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Man of the Match Betting: How is it decided and which bookies offer odds at the World Cup?

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Every game at the World Cup one player is going to stand out from the crowd, whether that be a striker scoring a 90th-minute winner or a keeper refusing to let the ball get past him, there will always be a man of the match which opens us up to plenty of betting opportunities.

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Side with popular players?

Betting on the man of the match market is a tough one as it’s entirely down to someone else's opinion. There have been a few controversial MOTM winners already at the World Cup with the likes of De Bruyne, Ronaldo and Bale being called out for claiming their ‘undeserved’ award. At the moment in the World Cup it seems like a popularity contest which is reflected in the odds most of the time.

For example, Luka Modric will be coming in as the 5/4 favourite for Man of the Match against Japan despite not registering a single goal involvement all tournament. Luka Modric actually won the award in Croatia’s 0-0 against Morocco. This was a game where nothing really happened at all and no one stood out, so they decided to just give it to Modric, maybe it’s because he’s the most popular player, or maybe there are other reasons, but the most popular player does seem to win it more often than not.

How is the MOTM award decided?

Bookmakers used to settle the Man of the Match award based on Whoscored rating, which carefully put together a score for each individual player based on their performance in the game. During the World Cup bookmakers have been going off the ‘Budweiser King of the Match’ and settling the bets for whoever won that award. Unfortunately using the World Cup’s method means you can’t really track who is the best-performing player and it all comes down to someone’s vote after the final whistle.

Members of the public can vote for who wins the award on FIFA’s official website, which is part of the reason many bookmakers have decided to scrap offering odds on the market in case of manipulation. As it’s members of the public deciding, ultimately it can come down to a popularity contest which is why you see the most famous players winning it more often than not.

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If we were to look at England’s last three games, the Whoscored Man of the Match only matched up to the Budweiser King of the Match once which was Marcus Rashford after he scored a brace against Wales. For their last game Bellingham was statistically the best player according to Whoscored but Harry Kane was the official Man of the Match.

As far as the World Cup goes, not a single player on the losing team is yet to win the Man of the Match award. When it comes to the match finishing in a draw it’s more often than not gone to the most popular player on the pitch, e.g. Pulisic against England. The person scoring the winning goal also seems to win the award more often than not like Hwang Hee-Chan against Portugal despite him only playing 24 minutes.

Which bookmakers offer MOTM betting?

At the moment it looks to be only VBet and bet365 offering odds on this market, unfortunately, many other bookmakers removed the market after the first few games. Bet365 and VBet are always competitively priced and will have the most players available for you to bet on. As previously mentioned the big names are normally the shortest prices but it can often pay to side with outsiders if you feel the 'star-name' is simply too short. 

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