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World Cup 2018

So, it’s officially time to get excited about the World Cup 2018!
The qualifying stages are underway and betting has already begun. With the drama surrounding this World Cup already, it’s sure to be one to remember!
In this World Cup betting guide, we bring you all the facts, betting tips, strategies and need to know details. Not only is this the single most exciting sporting event in the world, but fortunes are made and lost each and every time it is held.
Most people won’t either win or lose a fortune at the World Cup 2018, but will instead enjoy a good old fashioned punt and hopefully walk away with a few extra quid in their pockets!
With this guide, you’re World Cup 2018 betting strategies will be that much more informed. Enjoy!

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World Cup Odds, Betting Guide – & More

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Welcome to this complete World Cup 2018 betting guide!
The World Cup is the granddaddy of all football tournaments on earth, the one where the undisputed kings of football will be crowned for another 4 years.
The World Cup is always lively, full of drama, ups, and downs, screaming goals and unforgettable moments. Football fans around the world work themselves into a frenzy as it approaches and progresses and World Cup results come out, feeling the full spectrum of highs and lows as their respective nations battle it out to become the undisputed champions of the world.

The World Cup also has a rich history, and some even view it as a story in and of itself. Every cup is a chapter in the book, but the book itself is much bigger than any one tournament.
We’ll cover the fascinating story of the World Cup from its inception to the present day. We’ll highlight some of the most memorable moments the tournament has ever produced and give you the inside scoop on what’s likely to happen in the upcoming World Cup in 2018.
Before we get into all of that, however, let’s take a snapshot assessment of the World Cup in 2018.
If this one’s anything like the previous ones, it’s going to be utterly unmissable!

The FIFA World Cup 2018 At a Glance

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The World Cup in 2018 will take place in Russia – and already the drama has kicked off (pun intended).
With Western nations engaged in geopolitical shenanigans with Russia as the boogie man, it’s been a constant worry about whether or not the tournament will take place at all.
With a large chunk of Russian athletes banned from the Olympics for doping and Russian fans condemned at the Euro Tournament for acts of hooliganism and violence this year, it’s a constant ‘hanging by a thread’ type situation, adding even more fuel to the fire of the epic drama that always is the World Cup.

As if the situation couldn’t get any more volatile, FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter resigned in disgrace after it was revealed that he was engaged in corruption at the highest levels. This only compounded the suspicions that surrounded the controversial selection of Russia as the host country. Talk about a story, and that’s before the actual football had even begun!
Yet the show must go on, and it’s full steam ahead as the World Cup qualifying draw has already happened in St. Petersburg and the qualifying games have already commenced. With an average of 2.97 goals scored in them so far per match, it’s been packed with action already. The odds have been set and it’s time to get betting!

So what about location? What many don’t know about Russia is that there are two ‘sides’ to it, one largely known as European Russia, the other as Asian Russia. All of the World Cup games will take place on the Western, European side of Russia in cities like St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kaliningrad, Sochi, Samara and several others.
Despite that, there have been calls by prominent black footballers to boycott the tournament due to concerns about racism in the country. Phew! Talk about pushing all the hot buttons at once!
Yet, the qualifying rounds have already begun, with the 210 teams battling it out for their place in the finals. There’s been talk and rumour of expanding the total numbers of teams that qualify from 32 to 40, but so far no moves have been made and it seems to be largely rumour, sparked by the UEFA president Michel Platini. How this would affect the odds if it did occur is unknown.

Qualifiers will go on until mid-November November 2016, and then the first battle lines for the finals will be drawn. Only 31 teams will make it, as host country Russia qualify by default according to World Cup Rules.
So there you have it, a quick snapshot of this politically charged, exciting World Cup that’s sure to outdo all the amazing tournaments before it. There have been some surprises in the qualifiers already, and in true World Cup fashion, you just never know what’s going to happen next or when the final whistle has blown.
Oh, and if you plan to actually go to any of the matches, Russia is waving all visa requirements for the duration of the tournament. They’ve cut the red tape at the ribbon and ticket holders, footballers, team members like coaches and the countless other people who make the World Cup happen are able to travel to Russia visa-free.

World Cup – History

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As if this World Cup isn’t fascinating enough, there’s a rich history and tradition surrounding the World Cup in general. It’s as if it has a magical aura surrounding it, one which sucks us in, spellbinds us and causes us to feel we have a personal stake in it. All of this is much to the dismay of many football fan’s wives around the planet, but there’s little they can do, such is the hypnotic power of this awesome tournament!

Here are some fun facts about the history of the World Cup to bring you up to speed:

