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2018 World Cup: The Field is Set

32 teams are Russia-bound with the final field set for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the next circle on the calendar is December 1 – the date of the group stage draw.

There was a bit of controversy surrounding the pot selection with countries like England and Spain landing in the second tier but any of those familiar to FIFA know that this is nothing new. What that means for the Spanish and English, though, is that there's a good possibility they draw the toughest groups and their respective roads to the knockout round could be uncertain.

Our view is still fairly skewed with a lot to be decided so if you're making an early bet, I'd avoid the favorites for now. The potential for any of them to be placed into a "group of death" is too high and you're probably best off sprinkling a few longshots in the +2000 to +4000 range.

Of these teams, Portugal (+2000 at Bovada) is by far the best value bet. The Portuguese are coming off a win at the 2016 Euros and they took nine wins in their 10 qualifying fixtures. Ronaldo is approaching the tail end of his prime and you best believe he wants to make an impact in what could wind up being his final World Cup as a World Class player.

There's plenty of longshot options, though, with so many of the big countries failing to get in so don't be afraid to make a gutsy punt.

Here’s a look at the oddsboard ahead of the group stage draw:

2018 World Cup Futures
TeamOdds
Germany+500
France+500
Brazil+500
Spain+750
Argentina+800
Belguim+1200
England+1800
Portugal+2000
Croatia+2500
Uruguay+3300
Colombia+4000
Russia+4000
Mexico+6600
Poland+6600
Switzerland+6600
Serbia+10000
Sweden+10000
Egypt+15000
Iceland+15000
Japan+15000
Nigeria+15000
Senegal+15000
Costa Rica+20000
Denmark+20000
Peru+20000
Morocco+20000
Iran+25000
South Korea+25000
Australia+30000
Tunisia+50000
Panama+100000
Saudi Arabia+100000

Bet on the 2018 World Cup today at Bovada

Archived Articles

The qualification battle for the final nine spots in the 2018 World Cup rages on but with less than a month until we know the final field, the picture is starting to come into focus. Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest stories:

Tournament Favorites

Germany remains the leader in futures markets at +500 after dominating its way to a 16th straight qualification but France (+550), Brazil (+600), Spain (+700) and Argentina (+800) are not far behind the defending champs.

Misery for ’Merica

Failing to get into the tournament for the first time since 1986, it’s back to the drawing board for the U.S. Men’s National Team and it’s to Ancestry.com for American supporters looking to trace back their lineage to find a backup country to follow in Russia.

The program has begun its search for a new head coach and according to Bovada, it’s Laurent Blanc and Sam Allardyce who have emerged as favorites to land the red, white and blue collar gig.

Cold as Iceland

Iceland (+20000) will be welcomed to the World Cup ranks as a first-time competitor in 2018, after usurping the Dutch in European qualification and an impressive run at the 2016 Euros proves that this small country with a population under 400,000 has the ability to punch well above its weight class.

Egypt will also be making its first appearance in 28 years but is near the bottom of the pack in futures at +30000 and is not expected to be a serious competitor.

Long shots worth a look

Results are normally very tight and can be extremely random at these World Cups with only three group stage matches and that means there’s always the possibility that a long shot could get through to the knockout round and make a magical run to the gold medal game. Here are some better value bets that I think have a shot in Russia:

Belgium +1400, England +2000, Portugal +2200, Croatia +4000, Uruguay +4000, Iceland +20000 (why not).

Here’s a look at the oddsboard ahead of the final qualification stage:

2018 World Cup Futures
TeamOdds
Germany+500
France+550
Brazil+600
Spain+700
Argentina+800
Belguim+1400
Italy+1800
England+2000
Portugal+2200
Colombia+2800
Russia+3300
Uruguay+4000
Croatia+4000
Mexico+6600
Poland+6600
Switzerland+8000
Serbia+10000
Sweden+12500
Denmark+15000
Japan+15000
Ivory Coast+15000
Nigeria+15000
Greece+20000
Costa Rica+20000
Republic of Ireland+20000
Iceland+20000
South Korea+25000
Morocco+25000
Peru+25000
Iran+25000
Egypt+30000
Australia+30000
Slovakia+50000
Northern Ireland+50000
Senegal+50000
South Africa+100000

Bet on the 2018 World Cup today at Bovada

Archived Articles

Taking just one point from World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras, the USA failed to improve its standing in the CONCACAF Hexagonal but can still punch its ticket to Russia with two relatively easy matches against Panama and Trinidad and Tobago to close out qualifying.

