2018 FIFA World Cup Odds for All 32 Teams
World Cup Final odds come via Bovada and are accurate leading into Friday, June 1. These lines will shift periodically leading into the start of the Group Stage, so be sure to confirm them with Bovada or your preferred sportsbook before placing a wager. These specific odds are sorted by increasing order of likelihood that a team is crowned the 2018 World Cup champion.
Panama will look like an interesting bet to long-shot workers because of the +100,000 they’re laying. That’s whatever. If you want to throw a teensy tiny investment into them, you can. But they’re not built to make it out of the Group Stage.
Most World Cup breakdowns are shocked to find Panama in this group at all. Their conservative defensive style—they play incredibly tight, aiming to control time of possession above all else—could be good for some scares in Group G. But they’re too reliant on attacks through Blas Perez and Gabriel Torres to muster the offensive firepower it’ll take to survive a four-team pool that includes a powerhouse like Belgium and a stellar fringe contender like England.
Saudi Arabia (+100,000)
Another “Hey! They’re +100,000. Let’s throw money at them just because” candidate. And technically speaking, if you’re going to take that stance, Saudi Arabia might be the team to do it for. They’re not as talented as Panama, but Group A is considerably weaker than Group B.
Nonetheless, endorsing Saudi Arabia is not recommended. They have, really, just one source of offensive detonation in Fahad Al Muwallad, and no one else.
Small-time hail marys thrown in Tunisia’s direction are not totally discouraged. Group G doesn’t have an established superpower outside Belgium, and the second-best squad, in England, seems entirely catchable.
Not only does Tunisia have one of the three best players in this squadron, with striker Youssef Mskani, but they, like England, are a spunky and youthful team. It would be a stretch to say both are undergoing rebuilds, but either country enters knowing this World Cup will be a valuable learning experience for some of its key members. Development will take precedence over advancing when evaluating Tunisia and England’s overall performances.
And when there’s this much inexperience involved, anything can happen. So keep your eyes peeled. Group G’s race to second place will be more tightly contested than anticipated.
South Korea (+50,000)
Kudos to South Korea for reaching their ninth consecutive World Cup. That’s equal parts impressive and astonishing. But the fairy tale ends with that streak.
South Korea doesn’t have the chops to hang in a Group F that includes the reigning champion Germany and two sturdy Round of 16 candidates in Sweden and Mexico. Forward/winger Son Heung-min can be the offensive difference on a regular basis, but South Korea’s late-match defense has been self-sabotaging through qualifiers and warm-up showdowns.
Australia could be overrated or underrated depending on how much faith you have in the roster.
On the one hand, their depth chart is underwhelming when looking at name recognition. On the other, midfielders Aaron Mooy and Tomi Rogic are some of the best ball-handlers alive. The key for Australia to make noise in Group C is to be able to play them together. Both are used to working in the center of the action, and it’s not yet clear whether they’ll be able to effectively work off one another while trading touches.
Ever since they first participated in the FIFA World Cup, Iran has never advanced past the Group Stage. Don’t expect that to change as they begin their fifth-ever run-through of this 32-squad bracket.
To put the case against this latest iteration of Iran in the simplest terms, they’re a bit too young. Their best player is forward Sardar Azmoun. He might be a superstar, but he’s not quite there yet. He needs more experience in this kind of pressure-packed setting, along with some help on the weak side of the pitch, before he’s ready to headline a serious threat.
Morocco isn’t receiving enough love here in the sense that they shouldn’t have the same odds as Iran. Maybe that means Iran is overrated. Or perhaps sportsbooks are just nodding to them both occupying space in Group B.
At any rate, Morocco has a noticeably better chance of sneaking past the initial stage. That isn’t saying much, obviously. Spain and Portugal are legitimate heavyweights. If they both don’t make it out of group play, the world at large will be shocked. Morocco is nevertheless worth monitoring as a potential mid-tournament bet. Manager Herve Renard has taken this team to next-level conditioning heights, so they’ll be uniquely built to get up and down the field for longer periods of time than many of their opponents.
Costa Rica (+30,000)
Write Costa Rica out of the Group Stage running at your own risk. They won’t emerge as the best team among their division. That honor belongs to Brazil. They are Group E’s only sure thing.
But that’s kind of point. Neither Serbia nor Switzerland, despite garnering more adulation than Costa Rica, is a lockdown No. 2. Make no mistake, this team has their work ahead of them. Their top playmaker, Bryan Ruiz, turns 33 in August and Joel Campbell has consistently coped with numerous injuries in recent months.
