. France, Italy, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium are teams that routinely qualify for the tournament.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is the governing body of African football, with 54 teams that compete in three stages of qualifying. The first involves whittling down the nations to ensure that only 40 sides compete in the group stage, featuring 10 groups of four teams.
The top two from those sides from those groups advance to the final stage in a straight eliminator for a spot in the World Cup. Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt are recent examples of teams that have qualified from the region.
The AFC (the Asian Football Confederation) is the governing body of Asian football, covering a massive stretch of the world. At the start of the qualifying process, 46 teams have the chance to compete in the World Cup before only 12 remain for the group stage.
Once separated into two groups of six, the top two teams earn a spot in the World Cup, while the two third teams play out an eliminator before facing other regions in the world. Japan, Iran, South Korea and Australia are some of the leading nations from the region, with the Aussies recently shifting from the OFC to compete within the Asian confederation.
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football represents teams from North and Central America, along with the Caribbean. The confederation features 35 teams, with the top five sides from the region automatically seeded in a group before being joined by teams that have waded their way through eliminators in the first round.
The top three sides in the group advance to the World Cup before a fourth goes into another eliminator against another outfit from a different confederation. Mexico, the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are some of the teams that have featured in the competition.
The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) is the governing body of South American football. Only 10 nations compete in qualifiers in this region, and occurs via one large group. The top four outfits advance to the World Cup before the fifth side enters the inter-confederation playoffs. Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are some of the leading nations.
One of the smallest confederations in terms of size and prestige – with only one spot available for qualification taking teams only as far as the inter-confederation playoffs – OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) is the governing body of Oceanic Football. New Zealand are perhaps the most well-known side that have competed at the World Cup in recent times.
World Cup Qualifiers Breakdown
Only 32 teams will qualify for the 2022 World Cup following a process we've detailed below.
UEFA is catered for 13 teams to advance to the World Cup, separated into 10 groups. The winners of those 10 groups then earn an automatic spot in the World Cup.
There is still a chance for the runners-up, as they are pitted into the playoffs along with the best two UEFA Nations League winners that have not qualified. The teams are separated into three four-team brackets, with the three winners of the bracket earning a spot in the World Cup.
Till now, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland have all qualified as winners of the Qualifier Groups. Portugal and Poland have confirmed their places by winning their playoff finals against North Macedonia and Sweden respectively.
CAF is afforded five spots for the World Cup. Qualifying begins with teams ranked from 27-54 in the confederation facing off in a straight eliminator, with the 14 winners advancing to the second stage. The leading 26 teams join the fray in 10 groups of four. The winners of those groups advance to a knockout competition, with the five winners earning a spot in the World Cup.
In the knockout competition, Algeria crashed out thanks to a goal in the last minute of injury-time of extra-time from Cameroon's Toto Ekambi which meant Cameroon qualified by away goals. The clash between Senegal and Egypt ended in penalties once again and, after the first 4 penalties were missed (one of which was Mo Salah's), Senegal eventually won.
Ghana also made it through on away goals after a tense match with Nigeria. The match ended with Nigerian fans invading the ground after the final whistle and vandalising the substitute bench and anything they could get their hands on. Tunisia can thank Mali‘s Moussa Sissako as his own goal in the first leg wat the only one between the two sides. Morocco was the only team to cruise past its opposition as they eliminated DR Congo 5-1 on aggregate.
The 5 qualifying teams are Cameroon, Senegal, Morocco, Ghana and Tunisia in what can be considered as quite a dramatic end to the qualifying round.
AFC is only afforded five slots for World Cup qualifiers, with only four of those guaranteed. The 46 sides compete in knockout matches over the first two rounds before two groups of six are formed. The two top sides earn a spot in the World Cup before the two third-place teams face off in an eliminator contest to determine which side advances to the inter-confederation playoffs.
IR Iran and Korean Republic have already qualified as the top two of Group A, while Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia were all battling to finish in the top two of Group B and avoid the playoff matches. After all matches were played, Saudi Arabia and Japan finished on top while Australia finished 3rd. The Aussies will now face the United Arab Emirates in the direct match to book a place in the Inter-Confederation Playoffs.
CONCACAF has three slots available for guaranteed World Cup qualification, and one available through the inter-confederation playoffs. The top five sides in the region are guaranteed a spot in the group stage, with the rest having to battle to qualify for the second round. The top three sides in the group qualify for the World Cup before the final outfit must advance through the playoffs.
With the qualifying matches came to an end, Canada, Mexico and USA all confirmed their places at the World Cup Finals. Costa Rica will head to the Inter-Confederation Playoffs.
CONMEBOL has World Cup slots for four of the 10 sides in the region, and potentially a fifth through the inter-confederation playoffs. It is a simple process as the top four sides advance automatically into the World Cup after a series of group matches. The fifth faces off against a team from another region for their spot in the tournament.
OFC is not guaranteed a spot in the World Cup. The 11 teams in the region are split into two groups and battle it out to finish in the top two. The winners advance to a regional semi-final and then a final before the winner is granted entry into the inter-confederation playoffs.
