Following a disappointing Euro 2016, England looked quite good in qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and while betting options on The Three Lions are plentiful, history does not instill a ton of confidence.
Just four years ago, England finished last in their group, felled by the sword of Luis Suárez’s Uruguay, lost to Italy thanks to a Mario Balotelli header and, finally, were held scoreless in a stalemate against Keylor Navas and Costa Rica.
In fact, in seven World Cup matches over the last two editions of world football’s most important event, England has just one win: a 1-0 victory against Slovenia courtesy Jermain Defoe back in 2010.
A new manager in Gareth Southgate, some exciting young stars, a favorable group and some great betting options make this England side an interesting one in Russia 2018, however. The likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli are set to announce their arrival to the world and make a splash in Russia. But will it be enough for England to make any real noise at the 2018 World Cup?
England’s odds to win World Cup: +1600
1966. The year every English football fan, manager and player knows. It was their only appearance in the final and their only World Cup win and it is the squad every England side is measured against.
Every year, every major international tournament, the pressure on the English, fair or not, is massive and this year is no different.
Iceland eliminated The Three Lions in the Round of 16 at the 2016 Euros and, as stated above, they had a horrible time at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Something about this side is much different. Kane and Alli are world-class. The side boasts one of the best right backs world football has to offer in Kyle Walker. There’s pace in Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, midfield playmaking in Jordan Henderson and a wrecking ball in Eric Dier. There’s blossoming centerback talent in John Stones and Michael Keane and wily vets like Gary Cahill.
All that said, the +1600 price is still a little too short and their path to the final is not an ideal one (more on that in a second). The side is good on paper but they really shouldn’t be at that price considering Portugal, the defending Euro champs, are next up at +2500.
England’s Odds to Win Group G: +120
England is second in the group at +120, behind Belgium at -125 and well ahead of Tunisia (+1600) and Panama (+2500). Much like Group B with Spain and Portugal, this is a very top-heavy group that is winnable for The Three Lions, but it all hinges on one game: England vs Belgium on June 28.
Barring disaster, this fixture will determine how the top two sides in Group G proceed to the Round of 16. On paper, it is one of the more mouth-watering matches of the group stage and odds reflect that with Belgium currently the slight fave at +140 and England at +175.
This is the golden era of Belgian football and they will prove a very tough opponent, but England has just two losses vs the Red Devils compared to 15 wins and four draws in all-time meetings.
There is good value betting England but Belgium has been the “sexy” pick in international tournaments dating back to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Considering their price in moneyline markets for that eagerly anticipated matchup, check back on that price ahead of match day and that might be your better play.
England’s Best World Cup Bets
There is plenty to bet with the English but one I really do like is a stage of elimination wager. At Bovada, you can back England to be eliminated in the quarterfinals at the very appealing price of +220.
Now, a lot has to happen for this bet to cash, but hear me out.
England SHOULD advance from a relatively weak Group G. Belgium are faves in this group and for very good reason, so let’s bank on England finishing second. Their Round of 16 matchup would come against the Group H winner and the Colombians are faves there.
Colombia (assuming it’s them, but Poland and Senegal are also very capable of winning this group), while no slouch of course, is a decent matchup at that stage. So, again, let’s assume England wins that matchup. Their quarterfinal opponent shapes up to be, ahem, the Germans (as Group F winners) – a match FIFA and its advertisers will be pining for.
Now, obviously, World Cup favorites Germany will be a herculean task for the English and, frankly, not a matchup that bodes well.
If the World Cup betting gods are smiling upon me, this will be the feather in my handicapping cap.
England’s Player to Watch: Harry Kane
If you’re going to bet England in any form or fashion during the World Cup, Harry Kane will be a large part of any success you might see at the betting window.
The former one-season wonder, who has now bagged 105 goals in the last four Premier League seasons for Tottenham, will be leading the line for The Three Lions and will be leaned on for goals, goals, goals.
Kane played in six qualifiers and scored five goals but was disappointing at Euro 2016 as he failed to find the back of the net for an anemic England side.
England’s Road to Russia
Fun fact: the last time England lost a qualifier in ANY major international competition was way back in 2009, falling 1-0 to Ukraine.
This time around, England won eight and drew two in Group F, which featured Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta. The side didn’t score a ton (18 goals) but was solid defensively as they conceded just three goals, joint-lowest in UEFA with Spain.
All in all, it was a very promising round of qualifiers and with the new stars and a forward-thinking manager, it will be a very interesting summer for a team starving for success on the international stage.
|2||Kyle Walker||DEF||Manchester City||35|
|5||John Stones||DEF||Manchester City||26|
|16||Phil Jones||DEF||Manchester United||25|
|18||Ashley Young||DEF||Manchester United||34|
|17||Fabian Delph||MID||Manchester City||11|
|7||Jesse Lingard||MID||Manchester United||12|
|10||Raheem Sterling||FWD||Manchester City||38|
|19||Marcus Rashford||FWD||Manchester United||19|
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