World Cup Betting: Odds Say Spain Can Repeat as Champions in Brazil ColumnistFebruary 11, 2014

Spain's midfielder Xavier Hernandez, left, vies for the ball with Georgia's Shota Grigalashvili, right, during a 2014 World Cup Group I qualifying soccer match between Spain and Georgia at the Carlos Belmonte stadium in Albacete, Spain, Tuesday Oct. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Fernando Bustamante)
Fernando Bustamante/Associated Press

When you are the defending World Cup champions and winners of the past two European championships, you get respect from the oddsmakers.

But Spain doesn’t get as much respect as it probably deserves as three teams have better odds to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, according to The Spaniards currently sit at +700.

Host Brazil, Argentina and Germany all currently boast shorter odds, in part because the Spanish were drawn into a very tough group. They face Holland, whom they defeated in the 2010 World Cup final, and an up-and-coming team in Chile, who will be energized playing on their home continent.

Australia rounds out Group B betting as 33-1 long shots and will be fortunate to score a goal in this group.

While this group may be the second toughest in the tournament, Spain is still the betting favorite to win it with odds of -138 followed by Holland (+250), Chile (+400) and Australia (+3300).

Spain boasts a dynamic offense, but their defense has been especially impressive in World Cup play in the last few tournaments. Their defense has not conceded a goal in the knockout phase since France knocked them out in the round of 16 in the 2006 World Cup.

Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Carles Puyol form a great back line and goalkeeper Iker Casillas was the hero of the 2010 final.

The midfield is stacked with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso and that part of the field is very deep with great backups such as Cesc Fabregas and Juan Mata.

Spain tends to win the time of possession battle and lulls teams into making mistakes. Then, they pounce and counter-attack.

The offense is loaded and that can be seen by Spain winning the 2012 European Championships even though David Villa was out with a broken leg. He has been devastating up front and has 51 goals in 82 games for the Spanish squad.

Even if Villa is not in top form, Fernando Torres is in the fold and he had a great showing at the 2012 Euro Championships.

Oddsmakers have made them favorites for their opening match against the talented Dutch, as they are even odds at most sportsbooks tracked by The Netherlands are currently +260 for that June 13 match, with a draw line of +235.

Spain does not enjoy an easy path in Brazil, but they are a great team and have been down this road before.

However, in the four World Cup tournaments held in South America, Spain has enjoyed only one top-four finish and that was in 1950 in Brazil when they finished fourth.