It hasn’t been all that long since Lionel Messi, and Argentina lifted that iconic gold FIFA World Cup trophy in Qatar. However, it’s never too early to start thinking about betting on the next World Cup, particularly since the 2026 iteration is happening right here in North America.
Canada, Mexico, and the United States are the host countries for the Summer 2026 event. Plus, the majority of World Cup matches will play out on US soil, including every game from the quarterfinals through to the World Cup Final.
The qualification process hasn’t been finalized just yet, but we do know that the US, Canada, and Mexico will automatically qualify as co-hosts. It won’t be too long before legal and licensed sportsbooks in the US launch a 2026 FIFA World Cup futures market, and you can bet on these and other potential contenders.
In the meantime, here’s where you’ll find the best 2026 World Cup odds and all the different ways you can bet on it right here in North Carolina.
2026 FIFA World Cup odds
When the 2026 FIFA World Cup futures markets launch, you’ll find up-to-date odds right here.
Bet on the US men’s national team at the World Cup
The United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) will be in the 2026 FIFA World Cup as co-hosts. They aren’t likely to be the favorites to win it all, but the home-field advantage the USMNT will enjoy should be accounted for in the World Cup futures odds.
Plus, the US team qualified for the Round of 16 in the 2022 World Cup. They lost to the Netherlands 3-1. But after reaching the knockout stage for the fourth time in its last five World Cup appearances, the USMNT proved, once again, it is competitive on the global stage.
How to bet on World Cup soccer odds
Betting on the World Cup starts with the futures market. Sportsbooks will release championship odds on every team expected to be in the World Cup and will adjust those odds throughout qualifying, the time leading up to the tournament, and the event itself. You pick a team to win the World Cup at the currently posted sports betting odds. If the team you picked does hoist the trophy, you win the bet and get paid at the World Cup betting odds as they were posted when you placed that wager, no matter how much they changed afterward.
Particularly when it comes to the true favorites to win the World Cup, the odds are longer the further away the event is on the calendar. That means the earlier you can get a bet down, the more you stand to win if your pick comes through.
Once the World Cup begins, you can bet on teams to win their group, advance to the knockout stages, or win it all. Plus, you’ll be able to bet on every match individually. Here’s what a typical World Cup soccer group stage moneyline will look like at NC online sportsbooks (once legal):
|World Cup Moneyline||USMNT Win||Draw||Argentina Win|
|Argentina at USMNT||+200||+250||+225|
Because of the possibility of a draw, World Cup moneyline betting is three-way betting. That means you can bet on one of three things happening: either team winning or the game ending in a tie. Basic World Cup group stage match lines also include small spreads and totals that work the same way as they do for most other sports. Plus, you can also bet on the following:
- Double Chance: Covering two of the three possible moneyline outcomes at reduced odds.
- Cards/Corners: Bet on the total number of red and yellow cards issued or the total number of corners in a match.
- GG/NG Betting: Bet on a game ending in a scoreless draw (NG) or on both teams scoring at least one goal (GG).
- Live Odds: Bet on all the standard World Cup odds and more in the middle of matches.
When and where is the 2026 World Cup?
2026 FIFA World Cup
- Host Countries: Canada/Mexico/United States
- Dates: June and July 2026
- Teams/Format: 48 Teams, 16 groups of three, top two advance to the knockout stage beginning with a Round of 32
- US Broadcast Rights: FOX
- Venues: 16 host cities, including:
- Mexico City
- New York/New Jersey
- Kansas City
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
How does the World Cup work?
The World Cup field is expanding from 32 teams to 48 for 2026. The US, Canada and Mexico are co-hosts, and national teams from the six global football confederations will attempt to qualify through various other international tournaments and matches leading up to the event.
The 2026 World Cup will start with a group stage featuring 16 groups of three teams each. The top two teams from each group will advance to a knockout stage starting with 32 teams.
That means the 2026 World Cup will have 80 games, compared to 64 in Qatar in 2022. Plus, the teams will have to get through an additional knockout stage to win it all.
Sixty of the 80 matches will be played in the United States. Canada and Mexico will host 10 matches each, but every match from the quarterfinals through to the final will be played in the US.
World Cup 2026 betting favorites
It’s early, but here’s a look at the early favorites to win the 2026 World Cup.
- France: Kylian Mbappé will be 27 in 2026 and likely the best player on the planet.
- Brazil: Penalties brought them down in 2022, but Vinicius Junior appears poised to challenge Mbappe for that “best in the world” title.
- England: A relatively young side in 2022 will be veterans in 2026, but they’ll need to find a way to score without the veterans from 2022.
- Portugal: Goncalo Ramos already looks ready to replace Cristiano Ronaldo.
World Cup betting tips and trends
Remember these three things when you’re placing bets on who you think will win the World Cup.
- Football first: Countries that put football first win World Cups. They make it a national priority. The US does not put football first. We don’t even call it football. No team from outside of Europe or South America, two continents filled with countries putting football first, has ever won the World Cup.
- The best player doesn’t always win: Yes, Lionel Messi led Argentina to the 2022 World Cup title and was named Golden Ball winner as the best player in the tournament. However, France’s Zinedine Zidane (2006), Uruguay’s Diego Forlán (2010), Messi (2014), and Croatia’s Luka Modrić won the previous four Golden Balls. Their teams didn’t win overall.
- It’s tough to repeat: Because the World Cup is every four years, teams often look decidedly different from one World Cup to another. As a result, no team has won back-to-back titles since Brazil in 1958 and 1962. That said, Brazil was in three straight finals from 1994 through 2002, winning twice, just not back-to-back. Plus, France just finished runner-up in 2022 after winning in 2018.
World Cup soccer FAQ
FOX has the TV broadcast rights for the 2026 World Cup. FOX affiliates in North Carolina include Belmont (Charlotte) – WJZY 46, Greenville – WYDO 14, High Point (Greensboro) – WGHP 8, Raleigh – WRAZ 50, and Wilmington – WSFX-TV 26.
The field is expanding from 32 teams to 48 for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This will include teams from the US, Canada, and Mexico (the host countries) and 45 other national teams from across the globe.
The qualification process for the 2026 World Cup hasn’t been finalized. All three host countries have been given automatic entry, and three other CONCACAF teams will qualify.
Teams from the rest of the world will attempt to qualify through various other international tournaments and matches run by the six global football confederations. There will also be an intercontinental playoff tournament where six teams will compete for the last two FIFA World Cup spots.