Bovada still has the Americans with +6600 odds to win the World Cup after their latest lackluster performance but if trends continue, it’s going to take a playoff win against one of the hopeful qualifiers from the AFC for the USA to sneak in.

Bruce Arena will have a month to get his affairs in order before a crucial fixture against a Panamanian team that sits one point ahead of the USA in the Hex. While the chasing Hondurans will be in tough against Costa Rica and Mexico in their final two matches, the Americans will want to avoid a winner-gets-in playoff by leapfrogging Panama in the standings.

Argentina spun a similar yarn in its qualifying campaign and is in danger of missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1970. The Sky Blues earned a pitiful two points from fixtures with Venezuela and Uruguay and sit just one point ahead of Chile – another underachieving CONMEBOL team – for the final World Cup spot.

Messi and company’s latest falterings caused Argentina’s futures line to (finally) drop to +1000 but at this point, it seems unlikely that this team is capable of doing much on the world stage. Jorge Sampaoli was brought into the program to fix Argentina’s problems but it seems he’s only exacerbated them. 

It was relatively quiet across the pond in UEFA qualifiers with most of the heavyweights nailing their results but Luxembourg’s upset over France made things interesting in Group A with the top four teams now separated by just five points.

While Belgium was the only European country to qualify in the latest round, Germany, England and Spain are virtual locks. All three sit comfortably atop their groups and they should easily avoid the second round.

2018 World Cup Futures

Odds as of September 8 at Bovada

  • France +500
  • Germany +500
  • Brazil +650
  • Spain +700
  • Argentina +1000
  • Belgium +1600
  • England +2000
  • Italy +2000
  • Portugal +2500
  • Colombia +3300
  • Russia +3300
  • Uruguay +3300
  • Chile +4000
  • Croatia +5000
  • Netherlands +5000
  • USA +6600
  • Mexico +6600
  • Poland +8000
  • Switzerland +10000
  • Ukraine +10000
  • Denmark +10000
  • Serbia +10000
  • Sweden +10000
  • Japan +15000
  • Ivory Coast +15000
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina +15000
  • Ghana +15000
  • Nigeria +15000
  • Turkey +15000
  • Wales +20000
  • Ecuador +20000
  • Greece +20000
  • Montenegro +20000
  • Costa Rica +20000
  • Iran +25000
  • South Korea +25000
  • Australia +30000
  • Paraguay +30000
  • Iceland +30000
  • Peru +30000
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo +50000
  • Morocco +50000
  • Saudi Arabia +50000
  • Senegal +50000
  • Tunisia +50000
  • Bulgaria +50000
  • Egypt +50000
  • Northern Ireland +50000
  • The Republic Of Ireland +50000
  • Slovakia +50000
  • Slovenia +50000
  • Cape Verde +100000
  • Gabon +100000
  • New Zealand +100000
  • Panama +100000
  • South Africa +100000
  • Uganda +100000
  • Zambia +100000
  • Honduras +100000
  • Scotland +100000
  • Syria +150000

Archived Articles

It’s time for an international break in domestic leagues with another round of World Cup qualifying upon us and it’s a few marquee matchups that highlight the fixture board as countries like Argentina and the Netherlands attempt to stay in contention.

Dormant since March, the Argentines have had plenty of time to stew over their 2-0 loss to Bolivia and to consider the importance of their upcoming match against Uruguay. Despite sitting on the qualification bubble, Argentina is fifth on the World Cup futures board at +900 but barring an utter collapse, the 2014 silver medalists should get into the finals.

There’s a logjam in the CONMEBOL standings with five countries separated by just four points and every match from here on should be treated like a knockout game. Expect a highly motivated Lionel Messi on Friday as he takes on his Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez in a contest that has massive bearing on one of the two possibly missing a trip to Russia next summer.

Another match of international importance goes down between France and the Netherlands with Holland currently up against the wall of elimination. The Dutch are three points back of the French for the second spot in their group and if they drop three more, they can likely kiss their World Cup hopes goodbye.

