The 2018 World Cup begins on June 14th and looks set to be one of the standout sporting events of the summer. It takes place in Russia and the tournament will be watching by millions of soccer fans around the world.
There will be 32 teams competing at the 2018 World Cup and they will all be vying for the Jules Rimet Trophy. The group stage begins with Russia vs Saudi Arabia in Moscow and will run until June 28th.
Following the draw on December 1st, each side has been assigned a group (A-H) alongside three other team. Each side will play one another during the group stage. The top two in each section will progress through to the knock-out round which begins on June 30th.
There are 12 venues situated across Russia which will hosts games throughout the competition. The Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will host the opening game and the final.
The countdown is on and many online betting sites have already compiled a number of betting markets ahead of the event. We take a look at some of the most popular markets which have been priced up for the tournament and we focus on the latest odds and favorites. We will also bring you our predictions for the prestigious event and provide reasons for each selection.
World Cup 2018 Betting
Many punters have already placed their bets on the World Cup 2018 and you could join them. There are a number of top online betting sites who have a range of great welcome bonuses for new customers and these are ideal for customers who wish to place a wager on the tournament.
In order to find the early value, it's definitely worth exploring the various different markets available on the competition and as we get closer to the event, a greater amount of odds and prices will be added.
Many soccer fans have already placed their bet on the World Cup winner market. Have you? Brazil and Germany have been joint favourites over the past few months. France, Spain and Argentina are next in the betting line.
World Cup Odds
The World Cup Winner market is always hugely competitive and it's been a tussle between Germany and Brazil. Joachim Low's side are the holders and are looking to become the first team since 1962 to secure back-to-back wins at the World Cup. They are strong in every area and are typically well-organised. They will be relying on the goals of Timo Werner throughout this event as he bids to replace the now-retired Miroslav Klose. The veteran striker still holds the record for most goals in FIFA World Cup tournaments and Werner has huge boots to fill. Brazil are hugely talented and they have a great depth of star-quality in their ranks. Neymar Jr is expected to steal the show and he has been very popular in the top goalscorer market so far.
Every side is priced up in accordance to their chance of winning the tournament including 1998 winners France. Les Bleus fell short against Portugal in the Euro 2016 final and Didier Deschamps' men don't look any weaker. They have a hugely talented roster of players with the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe always likely to get goals.
Bigger priced odds are available on the likes of Argentina, Belgium and England. Your chosen side will need to lift the trophy in order for your wager to pay-out.
Each online bookmaker will have slightly different odds so it's always recommended to shop around and open as many different betting accounts as possible in order to find the value.
Odds for a number of other different markets are available with Brazil and Germany once again equally rated when it comes to reaching the FIFA World Cup 2018 final. Spain and France also given equal billing as they both bid to gate-crash the final.
The market for each side to reach the semi-final is also interesting and there are a number of teams in with a chance of reaching the final four according to the betting. Germany and Brazil will not want to meet once again at this stage. The Selecao reached the final four in 2014 but crashed out embarrassingly at the hands of Joachim Low's side.
Belgium and England are drawn together in Group G and they will both be fancied to reach this stage. They will need to be at their absolute best throughout the tournament.
For many teams, reaching the quarter-finals is considered an achievement and it's a hugely competitive betting market for the World Cup 2018. It is expected to be a formality for both Germany and Brazil. France are expected to come through their group fairly easily and Uruguay, who have been handed an easy-looking group are an interesting bet to reach this stage.
Each group has been assigned a group and you can bet on the two sides who will finish top of each section. It looks a formality for Germany to finish above Mexico, Sweden and South Korea whilst Brazil are also a similar price to sweep aside Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica and Tite's side should have very few problems finishing above their three opponents.
Argentina are expected to finish top of their group and will be popular with accumulator backers. Denmark could be dangerous but France have been installed to finish top of Group C. It looks a fascinating fight between neighbours Spain and Portugal to finish top of Group B.
Uruguay are favoured to finish narrowly above Russia in Group A whilst the same applies for Colombia who could edge out Poland in Group H.
Punters are not only able to back a country to finish top of their group but there are also markets for each side to qualify for the knock-out round and it is a great way of finding some value by backing underdogs. Germany is expected to qualify for the last 16 and they are rated as almost certainties alongside Brazil. In Group F, Sweden and Mexico will fight it out for second spot.
Argentina and France are also clubs who are expected to book their place in the next round with relative ease. Other groups look a little more congested with Groups A and H notably competitive and it could be a bit of scramble to make it through to the subsequent round.
Iceland were the surprise package at Euro 2016 and it won't be easy against Argentina to make it through to the next round of the competition. Croatia could be the side to stop them.
World Cup 2018 Predictions
Chances of Qualification
In Group A, our predictions expect Uruguay and Russia to dominate and both should book their places in the next round of the competition. Egypt could be a threat but could inevitably fall short.
Spain and Portugal should make all the headlines in Group B with both European sides expected to prevail and book their place in the round of 16. Morocco and Spain are up against it with these two footballing powerhouses in their section.
France should be dominant in Group C and are expected to qualify alongside Denmark who have a decent young side. Peru could be the dangers in the group and the South American side will be hoping to break up the European dominance.