The group stage started on the 17th of March and ended on the 24th of March. Solomon Islands faced Papua New Guinea while New Zealand faced Tahiti in the semi-finals. Solomon Islands won 3-2 while New Zealand managed to clinch a 1-0 win over Tahiti. New Zealand and Solomon Islands the faced each other in a final match which New Zealand won 5-0.
World Cup Qualifiers Dates
World Cup Qualifiers Playoffs
UEFA – March 2022
UEFA have their own playoff system to determine the final three places at the World Cup. The runners-up from the 10 groups are pitted against each other in the UEFA World Cup qualifiers playoffs, along with the winners of two UEFA Nations League that have not qualified. They are deployed in three paths made up of four-team brackets with two semi-finals and a final. The winners of the three respective path finals advance to the World Cup.
The teams facing each other in a single leg knockout are the following:
- Path A – Scotland or Ukraine will play Wales
- Path B – Poland vs Sweden – Poland won 2-0
- Path C – Portugal vs North Macedonia – Portugal won 2-0
In light of the recent developments in Ukraine, FIFA has chosen to ban Russia for all its competitions. This came after Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic (all the teams in Path B) stated that they would not play Russia, even if in a neutral location.
AFC – May 2022
The AFC have a two-team eliminator that takes place before inter-confederation playoffs. This eliminator sees the two sides that finished third in their respective groups (i.e. Australia and United Arab Emirates) compete in a straight shootout, with the winner earning the berth to compete in the inter-confederation playoffs.
FIFA World Cup Inter-Confederation Playoffs – June 2022
The final two spots for the World Cup are decided through the inter-confederation playoffs, featuring one team from the AFC, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and OFC confederations. The four teams are drawn into an eliminator against one opponent over a tie home and away. The winner of the tie advances through to the World Cup.
The AFC Forth Round Winner (Australia/UAE) will play the CONMEBOL 5th placed team (Peru), while the CONCACAF 4th placed team (Costa Rica) will face the OFC Final winner (New Zealand).
World Cup Qualifiers Betting Markets
The World Cup Qualifiers offer a great number of betting markets, found at the best football betting sites in the industry.
- Group Winners
This World Cup qualifiers betting market focuses on the teams that you believe will win their qualifying group, and is applicable to all relevant confederations.
Some confederations do not have qualifying groups, but an alternative market is available for a team to top their table. Value can be found using this wager across markets as qualifying can throw up interesting outcomes. Even the best teams are not infallible – Italy and the Netherlands notably failed to reach the 2018 World Cup.
- To Qualify
With this market, you back a team to qualify for the World Cup. Value can be hard to find for the leading outfits in the world, who qualify routinely for the competition. However, if you perform thorough research, you may be able to find the diamond in the rough that advances from long odds.
- Top Goalscorer
This market is usually split into the different confederations, although there will be betting sites that carry the market over the entire qualifying sections.
You can find value if you know your obscure players. Outsiders in Africa and Asia could be dark horses to lead the way, although there will be the obvious choices of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Harry Kane, and Kylian Mbappe.
- Match Betting
During World Cup qualifying, there are slates of matches that take place over a short period of time. You will have access to all your traditional bets on those games, such as result, over/under, goalscorer, cards, corners and correct score markets.
- Bet Builders
Bet builders are now one of the most common bets placed on football matches, and you will find them during World Cup qualifiers too. The best betting operators will allow you to stack up markets on an individual game into one accumulator wager – using result, over/under, goalscorer, cards, corners and correct score markets. It increases the value of a bet on one game, providing greater intrigue.
- Live Betting
Live betting is a staple of a quality bookmaker, and there should be ample markets for in-play wagering available on World Cup qualifiers across the world. All markets should be available for result, over/under, cards, and goalscorers, among others. The top bookies in the industry will cater for their live bettors with price boosts that are offered at different points during matches.
- Accumulator Betting
There are great opportunities for accumulator betting during World Cup qualifying rounds. There are a lot of matches played over a short period of time, with multiple options in a day or spread over the entire round itself across different time zones. It allows you to combine your result and over/under markets into one bet – either doubles, triples or multiples – to gain value.
- Accumulator Betting
World Cup Qualifiers Betting FAQs
32 teams from around the world will qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
There are six confederations that send sides to compete in the World Cup.
The much-awaited match between Scotland and Ukraine will be played on the 1st June 2022 in Hampden Park, Glasgow at 20:45 CET
UEFA are afforded the most World Cup places, with 13 spots available for European teams.
The inter-confederation playoffs are eliminator matches played between nations from two different regions for the final two spots in the World Cup.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
There are great World Cup qualifiers betting opportunities this year, with the leading operators providing all the same markets that they would any regular football match. This can serve as a great warm up to the World Cup itself, with plenty of exciting betting opportunities available.
Most notably, there are intriguing options for match and outright wagering across the world’s best to see which 32 teams will qualify. Currently, there are some eye-catching odds available on some of the most reputable betting sites in the industry.