Matchday 2 fixtures have gotten underway at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and there has been some movement among the key teams in Russia. Most specifically, the host country has moved into a strong position to wrap up Group A as its winner after Russia won its first two group games and took an important six points to keep the pressure on group fave Uruguay. Another large shift was in Group F that saw Mexico listed at -165 now after upsetting Germany in the opening match. Germany’s odds have dropped to +300 to storm back and win the group. Senegal has also put themselves into contention by dropping Poland and jumping to EVEN odds to take Group H.
For FIFA World Cup bettors, wagering on sides and totals can typically make up the majority of action but they can also find a serious edge in group betting markets and wagering on which team will move on to the knockout stage. As the World Cup progresses, odds will shift and can lead to great opportunity to take advantage of skewed prices.
Be sure to check in daily for the latest group odds. Updated odds courtesy of Bovada
Group Odds – June 20
Group Odds – June 18
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup underway in Russia, it’s time to take a look at where we sit with the odds to win each group.
There have been some movers and shakers in this betting market since we last posted, most notably Brazil going from a -500 favorite to win Group E at online shop Bovada to -400. Does the injury to right back Dani Alves really have that much impact on Brazil futures?
There are some chalky teams leading the way in group odds but as we’ve seen in World Cups down the years, the biggest tournament in the world is full of surprises.
There is still time to cap each group and get your bets in, so to help, here is a look at each group and any odds adjustments we’ve seen in the past few months.
Uruguay still leads the lines in Group A with EVEN odds to grab top spot and as the undisputed most talented side in a batch of teams that includes Russia (+125), Egypt (+550) and Saudi Arabia (+3300), the Uruguayans would seem to be offering good value.
That said, South American sides have a tendency to struggle in Europe and the Russians will undoubtedly see a boost as World Cup hosts. A bet to consider if you’re not sold on the Sky Blue is for Russia and Uruguay to both qualify for the knockout stage.
A finish in Group B other than Spain–Portugal is highly unlikely. The two Iberian nations opened with odds of -200 and +175 respectively to win the group and the lines have only slightly moved with Portugal seeing a minor 10-cent dip to +185.
Morocco (+1600) and Iran (+2500) are heavily outmatched here and in all likelihood the group will be decided on Matchday 1 when the Spaniards take on the Portuguese in Sochi at the Fisht Stadium as -120 moneyline favorites.
You shouldn’t be surprised to find the French installed as massive -350 favorites to win Group C. Didier Deschamps might have the widest selection of viable attacking options in the world and after a silver medal run at the 2016 Euros, big things are expected from the Les Bleus.
While their odds have certainly moved in the wrong direction if you’re looking for value, you may consider Denmark at +450. Christian Eriksen might have to have a Golden Ball-winning campaign for a group win to be possible but considering what he did for his team in qualifying, that’s certainly not out of the question.
Peru (+900) and Australia (+1800) should be nothing more than pests for the Europeans here and neither should be considered for a group win.
Argentina’s qualifying run was turbulent, to say the least, but that’s contributed to Lionel Messi and company’s -180 value in Group D futures. Croatia is a talented, gutsy side and Nigeria and Iceland are no joke but the Argies shouldn’t have much of an issue placing first when you consider they have a talent base that’s arguably stronger than the XI that was barely bested by Germany in the gold medal game in Brazil four years ago.
Their odds have dropped from -200 at Bovada since groups were drawn in November with La Albiceleste falling to Spain 6-1 in a Madrid friendly back in March but that should absolutely not scare off a bet.
Of any side that’s seen odds adjustments between the last post and this one, Brazil is arguably the most notable. The World Cup favorites (+400) were -500 in December to win Group E and now sit at -400. This is still not a ton of great value but makes a good parlay leg if you’re looking at a parlay ticket for group winners.
The rest of the group has seen adjustments as well, as Switzerland has gone from +550 to +600, Serbia moves from +750 to +800 and Costa Rica, who won their group at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, goes from +1400 to +1800.
Speaking of sides at the top of odds to win the World Cup markets, Germany is a massive favorite to top Group F but saw a drop from -335 a few months ago to now -310 – a great parlay option with Brazil to win Group E if you’re so inclined.
Mexico has moved from +450 to +500, Sweden has been adjusted from +550 to +600 and South Korea has plummeted from +1200 to +2000.
Frequently a runner-up in group stages, Mexico poses the biggest threat to Germany in the group but hasn’t topped a group since 2002 when they finished ahead of Italy and Croatia in Group G.
Not much movement here at the top with Belgium dropping 10 cents from -135 to now -125 and England holding firm at +120, so a bit more value if you were thinking of backing the Belgians.
In a rather weak group at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Belgium nabbed all nine points and easily topped a group that featured Algeria, Russia and South Korea.
England finished dead last in their group in 2014 and last won a group at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Group H is the only one where the favorite is still at plus-money and in this instance it’s James Rodriguez and Colombia leading the way at +120, a five-cent move since we last updated this column.
Poland, certainly a threat to top this tough group, also had odds adjusted as they’ve moved from +165 to +175. As stated in a previous post, Robert Lewandowski is a scoring threat against a side of any quality and led the way in UEFA qualifying with a jaw-dropping 16 goals.
Japan has held firm at +700 but Senegal has moved from +400 to +500.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bet on the 2018 World Cup today at Bovada