FIFA World Cup 2018 Betting Preview & Predictions – The Favourites, Group Leaders, Underdogs and Golden Boot Contenders Odds, Betting Offers and Sign-up Bonuses
There is an ongoing argument which is the biggest football competition on the planet – the UEFA Champions League, or the FIFA World Cup? The Champions League does have its perks: some of the best players represent top-notch clubs every year, and the knockout stages are very thrilling. Every now and then we can see some surprises, and there’s almost never a boring tie.
The World Cup 2018 in Russia is something special. There are so many great players out there (like Messi, for example) who have never lifted this trophy, and it’s the one thing missing from their collection. The fact that it is played only once every 4 years does a world of good in terms of excitement, too. And, of course, it means the entire betting world is ready for this great competition.
We’ve seen teams rise from group stages and become legendary in their respective countries without any kind of expectations, and teams which fail miserably and exit the tournament prematurely. The best bookmakers are, of course, prepared as they should be for this holiday, with all the special betting offers, sign-up bonuses and strategy articles you can think of.
Regardless if you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to World Cup 2018 betting or just beginning your journey, we recommend reading today’s article thoroughly – it will cover most of what you need to know to prepare for this summer’s highlight.
World Cup 2018 Betting
This year’s World Cup will take place in Russia, where 32 teams will battle for one of the most sough-after trophies in football. Germany are the defending champions, after Mario Goetze’s injury-time winner won them the 2014 edition of the tournament.
The are among the favourites this year as well, besides classic contenders like Brazil, Spain and France and together with more up-and-coming nations, like Belgium.
There are loads of other statistics and numbers when it comes to this tournament, but the one major question persists: is betting on the World Cup a good idea? We think it is. Not only on the World Cup, but on games between nations in general, for a handful of reasons:
Best Betting Sites & Sign-Up Offers For FIFA World Cup 2018
|1||Read Review||£10 Free Bet*||N/C||Visit|
|*New UK customers only. Min £10 deposit. Min. odds of Evens (2.0) apply. Single bets do not qualify.3x wagering. Terms apply. 18+, begambleaware.org|
|2||Read Review||£10 Free Bet*||N/C||Visit|
|*Only new UK mainland customers. Min deposit: £10, max amount of free bet: £10. Min odds of 1.80. Free bet is valid 14 days & must be used within 30 days. Skrill, Neteller & Paysafe are excluded from this offer. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org.|
|3||Read Review||£10 Free Bet*||N/C||Visit|
|*New UK mainland customers only. Min £10 deposit. Max free bet £10. Min. odds of 1/1 (2.0) apply. Single bets do not qualify.Free bet is valid up to 14 days & must be used within 30 days. Full terms apply. 18+, begambleaware.org|
|4||Read Review||£100 Matched Bonus*||N/C||Visit|
|*New players only. 20 min 1st deposit. Min odds of 4/5(1.80). Expires after 7 days.18+, T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org|
|5||Read Review||£100 Deposit Bonus*||N/C||Visit|
|*Casino bonus: min. £10, max. £100. Bonus/free spins winnings wagering requirement: x35. Max. bonus bet: £5, can vary. Free sports bet: Minimum deposit and stake £20 (min odds 2.0). Credited after all qualifying bets settled. 18+, Terms apply.|
|6||Read Review||£75 Sports Welcome Bonus*||N/C||Visit|
|*New customers only, min deposit £20, min odds 2.00, total amount held as bonus funds must be wagered 10x with all bets settled, the bonus must be manually granted. Full T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org.|
|7||Read Review||£50 Free Bet*||WELCOME50||Visit|
|*Only new UK customers, 100% matched Free Bet up to £50 on 1st settled sports bet. Min odds for bonus is 1/2. 18+, begambleaware.org T&Cs apply.|
a) National teams have less time to practice and less discipline, meaning that skill differences are more visible
There are far fewer surprises among international games than club games, specifically because teams have different skill levels. Coaches don’t have a lot of time to prepare sound tactics or excellent set pieces, so more often than not, the players are the ones which make the difference. Additionally, the more players capable of winning you games you have, the better you perform in these tournaments.
b) Styles are a lot more obvious
We all know that Spain enjoys possession football, Germany plays a direct, attacking style while Italy defends well and wants to strike on the counter-attack. These are styles passed from generation to generation and can be taken advantage of when placing your bet.
c) All eyes will be on the World Cup
That means you’ll be able to see a lot of games, watch highlights and read analysis performed by top-notch industry professionals. This kind of coverage is never there for club competitions, making the World Cup unique.
