1. Back Brazil!
Going into the start of the World Cup, Brazil are the outright favourites.
Spain’s madness sacking of Julen Lopetegui and Germany’s poor form has left Tite’s Brazil as the most likely winners.
Their standing is heightened by some fine recent form and a brilliant World Cup qualifying campaign once Tite took over.
Brazil’s attacking options are insanely good and their defensive options are not too shabby.
New Manchester United signing Fred and Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson are bench players for this version of Brazil.
And, that 7-1 defeat to Germany will focus minds all the way through…
2. Win with a top goal scorer bet, even if they don’t win the Golden Boot
The World Cup top goal scorer is the market for many punters during any edition of this tournament.
Russia 2018 will be no different with so many top class strikers and attackers on show.
Throw in the eternal Leo Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate and we should have ourselves one of the finest Golden Boot markets of all time.
3. Never write off Spain
This is not an argument to suggest sacking your manager a day before the World Cup starts is a good idea.
Yet, Spain do have a manager for the World Cup following the shock departure of Julen Lopetegui.
Fernando Hierro picks up the reins and frankly, has very little opportunity to change anything.
Spain remain one of the tournament favourites and should progress through Group B even if they were to lose their opener against Portugal.
The Spain carnage a day before the tournament also means you can now get better odds on La Furia Roja!
4. England could surprise & they won’t be a disaster
Four years ago, England failed to get out their World Cup group.
Two years ago, the Three Lions fell to an agonising loss at the hands of Iceland.
Things have changed a lot since the reign of Roy Hodgson and it is far from clear whether England have turned the corner.
Yet, under Gareth Southgate there is some optimism that a young side won’t disgrace themselves.
The bar is much lower these days! But, if England get some momentum, wins over Panama and Tunisia are certainly possible!
5. So many offers, and only a month to use them!
The bookies love a World Cup and they go a little overboard with the offers.
England to win the World Cup is for jingoistic punters, but there are some fine opportunities elsewhere.
6. The teams to surprisingly get out their group
Sides like Belgium, Spain and Brazil are almost certainties to progress to the knockout stages but what about a side who could surprise everyone?
I’m backing Ricardo Gareca’s Peru to shock the world and progress from Group C.
Although France are heavy favourites to top the group, Peru will feel they have a great chance of going through with them.
Australia are likely to be the group’s whipping boys so La Blanquirroja’s biggest rivals will be Denmark, who they face in their first game in Saransk.
The winner of this game will be in pole position to progress so, if like me, you fancy Peru back them now. You can gets odds of around 7/4 for Peru to qualify.
— Selección Peruana (@SeleccionPeru) June 4, 2018
7. To lose all 3 group games…
There are two World Cup regulars who could face a torrid time in Russia.
The first of which is Australia.
The feeling within Australia is that this is nowhere near the best Socceroos team they’ve sent to a finals and, after coming through a gruelling 22 game qualification campaign, they could really struggle.
With France, Denmark and Peru in their group, I cannot see Australia picking up a single point.
The other is another Asian nation, Japan.
They really struggled through AFC qualifying before eventually squeezing through on the final matchday.
They have an ageing squad and up against Columbia, Senegal and Poland Ithe only thing Japan will go home with is the wooden spoon.
They are priced an inviting 8/1 to lose all 3 of their games.
8. A surprise early exit?
One big nation who could really disappoint this summer is Argentina.
They reached 3 finals in 3 years between 2014 and 2016 losing all of them but perhaps they’ve missed their chance and could really struggle in Russia.
Despite the fact they have some of the best attacking talent in the world such as, Ángel Di María, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero and Lionel Messi, their defence will be their achilles heal.
Manager Jorge Sampaoli loves to play a high pressing game with a high line but he doesn’t have the players to do this.
The likes of Javier Mascherano, Federico Fazio, Gabriel Mercado and Nicolás Otamendi are all over 30 and lack the pace to play Sampaoli’s way.
They are in the group of death too and all three of Nigeria, Croatia and Iceland will cause them problems.
Although Argentina will have enough firepower to get through the group stages, problems may occur if they finish second which would mean a likely round of 16 encounter with France.
That could be the end of the road for Argentina who are priced 9/4 to be knocked out in the last 16 and priced 3/1 to be eliminated at the quarter final stage.
9. Potential surprise winners
Aside from the favourites the team which has the potential to shock everybody and go all the way in Russia is Uruguay.
About a year ago they were really struggling in South American qualifying and they looked in real danger of missing out all together.
So what they did was completely revamp their midfield, brining in rising stars like Lucas Torreira and Juventus’ Rodrigo Bentancur. They then won 2 of their remaining 3 qualifiers to make it through comfortably.
They can also boast a frightening strike pairing of Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani with two players who have brilliant seasons in La Liga, Maxi Gómez and Cristhian Stuani waiting in reserve.
They also have a very experienced manager; no man has managed a single national team more than Óscar Tabárez who has been at the helm since 2006. Tabarez led them to the World Cup semi finals in South Africa as well as Copa América glory a year later.
With a very good team and a favourable draw there is genuine belief in Uruguay they can go deep into this tournament. You can get Uruguay to win the World Cup priced at 25/1.
10. My pick to be crowned World Champions
I am backing France to win the World Cup for the second time in their history.
With amazing attacking talents in their side such as Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé to name but a few if they gel they could be unstoppable.
They are also strong defensively with Raphaël Varane and Samuel Umtiti forming arguably the best defensive duo in the whole tournament.
You can get France to lift the trophy at odds of 7/1.
— French Team (@FrenchTeam) May 30, 2018