  • The first tournament was held in 1930 when founder Jules Rimet, the third president of FIFA, decided it was time to stage an international football tournament. Little did he know it would surpass his wildest dreams and morph into a tradition that goes on to this day.
  • The original tournament had only 13 teams participate in it and was held in Uruguay. They have since won the tournament twice. Uruguay always has decent World Cup odds, even though their glory days are behind them.
  • The desire to hold the World Cup was sparked by the fact that football was being dropped from the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932.
  • The second World Cup was held in Italy in 1934. It was the first to put in place the qualifying process. Italy won the tournament and reigning champions Uruguay boycotted it due to lack of European teams playing.
  • Uruguay again boycotted the third World Cup, this time, because it was being played in Europe, specifically France. Italy held onto their title and remained the kings of football for longer than they expected due to some tragic events on the horizon.
  • Sadly, in 1942 the World Cup was canceled as war broke out in Germany and across Europe. The 1946 tournament also had to be canceled because when the second World War ended in 1945, there simply wasn’t enough time to plan it, nor was there the will to host it by any country.
  • Yet all dark periods pass and the World Cup sprang back to life in 1950 in Brazil. Reigning champs Italy did show up and take part, despite the fact that many of their national players had been killed in a tragic air accident in 1949. This World Cup also saw the return of the original champions, Uruguay, who vanquished foes Brazil on their own territory in an epic battle which ended 2-1.
  • The 1954 World Cup, held in Switzerland, was the first to beam out across the world on TV. This would ultimately take football to a new level. West Germany emerged victorious over Hungary.
  • 1958 saw FIFA forced to revise the rules after a political confusion saw Israel qualify without playing a single match. This World Cup is where the legendary Brazilian footballer Pele emerged, scoring two cracking goals in the final and leading Brazil to the victory.
  • The World Cup is never without drama, and the 1962 tournament in Chile is no exception. A massive, 9.2 magnitude earthquake, the largest ever recorded, struck before the World Cup qualifications began and damaged the stadium, forcing developers to scramble and fix it before the tournament started. Brazil won again, retaining their title.
  • In true World Cup fashion, disaster and drama struck the 1966 cup when the trophy itself was stolen in host country England. Thankfully, a dog named Pickles discovered it, hitting the headlines around the world. Home team England won this year, the first and only time they have ever won the World Cup.
  • In 1970, Brazil did the unthinkable and won their third consecutive World Cup, making their mark on football history forever. They were awarded the Jules Rimet trophy for their achievement.
  • The 1974 tournament was relatively dismal compared to the flamboyance and all out shenanigans of the previous ones. Hosts, West Germany took the trophy, and in a shock upset, barely known Poland defeated reigning champs Brazil to take third place.
  • In 1978, Tunisia and Iran entered the World Cup for the first time, and Tunisia became the first ever African country to win a World Cup game, winning 3-1 over Mexico. Host team Argentina won, sending the Dutch home with second place prizes.
  • In 1982 the World Cup expanded to allow 24 teams to compete. Hosted in Spain, a number of new teams made an appearance including Cameroon and New Zealand, proving the World Cup was becoming a truly global phenomenon. In true style, a heated argument broke out during the France and Kuwait game when Kuwait stopped playing due to a whistle blown in the crowd, allowing France to score. Italy took the World Cup yet again.
  • In 1986 the World Cup made its way back to Mexico and saw several more new teams join the ranks including Canada and Iraq. This was the tournament in which Argentine player Diego Maradona scored his now infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England. Argentina went on to win the trophy against West Germany in the final.
  • 1990 saw the tournament held in Italy. In characteristic style, a major drama unfolded when Chile, down to Brazil, got disqualified after a firework was thrown onto the pitch and the goalkeeper, Rojas faked an injury by cutting his own face with a razor blade he had in his glove. The entire plot was discovered and Rojas was banned for 12 years. This time, West Germany took revenge and beat Argentina in the final to become champions.
  • 1994 became the first World Cup in history to be decided by penalties. In a nail-biting final, Brazil defeated Italy. For Argentina, Maradona’s tenure ended in disgrace mid-way through the tournament as he tested positive for drugs, and tragedy struck as Colombian defender Andreas Escobar was murdered after his own goal saw Colombia eliminated from the tournament.
  • In the 1998 World Cup in France, the tournament expanded yet again allowing 32 teams to compete in the finals. Iran set a staggering record beating the Maldives 17-0 in the qualification round. In the end, France was victorious and was crowned champions.
  • For the first time, in 2002, the World Cup was held in Asia and was hosted jointly by Japan and South Korea. Australia topped Iran’s record for widest margin of victory after they slaughtered Western Samoa 31-0. In the end, it would be another notch on the belt for Brazil, who beat Germany 2-0 and secured their fifth World Cup title.
  • In 2006 the tournament returned to Germany. It was a relatively drama-free affair for a change, except for the red card received by the French captain Zinedine Zidane in the final. After a 1-1 draw, Italy went on to take the title again after a tense penalty shootout.
  • 2010 saw the World Cup hosted on African soil for the first time. In South Africa, Spain would take the title of champions for the first time.
  • In 2014, the last World Cup, the tournament was held in Brazil and saw Germany defeat Argentina in the finals to become current reigning champions. There was a little drama as players struggled with the crushingly hot temperatures, leading to the introduction of cooling periods.

So, as you can see, the World Cup is rarely without drama. From cheating to theft to murder to drug suspensions and more, this is so much more than just a football tournament – it’s a carnival and a storybook in and of itself.
Some of the greatest moments in sporting history have happened at the World Cup. Will the upcoming one live of to expectations? If the World Cup qualifiers are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat!
Did you know: Brazil has appeared in every World Cup since it began in 1930. They also hold the record for most World Cup wins with 5 cups in the trophy cabinet. Brazil is almost always favourites in the odds, and if not, are a close second or third.

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How the World Cup Works – From Kickoff to Final Whistle

Now that we know a little about the history of the world’s biggest football tournament, let’s take a look at how it actually works.
As you saw in the history section, there have been multiple expansions and rule changes since the first tournament, giving us the current format we have today.

Here’s how things stand today, and how the 2018 cup will play out:
First, 210 teams from around the world fight for their place in the finals in the regional qualifying stages.
Teams from Europe battle it out for 13 places, South American teams battle it out for 4.5 places, CONCACAF teams (including USA, Barbados, El Salvador, etc) play for 3.5 places, African teams play for 5 places, Asian teams play for 4.5 places, and Oceania teams play for 0.5 places.

The number of places up for grabs depends on global ranking. World Cup odds are also decided partly based on this.
These qualifiers are already underway and many fantastic games of football have been played already. Only 31 teams will make it through the group stages to join hosts Russia in the finals. It’s already been a highly charged tournament with plenty of memorable moments.
So how are groups selected and what happens thereafter? Groups are selected in a random draw held by FIFA. Once groups are drawn up, how things proceed depends on which region you’re talking about.

