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[OTHER] Jun 13, 2018

World Cup Golden Ball Betting and Analysis

By Gracenote

World Cup Golden Ball Betting and Analysis

The Golden Ball is awarded to the player of the tournament at the end of each World Cup, and it's the highest individual honour a player can achieve on the international stage.

Here are four tips to keep in mind when analyzing the field to win the 2018 Golden Ball.

Pick A Forward Or Attacking Midfielder

Eight of the nine winners of the award have been attacking midfielders or forwards. Five played as central forwards and two were that year's top tournament goal scorer. David De Gea is the world's top keeper and will play every match for a Spain - the third favourite to win the World Cup. He won't win the individual hardware unless he keeps a clean sheet in every match on the way to the final.

Pick A Player On A Team That Is A Lock To Get Out Of The Group Stage

Mohamed Salah (listed at 36.90) is the second favourite to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or - an award given to the player with the most outstanding season primarily based on contributions at the club level - but he's a long shot to win the World Cup Golden Ball because he plays for Egypt. Salah and his Egyptian teammates are listed at 5.65 to advance out of Group A. Consider players who are locks to get out of the Group stage. Germany, France, Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Belgium are the biggest favourites to advance to the knockout rounds.

Think About A Player's Position And Role In His National Team, Not His Club Team

Argentina is blessed and cursed with four of the most gifted forwards in the game today in Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero. The problem is there isn't a formation manager Jorge Sampaoli can pick that will allow him to field those forwards plus Lionel Messi (9.00) in his first 11.

Pick A Player In The Right Age Group

The average age of the nine past Golden Ball winners is 27.4 years and three of the last four winners were all north of 30. Instead of considering youngsters like Brazil's Gabriel Jesus (21 years old and listed at 23.40) or even France's Kylian Mbappe (19 years old and listed at 30.60), think more about players in their prime and with World Cup experience.
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