After five days of spirited action on the pitch, all 32 teams competing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup have played at least one match.
As a result, the group stage component of the tournament is beginning to take shape, shuffling the futures betting odds on hoisting the Cup in kind.
Host nation Russia is the only team to notch victories in its first two matches, storming out to a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the tournament opener and downing Egypt 3-1 on Tuesday. The Russian squad opened at (+6000) via online sportsbook Bovada, but with a pair of convincing wins likely pushing them on to the knockout round, Russia has improved to (+3300).
As for the consensus favorite, Brazil opened at (+400) and hasn’t budged from that number, despite a disconcerting 1-1 tie versus Switzerland (+8000) in their opening match. And given the weak competition posed by its remaining Group E opponents – Serbia (+12500) and Costa Rica (+75000) – bettors and bookmakers alike are probably safe in assuming scoring sensation Neymar will lead El Seleção through to knockout play.
Spain – the only team offering similar odds to Brazil at the moment – opened at (+650). But after drawing in a 3-3 thriller against Portugal (+1800), La Furia Roja has actually seen their odds improve slightly to (+450). That number reflects the likelihood that Spain will score the full three points against lightweights Iran (+50000) and Morocco (+200000) to close out Group B play.
Speaking of Portugal, superstar sniper Cristiano Ronaldo paced El Selecção das Quinas with a hat trick against Spain, his leveling third goal coming on a perfectly placed free kick with only minutes to play. With arguably the best player on the planet rounding into peak form, Portugal’s odds have narrowed from (+2200) to (+1800) – making them a dark horse World Cup target for bettors looking for a lark.
Thanks to Lionel Messi, another squad that can lay claim to suiting up the world’s best player is Argentina. But after an opening match meltdown against Iceland – a team comprised of ordinary workers representing a nation of just 334,000 – Messi’s failure to convert a penalty late in an eventual 1-1 draw has become this World Cup’s recurring storyline.
Having opened at (+900), La Albiceleste has fallen slightly to (+1100), and with Croatia (+2800) already in ownership of three points, Messi will need to be on mark if Argentina is to escape Group D.
Bettors who like to back favorites will find a trio of European powerhouses atop the Bovada board, as France (+700), Germany (+800), and Belgium (+800) round out the five teams offering better than 10 to 1.
For Germany, those odds represent significant slippage after opening at (+475). A lackluster 1-0 loss to Mexico (+4000) put Germany in a big Group F hole, with both Mexico and Sweden (+10000) notching three points thus far.
France and Belgium, meanwhile, are respectively leading Groups C and G following opening match victories.
Check the table below for current World Cup odds on all 32 teams, as currently found on Bovada:
Odds to Win the 2018 FIFA World Cup
|Nation||Odds to Win World Cup on 6/19|