In Europe, games are played with the group winner going through automatically. 8 of the best-performing runners up then play in a two-legged playoff in a battle royale for their place in the finals. This is always a very exciting time in the world cup for the nations concerned as it truly do or die time in a quest to reach the World Cup final.
In South America, each team plays each other home and away. The top 4 teams qualify automatically, and the 5th place team gets the 0.5 qualification, facing the winner of the Oceania region for a single place in an intercontinental match.
CONCACAF teams play in a complex and convoluted 5 round playoff. In the end, the top 3 teams qualify and the 4th place team plays against a team from the Asia regional games in an intercontinental playoff.

In Africa, 3 rounds see 40 nations battle it out for 5 places. The top 20 from the second round end up in 5 groups comprising 4 teams each. Only group winner qualifies for the finals.
Asian teams see 40 countries play over 3 rounds, windling things down to 2 groups of 6 in round 3. Group winners and runners-up automatically go through, while teams finishing 3rd play a 2 legged playoff with the winner going through to an intercontinental match against a team from CONCACAF for a place in the finals.
Oceania sees a 3 round group stage cutting things down to 2 groups of 3 in the 3rd round. Group winners face off in a playoff to proceed to an intercontinental match against a South American team.

After the qualifiers and intercontinental matches have been played, 32 teams proceed to the finals. There are two stages in the finals: the group stages, and the knockout stages.
In the group stage, there are 8 teams of 4 each. There’ll be one ‘seeded’ team in each group, decided by FIFA according to rankings. This team will be the one to beat in each group. The other teams are selected at random. The draw is set up so that no group can contain more than 2 European teams or more than 1 team from each of the other 5 FIFA designated ‘zones’. This is done to ensure equal representation in the knockout rounds which come later.
Every team will play least 3 matches during the group stages. These are fraught with excitement and often heated. A win gets 3 points, a draw gets 1, and a loss gets 0, just like league play. The top 2 teams in each group proceed to the knockout stage, which is when the real World Cup excitement begins. World Cup odds are dynamic and change as results pour in even at this early stage.

Once the knockout rounds begin, there can be no draws. Extra time and penalties will decide each and every match with the winner proceeding and the losing team packing up and heading home. There will be 16 teams when the knockout rounds begin.
After the round of 16, we enter the quarterfinals with 8 teams left. The excitement at this stage is palpable and the intensity of the games goes into overdrive as an atmosphere of feverish competition descends upon the already charged tournament.
From the quarter-finals, only 4 teams will make it to the semis. After these are played, we are left with the final match in the World Cup where 2 teams will play to the death to be crowned world kings of football for 4 years.

There are betting opportunities at every stage of the World Cup, from the first qualifiers through to the finals. While casual football fans tend to start paying attention after the group qualifiers, they are missing out on endless opportunities to profit from the games that take place before the world turns its full attention to the World Cup. World Odds are often best at the early stages – for example, a German win, which is likely, is currently selling at 11/2!
See the ‘World Cup Betting Strategies’ section below for more details on how you can profit from these early games, or any game throughout the duration of the world’s most watched sporting event.

Did you know: The winners of the World Cup don’t only get to go down in history, but also get to take home a whopping $35 million. That has to be taken in content, however, because during the 2014 cup FIFA took in more than $4 billion. Not bad!

The World Cup – The Bookmakers Top 10 & The Host

In this section we’ll take a closer look at World Cup odds the teams which are favourite in 2018. We’ll also take a look at some of the stars who will be playing in the remaining qualifiers and likely in the knockout stages.
 
Remember, there are many betting opportunities in the World Cup that don’t revolve around simply predicting winners and losers. You can bet on goals scored, results at half time, yellow and red cards issued and even propositions within live play such as ‘Who will score next?’, ‘Final Score’ and a number of other outcomes.
 
The information in this section should prove useful for forming betting strategies and ideas.
Let’s take a look at the teams and how they are likely to perform. We’ll cover the host team first and then look at the top 10 in terms of current betting odds. Since Russia will be covered first as they’re the host team, 10 entries will follow them making for 11 teams in this section overall.

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Russia

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Starting with the host nation, who automatically qualify for the group stages of the finals, Russia is always a contender on the field. While they have never won a World Cup, they can hold their own with even the biggest and best teams in the world and can pull off surprise victories. The World Cup odds aren’t in their favour, though.

At the front, number 9 Aleksandr Kokorin is always a danger and when up against teams with any weakness in their defence poses a serious threat. In these instances, a great betting tip would be to bet on Kokorin scoring at any time during gameplay. At the tender age of 25, he still has a fairly long career ahead of him, and will be looking to make his mark in front of the home crowd.

Russia can be weak at the back and have conceded 16 goals in their last 10 games. It makes for a decent bet that they’ll concede against any team with a capable striker who play football which puts constant pressure on the defence.

Russia doesn’t stand much of a chance of actually winning the World Cup with current odds of 33/1, but if history is anything to go by the host team can pull off unexpected upsets as the adrenaline of playing in front of their own fans increases their odds. If you fancy a long shot punt this may be one worth considering.

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Germany

Germany is always a terrifying force to meet on the football field and can utterly dismantle the opposing team. This is compounded and amplified when they are ‘on form’, which they are. Germany is currently tipped as favourites to win the World Cup 2018 with odds of 11/2.
 
That said, Germany are not invincible. At the time of writing, they have won 6 of their last 10 international fixtures, have lost 2 including a surprise upset to Slovakia, and have drawn with both Italy and Poland.
 
Whether or not the bookies are proven right and Germany win the World Cup, it’s a safe bet that they’’ score during any given match. Again looking at the last 10 fixtures, they have scored at least 1 goal in 8 of those matches racking up a total of 15 goals. They utterly dominate the field, pressing forward relentlessly until cracks appear in the defence.
 
With striker Mario Gomez sitting on 29 goals scored in international football since 2007, he’ll be looking to climb the ranks of Germany’s top goalscorers and close the gap between himself and the legendary Miroslav Klose, who currently holds the record with 71 goals scored over a much longer career. If you’re looking for a single player to score in German fixtures worth a bet, Gomez is the one.
 
