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World Cup 2018: Group Odds

Friday was a large day for soccer fans and bettors around the world as the World Cup group draw was held in Moscow. We now know how each of the eight groups looks and who plays who in the opening couple of weeks of the tournament.

Online shop Bovada posted group-winner odds in the wake of the draw and while there are some heavy faves out there (I’m looking at you Brazil -500), there are a couple of spots that present some very good betting value.

The tournament begins on a rather lackluster note as host Russia squares off with Saudi Arabia on June 14 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The next day, however, could offer one of the matches of the tournament as Portugal and Spain get their campaigns started at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.

It will be the first meeting between the Iberian neighbors since their 0-0 affair in the semis of Euro 2012 (Spain won 4-2 on penalties). Portugal is coming off a win at Euro 2016 and is currently ranked No. 3 in FIFA rankings while Spain is No. 6.

Now, there is still plenty of time to cap the groups and get prepped for the World Cup, but here is a quick look at each group and the odds therein.

Group A

Perhaps the easiest group Russia could have hoped for sees Uruguay as the faves and with some pretty good betting value at even money.

La Celeste are a star-studded side featuring the likes of Edinson Cavani and everyone’s favorite villain Luis Suarez.

Fun fact if you look to back Russia: hosts have won their group in each World Cup since 1998 with the exception of South Africa in 2010 (France 1998, Japan & South Korea 2002, Germany 2006, Brazil 2014).

Group A Odds
Saudi Arabia+2500

Group B

This one started out with “Group of Death” potential but fizzled after the Iberian nations were selected. It should be Spain and Portugal battling it out for supremacy here and that first match between the two should be a doozy.

Morocco has some upset potential in their matches versus Spain and Portugal, but I can’t see anyone other than the European football powers advancing from this group. Good value on Portugal if you’re in the mood.

Group B Odds

Group C

Speaking of value, if you’re feeling really risky, a punt on the Danes at this price wouldn’t go amiss.

France is young, talented, deep, fast and any other superlative you want to throw in, but the Danes showed a bit of quality in qualifying especially through midfielder-maestro Christian Eriksen.

The star bagged eight goals in qualifying and then helped sink Ireland with a hat trick in one of the playoff legs to punch his nation’s ticket to Russia.

BUT, France is a sizable fave for a reason. The country has been a conveyor belt of talent and that has only produced more talent lately. Names like Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé will more than likely bag plenty of goals throughout the tourney and France SHOULD cruise to a group win.

Group C Odds

Group D

Now, while many pundits and experts have stated that there is no Group of Death this time around, if I had to choose one, this is it. Argentina, on paper at least, is certainly one of the finest sides in the world. But Lionel Messi had to drag the rest of this team into the World Cup during a shockingly poor qualifying campaign.

Messi and company were on the brink of missing out before some heroics but can you argue the -200 price here? Not really. That said, Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland will be very stiff competition.

Iceland had a magical run at Euro 2016 and Croatia was on pace to win the whole thing before fizzling out. Nigeria recently beat Argentina in a friendly and, despite their +900 price tag, should not be taken lightly by anyone in the group.

This is a tricky group and each fixture in the group stage could feature sublime football.

Group D Odds

Group E

This group could very well be Group of Death Lite. Well, that depends on whether Serbia can find a bit of stability. Despite just one defeat in 10 qualifying matches, the FA canned coach Slavoljub Muslin but this team features the likes of Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic and one player who could make a ton of difference and make a star turn is Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Still, this is Brazil’s group and their -500 price is completely justified. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho, so on and so forth. This side features immense star power and, once again, will play eye-catching football. Bet against Canarinho at your own peril.

Costa Rica was fun four years ago and Switzerland boasts a slew of quality, but this is Brazil’s group.

Group E Odds
Costa Rica+1400

Group F

A great draw for the Germans but the battle for second here could be a very interesting one.

Germany breezed through qualifying with 30 points in 10 matches and, frankly, I expect nine from three in this group stage.

The defending champs are another football factory and you should really keep an eye on young talent like Manchester City’s Leroy Sane and Schalke’s Leon Goretzka who could be making big statements in 2018.

Mexico SHOULD finish second (speaking of young talent, Hirving Lozano) but don’t sleep on Sweden, who knocked out Italy in a playoff to get this far.

Group F Odds
South Korea+1200

Group G

Two heavyweights and a pair of also-rans here. One of Belgium or England will win the group, but both will surely advance. We won’t see England fizzle out again, will we?

If you want star power, Belgium and England are flush with it. Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, etc. for the Belgians; Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford, etc. for the English.

Both were exceptional in qualifying and both should feast on Panama and Tunisia. This will surely come down to their head-to-head meeting on June 28 in Kaliningrad. Set yourself an alert for this one.

Group G Odds

Group H

Colombia were the darlings of World Cup 2014 with James’ golazos and the team salsa-ing all the way to the quarterfinals. You’ll see a lot of the same faces but I’m a huge fan of Poland at the +165 price tag.

Robert Lewandowski is a goal-scoring machine and his 16 goals in qualifying were a record. Poland won eight of their 10 matches and the team is currently ranked No. 7 in the FIFA rankings.

Senegal could be absolutely rapid in counter-attacks with the likes of Sadio Mané and Keita Baldé and it will be fun while it lasts, but expect Poland and Colombia to survive this group.

Group H Odds

Bet on the 2018 World Cup today at Bovada