After a qualification process that took 2 years and 4 months, 210 teams have now been whittled down into 32. We’re set for one of the most intriguing World Cups of all time in Russia.
The global audience of the 2014 Fifa World Cup was 3.2 billion people, and that is expected to be bettered further still to make this the most viewed World Cup ever.
With this popularity, comes an increase in people who want to bet on the World Cup. One of the most popular markets, is the World Cup Winners market.
So who are the favourites to get their hands on that sacred trophy? We’ll give you the rundown on the top seven favourites in the competition.
Ok, so you may be thinking “Seven? That’s an odd number to start with”. Well, you’re right, but we had to get our beloved England side into the list. This year, Gareth Southgate’s men are outsiders to say the least. But no bet on the World Cup would be complete without following your heart on a rank outsider.
Funnily enough, the buzz around the England side is different than in previous years. Fans are suddenly feeling more connected to the England side than they have in ages.
This is mainly because Gareth ‘penalty’ Southgate is boycotting the status quo. No longer are sub standard players being picked because they’re a star name (*cough* Rooney). Youngsters are being given a chance, arguably when they’ve not even earned it – but that’s a discussion for another day.
The qualification process was pretty straight forward for England, with 8 wins from 10. They even had the joint best defensive record in the European qualifying region. So maybe, just maybe, 2018 is the year when 52 years of hurt come to an end…
Ok, no, probably not. But we can dream, right?
Belgium are without a doubt, the most underachieving side in International Football. On paper, they have the strongest 11, and have a ridiculous amount of depth.
Their players dominate the Premier League, but they have struggled to gel for the national side. In Euro 2016 they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Wales who weren’t strong enough to qualify for the World Cup.
However, with a managerial dream team of Roberto Martinez and Thierry Henry, this could be the year that it changes. So far, during an emphatic qualification process, the signs are good.
The Belgians scored 43 goals, which was the joint highest with Germany. Their qualification games included wins of 8-1, 9-0, and 6-0. So it certainly looks like Martinez is managing to gel the outstanding attacking talent that he has at his disposal.
Belgium could be an excellent outside World Cup bet.
Lionel Messi dragged Argentina into the World Cup almost single handedly. The Argies qualified by the skin of their teeth thanks to a last day win and a Messi hat trick.
But we’re not sure how much you can read into this when formulating your bet on the World Cup 2018. The CONMEBOL qualification is notoriously tough, probably the most difficult qualification process of them all. You have Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Chile battling for one of 4 automatic places. That is 6 of the top 16 ranked FIFA nations!
Plus you have the hurdle of having to play at altitude against Bolivia in La Paz (4,000 meters) and Ecuador in Quito (3,000 meters).
You have to also consider that Argentina have been runners up in their last 3 major tournaments. With Messi and the likes of Aguero, Dybala, Banega & Di Maria, you can never write them off.
However, all things considered, the 8/1 on offer this year looks a bit skinny in comparison to the price on offer for Belgium.
The world thought that Tiki Taka was dead when Spain didn’t even make it out of the group stages in the 2014 World Cup. This looked all but confirmed when they were knocked out in the last 16 of the Euros two years later.
But a new generation of highly technical players are bursting onto the scene, and the Spanish side is suddenly looking revitalised.
Spain have the likes of Thiago, Isco, Morata and Asensio coming through, backed up by the experience of Pique, Ramos and Andres Iniesta. They have a great mix of young, hungry players with a point to prove, and experienced winners.
The team has completely dominated their qualification group, winning 9, drawing 1, while conceding just 3. They certainly look like a team that is playing with energy and a new found belief.
France are very much like Belgium. They have a ridiculously strong squad, with squad players that would get into most other countries starting eleven.
But since their Euro and World Cup winning teams of the 90s, they’ve never seemed to be able to make it click.
They are notorious for having disharmonious squads with lots of in-fighting. While there isn’t much talk of that this time around, they’re not really clicking on the pitch. Could it be a case of having too much choice?
When you look at the attacking talent they have available, they were very disappointing during qualification. They only scored 18 goals, which was the third highest in their group.
They did finish as runners up in the last Euros, but it’s worth considering that they were the hosts. This normally gives teams an obvious edge.
We’ve waited a long time for a Brazil side that looks capable of winning a World Cup, and finally, we have one.
They hosted the last World Cup, but despite having the whole country behind them, they couldn’t progress past the Semi final. They were knocked out in humiliating fashion as the ruthless Germans dismantled them 7-1. That broke their spirit and they lost the third place play-off 3-0 against the Dutch.
But it forced them to reflect. They replaced manager Dunga with Tite, and since then, have gone from strength to strength. Tite has brought one or two functional players into the squad, like Renato Augusto, who gives the likes of Neymar, Jesus and Coutinho license to flourish.
Remember how we said the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group is notoriously difficult? And how Argentina struggled? Well, that wasn’t the case for Brazil.
They won the group by 10 points, scoring 41 goals, and conceding just 11. They lost just one game, which demonstrates how good the Brazil side are these days.
The current World Cup holders are one of the hot favourites to retain their title. But the World Cup has only been retained twice. The last time was the famous Brazil sides in 1958 and 1962 that contained the likes of Pele and Garrincha.
So can it be done in the modern day? We’re about to find out.
This German team is quite different from the one that won the World Cup. Youngsters such as Leroy Sane and Timo Werner have started to come through the ranks, and the likes of Miroslav Klose have long departed.
But it looks like this new crop of Germans are just as good. They completely destroyed their qualification group, winning all 10 games. While the group was a pretty easy, that is still an impressive feat. Especially when you consider that they scored 43 goals, and conceded just 4.
Manager Joachim Low is still the national team coach, and by the time the World Cup arrives, he will have been manager for 12 years. An impressively long stint for an International manager.
This big tournament experience will be valuable, and on paper, it’s difficult to argue against the Germans winning it.
So how do you bet on the World Cup?
The World Cup attracts a lot of new gamblers, so fortunately Betting on the World Cup is made easy by gambling companies. The following list will tell you the steps you need to follow.
Pick your bookmaker
To help you decide on which bookmaker you want to bet with, sites such as Oddschecker show you the odds offered by each. Sometimes the odds of each bookie differ slightly, so by comparing the prices you’ll be able to find the best one.
Open an account
The signup process is pretty straight forward. You need to add information such as your name and address. They may even offer a free bet, so check the terms and conditions for these and ensure you fulfil them.
Find the World Cup Winners market
The World Cup winners market will usually be held in Football > World Cup 2018 > Outrights. Click on the market, and you’ll see the selections and the prices.
Add selection to Betslip
If you’ve decided on which selection you want to bet on, click it to add it to your bet slip. This is usually on the right hand side of the website.
Enter your stake and place bet
All that is left now is to enter your stake and place your bet. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the tournament.
Just try not to get too disheartened when England don’t make it through the qualifying rounds…again.