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From Which Group Will the 2018 FIFA World Cup Champion Come?
Odds for which group will house the winner of the 2018 FIFA World Cup come via TopBet and are accurate as of Wednesday, June 27. With a little time separating us from the start of the first knockout round, be sure confirm these lines before deciding on or placing a wager. They will move between now and the opening matchup.
Individual team odds discussed within each section also come from TopBet. Groups are ranked in increasing likelihood that one of the two remaining countries snag's soccer's ultimate title. Team placement is determined based on a variety of factors, including performance thus far, reputation and the opponents they'll need to beat in order to continue advancing through the bracket.
8. Group A (+1600)
Remaining Teams: Uruguay (+2,200) and Russia (+6,600)
Props to Uruguay for winning all three of their group matches. And major ups to Russia, the host country, for taking plenty of people by surprise. Few could have seen them tying for the fourth-highest goal differential (plus-four) in the group stage en route to advancing into the knockout round.
Unfortunately for these two squads, their success should be short lived.
Uruguay is scheduled to take on Portugal next, while Russia has Spain on tap. Uruguay has a better chance of advancing, since Portugal's offense is patently too Ronaldo focused. But their odds still aren't great. Russia, meanwhile, will be dancing with a powerhouse. They have little to no hope of making it past one of the five best teams in the world.
7. Group F (+2500)
Remaining Teams: Mexico (+3,500) and Sweden (+5,000)
These...these...well, these are not the two teams anyone would have picked to be representing Group F in the knockout round. One of them? Sure. But both? Not at all. Half of the honor was supposed to belong to Germany, the reigning World Cup champs. Their group-stage flameout comes as one of the bigger surprises in this tournament's rich and illustrious history.
Anywho, now Sweden and Mexico remain. The latter has a tough pull in Brazil, the odds-on favorite to win it all with Germany eliminated. Knowing they wrapped the group stage with a negative goal differential (minus-one), it would be flooring to see Mexico advance past that Goliath.
Sweden has a slightly easier matchup awaiting them in Switzerland. Don't sleep on them winning that game. Nevertheless, it's tough to imagine them having the firepower to get much further. Their defense is fine, but they mustered just two goals through their first two games before a happy-accident three-goal explosion against Mexico in the group-stage finale.
6. Group H (+1600)
Remaining Teams: Colombia (+2,000), Senegal (+15,000), Japan (+25,000)
Japan and Senegal have taken the World Cup by storm. If they both advance at the expense of Colombia, it will be a fairly large shock.
That being said, this group needs Colombia to advance for it to have a fighting hope of yielding the World Cup winner. Japan is a fly by night flash in the pan, and Senegal's core is a bit too unproven to play much deeper into this bracket.
Forced to choose between the two, Senegal has a much better shot of continuing to disarm opponents. Still, overall, this group is on shaky ground. It might be able to jump a spot, maybe two, higher if Colombia sneaks into the knockout round. Even then, though, it's hard to like anyone's chances when all three teams have yet to meaningfully distinguish themselves again one another.
5. Group C (+700)
Remaining Teams: France (+700) and Denmark (+6,600)
Group C's odds feel a little generous. In fact, if you could guarantee Colombia would make it through to the next round, this sector would fall behind Group H in our rankings.
France is a legitimate juggernaut, but their next opponent is Lionel Messi and Argentina. They're not going to be a pushover. Denmark, on the other hand, will be matching up against Croatia, which is playing like the best team in the world, bar none, at the moment.
It's reasonable to expect one of these squads—France—to make the quarter-finals. The problem? It may be more likely they both bow out in their upcoming bouts.
4. Group G (+333)
Remaining Teams: Belgium (+600) and England (+950)
Some will invariably think Group G is a tick too low. They're the only division among these eight in which both surviving candidates are laying better than +1000.
Still, color us skeptical.
Belgium and England are getting a boon from their co-World Cup leading six-goal differential. Impressive? Sure. But those numbers are inflated by the fact they both to play Tunisia and Panama, neither of whom showed up in a consequential way.
Perhaps we learn something new about one of these teams when they face off against each other in their Group Stage finale. Belgium specifically was painted as a borderline superpower before the start of the World Cup.
Looking at the heightened competition other candidates have faced, however, it's tough to put this tandem higher than fourth. You're free to make arguments at the expense of Group D, but the Croatian team is too damn hot for us to entertain them right now.
3. Group D (+550)
Remaining Teams: Argentina (+1,100) and Croatia (+1,100)
Croatia is playing like the best squad alive. They enter the knockout round with a plus-six goal differential, just like those from Belgium and England. The difference is all of their initial matches are over with, and they outscored Nigeria and Argentina, genuinely difficult opponents, by a combined total of 5-0.
It helps, too, that Croatia is getting a nice draw in the knockout stage. They play Denmark, who scored a total of two goals through their three group-stage matches. Look for them to possibly author another shutout.
Argentina deserves some kudos here as well. They didn't let their 3-0 beatdown at the hands of Croatia define their entire World Cup. Many had them ranked in the top five of the entire tournament before it began, and there were flashes of that level of talent throughout the group stage.
All of that in mind, Argentina will need to pick up their offensive efficiency and general activity in the knockout stage. They're averaging a paltry one goal per game, which just isn't going to cut it against France.
2. Group B (+300)
Remaining Teams: Spain (+425) and Portugal (+2,000)
Count on both Spain and Portugal to advance through to the quarter-finals. They'll play Russia and Uruguay, respectively, in the Round of 16, neither of whom poses a real threat.
Things get interesting beyond that. Spain is considered a fringe top-five unit, but their defense has been flimsy, allowing five goals through three matches and too many shots between the posts. Three of those scores came against Portugal, so that might be excusable. But Portugal's offense is a one-man show. Spain will want to improve its team defense looking ahead to the quarter-finals.
As for Portugal, their defense has been up and down all tournament. Their offense, as expected, is all Ronaldo everything. He has four of their five goals, which will prove problematic as we look beyond Denmark.
Then again, they've made it this far. And their path through the Round of 16, past the quarter-finals and into the semi-finals will be easier than most. That ensures Group B retains its collective appeal.
1. Group E (+300)
Remaining Teams: Brazil (+320) and Switzerland (+3,300)
Picking against Group B's relative balance for Group E's one-sided case represents something of a risk. But it's a worthwhile one. Brazil is that good.
Their defense has been absurd, letting up just one goal through three matches. And their offense has been better than expected, lighting up the opposition for five total scores. Though their decentralized attack was supposed to work against them, it's actually panned out in their favor.
Only one player, Philippe Coutinho, has put in more than one goal. The way they've moved the ball thus far has verged on unguardable. They deserve to be the odds-on favorites, because they're playing like it. Mexico isn't the easiest draw for the knockout stage, but they've been overhyped at every turn. Brazil should be fine.
Switzerland will have their work cut out for them against Sweden. They're arguably only advancing because Serbia and Costa Rica were that bad. They don't have much of a defensive front, which should hurt them against Sweden's higher-volume machine. And if it's not Sweden that gets Switzerland, odds are their opponent in the quarter-finals will finish the job.