Last Updated: 2018-01-12
The best 32 teams in the world will fight for honors in Russia this summer from June 14th until July 15th, and we already have a lot of markets to bet on, so in this preview, we’ll take a closer look who can win the trophy and what are some potential early tips that can bring some money. In future articles, we will bring you a detailed analysis for each national team along with our predictions for all group stage matches, so stay in touch and follow us here at BangTheBook.com.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup guarantees exciting football, magic moments, passion, and drama, while two true masters of this game, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo, will try to bring the trophy home before the end of their careers. On the other side, we have Brazil with the young lion Neymar in the front, the defending champions Germany who dominated throughout the tournament four years ago, and a couple of terrific teams with a lot of talent among the squad like France, Spain, Belgium, and England. However, a huge upset is always a possibility in the FIFA World Cup tournament, and that is one more reason to place some bets early in the year.
GROUP A (Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia)
Group Qualification: Russia -350; Uruguay -400; Egypt +150; Saudi Arabia +700
Winner: Russia +3300; Uruguay +2500; Egypt +15000; Saudi Arabia +100000
Football fans in Russia are certainly pleased with the group draw, as their favorites will face two unattractive sides – Egypt and Saudi Arabia, along with Uruguay, arguably the strongest team in group A who has two world-class strikers in the squad, Edinson Cavani from Paris SG and Luis Suarez from Barcelona. Russia will need a strong performance if they want to reach the second round, and the second match against Egypt, who hasn’t played in the FIFA World Cup since Italy 1990, could be crucial for Sbornaya. Saudi Arabia is a huge underdog, and in this competition, with the host nation and Uruguay, they will need a miracle to reach the second round.
Group Forecast: 1st- Uruguay, 2nd – Russia (+225); 1st – Russia, 2nd – Uruguay (+240)
MY PICK: Russia to lose in the Round of 16 (+162) – Sbornaya will probably qualify for the Round of 16 where they will eventually meet Spain or Portugal from Group B, and it could be easily the end of the road.
Top Goalscorer: Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) +2600; Luis Suarez (Uruguay) +2600; Mohamed Salah (Egypt) +6700
GROUP B (Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco)
Group Qualification: Portugal -600; Spain -1200; Iran +500; Morocco +450
Winner: Portugal +2500; Spain +700; Iran +50000; Morocco +40000
Portugal and Spain are massive favorites to advance to the next round, no doubt, and both teams could go pretty far in this tournament. If they do the job against obviously weaker sides Iran and Morocco, they will play against top two teams from Group A, and it could be a great chance particularly for Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates, while the Red Fury is one of the best teams in the world, and I believe that they will easily reach the Quarter-Finals.
Group Forecast: 1st – Spain, 2nd – Portugal (+125); 1st – Portugal, 2nd – Spain (+300)
MY PICK: Portugal to Reach the Quarter-Finals (+137) – this is probably the last World Cup for Cristiano Ronaldo, and he will have a strong support from his younger teammates, while Portugal is playing impressively since that ugly victory in the EURO 2016.
Top Goalscorer: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) +1300; Alvaro Morata (Spain) +2100; Diego Costa (Spain) +3400
GROUP C (France, Peru, Denmark, Australia)
Group Qualification: France -1600; Peru +240; Denmark -163; Australia +300
Winner: France +550; Peru +20000; Denmark +8000; Australia +30000
The Blues are the third-best favorites to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup and they should top this group easily, but don’t forget Denmark as they have a brilliant Christian Eriksen on the squad, and their professional approach is always an advantage in big tournaments. After 36 years, Peru is back on the biggest stage, led by the legendary striker Paolo Guerrero, and the Incas could be a positive surprise. The Socceroos qualified after the intercontinental playoff and a 3:1 victory over Honduras, and they certainly stand a chance to upset the odds.
Group Forecast: 1st – France, 2nd – Denmark (+150); 1st – France, 2nd – Peru (+333)
MY PICK: France to Reach the Semi-Finals (+120) – the Blues possess a lot of talent among the squad, and they are covered on all positions. After a failure in the finals of the EURO 2016 against Portugal at home, they will look for a redemption, and if they avoid Argentina in the Round of 16, the first big test should be in the Quarter-Finals, probably against Portugal.
Top Goalscorer: Antoine Griezmann (France) +1300; Olivier Giroud (France) +3400; Kylian Mbappe (France) +3400
GROUP D (Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria)
Group Qualification: Argentina -600; Croatia -200; Iceland +250; Nigeria +225
Winner: Argentina +900; Croatia +4000; Iceland +20000; Nigeria +20000
Lionel Messi is one of the greatest players in the history of the football game, and alongside the little magician there are some remarkable individuals on the Argentina squad, so look after them besides their poor performance in the qualifying round. Croatia and Iceland had two H2H meetings in the qualifying round, recording a win each, and they will battle for the second spot with Nigeria, as the Super Eagles will try to replicate their success from the 2014 FIFA World Cup when they reached the Round of 16.
