The World Cup is only two weeks away and the betting anticipation is building. I’ve been looking at the betting lines for the World Cup and am happy with the huge selection most sportsbooks are offering.
My favourite bet to make leading into the World Cup is on the group winners. I think you can gain an edge betting on the group winners over individual matches and it also provides you with extra action because every match in that group matters towards your ultimate goal of picking the group winner correctly, so you can gain even more excitement for the same bet. This added excitement is perfect for casual bettors who enjoy action on the matches, but I also think there is an edge to be had for sharp bettors wagering on the groups as well.
Below I will go through all 8 World Cup groups, give the odds from BetOnline.ag, give my pick and whether I think there is value in the betting line.
***The betting lines will change leading up to and throughout the tournament. To see the current odds head to BetOnline.ag, open the ‘Futures & Props’ drop down menu and select ‘Soccer Futures’.
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- Uruguay -120
- Russia +160
- Egypt +500
- Saudi Arabia +3300
This should be an easy group for Uruguay to win. They finished second to Brazil in South American qualifying and have been a real threat at both of the last two World Cup’s reach the round of 16 in 2014 and the semi-finals in 2010.
Yes, Russia is the home team, but they were also at home in the Confederations Cup and only managed a win over New Zealand in their group, while losing to both Portugal and Mexico. I don’t think this Russian team would have qualified for the tournament had they been forced to qualify and I think it will show through that they aren’t on Uruguay’s level.
Play: Uruguay -120 **I am making this bet**
- Spain -190
- Portugal +185
- Morocco +1200
- Iran +2500
This group will likely come down to the match between Spain and Portugal as to who wins the group. If they draw in that game then it would come down to goal differential in the other two games. Both teams have the ability to score in bunches and I would not be surprised if Portugal are able to get the nod in that tie breaker.
That said, Spain and Portugal do play their first match against one another and knowing that they need goals to win a tie breaker could help Spain, who are the more talented team. I like the odds value on Portugal, but I won’t be actually betting this one.
Play: Portugal +185 **Just a Lean**
- France -350
- Denmark +500
- Peru +800
- Australia +1400
France really should win this group. That said, at -350 I don’t think there is value in making a bet on them. Anything can happen in the group and a couple draws or an unexpected loss to Denmark or Peru and France could finish in second quite easily as well.
Play: France -350 **Just a Lean**
- Argentina -150
- Croatia +210
- Nigeria +750
- Iceland +1000
This is a very tough group, but I’m looking at the big underdogs with the tiny nation of Iceland. This group qualified by winning a tough group in UEFA qualifying that included Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey. They should not be underestimated and their team defense and some timely goals could result in them winning this group. Let’s also not forget that Iceland made the quarterfinals of Euro 2016. Perhaps it’s time we stop underestimating this group.
That said, I may wait for a better line to make this bet.
Play: Iceland +1000 **Just a Lean**
- Brazil -400
- Switzerland +600
- Serbia +750
- Costa Rica +1600
Brazil should win this group fairly easily. That said, just like France at -350, I don’t think there is much value in Brazil at -400. Any bad game could keep them out of the top spot, so at this price I have to stay away.
Play: Brazil -400 **Just a Lean**
- Germany -330
- Mexico +550
- Sweden +600
- South Korea +1600
I really like Sweden heading into this tournament. The group seems to be much more cohesive and united without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and I could see them surprising some people. Sweden was able to finish second to France in a very tough qualification group that included the Netherlands and followed that up by beating Italy 1-0 on aggregate to earn a spot in the World Cup.
This Sweden team may not have quite the goal scoring of previous years, but they are better defensively and they work hard. I could see them finding a way to get a result against Germany and somehow finishing atop this very tough group. I like the odds value here.
Play: Sweden +600 **I am making this bet**
- Belgium -120
- England +115
- Tunisia +1200
- Panama +3300
This group will likely come down to the Belgium vs England match, which will be the final match for each team in this group. This Belgium team has a ridiculously high powered offense. They scored 43 goals in 10 games while running through qualifying, while England only scored 18 in 10 games, while still getting results. This is important because I expect Belgium to be ahead on goal differential going into the final match between these teams, which would mean a win or draw against England would likely win them the group. This also leads me to believe that it’s more likely that England draws either Tunisia or Panama.
For this reason I think the -120 is warranted and I am willing to make this bet on Belgium to continue to light up the opposition.
Play: Belgium -120 **I am making this bet**
- Colombia +130
- Poland +170
- Senegal +400
- Japan +750
This is another tough group where anyone could really win. I’m leaning towards Poland because I think this team has the ability to score against other quality teams, which gives them an edge if things get down to goal differential in this group, which is a very real possibility. The odds value isn’t quite where I want it to be though, so this is just a lean.
Play: Poland +170 **Just a Lean**
So there you have it, 3 plays and 5 leans. Check out our how to bet on the World Cup from the USA article for a step by step guide to help you get these bets placed.