Overall, Germany is the favourite for a reason. They’re dangerous, relentless and poses some of the best footballing talent in the world. There is a range of great bets you could make on any of their fixtures or on them winning the cup when it’s all said and done.
World Cup odds change as the cup proceeds. You likely won’t get Germany at this price again.
 

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team_brazil

Brazil

Anyone who knows anything about international football knows that Brazil is always a force to be reckoned with and never one to be underestimated. They hold the most World Cup titles of any national team and produce some of the best footballers on the planet. They’re currently tied second in the bookies’ odds to win, at 9/1.

Having played only 5 international fixtures since September 2015, Brazil has won 3 and racked up 13 goals, including a 7-1 slaughter of Haiti in the Copa America. In their last international match, they did suffer a surprise loss to Peru, proving they aren’t unassailable.

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Striker Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., known simply as Neymar, is a clear and present danger against any side, and currently ranks 5th in the highest scorers of all time for the Brazilian national team. He’s touted to surpass Pele before it’s all said and done, so a bet on him scoring in any match is a good one.

A bet on Brazil to either win the entire tournament or to win any match is a great one to make. Betting that Brazil will score in any given match, and even betting they will score more than 1 goal, are both probably going to turn out to be money well spent. It could also pay to bet on who will score – in which case the safe money is on Neymar.

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Argentina

Multiple World Cups later, Argentina are keen to bring back their glory days and take the World Cup back to South America. They’re currently tied 2nd with Brazil to win, at 9/1 odds.
 
Argentina has been on blinding form recently, cruising their way through the Copa America to the finals where they narrowly lost a penalty shootout to Chile. Despite losing, Argentina showed they are the team to worry about with winning 4-0 against the USA, 3-0 against Bolivia, 4-1 against Venezuela and 5-0 against Panama. That’s a lot of goals for a single tournament and a clear message to the world: Argentina are ready to dominate.
 
Having come so close last time, Lionel Messi and the Argentine squad will be aiming to set things straight. It’s Messi the opposing side should watch out for, with 55 goals under his belt in the international arena he’s highly likely to rack up at least a few more before the World Cup 2018 is said and done.
 
Argentina to win my be the best single bet you could make. All the ingredients are there and with the passion to take what they came within touching distance of last time, a recent show of dominance and the best striker in the world, Argentina is where the smart money is this World Cup.
 
Other great betting options are a Messi goal in any match and Argentina to score more than 1 against anyone. Another interesting bet is Argentina to concede zero goals at 90 minutes, and if recent form is anything to go by this has a good chance of putting cash in your pocket.
 
Always check World Cup odds to make sure the risk is worth the reward on any given bet.

teaam_spain

Spain

Previous champions Spain are also one to watch. While not the favourites, this time, around, they’re still a top contender in the eyes of the bookies at 10/1 for the win.
 
Spain has several impressive wins under their belt this year so far. Beating Belgium 2-0, Turkey 3-0, the Czech Republic 1-0, and South Korea 6-1, Spain has shown that when everything comes together it does so in impressive fashion.
 
A couple of losses have shown that Spain isn’t on perfect form, however. Italy dispensed with them and cruised to a 2-0 victory in June at the Euros, Croatia pulled off an upset and sent Spain home with a 2-1 loss, and Georgia showed that Spain can lose even to lower ranked teams on a bad day
 
This weak performance in the Euros has shown that Spain may not be the best they’ve ever been.
Still, with 10/1 World Cup odds it may be worth a punt. With Morata and Nolito at the front, they have the capacity to pounce on the smallest weakness in any team’s defence. This isn’t quite a long shot bet but isn’t a favourite bet either. That’s exactly the kind of bet you should be looking for – one with a decent probability of happening and nice odds. £100 correctly placed on Spain could equal a very nice holiday in the sun!

france_team

France

France are always contenders in every World Cup and have won it before. No matter which team is up against them, France will pressure them and take them to their limits. A game against France will never be a walk in the park, and any mistakes will be punished by one of the best attacking midfielders in the world along with several extremely capable strikers.
 
France is currently 11/1 to win the World Cup at most bookmakers. With several impressive performances at the Euros this summer, including a 2-1 defeat over Germany, and a dominating 3-1 defeat over Italy in an international friendly in July, France have proven that they can defeat the very best teams in the world when they’re on form and can score, often multiple times, against teams with strong defences.
 
With forward Olivier Giroud always a danger, teams up against France also have to worry about attacking midfielder Antoine Griezmann, who has scored 6 goals in the last 7 matches he has played. A bet on either of these two to score in any match is a smart one, and a bet on a French victory could be a very good decision with 11/1 odds.
 
Could France come from 5th place favourites to blitz the tournament and take the World Cup back to Paris? Never say never. If they can beat Germany and Italy decisively, they can beat anyone, anytime, anywhere.
 

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team_italia

Italy

Winners of the World Cup several times before, watching Italy play is always an exciting and nerve-wracking event.
 
Italy plays passionate, flamboyant football full of character, skill and when openings show themselves – relentless aggression. This is precisely what makes them so dangerous and what means they can win any match on any day.
 
With some of the most memorable World Cup moments in their archives (who could forget Roberto Baggio hitting the crossbar in an epic penalty shootout in 1994?), Italy will be looking to take the cup back again this time around.
 
But do they realistically stand a chance? Bookmakers have them at 14/1 currently, meaning they are 6th place in the list of favourites.
 
It has to be said that over the past year Italy has played inconsistently. With 11 international matches so far in 2016, Italy has won 6 of them, drawn 1 and lost 4. they key to interpreting this is knowing who the matches were against. In the instances Italy lost, they did so to top contenders like Germany (4-1) and France (31), although they did take Germany all the way to penalties during the Euros and lost in the shootout.
 
What this indicates is that the current Italian squad struggles against the best of the best. While things could change between now and 2018 it is worth acknowledging that Italy is unlikely to win the World Cup as a whole as things stand today.
 