France is favored to win the match over at Bovada and the Netherlands’ futures odds have dropped from +2800 to +4000 since our last update – things are not looking good for Arjen Robben in his bid for a final appearance on the world stage.

With every spot still up for grabs in CONCACAF qualifying, expect good matches between USA and Costa Rica as well as Panama and Mexico as the Americans (+5000) and Mexicans (+6600) try to lock up places in the 2018 finals.

Italy and Spain will engage in battle as well when the two juggernauts duke it out for first place in Group G. This can’t-miss match goes down at the Santiago Bernabeu on September 5 with both teams separated by very little on the futures board.

Here are the rest of the World Cup futures odds from Bovada:

2018 World Cup Futures

Odds as of August 29 at Bovada

  • Germany +500
  • Brazil +650
  • France +700
  • Spain +800
  • Argentina +900
  • Italy +1600
  • Belgium +1600
  • England +1800
  • Colombia +2500
  • Chile +2500
  • Portugal +2500
  • Russia +3300
  • Croatia +3300
  • Netherlands +4000
  • Uruguay +4000
  • USA +5000
  • Mexico +6600
  • Switzerland +8000
  • Poland +8000
  • Sweden +10000
  • Serbia +10000
  • Ivory Coast +12500
  • Ukraine +15000
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina +15000
  • Denmark +15000
  • Turkey +15000
  • Austria +15000
  • Nigeria +15000
  • Greece +15000
  • Czech Republic +20000
  • Wales +20000
  • Japan +20000
  • South Korea +20000
  • Ecuador +20000
  • Ghana +25000
  • Algeria +25000
  • Montenegro +25000
  • Cameroon +25000
  • Paraguay +25000
  • Iceland +25000
  • Hungary +30000
  • Australia +30000
  • Costa Rica +30000
  • Egypt +30000
  • Republic Of Ireland +30000
  • Romania +50000
  • Norway +50000
  • Bulgaria +50000
  • Slovakia +50000
  • Finland +50000
  • Peru +50000
  • Scotland +50000
  • Slovenia +50000
  • Honduras +50000
  • Northern Ireland +50000
  • Iran +50000
  • Albania +100000
  • Israel +100000

Archived Articles

World Cup qualification is heating back up and with umpteen teams still in the hunt for a spot in the 2018 finals, there’s plenty of fodder for discussion and a ton of betting value on the futures board.

It will come as a surprise to no one to see the mighty Germans at the top of the list. Online shop Intertops has given the defending champs +500 odds to repeat and, realistically, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t. The stars they’ll be losing for 2018 did next to nothing in their 2014 conquest and their crop of youngsters is among the best in the world.

Behind das Germans, we have Brazil and France each at +700. Both countries have been laughing through qualification and the Brazilians are actually the only team to have already clinched a spot in the finals – other than the Russians, of course.

In contention for the best story of qualification so far is the plight of Argentina. Although Messi and company are being offered at +900 to win the World Cup, their struggle to get into the finals has been incredibly real and if qualification ended today they’d have to play New Zealand in a winner-gets-in game.

Writing a similar narrative is a fourth-place Dutch squad that will try to get back on track after earning a pitiful seven points in its first five qualifiers. The odds have them at 28/1 and they still have five games to catch Sweden for second place so all is not lost for Arjen Robben in what is likely his final World Cup bid.

Another point of interest is the battle for first between Spain (+900) and Italy (+1600) in Group G. The two European powerhouses are tied atop the table with 13 points apiece and they’re set to play a match in September that could decide who avoids the dreaded European playoff and goes straight through to the finals.

Across the pond, the U.S.A. is fighting for its life and needs to get points from its next game against last-place Trinidad and Tobago. Their Mexican neighbors to the south have been faring much better in qualification and despite sitting atop the CONCACAF standings, Mexico is tied with ’Merica in World Cup futures odds at 66/1.

This page will be updated constantly as stories develop so make sure to check back periodically so you don’t end up sad like all the countries that don’t get into the finals.