In the event this squad is healthy, though, they’re much better than a +25000 dice roll.
Japan falls juuust short of being a super intriguing pipe dream. They may fall comfortably inside the bottom 10 of World Cup power rankings, but their talent level infers a higher peak.
In particular, their defense blends hyper-activity with discipline. Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki never cease pressuring the ball, and yet Japan is hardly left lamenting poor rotations or bad beats in the middle of the field.
Offense, however, figures to be their downfall. Their counterattacking style isn’t built for volume. And with teams in their group like Senegal and Colombia looking to push the pace, Japan’s defense may get worn out much sooner than they’re used to.
Group D is going to be one of the most interesting divisions to watch entering the round-robin stage. Their four-team arrangement is deceptively deep. And Nigeria typifies that depth: They’re almost the consensus weakest squad of the small bunch, and yet they’re still probably one of the 16 or 18 best teams in the tournament.
Surviving the Group State will still be tough for them. Only the top two participants from each of the eight sectors can advance, and Argentina and Croatia are considered relative locks. If they’re going to pull off the upset or two it’ll take to storm the Round of 16, they’ll need forwards Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi to take the next step in their evolution as premier counterattackers.
Don’t let Peru’s generous FIFA ranking fool you. They’ll be hard up to get out of Group C.
Sure, Captain Paolo Guerrero’s drug ban will be lifted in time for him to suit up in Russia, but he’s essentially a one-man act on the more glamorous end. Peru doesn’t have a ton of other dependable scorers in their employ. Truthfully, if you’re looking for a half-competent long shot, you’re better off rolling with the less-favorably viewed Australia.
Egypt isn’t about to complain about finding itself in Group A. Not one of their rivals is guaranteed to last beyond the Group Stage. There is not a proven superpower among the Russia, Saudia Arabia and Uruguay troika.
Many, in fact, will go as far to declare Egypt Group A’s sleeper favorite. The main reason why: Mohamed Salah. He caught fire during the qualifiers, even as his team struggled to pull out victories. And in a four-team gaggle as thin as Group A, he could wind up being the best player of the sector.
If we’re being honest, Iceland doesn’t appeal to us as much as Group D’s other underdog, in Nigeria. Though they generally receive more love in the FIFA poles, their stock is forever riding a seesaw.
For starters, this marks Iceland’s World Cup debut. Being new to the fold matters. It’s a learning experience for everyone involved, from the players to the manager, and such a grace period opens the door for onset disappointment.
More importantly, their top gun, midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, has battled injuries off and on this year. The miles he has on him belie the typical experience of a 28-year-old. If defenses are able to shut him down, Iceland will provide little to no resistance within Group D.
BEST DARK HORSE OF THE TOURNAMENT ALERT.
Senegal is perpetually underestimated. They barely get top-20 recognition, even though their list of offensive contributors reads like a who’s who for a top-10 or top-seven faction.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane is the show. His usage in non-World Cup play is absurdly steep, yet he’s neither inefficient nor especially prone to getting worn out. Senegal will be able to ride him all game. And it helps that he doesn’t need to control the ball 24/7/365. Though his on-possession time is off the charts, he knows how to move without the rock and pick his spots away from the action.
Stir in M’Baye Niang, Idrissa Gueye, Kalidou Koulibaly and team captain Cheikhou Kouyate, and you’ve got the makings of, perhaps, a quarter-finals Cinderella story. So jump on Senegal whilst you can. There’s a chance their odds will only continue erring on the side of less lucrative in the days and weeks to come.
Any World Cup gambler who is attracted to plucky, worker-bee upstarts will find curb appeal in Serbia. Though rookie manager Mladen Krstajic leans on veterans like Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic, he’s made a concerted effort to play the youngsters.
That, in no uncertain terms, can prove extremely risky in this setting. But Krstajic has mostly been rewarded for his unwavering commitment to the youth.
In the course of this quasi-rebuild, Serbia has unearthed two potential superstars in midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. If their development remains on its current trajectory, this team could finish the Group Stage with one of the five or seven best point per-game scoring averages in the tournament.
Remember those superstar-stacked Sweden teams from World Cups past? Well, they’re gone now. Their storied cores have aged out of the tournament and been replaced by a scrappy nucleus that’s proved adept at winning close games.
Certain bettors will talk themselves into Sweden as Group F’s weakest link anyway. That sounds bizarre, bordering on stupid, but there is merit to the doubt. The offense has not been a beacon of consistency. They have a lot of one-goal matches under their belt and have fallen to non-qualifiers like Chile in warm-up clashes.
