With this summer’s World Cup just around the corner, fans of football betting will be looking to predict the overall winner in Russia 2018. Here at gambling.com, we have taken a look at some of the possibilities after all the 23-man squads were announced on Monday, looking at previous form, possible route to the final and betting odds.
Of course, Brazil, Germany, France and Spain are the favourites to lift the trophy on July 15th at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, but which will be the best bet?
Perhaps it is winning mentality, or the confidence that having won the competition five times in the past, but a bet on Brazil to be triumphant this summer is always worthwhile. Having been drawn in Group E along with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia, the Selecao look likely progress to the knockout stages as group winners, potentially leaving them to face Mexico, England and finally France in the semi-finals before playing either Spain or Germany in the final.
Under Coach Tite, Brazil lost just once in 18 qualifying matches as they topped the notoriously difficult CONMEBOL group and have enjoyed similar success in recent friendly matches. A 3-0 victory over Russia in March was followed up with an impressive 1-0 win versus Germany, and the Canarinha were boosted by a goalscoring return from injury of star player Neymar in a 2-0 defeat of Croatia in their World Cup warmup.
An attacking line of Phillipe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Neymar looks set to wow the crowds, with Juventus winger Douglas Costa also coming off the back of a superb season in Serie A, the talented attacker dazzling the Bianconeri supporters with skills, trickery and 12 assists, all of which came from open play. However, this immensely exciting side are not all about the attack as their boss has been keen to instill a sense of balance throughout his starting XI.
If all else fails, goalkeeper Alisson has been a revelation domestically for AS Roma this season, winning a whole host of admirers with a plethora of breathtaking saves and will mean that opposition attacking forces will find Brazil’s last line of defence extremely tough to beat. With all this in mind, a bet on this side as overall winner is well worthwhile, Ladbrokes offering odds of 9/2 on Neymar and co. lifting the trophy when the tournament reaches its conclusion.
Another side extremely potent in attack are Argentina, who are offered at 10/1 to win the World Cup by Betfair. Should they top their group which contains Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria, their route to the final could potentially see them play Demark, Spain, Germany before taking on France or Brazil in the final.
While this is undoubtedly tough for the Albiceleste, Jorge Sampaoli’s men have Lionel Messi as a weapon in their arsenal, with a bet via Ladbrokes on Argentina to win and the Barcelona man to finish as top scorer a great prospect at 50/1.
It’s not as though he will battle against opponents alone either, as many sides would envy their supporting cast of Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain are certain to have some say in Argentina’s success.
It’s always worth backing an outsider – and as their victory in Euro 2016 showed – Portugal are capable of pulling off a surprise, not least from the influence of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid hitman has repeatedly shown that he can single-handedly influence the very biggest matches, as has been proven once again in the Champions League this term.
The 33-year-old can keep his cool at every crucial moment, as he showed when he converted a last-minute penalty versus Juventus that averted extra-time and took Madrid through to the semi-finals of the competition before the La Liga outfit went on to lift the trophy for the third season in a row.
Portugal are offered at 25/1 on 888sport something to consider when taking into account the influence of this “superhuman” player when it really matters. Of course Ronaldo will not be alone in his quest either, and an experienced backline will provide a shield for the attacking prowess of Joao Mario, Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva, the latter having been in superb form at international level if not for his club side AC Milan.
Should Portugal spring the ultimate surprise, they would likely face Uruguay, France and then Brazil en route to a final encounter with either Germany or Spain in the final of this year’s competition.