Who are the Favourites for Russia 2018?
Following the latest round of World Cup qualifiers, the picture for Russia 2018 is just starting to take shape with the first sets of teams booking their flights for next year’s tournament. In Europe, Belgium booked an early qualification with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Greece and they now join Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico and hosts Russia as definite starters next summer.
There are crucial games still to be played and the fate of most countries remains undecided but, as those qualifying slots start to be filled, the outright betting for Russia 2018 is starting to intensify.
Although their own place at the finals had yet to be confirmed, Germany headed the outright betting for Russia 2018 at a top price of 11/2 with bet365 and Paddy Power. Defending Champions and four time winners of the World Cup, the Germans have been outstanding albeit in a weak group and one more victory form their remaining two matches will be enough to book their passage to Russia.
Brazil are already through to the World Cup finals having won their CONMEBOL section and they come in as second favourites at a good value price of 13/2 with LSBet. The Brazilians hold the record for most World Cup wins at five and are always up there towards the top of the market. However, they were fully expected to take the trophy on home soil in 2014 and memories of that humiliating 7-1 defeat against Germany in the semi final may make punters reluctant to get behind Head Coach Tite’s men.
While qualification has yet to be confirmed for any of the following teams, we can surely expect Argentina, France and Spain to be in Russia next year. France at best odds of 11/1 with 32Red will, however, be concerned following that notorious 0-0 home draw with lowly Luxembourg. With just two games to play, the 1998 winners are just one point ahead of second placed Sweden and face a tough away trip to Bulgaria in their next fixture.
Spain, meanwhile, have a three point advantage over Italy in Group F and are third favourites for Russia 2018 at a top price of 9/1 with Paddy Power. They are not the side that won three major tournaments on the spin from 2008 but notably they have conceded just three goals in seven qualifying games so are clearly going to be tough to break down.
Argentina at best odds of 10/1 with LSBEt will always attract interest at that price. They may not have won the World Cup since 1986 but the side has been runners up twice since that point, most recently four years ago in Brazil.
Four years ago, the Belgians were considered to be the tournament’s ‘Dark Horses’ for Brazil 2014. They possess some of the best talent in Europe with Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Jan Vertonghen and Eden Hazard among a number of players who have commanded high transfer fees in recent seasons.
Ultimately they made it through to the quarter finals and the fact that they are the first European country to qualify for Russia will make them interesting to some punters at odds of 16/1 in the outrights with LSBet and 188Bet.
Elsewhere, punters in the UK will be looking towards England to end over 50 years of hurt and take their second World Cup since that home triumph of 1966. Changes of manager have, however, only served to unsettle the squad leading to unconvincing performances in qualifying and a bet on an English victory at odds of 19/1 with Tiplix could be a case of misplaced loyalty.
One side who could be worth a second look are Italy who are on offer at an industry best price of 20/1 with bet365. They look set to finish in second place in Group G which will mean they have to go forward to the next round of tie break matches but this is a country who seem to save their best form for the major tournaments.
Will we see the first ever African winner of the World Cup? In previous tournaments we have seen strong performances from the likes of Ghana and the Ivory Coast but no African side has lifted the trophy to date.
In the outright markets for Russia 2018, neither of those countries are tipped to have any degree of success. Ivory Coast lead the way for the African nations at 150/1 with LSBet in the outrights while Ghana are way out at 200/1 with Tiplix.
There was a time when you could look to rule out South American teams when the tournament headed to Europe but that isn’t the case anymore. However, current holders Germany will feel more at home in Russia but that’s just one small factor behind their position at the top of the outright betting markets.
Admittedly, Joachim Low’s side are in one of the weaker sections in UEFA qualifying but you can only play the sides you have been put up against and the Germans have been nothing short of stunning. After eight games in Group C, Germany had notched a maximum of 24 points, scoring 35 goals and conceding just two at the wrong end of the pitch.
Form is naturally important but so is the ability to raise your game when you arrive at a major tournament. With that in mind, the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Italy must be seen as contenders with France a possible addition to that list.
Meanwhile, Portugal are the reigning European Champions and will interest many at their outright win price of 25/1 with bet365 and LSBet. Of all the sides that have yet to win a World Cup, they seem the ones most likely to come through for a debut triumph.
With qualifying games still to play, you can currently only obtain ante post prices for the outright winner of Russia 2018. As those slots start to get booked up however, the situation will change and you will see far more options start to drop in.
To Reach the Final and Name the Finalists are two markets that are always busy for major tournaments while a bet that attracts a lot of interest is for the tournament’s top goal scorer. This is one that can naturally be hard to predict but it’s a fun market and one that will have a number of bookmakers’ offers and promotions tied to it.
Of course, you will also be able to bet on the winners of each group while a full set of markets will be published for all the individual matches at Russia 2018. As the competition draws closer, we should also be looking at a wide range of offers and promotions from all of the bookies. This is their busiest time so they will all look to capitalise by adding extra value from some excellent promos.
We will look to bring you the best of these in the run up to Russia 2018 along with a set of match previews for the biggest games of the tournament so keep checking back to find all the latest deals and info for the 2018 World Cup.