In addition to keeping track of the recent form of international teams leading up to the World Cup, soccer bettors must also keep a close eye on injuries.
Belgium and England were both hit with injuries this week that could affect their team's chances in the World Cup.
Belgium has emerged as a popular dark horse pick in the 2014 World Cup. A -175 favorite to win Group H over Russia (+200), South Korea (+750) and Algeria (+2800), Belgium currently sits at 14/1 odds to win the World Cup on the betting board behind only Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain.
Those World Cup hopes took a hit with Christian Benteke ruled out for the tournament with a severe Achilles injury.
The 23-year old Aston Villa striker has 29 goals in 60 games in the Premier League and is one of Belgium's best players. He will likely be replaced by Michy Basthuayi, a talented striker in his own right but not a player of Benteke's caliber.
Belgium is deep enough to win its group without Benteke, but advancing deep in the knockout stage will be a lot more difficult without him.
Jay Rodriguez isn't as important to England's roster as Benteke is to Belgium's, but his injury does hurt England's depth. The Southampton star had 15 goals this season and was in top form with five goals in his last four game before suffering a leg injury.
Group D is one of the toughest groups in the World Cup with Italy (+150 to win the group), Uruguay (+180), England (+225) and Costa Rica (+5000) vying for two spots in the knockout stage, so losing a solid depth player is still a blow. England is going off at 28/1 to win the World Cup.
Lionel Messi scored two goals in his most recent game with Barcelona, bringing his goal total to 25 in 25 games. Messi is the odds-on favorite to win the Golden Boot in top goalscorer of the 2014 World Cup betting.
Argentina is going off at 9/2 to win the tournament, behind only host country Brazil at 3/1 on the betting board.