World Cup 2018 team predictions – favourites to win31st May 2018 / lee
The World Cup 2018 will throw the 32 qualified teams into competitive action in Russia during the month of action which kicks off on Thursday, June 14, 2018. While there are a large number of teams arriving to contest, the winner is only likely to come from a very narrow band of teams. Looking at the bet365 World Cup outright winner market there are only five teams heading to Russia 2018 who are in single figures.
So those five teams can really be classed as favourites to win, and it would be hard to see someone other than one of that handful of nations walking off with this summer’s title. Who are the leading nations heading to the 2018 World Cup? Those will be Brazil, Germany, Spain, France and Argentina. You only have to look back at recent World Cup history to see that it is the bigger stronger nations who consistently make it through to the World Cup Final.
This is rarely a tournament where underdogs get to flourish, at least not in terms of winning the tournament outright. But as with any competition there is always an upset along the way somewhere and for your World Cup 2018 team predictions, you don’t have to concentrate solely on the outright winner market because you can back teams to go out and do things like win groups, to qualify from groups and much more.
Here we will take a look at World Cup 2018 team predictions concentrating only on those major teams who are trading at the head of the 2018 World Cup outright winner market with bookmaker bet365.
World Cup 2018 Outright Winner Odds*
* (Betting Odds taken from bet365 at 11:37 p.m. on May 30th, 2018)
Favouritism for the 2018 World Cup has really fluctuated between Brazil and Germany. They are the two major powerhouses in the game, and Germany will be heading to Russia to try and defend the title which they won four years ago against Argentina. That was Germany’s fourth World Cup title, leaving them just one behind the all-time leaders Brazil. It would be some accomplishment if the Germans could draw level in titles with the Selecao by making it back-to-back World Cup wins.
Germany will once again be turning up as a major threat and they look as strong as ever. They have a mobile, young defence and they are stacked with creativity in the middle of the park as well with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Mesut Ozil. Their attacking core has been boosted as well thanks to youngster Timo Werner who made such a big splash for himself on the international scene at the 2017 Confederations Cup (which Germany won with pretty much a youth side).
If Germany and Brazil both win their respective groups them the only way that they would meet in the knockout stages would be in the final itself which would be a tremendous thing to see. In the bet365 to name the finalists market a Germany/Brazil option is at 12/1 odds* (Betting Odds taken at 6:07 p.m. on May 31st, 2018). That would be a spectacle, especially after the astounding semi-final between them in the 2014 World Cup which Germany won 7-1.
Brazil are looking for their sixth World Cup title and they have the squad to pull it off as well. Even though there are doubts and questions about the fitness of their star striker Neymar, Brazil look well equipped to handle whatever could be ahead of them, even if they can’t get full match time out of their superstar. Brazil look much more balanced through their squad than they were four years ago, and they have a supremely creative and dynamic midfield with the likes of Willian and Philippe Coutinho in there, and even if Neymar isn’t fully fit they have the goals of youngster Gabriel Jesus to rely upon.
Beyond Germany and Brazil
Without question, Brazil and Germany look the strongest options heading to the 2018 World Cup, but there are some serious threats in the leading pack behind them. Frankly this does look really competitive World Cup and it probably wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the top four in the outright winner market ahead of the tournament, all find ways through to the semi-finals. So who is waiting in the wings to potentially pounce if Germany and Brazil slip up?
The biggest threat will come without question from France and Spain. The assets that France have at their disposal can only be described as an embarrassment of riches really. Brazil, Germany nor Spain can match the quality of depth that France are taking to the 2018 World Cup with them. The losing Euro 2016 finalists just look perfectly equipped to make a run at the title. They are dynamic and powerful going forward, and they have strength and mobility in the defensive areas as well.
France are a genuine contender to get their second ever World Cup title and joining them as a major threat to the front two, is Spain. Four years ago in their World Cup title defence, Spain went home with their tails between their legs having fallen at the first hurdle. The Red Fury did not even make it out of the group stage, but there is something positive to be taken away from failures and the Spaniards have rebuilt themselves very well.
They haven’t changed their identity one iota, they are still a possession-dominated team but the difference between their 2018 and 2014 squads, is that now the youth that they have has much more experience behind them at the international level and it all comes together to blend perfectly with the talented and experienced core of players that they already have. Spain look in fantastic shape at the moment, but when you stand them up against France there is a clear difference between the two nations upfront.
The French have Antoine Griezmann, while Spain although they have managed perfectly well before without one, are perhaps lacking that world-class outright striker. They may well be relying on the might and muscle of Diego Costa to rattle defences but you are likely to see more of a heavy output from the Spanish midfield as opposed to the other leading contenders. If you do look at the World Cup top goalscorer betting market Spain’s shortest priced option is Costa at 20/1 odds* (Betting Odds taken at 8:18 p.m. on May 31st, 2018) while Brazil, France and Germany have shorter priced options.
World Cup top goalscorer odds*
Lionel Messi 9/1
Antoine Griezmann 12/1
Cristiano Ronaldo 14/1
Harry Kane 16/1
Gabriel Jesus 16/1
Timo Werner 16/1
Romelu Lukaku 18/1
Luis Suarez 25/1
Diego Costa 25/1
Edinson Cavani 25/1
Sergio Aguero 25/1
Kylian Mbappe 33/1
Robert Lewandowski 33/1
Thomas Muller 33/1
Olivier Giroud 33/1
* (Betting Odds taken from bet365 at 6:07 p.m. on May 31st, 2018)
So those are the big four teams to be focusing on in World Cup 2018 team predictions. But we mentioned five at the start of the article any other team in single figures is Argentina who lost 2014 final to Germany. Will Argentina turn up and causing huge surprise? They didn’t have the greatest of qualification campaigns and they always tend to look at odds to the amount of attacking talent that they have in their squad, by not playing too open of a style. But still four years ago they were in the same boat and they worked their way through, largely by their defensive strength and individual brilliance, and of course, they have Lionel Messi.
World Cup 2018 team Predictions
Argentina look the most vulnerable of the big five, and they are probably worth opposing in the outright winner market. So that leaves the big four and which of those could battle their way through the pack and get the win on the board. The big four look evenly matched, they really do and they all have such great strengths. However, there can only be one winner of course and looking at the route to the semi-final is Spain and France which could end up with trickier matches.
There is a lot appeal of appeal on France because they have such a fantastic squad and have more versatility about them than the other contenders. However they couldn’t deliver in their Euro 2016 final against Portugal and if Brazil meet them in the semi finals, the Selecao would probably be favourites, especially if Neymar has had time to work his way back to some degree of fitness. We can see Brazil going all the way and meeting Germany in the final. This time, however, the outcome may be different and we are backing Brazil to lift the title, with Germany in second and France and Spain having to settle things in the third-place match.
Name the finalists betting odds*
* (Betting Odds taken from bet365 at 8:18 p.m. on May 31st, 2018)
The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+
* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!
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