All in all, we know for a fact that betting on such an incredible competition is not only fun, but also rewarding. Of course, these rewards won’t only come when (or if) you win bets. Online bookmakers will do everything in their power to get their clients (and new clients) to bet on the World Cup 2018 as much as possible, meaning that they’ll step up their promotions and bonuses.
Expect tons of enhanced odds for games, especially in the latter stages of the competition, also daily bonuses, as well as deposit bonuses which can be used specifically for the World Cup.
Expect lots of offers involving your favourite team, as well as some great odds for weird bets – like how many fans will enter the field, how many players will smile during the anthem, and how often will we see Cristiano Ronaldo’s chest.
All online bookmakers will want to be on the top of their game for this competition, and the quantity and quality of their bonuses will be unparalleled.
We must remember one thing though – we have to carefully choose the betting markets in which we want to spend these World Cup betting offers. There are a couple of main types of bets which you should be on the lookout for during the World Cup:
Self-explanatory and easy.
You can find bookmakers which give you odds on which teams progress or don’t progress from their respective group, and even how far in the competition can a team go.
Outright winner of the tournament
Will Germany defend their title, or will we have a surprise winner? Possibly Belgium, maybe Russia on home soil?
Very popular during the World Cup, especially if you can follow teams and understand their style.
Individual player bets
Top goal scorer, most yellow cards, you know the drill.
These are the most common ones, and we recommend sticking to them. Other, more specific, selections can be hard to predict, especially since the teams haven’t really played together a lot in the past few months.
As always, the basics are tried and true and can net you excitement, as well as a few bucks. And if we’ve said enough generalities, it’s time to go down into the specifics of this year’s tournament: the favourites, the underdogs, and the spotlight winners.
World Cup 2018 Favourites & Their Betting Odds
Unsurprisingly, Germany are the favourites to win this year’s competition and defend their title. The backbone of the team which lifted the trophy in 2016 is still here, and they’ve proven to be one of the strongest team in the qualifiers.
They are the bookmaker’s pick as well, with 9/2 odds to triumph and win the entire competition. They don’t have the easiest group, alongside Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, but should be able to claim top spot with relative ease.
Next up, although somewhat surprisingly, is Brazil. Ever since their triumph in 2002, the South American team hasn’t been impressive at all. They have been kicked out of the last World Cup by the Germans in that famous 7-1 match and are looking for revenge and a new World Cup title after a very long wait.
Neymar is the player that has to lead his side to victory, and he has shown that he’s matured and is now capable of doing so. Brazil also benefits from a very simple group, being drawn in group E alongside Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica. Odds to win: 5/1.
France is 3rd in terms of bookmaker preferences, with average odds around 11/2 to win the competition.
They have one of the best teams in their history with lots of world-class talent, as well as young players eager to make a name for themselves.
The general consensus is that they deserved to win Euro 2018 and will surely make a bid for this year’s World Cup as well.
Spain sit 4th, after some less spectacular recent results. The Spaniards will surely want to forget the last World Cup by the time they arrive in Russia, and make short work of group B games, from which they should progress alongside Portugal.
Some people argue that their squad isn’t as strong as it was 4 or 8 years ago, but recent results have proven their critics wrong. Bookmakers give them odds around 7/1.
The only other team considered a favourite to win the competition is Argentina, last tournament’s finalist. They have a squad brimming with talent led by the incredible Leo Messi, but have shown signs of weakness and barely qualified for the World Cup.
We believe that their 8/1 odds are more about tradition and past performances than about present capabilities. But then again, they do have Messi…
Moving further down the list, we find teams like Belgium, England, Portugal and Columbia, all with 20/1 odds or higher to win the competition. They’re not bad teams and can surprise everyone with a good run, but nobody really expects them to progress beyond the quarter-finals.
World Cup 2018 Underdogs
And moving even lower on the list, we have this year’s underdogs. These are teams with little to no experience playing at such a high level, which should treat the World Cup as a learning experience. Some of them were huge surprises in qualifiers, where nobody gave them many chances to win and qualify for Russia.
At the bottom of the odds table we find Saudi Arabia and Panama, both at 1000/1. While the Arabians have been to the World Cup before, they’ve done so very unconvincingly and haven’t won any games in their last 3 participations. On the other hand, Panama are in front of their first appearance at the World Cup, and they certainly won’t be aiming very high.
