World Cup 2018: Outright Winner Odds for Russia

With another round of international friendlies out of the way, national teams across the world are beginning to make firm preparations for the World Cup in Russia. European football divisions are now coming to an end and that’s when we’ll start to see squads confirmed ahead of another round of friendly matches at the start of June.

The World Cup outright markets will really start to move at this point but for some ante post value, this is the perfect time to take a look and see if we can identify our winner.

The Favourites

It’s very tight at the top right now between Germany and Brazil with many bookies offering the same 9/2 win price on each team lifting the trophy. In other areas, the Germans are narrow favourites and can be backed at best odds of 19/4 with Unibet and 888Sport while Brazil are marginally further back at a top price of 5/1 with Sun Bets and Black Type.

Germany are, of course, the reigning world champions and were completely dominant as they breezed through qualifying. Jogi Low’s men finished with a perfect record of ten wins from ten with 43 goals for and just four conceded so, if winning the World Cup is just about form, look no further.

Brazil’s progression from the CONMEBOL section wasn’t quite as emphatic but in fairness they have much tougher fixtures in a big group that involves the likes of Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Chile. From 18 qualifying matches, the Brazilians won twelve, drew two and lost just one game to the Chileans so overall that’s a record that compares quite favourably to that of the Germans.

Chasing Pack

Behind the top two are the 1998 winners and Euro 2016 Runners Up France who can be backed at best odds of 13/2 with Betway and 188Bet. The French have some huge talent in their ranks but in the case of some players – Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet included – there is a lack of consistency.

At times, France looked in danger of heading to the play offs but eventually won their UEFA section by a comfortable margin with just one defeat along the way so they’re in good shape heading into the tournament.

Spain, who only very recently won three major tournaments in a row, will interest some punters at a best of 15/2 with Black Type and the market then starts to move out. Argentina, beaten finalists four years ago, came so close to missing out on qualification but they sneaked through at the death and can be picked up at a top price of 10/1 with bet365 and 188Bet.

Then we have Belgium; Dark Horses for many but despite such talented players as Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Jan Vertonghen, they haven’t really threatened at a major tournament with that squad. Belgium are available at best odds of 12/1 with Ladbrokes and Sun Bets and then we can genuinely say that we are among the outsiders.

Outside Bets

Cristiano Ronaldo

England are at the head of those outside punts at best odds of 18/1 with bet365 and SportingBet but while they were comfortable in qualification, some dour performances in recent friendly matches, some of which were, admittedly, without Harry Kane, suggest we should avoid the Three Lions for another four years.

A far more interesting price is the 28/1 next to Euro 2016 Champions Portugal who can be claimed at that figure with SportingBet and Sun Bets. Like England, they have been referred to as a one-man team but while Cristiano Ronaldo is a key player, he did not play much of a part in that European Championship win over France two years ago.

The Portuguese could go deep into this tournament and we’ll consider that price again in our verdict.

Elsewhere, home advantage has, in the past, helped a number of nations so is there any value in getting behind Russia at best odds of 50/1 with William Hill? Other prices worth mentioning in this longer-range section include Poland at 66/1 with Sky Bet, Uruguay at 35/1 with 188Bet and Colombia at 40/1 with bet365.

From there we start getting to the three figure options with Denmark and Switzerland both at 100/1 with William Hill. Out of interest, the lowest ranked teams at Russia 2018 are considered to be Panama and Saudi Arabia who are both available at 2000/1 with Sky Bet.

Verdict

As Greece proved in winning the European Championships in 2004, we should never take anything for granted but while others will point to Leicester City and other giant killers, those instances remain very rare. In terms of World Cup wins, Germany, Argentina and Brazil dominate our thoughts and while Spain won it in 2010, that was an exceptional team and the 2018 version isn’t quite as potent.

If we could compare one current team to that Spanish side then we could look at Belgium who have such immense talent and are widely tipped to make an impression but the same squad had the chance to go deep at Euro 2016 and were disappointing.

While it may be an obvious outright tip, it is so hard to argue with the Germans after that qualifying campaign which they dominated from the first whistle. While it can be argued that there were weak teams in their section, Low’s men brushed aside a competent nation in Norway, scoring nine goals in two games and that just looks so ominous.

We mentioned Portugal in our round up and their price of 28/1 looks high for a team who come into this tournament as winners of Euro 2016. Of course, they now have the world’s best to conquer, not just the teams on their own continent, but of all the prices available in the outrights, Portugal’s looks particularly high.

Germany at 19/4 with Unibet may not look attractive but it’s an obvious conclusion at this early stage while a second bet on Portugal to reach the final may ultimately prove profitable at an excellent 12/1 with bet365 and 188Bet.

Best Bets for Russia 2018:

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