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We are getting closer to knowing which 32 teams will be contesting the first World Cup in the late fall.

Qatar will host World Cup 2022, with the hosts playing in the first match on Nov. 21. The knockout stage matches will begin on Dec. 3, with the final set for Dec. 18.

But here is the thing: with the tournament not in the summer like usual, we still do not know which teams will be in the pot on April 1.

In CONCACAF, the USA team sits in second place behind Canada, which is looking to go to a World Cup for the first time since 1986. You might remember that the Americans famously did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and they still have some work to do over the final three games to lock up a spot.

So far, 15 teams have made their way into the draw, including the top six in the current futures odds. But there are some heavyweight teams that have not yet qualified, and at least one of the teams with the top 11 odds right now will not be on the plane to Qatar in November.

Here are the top 20 futures odds to win the 2022 World Cup before the UEFA playoffs and CONMEBOL qualification ends:

Brazil +600

France +600

England +700

Spain +800

Argentina +1000

Germany +1000

Italy +1200

Belgium +1200

Holland +1600

Portugal +2500

Denmark +2500

USA +10000

Canada is not on the betting list, but Ontario’s sportsbooks will allow Canadians to place bets on the World Cup.

Which teams should bettors be focusing on now, when the value might be the highest?

It is tough to look at some of the teams, when we still do not know if they will qualify. Only one (or maybe neither) of Portugal, the 2016 European and 2019 Nations League winners, or Italy, the reigning European champions, will be in the tournament: they are in the same UEFA playoff group (Path C). So that is why you see the odds for both lower than they will be once the playoffs end: if you think Italy is worth a play, you might want to take them now.

It is very tough to bet either Italy or Portugal now, before the playoffs. But I do think Italy can win this, as they showed by winning the EURO 2020. Are the Italians my first choice? No.

If I am looking at the odds, I have to first look at the defending champions France. Les Bleus are right around the same odds they were to win in 2018, and I think with the blend of young and older talent, they might become the first team since Pele’s 1958-1962 Brazil team to go back-to-back. I like Brazil a little at +600. Although England has the talent, I just think the Three Lions will find a way to get out coached.

Prediction: I loved France in 2018, I love them here at +700, and would take a chance with Italy +1200 and Brazil +600.

Add this text to the end of the article also in italics: If you or anyone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

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