Long shot punters may want to capitalize on the 14/1 odds and sheer belief that Italy can pull it off. A smarter and better bet would be that Italy makes it into at least the quarterfinals, or that striker Graziano Pelle puts at least 1 goal away in any given game.

belgium-team

Belgium

At 16/1 at the bookies, Belgium is admittedly a long shot bet when it comes to winning the World Cup in 2018. That said, this is the World Cup, and you just never know what might happen!
 
With 10 international games played this year, Belgium has won 4 of them, drawn 1 and lost 5. They’ve proven themselves capable of dominant performances including a 4-0 slaughter of Hungary and a 3-1 victory over Italy late in 2015, but they have also lost to Portugal, Spain, and Italy in 2016, proving that when the pressure is on, Belgium can falter.
 
It would be a stretch to imagine Belgium winning the World Cup against teams like Germany, Argentina, and Brazil, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t betting opportunities during Belgium matches.
 
When up against decent teams, but not quite top contenders, like the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Hungary, and Switzerland, for example, Belgium win the majority of the time. They also usually score more than 1 goal, meaning there’s an opportunity to bet on total goals scored.
 
Belgium stands a good chance of making it through to the round of 16 and possibly even the quarterfinals, but to bet on them to win the tournament would be somewhat of a bet on a hope and a dream.

england_team

England

england

England fans are among the most passionate on the planet, and if they don’t win in Russia, they will at the very least be heard, seen and their presence will be felt!

The odds of England winning currently stand at 20/1 and it must be admitted that for all the talent the squad possesses, England falter far too often on the international stage.

It would be a mistake, however, to discount them and underestimate the English squad. If there’s any team in the world just waiting to bloom and live up to their potential, England is it, and if things click, they could easily defy the odds and win the World Cup once again.

A quick look at the results of the 10 international matches England has played this year reveals plenty. With 6 victories, 2 draws, and 2 defeats, England can play great football and with a victory over Germany and a loss to the Netherlands in among the mix, anything can happen on any day where England is concerned.

With several capable strikers including Jamie Vardy, Wayne Rooney, and Daniel Sturridge, an England goal in any match is likely. With 14 goals scored in 10 matches, this is a pretty safe bet.

Will the England squad come good this year and reach its full potential or will it be another disappointing year? We’ll see. An England long shot bet is always worth considering even if it’s unlikely, and at 20/1 odds, may just return a handsome profit.

netherlands_team

Netherlands

Going all the way to the final in 2010 only to be denied by Spain, the Netherlands will be looking for another shot at glory in 2018 and as any long term follower of international football knows, they always play competitive football that tests the best of them.
 
There’s no denying that the Netherlands aren’t the best they’ve ever been. With 3 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw in the 6 international matches they’ve played this year, the team has a little work to do before they stand a chance of winning the most competitive football tournament on earth.
 
Having failed to even qualify for the Euros in 2016, the Netherlands went on to play several international friendlies in which they lost 3-2 to France, beat England 2-1, drew with the Republic of Ireland and lost 2-1 to Greece.
 
This is a difficult set of results to interpret, but it does show that the Netherlands are nowhere near ready to take on giants like Brazil, Germany, and Argentina and emerge victorious.
 
Unless something dramatically changes, even at odds of 20/1, it’s unlikely the Netherlands will emerge as champions. This is a long shot bet for those who want to implement a hedging strategy or something similar, but with so many possible outcomes it is an unwise one as things currently stand.
 
If you want to bet on the Netherlands this World Cup, stick to betting on wins against lower ranked and mid-range teams.

portugal_team

Portugal

Portugal are always a competitive team on the international football stage and are the current champions of Europe after vanquishing France in a tough won final in July.
 
This proves that on a good day Portugal are capable of beating one of the top teams in the word, but it’s not all they can boast. Having scored 26 goals in 13 games in 2016 alone, Portugal’s goal scoring resume this year includes a 7-0 slaughter of Estonia, a 3-3 draw against Hungary and a 5-0 destruction of Gibraltar.
 
To the savvy punter, this spells opportunity. While Portugal are nowhere near favourites to actually win the World Cup itself, with 25/1 odds at the bookmakers, it’s highly likely that they will score more than once in any matches against teams with vulnerabilities in their defence.
 
Don’t count on the same against Germany, Brazil or France, but keep your eyes on both Nani and Ronaldo in any match as both are dangerous against even the best defenders.
 
Portugal winning the world cup is a long shot – but then again, so was Portugal winning the Euros and they did that. Could this be the long shot bet that pays?
 
That does it for our analysis of the main contenders in the 2018 World Cup. Keep in mind that this is football and absolutely anything could happen. If you disagree with anything we say, that’s because that’s the very nature of football!

Did you know: Almost half of the human beings on earth tune in and watch the World Cup at some point? This is what prompts FIFA to claim it is the most watched sporting event in the world.

 

World Cup Odds, Bets, Tips and Strategies

moneyThere are many different football betting strategies which can be used to win consistent, small amounts of money, and less consistent, bigger wins. There are also many different types of bet which can be made both for a competition as a whole and on individual games.
In the end, there’s always an element of chance in any and every betting strategy. There’s no such thing as a sure thing or the bookmaker wouldn’t be in business. That said, you can use some of the strategies we’ll outline below to tilt the odds slightly in your direction and give yourself as great a chance as possible to emerge with money in your pocket.

The Long Shot Bet

The long shot is as the name suggests – a bet on a team which is highly unlikely to win but which your gut instinct tells you might just do it on sheer will, luck and form alone.
In this World Cup, a good long shot bet would be England or Portugal. Both have odds above the 20/1 mark meaning nobody really believes they will win, but both teams have enough star players, sheer talent and the potential to give it a good go if things come together for them.
The long shot bet is always an unlikely one. That’s the whole point of it. It’s a bet on a hope rather than a likelihood, and with odds offering handsome returns, the long shot which comes good can be a very profitable one.
If Leicester City can win the Premier League, anything can happen. Look at teams with odds greater than 20/1 and place your long shot bet.
You just never know!

