2018 World Cup Predictions – Special Markets
One of the best things about the World Cup coming around is the plethora of exciting betting opportunities available. Not only can you bet on the regular markets such as outright winner and top goalscorer, but there are many special markets out there that offer plenty of value.
With the big kickoff in Russia under a month away and so much on offer, we’ve had our expert tipsters scour through the data to bring you the very best value from these alternative markets.
SpainTop European Team
We’re predicting the Spanish squad to be lifting the World Cup trophy in July, but a slightly less risky bet is for them to outperform the rest of their European rivals.
The biggest threat to Spain is obviously the reigning world champions Germany, and should everything go to plan these two nations will meet in the semi-finals. In this situation the other semi-final could conceivably be tournament favourites Brazil facing off against France, and with France’s defence looking rather shaky, the South Americans will fancy their chances.
At this price it looks excellent value for Spain to go the distance. They would need to top their group before beating Group A runners up (Russia, Egypt, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia) in the last 16. A quarter-final against either Argentina, Croatia, Denmark, or France would follow before their expected meeting with Germany.
BrazilTop South American Team
This is one of the more high value bets of the entire tournament. Brazil are often favourites heading into the World Cup, and while we think they’re somewhat overvalued to lift the trophy, they look huge favourites to go further than any other South American team.
Uruguay, Argentina, and Colombia make up their continental rivals, and to be honest none of them seem to pose much of a threat to the canary yellow that Neymar and company will be wearing. We are expecting Uruguay to win their group, but a meeting with either Spain or Portugal is likely to follow meaning we can see their tournament coming to a close pretty quickly.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina are seen as their biggest threat, but they were pushed to the edge in qualifying and have since suffered heavy friendly defeats to Nigeria and Spain. They don’t look anywhere near as good as they should at the moment, and we can see them failing to win their group and getting knocked out in the last 16.
Colombia took the tournament by storm four years ago thanks to the heroics of James Rodriguez, but their overall quality just doesn’t look good enough. They could conceivably go out in the group stages, but even if they win their group, they are likely to face England in the last 16 and then potentially Germany in the quarter finals.
Meanwhile, should Brazil win their group, they will play the runner-up of Group F which is more than likely to be South Korea, Mexico or Sweden – a favourable match-up whichever way it goes. From there, Brazil could face Belgium in the quarters and France in the semi’s… whatever their route, we’re tipping Brazil to make it al the way to the final, so this really does look a solid bet.
EgyptTop African Team
This bet is all about the group stages. Obviously none of the African teams are expected to make a truly deep run in the World Cup, but just making it through the group stages could well be enough to win this bet.
Egypt’s continental rivals are Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Senegal, and it’s quite likely that none of these teams will actually make it to the knockout stage.
Morocco have been drawn alongside Spain and Portugal in the group stage so look huge underdogs to make the cut, whilst Nigeria have Croatia, Argentina, and Iceland to face off against. Tunisia are similarly up against it with Belgium and England in Group G, leaving Senegal as the only realistic competition.
Senegal do have a very promising looking squad to be fair that includes Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Monaco’s Balde Keita. However, Group H includes Poland, Colombia, and Japan, making it one of the toughest groups to call in the tournament. We’re expecting Poland and Colombia to outperform Mane and company, so all Egypt need to do is make it through the group stages.
Led by Mohamed Salah, Egypt upset the odds to just make it to the World Cup. Now they’re here we wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the knockout rounds, especially with them being handed one of the easier group draws. Uruguay are the favourites for Group A, but Egypt should have enough about them to beat Saudi Arabia and Russia to 2nd place and claim their title as top performing African nation.
MexicoStage of Elimination - Last 16
Top Central American qualifiers Mexico don’t have an easy ride of things this summer. Germany are the overwhelming favourites for Group F so the top spot looks almost unattainable already. Sweden will provide tough competition for 2nd place after their impressive qualifying campaign, but in the end we’re expecting the Mexicans to book their place in the knockout rounds.
Unfortunately for them, their luck doesn’t change after the group stages. Should they finish 2nd, they will be paired off with the winners of Group E, where Brazil are the huge favourites to beat the likes of Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Serbia to the top spot. We can’t see Mexico getting past the pre-tournament favourites so back them to be eliminated in the Last 16.
CroatiaTo Reach Quarter-Final
Argentina are being heavily favoured to top Group D in Russia, but the bookies are almost completely overlooking the threat that Croatia will pose. Argentina underperformed massively in qualifying and look nowhere near at their best, and considering Croatia beat Spain to the top spot in their Euro 2016 group we don’t think it’s far-fetched for them to do the same this summer.
If they do outperform Messi and co, they would face the runners up of Group C in the last 16, where France are heavy favourites to finish top. This leaves Australia, Peru, or Denmark for Croatia to navigate past, a feat we think they’ll achieve with relative ease.
After that things get a little murky for Zlatko Dalic’s men though, with a quarter-final tie against Spain likely to be the end of their journey.
PortugalTo Reach Semi-Final
Just two years ago Portugal defended their way to an unlikely European Championship crown, beating host nation France in the final after winning just one of their seven matches in normal time.
Despite this triumph, they’re being completely overlooked by the bookies and come in at a huge 25/1 to lift the trophy. That is longer odds than England. We see it a different way though, and actually expect the Euro 2016 champions to put in a good performance.
They impressed in qualifying to top their group, and while we are expecting them to play second fiddle to Spain in the Group Stage, we believe they have more than enough to continue their journey.
A Last 16 clash with the winners of Group A would follow, with that expected to be Uruguay. They should be able to win that fixture, and then could face a repeat of the final two years ago with a quarter-final tie against France. It’s definitely possible that they can win that match, and that run to the semi-finals is a worst case scenario in terms of fixture difficulty.
If Portugal do manage to upset the odds and finish top of their group, they are likely to face the likes of Egypt and Croatia in the first two knockout rounds, so we think they’re great value to reach the semi’s.