Here are all the odds that Intertops has listed for 2018 World Cup futures:

2018 World Cup Futures

Odds as of June 7 at Intertops

  • Germany +500
  • Brazil +700
  • France +700
  • Argentina +900
  • Spain +900
  • Belgium +1600
  • Italy +1600
  • England +2000
  • Colombia +2500
  • Portugal +2500
  • Netherlands +2800
  • Russia +2800
  • Chile +3300
  • Uruguay +4000
  • Croatia +4000
  • USA +6600
  • Mexico +6600
  • Poland +6600
  • Switzerland +6600
  • Serbia +10000
  • Ukraine +10000
  • Czech Republic +10000
  • Denmark +15000
  • Ghana +15000
  • Austria +15000
  • Ivory Coast +15000
  • Nigeria +15000
  • Sweden +15000
  • Turkey +15000
  • Japan +15000
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina +15000
  • Algeria +20000
  • Greece +20000
  • Montenegro +20000
  • Paraguay +20000
  • Republic of Ireland +20000
  • Romania +25000
  • Ecuador +25000
  • Wales +25000
  • South Korea +25000
  • Morocco +25000
  • Cameroon +25000
  • Slovakia +25000
  • Hungary +30000
  • Costa Rica +30000
  • Egypt +50000
  • Slovenia +50000
  • Iceland +50000
  • Australia +50000
  • Northern Ireland +50000
  • South Africa +75000

Archived Articles

It’s been nearly three years since Germany hoisted the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and with qualification starting to ramp up for next year’s tournament in Russia, oddsmakers are beginning to pump out lines and the defending champions are the favorites at most books.

One of those books, William Hill, has the German and Brazilian teams tabbed as co-faves at +700 with mainstays like France and Argentina coming back at +900. The fading Spaniards and up-and-coming Belgians are both pegged at +1400 with the Italians right behind them at +2000, while England and Colombia round out the odds for the heavyweights at +2500.

There are far too many nations still in the qualification hunt to do a full breakdown of every team I think has a chance but a bet that I’d reluctantly suggest is Portugal at a price of +3300. Cristiano Ronaldo and crew are coming off a win at the 2016 UEFA European championship, beating teams like Poland, Switzerland and France in the elimination portion of the bracket.

Portugal plays an extremely unattractive, slow style of football and if they make a run in the 2018 World Cup, the North American hate for soccer will only increase. I’m cheering vehemently against this team and everything they stand for. Wales should have won that tournament and you all know it.

Some other interesting teams down the list are Uruguay at +3300, the Netherlands at +4000, the Czech Republic at +15000 and the Welsh team I just spoke of at +25000.

Gareth Bale led Wales all the way to the semifinals of last year’s Euro Cup after an impressive group stage and a 3-1 quarterfinal win over Belgium in one of the country’s most impressive victories to date. Don’t get me wrong, the Welsh are still minnows on the world stage and they’re still light years from qualifying for Russia. This is the definition of a long-shot bet but as Gareth has proved over the course of his career, long shots are one of his specialties.

Here’s the complete list of countries still in the hunt for qualification and their odds to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia:

2018 World Cup Futures

Odds as of March 23 at William Hill

  • Germany +700
  • Brazil +700
  • France +900
  • Argentina +900
  • Spain +1400
  • Belgium +1400
  • Italy +2000
  • England +2500
  • Colombia +2500
  • Russia +3300
  • Chile +3300
  • Netherlands +3300
  • Portugal +3300
  • Uruguay +4000
  • Croatia +6600
  • USA +8000
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina +8000
  • Mexico +8000
  • Poland +8000
  • Switzerland +10000
  • Algeria +10000
  • Japan +10000
  • Serbia +10000
  • Ukraine +12500
  • Ecuador +15000
  • Austria +15000
  • Czech Republic +15000
  • Denmark +15000
  • Ghana +15000
  • Greece +15000
  • Ivory Coast +15000
  • Nigeria +15000
  • Sweden +15000
  • Turkey +15000
  • Wales +25000
  • Australia +25000
  • Cameroon +25000
  • Costa Rica +25000
  • Iceland +25000
  • Montenegro +25000
  • Morocco +25000
  • Republic of Ireland +25000
  • Romania +25000
  • South Korea +50000
  • Bulgaria +50000
  • Hungary +50000
  • Iran +50000
  • Norway +50000
  • Paraguay +50000
  • Slovakia +50000
  • Slovenia +75000
  • Finland +75000
  • Northern Ireland +100000
  • Qatar +100000
  • Scotland +100000

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