Although no other teams are considered such big outsiders, there are a few others with huge odds to win the competition. Tunisia (500/1) and South Korea (500/1) are next on the list, followed by Australia, Iran, Morocco and Costa Rica (all 250/1). These are the kind of teams which nobody expects to see beyond the group stage, and any point they win should be considered golden.
World Cup 2018 Group Betting
The group stage is, however, where the magic happens in the World Cup. Favourites will want to win their first two games to make sure that they can rotate players around in the last tie, while other teams will battle for every point they can get their hands on. This year’s groups are fairly balanced, and we’ll provide some brief ideas for each:
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay – Group A Betting Preview & Predictions
This year’s host nation has had a lucky draw. Saudi Arabia seems to be the only team which can be discarded from the race for top 2, with Egypt being the likely pleasant surprise. We also back Russia to progress due to home soil, squad quality and maybe a helping hand from referees when it matters most.
Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran – Group B Betting Preview & Predictions
No-brainer really. The most interesting games will probably be between Spain and Portugal and Morocco and Iran, because we don’t expect the two European teams to have any issues beating the other two.
France, Australia, Peru, Denmark – Group C Betting Preview & Predictions
France is without the doubt the big favourite and should have no trouble progressing, but who will win second place? Denmark seems to have a bit of an edge over Peru, but Australia can’t be entirely discarded either.
Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria – Group D Betting Preview & Predictions
Croatia and Iceland were part of the same qualifying group and know each other very well. Argentina and Croatia are our favourites to progress, but we especially back the Croatians – they’ve shown excellent football recently.
Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia – Group E Betting Preview & Predictions
Brazil to progress, Switzerland to take second place. Rather straightforward group, with the Swiss playing much better than Serbia in recent times.
Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea – Group F Betting Preview & Predictions
The battle for second place between Mexico and Sweden can be decided by the slimmest of margins, possibly even goal difference – how many will each team concede from Germany and put past South Korea?
Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England – Group G Betting Preview & Predictions
The two European teams are the clear favourites here, although neither have a good track record of clearly outclassing inferior opponents.
Poland, Senegal, Columbia, Japan – Group H Betting Preview & Predictions
No big names to win the competition in this group, but we believe that Poland and Columbia should progress with relative ease.
Top Goalscorers & Their Odds To Win The Golden Boot
Last but not least, there is one prize we haven’t talked a lot so far: the Golden Boot, awarded to the top goalscorer of the competition. Having your team progress through more games give you, of course, more chances to score goals, but history has shown us that sometimes strikers who score during the group stages more tend to win the title. Regardless, here are the favourites and their betting odds for this year’s Top Goalscorer award:
Leo Messi, 10/1
The star hits penalties, can score from free kicks, by dribbling opponents, using long shots, you name it. Messi is the driving force of a team which we believe will play in the latter stages of the competition, and he’ll surely score goals.
Very similar approach to Messi, although slightly less efficient and more flamboyant.
Cristiano Rolando, 15/1
We all know about Ronaldo goal scoring prowess, but his team might not be up to his level. Even during their winning Euro 2018 campaign, Ronaldo hasn’t scored as much as he does at Real.
Timo Werner, 15/1
A new addition to the list, especially because he’s Germany’s no.1 choice of striker, and Germany scores lots of goals.
Antoine Griezmann, 17/1
France’s main attacking threat, although not a typical striker. Has shown quite a bit of talent during Euro 2018 and will benefit from a strong French campaign, as well as an easy group.
Harry Kane, 17/1
England’s target man will score goals, but how many? The British are rather disappointing during recent times, and Kane might have to carry a lot of pressure on his shoulders.
Players like Lukaku, Muller, Gabriel Jesus, Aguero, Morata, Cavani or Lewandowski are all incredible strikers and prove what a great competition the World Cup really is. Their chances of winning the golden boot are a little lower than the players we’ve presented, but you never know who scored a surprise poker in a game and takes the lead.
To sum up, we can’t wait to see what the World Cup has to offer this year. We’re sure than football betting sites will be well prepared to give us lots of promotions and bonuses before and during the competition, so our betting experiences will be close to their absolute best.
We recommend doing as much research as possible beforehand, and most importantly, enjoy the competition after it starts! The World Cup only takes places once every 4 years, and it’s quite a shame to lose. But at the end of the day, games are just a little more interesting when you have a little money on the line.
Betting odds are presented at the time of writing. Please check them with the respective betting site. *T&Cs apply to all betting offers and sign-up bonuses. 18+, please gamble responsibly.