Group Forecast: 1st – Argentina, 2nd – Croatia (+175); 1st – Argentina, 2nd – Iceland (+600)
MY PICK: Argentina to Reach the Semi-Finals (+187) – after some poor performance in the qualifying round Messi and co. could find their best form in Russia, but they will face Spain in the Quarter-Finals if both teams top their groups and win in the second round matches.
Top Goalscorer: Lionel Messi (Argentina) +1000; Sergio Aguero (Argentina) +2600
GROUP E (Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia)
Group Qualification: Brazil -1600; Switzerland +100; Costa Rica +350; Serbia +120
Winner: Brazil +500; Switzerland +8000; Costa Rica +50000; Serbia +15000
Selecao will search for their sixth World Cup trophy, and with Neymar and Gabriel Jesus in the front, Coutinho behind them, and Thiago Silva at the back anything is possible. Switzerland and Serbia will probably fight for the second spot, as both teams are pretty talented with some great players on the squad, while The Costa Ricans remain the underdogs, but that’s just the way they like it. Remember, four years ago in Brazil, Costa Rica reached the Quarter-Finals when they were defeated by the Netherlands on penalties, after beating Uruguay and Italy in the group stage.
Group Forecast: 1st – Brazil, 2nd – Switzerland (+175); 1st – Brazil, 2nd – Serbia (+225)
MY PICK: Brazil to Win (+500) – Selecao isn’t just my favorite team in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, but I think they have the best team in the last ten years, while their team-play was terrific in the qualifying round.
Top Goalscorer: Neymar (Brazil) +1100; Gabriel Jesus (Brazil) +2100
GROUP F (Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea)
Group Qualification: Germany -1200; Mexico +110; Sweden +125; South Korea +250
Winner: Germany +450; Mexico +10000; Sweden +12500; South Korea +75000
Germany will defend the title in Russia this summer, searching for their fifth World Cup trophy in the history, and as always Germany possesses a strong squad with a few quality options on any position. The other three teams in the Group F are quite even, and we will probably see a great battle for the Round of 16. I give Sweden a slight advantage for their patience and responsible approach (they’ve kicked out Italy in the play-off), but I wouldn’t be surprised if I see Mexico or South Korea through.
Group Forecast: 1st – Germany, 2nd – Sweden (+225); 1st – Germany; 2nd – Mexico (+187)
MY PICK: Germany to Reach the Semi-Finals (+100) – it is always the toughest job to defend the title, and no one has done it since Brazil in 1962, but I think Germany will reach at least the Semi-Finals, even though they could face Belgium or England in the Quarter-Finals.
Top Goalscorer: Timo Werner (Germany) +1700; Thomas Muller (Germany) +2600; Leroy Sane (Germany) +6700
GROUP G (Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama)
Group Qualification: Belgium -800; England -700; Tunisia +350; Panama +800
Winner: Belgium +1200; England +1600; Tunisia +75000; Panama +100000
Belgium and England are big favorites to reach the second round, but they could also push for honors at the end, as both teams have a lot of quality players in the squad. Eden Hazard and Romelo Lukaku, two English Premier League stars, will lead the Red Devils against the Three Lions, and this should be one of the most interesting matches of the group phase. Tunisia and Panama are huge underdogs here, and just like bookies, I don’t believe they can reach the Round of 16.
Group Forecast: 1st – England, 2nd – Belgium (+175); 1st – Belgium, 2nd – England (+137)
MY PICK: England to Reach the Quarter-Finals (-120) – The Three Lions always upset their fans in the World Cup, and they haven’t been in the Semi-Finals since Italy 1990. In Russia, they should easily reach the Quarter-Finals, and it is still underachievement.
Top Goalscorer: Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) +1700; Harry Kane (England) +1700
GROUP H (Poland, Colombia, Senegal, Japan)
Group Qualification: Poland -163; Colombia -300; Senegal +137; Japan +187
Winner: Poland +4000; Colombia +3300; Senegal +12500; Japan +25000
This is arguably the most interesting group in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as all four sides are quality teams with respectable chances to qualify for the next round. Poland played very well in the last couple of years, and their best player Robert Lewandowski is a true goal-scoring machine, season after season. Colombia also has a predator on their squad, as Radamel Falcao is still one of the most dangerous strikers in the world, bagging goals on regular basis in Monaco. Senegal and Japan are slight underdogs, but they will try to beat the odds, for sure.
Group Forecast: 1st – Poland, 2nd – Colombia (+400), 1st – Colombia, 2nd – Senegal (+700)
MY PICK: Japan to Finish Bottom of Group (+150) – sincerely, I wouldn’t be surprised if they finish in the second spot and reach the Round of 16, but they are physically inferior relative to other teams in Group H, so they will have to replace it with tactical approach, while against Poland and Colombia they will need to cope with two world-class strikers.
Top Goalscorer: Robert Lewandowski (Poland) +2600; Radamel Falcao (Columbia) +3400
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