Completely ruling them out of a—to borrow a phrase from college basketball—Sweet 16 cameo would be a mistake. But, on the flip side, they’re not worth a line that pays out less than an investment in Serbia or Senegal would.
Forced to choose a second in command for Group E, Switzerland should be the pick. They aren’t anywhere near Brazil’s level, and they’re not runaway favorites compared to Serbia or Costa Rica either. But they do have forward Breel Embolo, who at only 21 years old is on the precipice of full-blown superstardom.
Combine his could-be transcendent production with the defense helmed by Stephan Lichsteiner, and Switzerland might deploy one of the World Cup’s more balanced attacks. That being said, be careful how aggressively you invest in them. Suffering a letdown at the hands of Serbia or Costa Rica is not out of the question, something we cannot stress enough.
This feels a little high for Denmark. World Cup success stories are often founded upon employing multiple superstars, and Christian Eriksen is their only one.
Look for the defenses of France, Australia and Peru to smother him at midfield and inward, without fearing the consequences of his supporting cast. Denmark is short on both setup men and finishers beyond Eriksen, so there’s a strong possibility their top-two Group C odds blow up in the sportsbooks’ face.
Mexico has not squeaked into the World Cup quarter-finals since 1986, but the door is open for that drought to end this time around.
Depth is at the heart of their rise. With Guillermo Ochoa in goal; Carlos Vela and Hirving Lozano on the wings; Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera at midfield; and Javier Hernandez up front, they have the talent to cause problems for even the most superstar-laden contenders.
Possible red flags abound, though. Hernandez has been a shell of himself since being moving to West Ham. If his struggles spill into the World Cup, it’ll be curtains on offense. Something similar can be said for the defense—namely Ochoa. Mexico has surrendered an unsettling number of scoring barrages over the past few months, which won’t bode well for their one-off contests with Germany and Sweden. It could even come back to bite them against Japan.
Poland laying under a +8,000 is…interesting.
One-man shows don’t usually do too well in the World Cup, and this team is, oftentimes, just that. Forward Robert Lewandowski is an automatic goal-getter; he notched 16 points through 10 qualifying matches. But he doesn’t have the necessary help around him to ensure he’s not incurring swarms of defensive coverages during each and every possession.
Could we be wrong? Perhaps. Poland does have some seasoned bodies on their roster. But they’re not ideally set up for success-by-committee models. To be brutally honest, we’d tank Senegal to come out of Group H before them.
At long last, something bearing resemblance to a certainty in Group H.
Colombia’s offense seems prepared to build upon its production in 2014. James Rodriguez is back after lighting up the world nearly a half-decade ago, and the attacking stylings of Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado make for a harrowing layer of extra depth.
Does Colombia’s +4,000 line feel right? Not particularly. A +5,000 or something like that would seem to be a more accurate reflection of their chances. Then again, that may just be our Senegal bias kicking in. Either way, they’re a relative lock to reach the Round of 16.
Argentina still needs to be the favorite for Group D, but pencil in Croatia as a closer-than-advertised second. The reason? Luka Modric.
He’s 32, going on 33 in September, making him a tick older than Argentina’s beloved Lionel Messi. But he’s not playing his age. To the contrary, Modric may still be the best midfielder in the tournament, bar none. If he can count on one of Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic, Nikola Kalinic or Mario Mandzukic to be his set-up sidekick on a game-to-game basis, Croatia’s Round of 16 projection quickly transforms into a quarter-finals expectation.
Yeah, no. Just, no. Russia’s odds continue the time-old tradition of overrating the host country. Fan support can mean a lot in this setting. So, too, does the familiarity factor. But Russia enters barely registering as a top-20 squad.
Giving them top-10ish odds is borderline criminal. More than a few analysts don’t even have them as a top-25 unit in this tournament. That says a lot. Unless goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is up to the task of anchoring multiple shutouts in the group stage, don’t bank on Russia making it into the Round of 16.
Okay, so contrary to what we said before about Egypt, Uruguay is the actual favorite to win Group A. But the oddsmakers seem to be in a generous mood here.
Plenty of analysts have them pegged as one of the 10 best teams in the world. That’s not up for debate. But this squad is not especially talented from top to bottom. Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani make for a terrifying front two. That’s about it.
You know who we’re going to talk about here: Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite being 33 years old, he remains the centerpiece to Portugal’s squad—and that’s not a bad thing.
