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FIFA World Cup Pre-Knockout Stage Outright Odds Update
World Cup odds for the remaining 16 teams come courtesy of TopBet and are accurate as of Friday, June 29. Make sure to double-check the odds before deciding on or placing a wager, as they can and will still shift before the Round of 16 begins. And most definitely ensure you're refreshing them following the completion of games in the knockout stage. That's when they're subject to the biggest shifts.
Japan has been something of a feel-good story for the duration of the World Cup. They're coming out of perhaps the weakest group of the tournament, in Group H, but they've flashed some nice defensive chops. They are consistent and cohesive when it comes to chasing the ball.
Generating offense remains a concern for them. They suffered one shutout during the previous round and enter the Knockout Stage with a dead-even point differential. They'd be an interesting dark horse candidate if not for the fact they're going up against Belgium—the team with the largest goal differential (plus-seven) in the World Cup to date.
If we're being honest, Denmark should probably be laying worse odds than Japan. They kick off the Round of 16 with a match against Croatia, which has been one of the two best teams in the entire tournament by a noticeable margin.
That pull coupled with Denmark's offensive concerns—they totaled three goals through their first two matches and didn't tally nearly enough shot attempts—should ultimately do them in. Put bluntly, we'd pick Japan to beat Belgium before rolling with Denmark to upset Croatia.
The host country took more than a few by surprise during the Group Stage. Russia piled in eight scores through their first three matches and spent more time than expected putting constant pressure on rival defenses and goalkeepers.
Alas, their luck should run out soon. They'll face off with Spain in the Knockout Stage. An upset isn't totally out of the question, but Russia's defense isn't sturdy enough to win games in which they'll probably trail in the shots on goal department.
Mexico started out the World Cup on a pair of high notes with victories over the reigning champion Germany and flat-out steppingstone South Korea. But their performance against Sweden to close the Group Stage, even with an advancement sewn up, was discouraging to say the least.
One shutout isn't the end of the world. And yet, that 3-0 letdown showcased their most glaring problem: Their offense is too conservative to hang with more high-octane attacks.
Sweden should have better odds than Mexico, as opposed to the equal line they're actually getting. Their offense is more equipped to wage fast-paced one-off battles, and they flashed the full extent of their scoring arsenal with a 3-0 romping of Mexico to close out the Group Stage.
Playing Switzerland in the Round of 16 isn't the worst draw ever for them. There's a clear path to them winning when you consider just how up and down the former's offense has been. Looking at the World Cup as a whole, though, it would be shocking to see this team make it beyond the quarter-finals.
The issue for Switzerland is simple: Will their defense be on point against open-field breaks? Or will they put unnecessary pressure on their goalie, forcing him to close out on ball-handlers who've been granted way too much space?
A less than perfect performance might get Switzerland past Sweden. It won't, however, get them any further than that.
Colombia is a good sleeper pick. They underwhelmed during the Group Stage. Many expected them to go undefeated against a weak Group H field. Their opening loss to Japan was a red flag, as was their near-miss against Senegal to close things out.
Still, a lot of people had them pegged as a top-seven squad entering the tournament. And their offense can pop. England will be a tough foe—particularly with the way Harry Kane is playing—but if they can keep things tight on the defensive side, Colombia can beat just about anyone.
Rolling with Portugal is tempting, mostly because they have Ronaldo. But that's also part of the problem. He's scored all but one of their five goals. They've yet to have anyone else step up as a ball-handler or self-sufficient shot creator on the offensive end.
This wouldn't be too big of a deal if their defense was airtight. It's not. They are coming into the Round of 16 with a plus-one goal differential, which they earned by beating a lower-rung opponent like Morocco 1-0.
Uruguay is overrated, so Portugal is a good bet to reach the quarter-finals. Expecting much more out of them is tough. One-man shows don't typically make a cameo in the semis, let alone go even deeper. Star power matters, but bet on them with caution.
Uruguay has yet to allow a goal in the World Cup, making them the ultimate test for a Portugal team wholly dependent on one superstar scorer. The offense for Uruguay has been on point, too. They have five goals through three matches and have done a good job balancing volume and opportunity when running through their sets around the penalty arc.
Nevertheless, it's important to view them with extreme skepticism. They capitalized on a weak Group A pool. They only had to square off with one top-shelf offense, in Russia, and the host country's finest were sleepwalking through that game—which ultimately turned into a shutout.
Is advancing into the quarter-finals out of the question for Uruguay? Not at all. There are more difficult pulls than Portugal. But this is a coin-toss team at best.
Some people were prepared to call Argentina a top-five World Cup squad before the tournament began. That argument hasn't worked out so well.
Argentina snuck into the Knockout Stage by the skin of their teeth. They have a minus-two goal differential and an offense that wants for both efficiency and shots in general.
That they're still a +1,200 is actually a small miracle. They're battling France in the Round of 16. Ergo, it'd be more than a mild shock to see them make the quarter-finals.
Name two teams that have been better than Croatia throughout the World Cup. Brazil? Sure. After that? Well, there's no one.
Not only does Croatia have a plus-six goal differential after the Group Stage, but the context behind it is incredible. They've put in seven scores of their own, tying them for the third-most behind Belgium and Russia, while letting up only one.
Croatia's mettle will be tested in later rounds, but not this one. Denmark should prove to be but a minor obstacle in the knockout stage. So if you're going to wager on Croatia, do so now. Their odds aren't going to get any more lucrative as they inch deeper into the bracket.
France doesn't have the easiest matchup in the Knockout Stage. Argentina, again, is supposed to be a borderline superpower.
But the latter country has been squandering opportunity after opportunity on the offensive side. France, meanwhile, deploys one of the best defenses in the world. That stopping power matters a great deal this late in the game. It allows them to better control the ebb and flow of the matches—not just against a disorganized and slumping Argentina, but versus any offense they'll encounter during later rounds as well.
Harry Kane headlines what might be the most dangerous offense in this tournament. He's put in five of England's eight scores, many of them coming on plays he created from scratch.
There will be some concern about the top-heaviness of England's offense when looking ahead. Their goal total was inflated by a shellacking over Panama. And they don't have the easiest matchup with Colombia on tap.
That doesn't mean they're a bad betting option. These odds just feel a little generous. England profiles as more of a trap bet than genuinely good investment.
Belgium leads the entire world in goal differential (plus-seven) and has an offense that won't quit. They look to push the ball off mid-stream intercepts, but they also have the passers and ball-handlers to make things happen in traffic when operating from mid-field and inward.
As of now, they're virtual locks to make the quarter-finals. Japan doesn't have the juice to put up much of a fight—not with the way Belgium is scoring. At +600, you should probably pounce on them now. They're that good, and those odds will only dip from here.
Spain has the second-best title odds among the remaining 16 teams, and they haven't even hit their stride yet. Their offense is fine. They do a great job of using their angles when passing after midfield.
The defense is a different story. They let up five goals during the Group Stage and even appeared shaky when going up against a relative pushover in Morocco.
The good news is they have Russia on deck. That should be a guaranteed victory. But we're waiting to see how they handle them before buying into the status implied here.
What else can we say about Brazil? They're a powerhouse. End of story.
Waging battle with their defense is a harrowing experience. They've let up only one goal so far, and they do a fantastic job at closing gaps between them and the ball, both on the break and from more formulaic stances.
With the reigning champion Germany turning to mush early on, Brazil quickly became the inarguable favorites. Yes, inarguable. There isn't another team in the pool that comes close to touching them. Single-game eliminations, of course, give way to surprises, but we shouldn't be in for one just yet. Not against Mexico.
And maybe not at all.