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The Likely Victor(s) Bet

The likely victor is the safe bet. You’ll be betting on Germany, Brazil or Argentina as things currently stand, and you’ll have a very decent chance of winning.
At 11/2 for Germany, a £20 bet would return a nice £110 plus the principal. At 9/1 for both Argentina and Brazil, a handsome £180 could be made from the same £20 bet on either.
The clever punter will have recognized something right away here – a £20 bet on all 3 teams will still turn a profit no matter which one wins.
For example, betting on all 3, equaling a £60 total stake, in the event, Germany is victorious you will return £110 profit. Minus your £40 loss on the other 2 bets, you’re up £70.
A £20 bet on Brazil, returning £180 in the case of their victory, would still leave you up £140 after discounting the £40 you lost on the other 2 bets.
Likewise, a bet covering all 3 ending in an Argentina win would mean a £140 gain after discounting a £40 loss.
Since this bet covers the 3 current favourites, 1 of whom is highly likely to emerge champions, this strategy has a very good chance of returning a profit.
These odds may not remain the same for long, so be sure to snap this opportunity up while it’s going. If the odds change, the math changes and this may no longer be a viable bet.

The Contender(s) Bet

A bet on a contender is a bet on a team with fair odds, who have a decent chance of winning, but who aren’t favourites.
An example would be a bet on Spain. Everybody who watches international football knows that Spain has before and could again win the World Cup. They’re among the top teams in the world with some incredible players and will give whoever they’re up against a tough time.
At 10/1 odds – Spain represents an opportunity. They may not be likely to win in the bookmaker’s eyes, but that doesn’t mean they’re unlikely to win either. There’s a gray area between those two, and Spain is it.
A £20 bet on contenders like Spain with favourable 10/1 odds could be a very smart bet netting £200 if they play at their best and do what everyone knows they are capable of.
The contender bet always stands a good chance of winning. Could this be the year for either Spain or France, both of whom are strong contenders with 10/1 odds?

Group Winner Bets

There’s always a favourite in every group, and they usually go through. It’s a rare event when the bookmaker’s favourite gets put out early, and the odds will reflect this.
For example, by current market prices France are 8/15 to win Group A. Other teams include Sweden (10/1), Belarus (100/1), Holland (9/5), Bulgaria (50/1) and Luxembourg (500/1).
The odds are clearly in France’s favour, and for good reason. It’s a reasonably safe bet that they’ll win their group. The only realistic contenders are Holland and based on current form it’s unlikely they’ll win.
Betting on the favourite always entails risking more than you stand to gain, but most of the time you will gain. The bookies rarely get it wrong, and some sports bettors choose to bet on the favourite of every group, reasoning that most of them will win and the profits will end up outweighing the losses on the few that don’t.
You don’t have to stick with the favourites, though. Long shot bets could apply at the group stages too.
For example, using the number above, you could bet £15 on France and afford to bet £1 on Bulgaria, £1 on Belarus and £1 on Luxembourg. Even if all 3 long shot bets lose and France go through as expected, you’ll still come out £5 better off and have had a little fun along the way. If the unthinkable happens, as it often does in football, you could be a lot better off!
Of course, Holland or Sweden could always upset the apple cart and ruin the party. There’s always an element of risk and if you can’t afford to lose, don’t bet in the first place. Experienced punters know that a football bet should always be about fun and thrills first and as a money making method second.

Proposition Bets

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Proposition bets come in many different varieties, but they are defined by having a time limit on them and being decided by a specific outcome.
You can proposition bet on just about anything within a game from who will score next to the amount of yellow cards that will be given out to who the next corner will go to.
Take for example betting on the number of yellow card in a given match.
It’s no secret that certain players, and certain teams, have bitter rivalries and scores to settle. As tensions flare on the pitch, particularly in high stakes matches, the likelihood of yellow and red cards being dealt by the referee increases.
It’s possible to make bets on the number of reds and yellows in a given game, and also on the players who will receive them. These bets will have to wait until closer to the time, but as they are considered proposition bets they can also be made within any given game. Therefore, if you notice frayed nerves and volatile exchanges, it can be a good time to place such a bet.

The key here is to go back through the data and see which players have a history of being awarded yellow and red cards. If you can combine this with a ‘rivalry’ in the same match, the chances increase that your bet will come good.
Bookies know this, of course, and so the odds won’t be huge. This is always a high risk, low return bet, but it’s a popular one and many punters argue individual player behaviour is easier to predict than overall scores and outcomes.
If you see a ‘dirty’ player on the field, this could be a great bet to make. If you can find such a player on the field during an especially intense match or when up against a team they have a score to settle against, it could be a great one!

Of course, other proposition bets include corners awarded, shots on target and all manner of things that could occur within a match. If you think you can call an outcome like this and have good reason to do so, these bets can increase the excitement within a game.

Pro Tip: The human subconscious is like a super computer. It stores vast amounts of data and is responsible for what we call ‘gut feelings’ or strong impulses which don’t necessarily have logical justifications. Many of the best bets in history have been made on a strong gut feeling. Learn to trust this feeling, particularly as you make proposition bets. It could be that your subconscious mind has noticed a pattern and is urging you to act on it.

Utilizing Free Bets Promotions

Free bets are a great marketing tool for the bookmaker – they let you try their platform and website risk-free, giving you a taste of what really betting through their site would be like, and if you like it, you stick around and bet some more.
Free bets can also be used to your advantage. You can use them to hedge your bets, where you bet on the likely group winner, for example, but use the free bet to bet on the second most likely team to win just in case. You can also use them in individual matches, essentially betting both ways and ensuring that whatever happens, you’ll come out with something.
Free bets are usually awarded to new players, but at certain times, in and around big sporting events like the World Cup 2018, bookies may reward their loyal punters with a free bet or do so in an effort to drum up interest from bettors whose accounts have been inactive for a while.
Whatever their reasons, using free bets to your advantage is a very smart move.
Enhanced World Cup odds are also available at some bookmakers.

