Portugal v Spain: European Giants Clash in Group B

The 2018 World Cup officially begins this Thursday as host nation Russia take on Saudi Arabia but for many, the tournament really starts on the following day with one of the biggest games in the group stages.

Portugal come to Russia 2018 as reigning European Champions and will face a Spanish side who many are tipping as a strong bet to win their second World Cup in three attempts. They are two of the giants of European international football so it may be a surprise to see a very one-sided market ahead of kick off.

Match Odds

Spain go into this match as odds on favourites with all bookmakers and you can pick up the 2010 World Champions at 15/16 with 188Bet. The draw follows next at best odds of 12/5 with MarathonBet while the same bookie has the top price on a Portuguese win at 79/20.

We know that Spain are strong and that some of this squad were with the side when they started their remarkable run of tournament wins back at Euro 2008. However, they are up against the current European Champions and a side that proved they aren’t a one man team back in 2016.

Cristiano Ronaldo was forced off after 25 minutes in the final against France yet his side still won. That’s a positive sign but, of course, there is still the huge threat that CR7 poses on his own so we’re quite surprised that the result betting isn’t a lot tighter.

Individual Goal Scorers

Cristiano Ronaldo

In a game where there will be plenty of attacking threat in both camps, Spain’s Diego Costa just edges out Cristiano Ronaldo as favourite to open the scoring. Costa is available at best odds of 97/20 for the first goals while Ronaldo follows on at a top price of 27/5 with MarathonBet.

Those are the men who seem most likely to find the net but as we work through the list, other options include Iago Aspas at 109/20 with MarathonBet and Rodrigo at a best of 5/1 with Sport Pesa.

There should be some value from midfield as we move through the tournament and for this specific match, Spain’s David Silva will attract some interest at best odds of 15/2 with Black Type while further down the pitch, his teammate Sergio Ramos scores vital goals at times and looks very interesting at a top price of 20/1 with BetFred.

Ramos has 13 goals in 151 international matches and that ratio is slightly worse than his record with club side Real Madrid so a better option might be to take Ramos for an anytime goal at a best of 8/1 with BetFred.

Other Side Bets

We’ve looked at some sparkling attacking talent in both camps but this game may not be as open as many are expecting. Spain will be wary of committing too many players forward and will retain bad memories of their 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Dutch at the start of Brazil 2014.

If you agree with that theory, then you may want to add under 2.5 goals to your betslip which is currently available at best odds of 33/50 with MarathonBet. We were looking to tip that option but are disappointed it’s so short and for reference, Over 2.5 Goals is on offer at 27/20 with Coral.

We will, however, back Both Teams to Score which seems more likely but actually offers a little more value at a top price of 15/13 with 10Bet and Sport Pesa. Our correct score tip for this match would be for a 1-1 draw which is quoted at 11/2 with SportingBet. The suggestion involving Sergio Ramos is therefore a bit of a punt so feel free to replace that with something you are more comfortable with.

While writing this preview, the dramatic news broke concerning the sacking of Spain coach Julen Lopetegui after announcing his switch to Real Madrid but we don’t think that will have any effect on this match. The Spanish squad are professionals and many have worked with various managers so their approach will be the same – stop Cristiano Ronaldo, settle for a draw and move on.

Best Bets

  • The Draw at 12/5 with MarathonBet
  • Sergio Ramos to score anytime at 8/1 with BetFred
  • Both Teams to Score at 15/13 with 10Bet
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