Indeed, they have failed to impress in the World Cup during previous years. But this top-10 recognition isn’t some shot in the dark. Ronaldo continues to carry one of the galaxy’s most legitimately potent offenses. Case in point: Portugal tallied 32 goals through its 10 qualifying matches—a ridiculous average that could swing Group B if it leaks into World Cup play.
Um, whoa. England should be fun to watch, but this is a massive stretch. They’re too young and untested to be owners of top-seven odds.
Harry Kante, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and John Stones are all on course to become internationally recognized superstars, but they’re not there yet. There are cracks in England’s offensive armor, and it should be noted most power rankings across the internet barely have them sitting as a top-10 team. Take a hard pass on these odds unless they drop behind Portugal’s +2,500.
Despite the proximity to England’s odds, Belgium is the far and away favorite for Group G. Their offense is too damn good.
Try finding a better four-person alliance than Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens. Go head. Try. We dare you. You’ll probably fail. Cases can be made for partnerships in Brazil and Germany, but that’s about it. (France comes pretty close, too.) View Belgium as a solid pre-tournament bet unless they start to lay something under +1000.
As far as potential World Cup juggernauts go, Argentina is a bargain at +900. Oddmakers are no doubt hedging against superstud forward Lionel Messi turning 31 during the tournament, but they needn’t take it this far. Messi has hardly lost a step, and head coach Edgardo Bauza has implemented more of an equal-opportunity system that caters to supporting attackers—most notably Gonzalo Higuain.
Should Argentina fail to make it out of the Group Stage, it’ll be a genuine surprise. They have the look and feel and play style of a contingent fit for a quarter-finals appearance or better.
Life as we know it has three certainties: Death, taxes and France being ranked as one of the five best teams in each installment of the FIFA World Cup.
This version of France is a little more dependent upon its stopping power than units from tournaments past. That’s fine. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is a one-man system between the posts, while defenseman Raphael Varane is heralded for the resistance he provides as soon as opposing offenses cross midfield.
Plus, we’re not here to tell you France cannot put points on the board. They may lack a traditional household megastar, but Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial and Kylian Mbappe are all capable of running off multigame hot streaks.
Following the retirement of midfielder Xavi, Spain is now officially FIFA’s billboard for pace and ball movement. They’re not trying to sap the clock of valuable seconds, in large part because they cannot. The from-scratch foot speed they got from Xavi is no more. They need to share the ball in order to generate open looks and put adequate pressure on rival squads.
Defense will be huge for this team as a result. The offense is still kind of in its infancy, and there’s no telling what type of numbers it will put up. Spain deserves its fringe-favorite status, but bettors will want to track their progress through the first one or two matches before taking a stab at their odds.
Goalkeeper David De Gea is the player you should be watching most closely. He’ll set the tenor for everything Spain is able to do. If he ensures they’re not constantly playing from behind, it will allow the offense to take chances and go through its usual motions without forcing inopportune shots.
Brazil is a officially the World Cup co-favorite with the reigning champion Germany. Needless to say, this is big.
Last time we saw Brazil in the bracket, they were busy getting pummeled by Germany in 2014. They fell 7-1, failing to put up anything even remotely resembling a fight. That’s projected to change this time around.
This team is bringing back a truckload of familiar faces, but there’s no shame in that. Their frontline of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho and Willian is a real-life cheat code. They’re all pretty much still in the heart of their primes, and if there’s a roster equipped with the depth and star power necessary to dethrone Germany, it’s this one.
Granted, you may want to wait out their odds. Investing in co-favorites from the jump isn’t too lucrative of endeavor. Waiting a couple weeks could see them slip back to +550 territory, or you might be able to capitalize on a potential slow start out of the gate in the Group Stage. Not that you have to delay your bets. This team is worth the odds they’re laying. Just some food for thought.
Defending World Cup champions have a poor track record when it comes to getting out of the group stage, let alone repeating as the galaxy’s ultimate title holder. Pretty much everyone and their second cousin thrice removed by divorce is expecting Germany to be the latest exception.
A handful of bettors will be inclined to throw money at Brazil or Spain before they do Germany, a direct result of an offense that has stalled out in recent matchups—including a 1-0 loss to Brazil. But Germany is a team armed to the teeth with quality skill players. They don’t deviate from their offensive structure when the deficits start to balloon, and their approach to shooting on goal tends to wear on even the stingiest defenses.
Investing in favorites is always iffy. The return typically isn’t worth what history says will happen. But, aside from Brazil and Spain and maybe Argentina, there isn’t a consensus favorite who poses a demonstratively bigger threat to stealing the show in Russia.
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