Betting Exchanges – The New Kid on the Block

Over the past decade or so, a new form of betting has risen from the digital age in the form of sports betting exchanges. Unlike the traditional bookmaker, a betting exchange offers people the chance to wear the bookmaker’s hat.
With an old school bookie, a punter only had the option of backing a team to win or betting on the draw in a football match. By using an exchange, the same punter could now ‘lay’ a team which means they are acting as the bookie and basically betting that that chosen team will not win.
Of course, this comes at a price. By playing the role of bookmaker you must also pay the odds if the team your lay bet was on does actually win!

E.g. Spain are 10/1 to win the World Cup. You don’t think they will win the tournament so you choose to lay them for £10. This means you are the bookie. Pablo thinks they will win so he matches your tenner. This means if you are right and Spain DO NOT win the World Cup you win Pablo’s tenner; however, if Spain DO WIN the World Cup you must pay a very happy Pablo £100.

Admittedly that sounds quite risky so why would one bother using exchanges? The simple answer is to trade – this means to lay and back bets at different prices to lock in a profit. A trader will seek to LAY LOW and BACK HIGH thus the result becomes irrelevant.

E.g. You lay £10 on Spain at 10/1 to win the World Cup. Remember you have £100 liability on this stake. Spain plays their first group game and loses to Romania – the odds of them winning the whole tournament are starting to look bleak. Spain’s odds drift out to 20/1. Along you come with your fiver and back Spain to win the tournament.

And just like magic, you cannot lose. If Spain does win the WC you lose £100 on the lay bet but win £100 on the back bet. But if Spain doesn’t win you lose £5 on the back bet but win £10 on the lay – giving you a tidy profit of £5.
That is a very simplified explanation, traders, in reality, would split the difference to secure a share of the 5-pound profit on either outcome. This can easily be done using a dutching calculator.
In-play trading is probably the heart and soul of a good exchange. Prices are constantly changing and the markets become quite jumpy when a goal is scored. This is where the good traders – those who have studied the markets for a few years – make a killing.

For example, Spain is playing Romania and at the kick off Spain are evens favourites and Romania ar 5/1 to win that game, the draw is 4/1. Romania bangs in a goal on the 10-minute mark. Suddenly the betting has changed dramatically. Spain is now 3/1, Romania is 3/1 and the draw is 2/1.

As the next 10 minutes pass, these prices will start to settle. There is still a lot of football to be played so Spain’s price will drop back to 5/2 or 2/1. Romania would probably drift out to 7/2 or 4/1. It is these movements which the expert traders know will happen as in a cause and effect scenario where the real business is done. Pablo and you are simply scratching the surface – and that’s being generous.
Unfortunately, it is not all a bed of roses. Exchanges charge a commission for bettors to use their platform – this can range from between 5 to 7% which is deducted from any winning profits. If you are simply backing a team at low odds or you are betting on who will score the first goal, it is wise to compare both the exchange and traditional bookmaker to see which is offering the better price.

It is also worth mentioning market liquidity. This can be a problem on exchanges for high rollers. As Jack is betting against Peter, Jack can only bet as much as Peter is willing to. Imagine if you laid out £100 on a bet and saw the price drift out and thought, right I’m gonna cash in now and there is no money in the market to match your bet – yes – it’s slightly annoying, to say the least.

In summary, there are pros and cons to both the traditional bookmaker and the new kid on the block – the betting exchange.
They are certainly worth exploring if you are interested in the trading side of betting and it does add a nice twist to matters.
If you are simply a straight shooter who likes to stick with a solid 2-1 home win, then maybe the traditional bookie is still your best friend but it is still worth a look just to see where the best prices are being offered. This is the beauty of the internet – a few mouse clicks and we can find out where the best prices are and grab them.
This is a relatively new way to play World Cup odds in your favour. Make sure you understand it inside out before getting involved.

Did you know: Uruguayan defender Jose Batista holds the World Cup record for the fastest red card ever received. He was sent off in the first minute of a match against Scotland.

World Cup Betting Tips

betting-tips

Here are some great betting tips for the World Cup in 2018. Follow this advice and you’ll stand a much greater chance of winning and walking away in the money.

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General Betting Tips

  1. Pay Attention to Form – Form can decide tournaments more than any other factor. One team on a streak or one player who’s having a great run can totally defy the odds and turn things upside down. Form is the sports fan’s version of ‘trends’ and when they make an appearance they’re not to be ignored.
    Betting on a player who’s on form to score or a team which is on form to win is always a smart bet.
  2. Hedge Your Bets Where Possible – It’s possible if you search long enough to find odds that allow you to cover your bets. While football always has three outcomes being win, lose and draw, World Cup matches are different because when they enter the knockout stages they must be decided on the night. Look for odds that allow you to place a bet one way for a gain and a bet the other way to at least cover some of your losses should you be wrong, if not all of them.

Now that we’ve covered the general principles of smart betting, let’s look at some specific World Cup betting tips.

Specific World Cup Betting Tips
What happens in 2018 will depend on a number of factors it is next to impossible to predict this far in advance. Player form, which teams go through, the coaches at the time, the style of football they play, and of course luck on the day all play a factor. Nonetheless, based on the data we have at this current time, these are some great bets you can make on the World Cup 2018.

    1. Champions – A bet on Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Spain or France could come good and all have great odds at this point. As the betting heats up closer to the time the prices will change, so it’s advisable to get in and place your bets as soon as possible. If we had to pick one team out of the lot we’d be betting on Argentina at this point. At 9/1 it’s too good to pass up!
    2. Group Winners – When it comes to the group outright winners it’s always good to stick your cash on the favourite and put a little hedge bet on the second or third favourite just to cover yourself if the odds are enticing enough.

