2018 FIFA World Cup Odds: Breaking Down Groups A-D
2018 FIFA World Cup Odds Preview: Groups A-D
The World Cup group stage gets hectic. Favourites get shocked. Underdogs come from out of nowhere. And both fans and bettors pull at their hair not having seen these whacky results coming.
Groups A to D are loaded with big names like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and traditional heavyweights like Argentina and Portugal. But they face stiff competition. We break it down forecast the likely outcomes complete with betting odds:
*All odds courtesy of Sports Interaction.
- Favourite: Uruguay (-125)
- Dark Horse: Egypt (+575)
The 17th-ranked La Celeste lead Group A as the slight favourites to finish on top. This is the weakest group on paper with #46 Egypt as the second-highest group and they will be without breakout superstar Mohamed Salah who incurred an injury with Liverpool in the Champions League Final.
Egypt has consistently been a top-ranking African nation but has never had much success on the world stage. Without Salah, they will be hard-pressed to make it out of the group. But should Salah play at least two matches, they are a sneaky good bet to finish second (+250) behind Uruguay.
The host nation Russia (+170) are ranked 66th and are favoured to finish second (+160). On paper they aren't much but playing on home soil could give them a good boost apart from other "intangibles".
Saudi Arabia (+4000) are favourites to finish last (-256) despite only being four ranks below Russia at #70. A manager change dooms them outside of having little to no stars who could crack the elite squads.
This is Uruguay's group to lose. Their one-two punch of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani will be too much for a scrappy group who just don't have the firepower or high-level experience to threaten the South Americans.Uruguay (-125)
- Favourite: Spain (-222)
- Dark Horse: Portugal (+190)
After flaming out of the group stage last time, Iberian powers Spain (#8) and Portugal (#4) are the favourites to advance with the Spaniards being significant favourites to win the group. After being embarrassed in 2014, La Furia Roja restocked with incredible young talent like middleman Isco while bringing back legends like Andres Iniesta.
Portugal can't match Spain's all-around depth but they have the best player in the group and perhaps the whole tournament: Cristiano Ronaldo who just won a Eurocup and three Champions League trophies since the last world cup. They are favoured to finish second (-111) barring any major upsets.
Morocco (+1550) and Iran (+3100) are ranked 42nd and 36th respectively and are looking to cause some havoc. Morocco has some star power behind players from the Premiership while Iran is coached by former Portuguese boss Carlos Queiroz.
The Atlas Lions have sneaky upset potential and Team Melli plays a grinding style can give even the most prolific teams some fits. But the best bet is to hit the straight forecast of Spain/Portugal at +129. While it might look dicey for either Iberian team, their bluechip talent will see them through.Spain (-222)
- Favourite: France (-333)
- Dark Horse: Peru (+950)
The supremely talented Frenchmen (#7) are the clear-cut favourites to win this group. Led by stars like Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, and Paul Pogba, there are few squads who boast the prolific abilities of Didier Deschamps who led the team to the Eurocup finals just two years ago.
Jockeying for second-place will be 11th and 12th teams Peru and Denmark (+425) who boast plenty of world-class talent themselves. Peru is riding a 14-match unbeaten streak and is hungry after missing the World Cup for 36 years.
The reinstatement of captain and goal-scoring star Paolo Guerrero only bolsters La Blanquirroja's chances. Denmark will be led by star midfielder Christian Eriksen though the Danes are short in big game experience with only three having played at the world stage.
Australia (+1900) is ranked 40th and are a scrappy bunch who plays an opposing style to the offensive-focused trio but they just lack the star power to compete.
Peru is a solid bet to finish second at +275 and a France/Peru straight forecast is +307. France finishing first is steeply priced but they are just too good to snub.France (-333)
- Favourite: Argentina (-167)
- Dark Horse: Nigeria (+1000)
Group D or the "Group of Death" will be the most interesting group to watch with all four sides having serious potential to advance starting with the Argentinians. Ranked 5th in the world, Argentina came up short in the Final last tournament but boast one of the most talented forwards led by Lionel Messi.
Argentina can't afford to start slow because right behind them are the Croatians (+220) led by star midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. Ranked 18th, Vatreni is a talented bunch who could either crack under pressure or go deep into the tournament.
Nigeria is a lot better than their 47th rank suggests. Coached by German Gernot Rohr, the Super Eagles could fly high led by star Alex Iwobi. Their midfield depth is a bit alarming but the fast and well-coached Nigerians will be a tough match against any team.
Bringing in the rear is #22 Iceland (+1175) who makes up for lack of star power with heart and chemistry.
Argentina is rightly favoured to win but it should be a cautious bet navigating this treacherous group.Argentina (-167)
Best Sportsbooks for FIFA World Cup 2018
The first two weeks of the World Cup are among the most fun and craziest thanks to all 32 teams competing. Canada's multicultural makeup is most evident as fans from all kinds of ethnicities tune in to CTV, RDS, and TSN.
Likewise, bettors looking to play along can check out these online sportsbooks, which offer extensive betting coverage from live betting to props.
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