As the World Cup gets under on Sunday, the 22nd edition of the tournament will be the first to use the still much-maligned VAR system.
Will this have an affect on the cards market?
Looking back, the last World Cup in Russia saw just FOUR red cards – the least amount since Argentina ’78. Though the heat in the Arab nation will be sapping, we are not anticipating a dearth of dismissals, especially via referral.
The previous two competitions in Brazil and South Africa saw 10 reds and 17 in respectively, whilst Germany 2006 holds the record for most sendings off with a mammoth 28 reds – nine of which were straight reds. To back over 9.5 red cards in 2022 therefore, a 6/4 with SkyBet could be a no-brainer.
It might also be worth a few custom bets and we might have a flutter on the count getting to 20. You can do this in one example for over 19.5 reds on #YourOdds with William Hill at a mighty 66/1. If, however, you think the red card mount may not get into double figures, you can back under 7 reds at 3/1, also with ‘Hills.
As the tournament inches closer, more markets are opening up, including one for individual team cards with BetUK. Ecuador are our fancy here.
Having received at least three yellow cards in their last five World Cup qualifiers, of the most likely candidates to be shown one, Piero Hincapie is a prime contender.
A regular name in the book for Bayer Leverkusen this term, the versatile defender saw yellow cards against Atletico Madrid and home and away against Porto in the Champions League, whilst he has also seen red twice already this term in the Bundesliga.
Ecuador are unlikely to shy away from a tackle in Qatar, so a treble-your-money 2/1 for Hincapie to be the most booked player for La Tricolor makes a lot of sense.
As we have stated, card markets will open up as the tournament progresses and one games that punters should keep an eye on during the opening week is Argentina’s clash with Mexico on the first Saturday of the World Cup.
A spicy history between the two, this fixture in 2006 saw Maxi Rodriguez score one of the all-time great tournament goals in their last 16 meeting. It also saw six yellows cards, but when the two last met in a ‘friendly’ international back in 2019, eight cards were shown. Therefore, having a flutter on booking points should be considered nearer the time.