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World Cup Odds 2018: The Group Stage

The draw for the 2018 World Cup was held on December 1, with teams placed into four “pots” based primarily on their FIFA World Rankings (Russia was automatically put into Pot 1 as the host nation) and one team from each pot was drawn at random to go into each group. Here’s how the eight groups shook out in the end:

Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

Group A
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  • Egypt

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  • Russia

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  • Saudi Arabia

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  • Uruguay

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Group A Preview

Group B
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    • Pts
  • Iran

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  • Morocco

    • 0
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  • Portugal

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  • Spain

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Group B Preview

Group C
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    • Pts
  • Australia

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    • 0
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  • Denmark

    • 0
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  • France

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  • Peru

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Group C Preview

Group D
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  • Argentina

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  • Croatia

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  • Iceland

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  • Nigeria

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Group D Preview

Group E
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  • Brazil

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  • Costa Rica

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  • Switzerland

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  • Serbia

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Group E Preview

Group F
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  • Germany

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  • South Korea

    • 0
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  • Mexico

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  • Sweden

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Group F Preview

Group G
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  • Belgium

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  • England

    • 0
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  • Panama

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  • Tunisia

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Group G Preview

Group H
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  • Colombia

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  • Japan

    • 0
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  • Poland

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  • Senegal

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Group H Preview

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    World Cup Betting Preview

    As the two most successful teams in the history of modern international soccer, it’s only fitting that Germany and Brazil are tied atop the 2018 FIFA World Cup odds list. The two sides are +450 co-favorites at press time, ahead of France and Spain at +650; Argentina are another step back at +900, followed by Belgium at +1100 and the ever-hopeful England squad at +1600.

    Germany are the defending champions after beating Argentina 1-0 at the 2014 World Cup final. Brazil, the host nation, had to settle for fourth place after getting blown out 7-1 by Die Mannschaft in the semifinals. Despite that disappointing result, the Canaries still hold the all-time lead with five World Cup titles, one more than Germany. Now, four years later, the two teams have exactly the same odds to win the World Cup.
     

    World Cup 2018 Odds: Germany or Brazil?

    Choosing between the two will be difficult. Germany are the No. 1 team on the planet according to the FIFA World Rankings, ahead of Brazil at No. 2. The World Football Elo Ratings have it the other way around. The Canaries did claim victory in their friendly on March 27, winning 1-0 in Berlin. It was the first defeat for Germany in 23 matches overall, after 16 wins and six draws. But neither team fielded their full starting XI.

    Stability is on Germany’s side, as usual. Joachim Löw has kept a steady hand on the tiller since taking over as manager in 2006, after two years serving as an assistant to Jürgen Klinsmann. Brazil, in sharp contrast, have burned through several head coaches and playing styles over the past dozen years. But they’ve enjoyed tremendous success since Tite replaced Dunga in 2016, losing just one of their 19 matches with 15 victories and three draws.

    There’s a very good chance we’ll see these two teams battle it out at some point during the Knockout phase. Germany are –310 favorites on the 2018 World Cup odds board to win Group F, while the Canaries are –400 to win Group E. If both sides reach those benchmarks, they’ll have a chance to meet in the Final on July 15; otherwise, they could end up facing each other as soon as the Round of 16.

    Short World Cup Betting Odds for France, Spain

    There isn’t much of a drop-off between the co-favorites and the second tier of World Cup betting contenders. France (No. 7 FIFA, No. 5 Elo) are trying to recapture their magic from 20 years ago, when Les Bleus won their only World Cup; Didier Deschamps, the captain of that squad, has been the French manager since 2012, but has yet to deliver any hardware. They lost 1-0 to Germany in the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, and fell 1-0 to Portugal at the Euro 2016 Final.

    Spain (No. 8 FIFA, No. 3 Elo) had a long history of World Cup frustration before finally breaking through in 2010. They’re no longer the best team in the world, but La Furia are marching back up the mountain under Julen Lopetegui, their manager since 2016. Lopetegui led Spain to an undefeated record in World Cup qualifying at nine victories (including a 3-0 thrashing of Italy) and one draw. They also drew Germany 1-1 in a friendly at Düsseldorf on March 23, before wiping out Argentina 6-1 four days later.

    Match-Up of the Day

    Last Chance for Messi, Argentina to Win World Cup?

    That result is just one reason for Argentina (No. 5 FIFA, No. 4 Elo) to be concerned about their World Cup chances. They’re coming off a shaky qualifying performance, finishing third in the CONMEBOL region behind Brazil and Uruguay. Jorge Sampaoli is their third head coach since that devastating loss to Germany four years ago. And most of the top players will be 30 or older by the time they reach Russia, including captain Lionel Messi, who often struggles in international play after going deep into the club season at FC Barcelona.

    In theory, there’s an opening for outsiders Belgium (No. 3 FIFA, No. 9 Elo) and England (No. 13 FIFA, No. 7 Elo) to make it through this competitive field. They’ll probably be the two teams who advance from Group G; however, neither side has managed to crack the top echelon of global soccer over the past 50 years. It’ll take a near-flawless effort and some good fortune to get past the likes of Germany and Brazil. Then again, the same could be said for all the other contenders.

     

    *Odds as of May 1, 2018