Argentina were underwhelming during their qualification for the World Cup 2018 but they are expected to sail through the group stage and qualify alongside Croatia who are always there or thereabouts at these tournaments.
Brazil shouldn't encounter any problems qualifying for the next round but it looks extremely competitive in behind them. It appears to be a straight shoot-out between Switzerland and Serbia for a place in the last 16 with the former given the edge by our predictions.
Germany's progression should be a matter of just turning up according to our predictions but Sweden should be able to edge out Mexico. The Swedes can't call upon Zlatan but they still possess a hugely talented XI.
It's going to be an interesting battle between England and Belgium in Group G and both European sides are expected to progress to the next round of the competition. Tunisia could be difficult to beat but our 2018 World Cup predictions suggest that they will fall short.
Arguably one of the most competitive groups could see both Colombia and Poland progress to the next stage although Senegal are a bit of a joker in the pack and have a small possibility to stealing a top two position.
Uruguay should be too powerful for the other three sides in Group A and our predictions place them as the winners of this section ahead of Russia and Egypt. Euro 2016 winners Portugal are tipped to finish behind Spain at the top of Group B.
It looks fairly one-way traffic in Group C with France expected to finish top of this section according to our predictions. Their nearest challengers appear to be Denmark but they will probably settle for second spot.
Jorge Sampaoli's Argentina should be too strong for the other three teams in Group D with the South American side expected to finish above the chasing pack. Croatia provide the greatest threat.
Brazil are expected to clear-up in Group E according to our predictions and it's difficult to see anyone stopping them here. Switzerland should qualify but are unlikely to provide much threat for top-spot.
Another powerful side are predicted to finish clear in Group F with 2014 World Cup winners Germany expected to dominate here. Sweden and Mexico will test Joachim Low's side but they should have too much for their opposition.
Belgium and England will battle it out for top-spot but our predictions have tipped the Red Devils to finish at the summit of Group G. Tunisia and newcomers Panama aren't expected to offer much of a threat.
Colombia and Poland should fight out a decent battle in Group H but it's Colombia who are predicted to edge out Adam Nawalka's side for top spot. They possess the nucleus of their talented squad who impressed at World Cup 2014.
World Cup Winner
According to the odds, Germany and Brazil are both expected to fight it out for top honours at the World Cup 2018 with some online bookmakers narrowly favouring the holders to prevail. They are extremely well-organised and have the psychological edge over Brazil following their 7-1 win at the 2014 event. Brazil beat Germany 1-0 in a friendly at the end of March and this has seen them backed by punters.
Other sides who are predicted to lay down a challenge to Germany include France, Spain and Argentina who are all previous World Cup winners whereas Portugal and Belgium would be first-time winners but aren't predicted to oust the holders.
Lionel Messi is the player predicted to finish as the tournament's top scorer 2018 and the fleet-footed Barcelona player is expected to make up for an underwhelming 2014 tournament in which he only managed to net four times. Antoine Griezmann, Gabriel Jesus and Neymar are all expected to lay down a challenge to the Argentinian. The latter is back from injury in time for the tournament and with Brazil expected to reach the latter stages of the competition, he is likely to get plenty of opportunities throughout the event.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a slightly bigger price but he is predicted to be towards the top of the goalscoring charts and he remains Portugal's focal point and star player.
To Reach the Quarter and Semi-Finals
There are a number of alternative markets available and each side has been priced up on their chances of reaching the last eight and four of the competition.
Brazil and Germany are both expected to reach this stage and shouldn't have any problems making it this far. It's going to be a fascinating battle between Spain, France and Argentina with all three sides predicted to reach the quarter-finals but only two of that trio can join Brazil and Germany in the final four. According to the odds, Argentina are the side who will miss out.
According to the betting market, Belgium have a decent chance of gate-crashing the final four but Roberto Martinez's side should definitely make it through to the final eight.
To Reach the Final
This year's final is expected to be a repeat of the 2014 semi-final which saw Brazil face Germany. Both sides were in scintillating form during the qualifiers and that's why they are expected to make it to the final two. Germany will be looking to make it back-to-back World Cup successes whilst Brazil are aiming for their first triumph since 2002.
They are identical prices to reach the final. France are deemed relatively likely to make it through to the final two and Didier Deschamp's side showed their class during Euro 2016. Spain could also be dangerous and have the big-game experience which should allow them to reach the World Cup 2018 final.
World Cup 2018 Schedule
The World Cup 2018 begins with Russia vs Saudi Arabia on June 14th with the Group A match kicking off proceedings. It is the only game to take place on this day.
The Group Stages run from June 14th – June 28th with each group culminating with the two matches getting underway at the same time. This avoids any unfair advantages.
There is a short break before the round of 16 begins on June 30th. These conclude on July 3rd.
Following a two-day break, the quarter-finals begin on July 6th with each of the four fixtures being played across two hugely significant days.
The two semi-finals will be played on July 10th and July 11th in Moscow and St.Petersburg before the two losing sides meet in the third place play-off on July 14th. The following day, the World Cup 2018 final will commence at the Luzhniki Stadium.