Here’s how we would bet on the groups:

Group A – Bet on France and bet on Sweden at current 10/1 odds as a hedge. France will likely win the group but if they don’t you’ll recover most of what you lose on the Sweden bet.

Group B – Portugal are the likely winners in this group. At 5/6 odds. Another possible group winner is Switzerland at 11/10. Hungary are on at 20/1 for those who fancy placing a long shot bet of a few pounds in the hope the improbable happens, although it must be said it’s more than a tad unlikely.

Group C – There’s virtually no point placing a bet on this group. Germany are the dominant favourites at 1/10 odds. If you’re confident enough you could place a £100 for an easy £10 return, but that’s a risk-reward equation for you to calculate for yourself.

Group D – There’s room for betting here! Both Wales and Austria are 2/1 to win this group. Step right up and take your pick. Hint: If you secure a free bet with a promotional offer, you could bet on both and be guaranteed profit, unless of course the black swan event happens and they both fail to win the group leaving the Republic of Ireland, Serbia, Georgia or Moldova to take it.

Group E – Denmark are the favourites in Group E with 15/8 odds. This is a closer group where a few teams could win it. Poland have 9/4 odds. Romania trail behind them with 5/1 and Montenegro at 6/1. This is a group with a few contenders. We’d perhaps hazard a bet on Poland here.

Group F – England are the clear front runners in this group with 2/9 odds. It’s highly unlikely that either Scotland (8/1) or Slovakia (14/1) will unseat them, but in World Cup football you never know so for those with an appetite for risk, a long shot bet is an option here.

Group G – It’s always nice to see two world class teams in the same group, battling it out for the top spot. Spain and Italy both fall into this group. Spain are the favourites with odds of 1/2, but Italy provide a decent betting opportunity with 7/4 odds. The Italians on form can do anything, so this may be worth looking at.

Group H – Belgium are the clear favourites in this somewhat uncompetitive group. With 1/4 odds, it’s virtually certain that Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Cprus, Estonia and Gibraltar will not upset the apple cart.

Group I – This final group is much more competitive and while Croatia are the favourites with 5/4 odds, there are some teams in here that could mix things up. Ukraine are second in the listings with 10/3 odds, Turkey are 4/1 and Iceland are 6/1. It’s still a safe enough bet to assume Croatia will in fact win the group, but those who believe in the long shot may look at Turkey or Iceland.

The group stages are highly competitive and a true test of each and every team. Only the strongest will emerge and proceed to the finals. Place your bets now as the qualifying matches are already underway.

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  1. Top Goalscorer – There are a few great candidates for top goalscorer in the World Cup 2018. Lionel Messi of Argentina, Frenchman Oliver Giroud, Brazil’s Neymar, and Marigo Gomez on the German squad are all potentials in the running for top goalscorer.
  2. Each Way Bet – An each way bet is actually two bets. You’re betting on a team to win and a team to reach the final. If the country you chose to win comes up short in the final you’ll still get paid out half the odds. Each way bets on Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and France are smart bets. It’s highly likely that the finals will involve 2 of these teams. Now is the time to make this bet as the odds are ridiculously good and that gap will soon close as the betting market gets moving.

Which one you pick is entirely up to you. Each and every one of them are dangerous and will finish when given the opportunity. It really depends on which team you believe will stay in the tournament longest.

Did you know: The first world cup goal scored was slipped into the back of the net by Frenchman Lucien Laurent in 1930.

World Cup Frequently Asked Questions

 
When do the finals of the World Cup begin?
The final tournament will begin on June 14th and go on until July 15th, when the final match will be played and the winners declared.
 
Who are the favourites as things stand now?
It’s far too early to make an accurate prediction, but at this stage Germany are the favourites to win. Keep in mind that at the time of writing the qualifiers haven’t even finished yet, so anything could happen going forward.
 
Is there a clear gap between the favourites and other teams which I can bet on?
No, there is not. Germany are only favourites by a small margin and there’s nothing to say they will remain so as things progress.
 
What other teams stand a chance of winning?
In the World Cup, anything can happen. That said, Brazil, Italy and France are always worth a punt! While only one team can ultimately be crowned champs, these teams are always in the running.
 
What happens if the final ends in a draw?
There can be no draws in any of the knockout rounds. Whatever happens after 90 minutes, the game will go on until a victor emerges. Extra time and penalties will decide the winner if necessary.
 
What’s the best way to make money through betting on the World Cup?
You can take your pick from the football betting strategies outlined above. If one method had to be picked for reliability, it would be betting on a goal scored during any given match. Returns are lower than with some of the other strategies but very dependable. An average of 2.9 goals have been scored in the matches so far, so it’s a pretty safe bet.
 
What would a ticket cost to attend any of the final matches in Russia?
Lower tier tickets start at in and around £84 per match. The most expensive tickets are £841.
 
Which TV channel has rights to broadcast the World Cup in 2018 in the UK?
In the UK, the BBC and ITV won the rights to broadcast the World Cup between them. For cable subscribers, the matches will also be available on Fox Sports.

World Cup Summary

As you can see, the World Cup 2018 is shaping up to be one to remember! With several phenomenal teams (as always) ready to do whatever it takes to get their hands on the gold, lots of fiery personalities, bitter rivalries and scores to settle on the pitch, it’s going to be a World Cup to remember.
 
Betting on the World Cup always involves an element of luck. If this history of this tournament has taught us anything it’s that absolutely anything can happen. Nonetheless, there are dominant teams who again and again push through to the final stages, and these are the teams it’s smart to bet on.
 
Whoever the World Cup winners are and whatever happens between now and the final, enjoy the rest of the World Cup and happy punting!
 
Did you know: Soviet Goalkeeper Lev Yashin, aka the Black Spider, used to have a pre-match ritual where he would have a smoke to calm his nerves, then knock back a strong drink, believing it would help tone his muscles. It clearly worked, because he was voted goalkeeper of the century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.
 

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