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The Top 4 Most Likely Winners of the FIFA World Cup 2018

| May 26, 2018 12:00 am PDT
Mesut Ozil

If you like soccer, you are almost certainly looking forward to the World Cup in Russia this summer. It’s not long to go now, and there are sure to be lots of interesting games for us to enjoy.

There will also be lots of betting opportunities, but are you ready to take advantage of them?

Don’t worry if you’re not, as you can expect to see PLENTY of blog posts relating to this tournament over the coming weeks, most of which will be written by me!

I’ve been preparing for the 2018 FIFA World Cup for months already, and I’m going to help you try to make the most of all the betting opportunities coming up. Hopefully we can make some money together.

In my most recent post, I talked about the top players on each team in this year’s tournament.

Today, I’m going to take an early look at the teams most likely to win. It’s relatively early to definitively state which team I believe will win, but it’s still a good idea to think about this and see if there’s any value up for grabs at this stage.

Brazil at 5.00

Brazil is the favorite of most bookmakers according to the current odds. You can find the nation priced around 5.00 in most places. That’s only natural, as the South American giant is the most successful team in the World Cup’s history. Brazil has won the tournament 5 times already and has a couple of lost finals as well.

Their country has always been the home of some of the most gifted players around the globe. 2018 is not an exception, which is the main reason Brazil is among the favorites.

The squad certainly has the quality, and it will have the motivation, too.

A large part of the current team was involved in the humiliation at home turf 4 years ago when Brazil was beaten 7-1 by the Germans (who subsequently became champions.)

Neymar and Thiago Silva will be eager to put this nightmare behind them, as they were hopelessly watching from the stand because of injuries.

However, the country will have to face history, as it’s rare for a non-European team to win the World Cup when it’s hosted in Europe. It’s only happened once, in fact, all the way back in 1958. Which team? Well, it just so happens that it was Brazil themselves…

Key Player – Neymar

The PSG forward is one of the best players in the world right now. He’s the leader of Brazil and always plays with a lot of pride.

If anyone can lift this team, it’s Neymar.


While I believe Brazil is very strong and will go deep, I don’t think it will win the trophy. At least I don’t rate their chances high enough to place a bet on odds of 5.00 or so.

Germany at 5.50

It’s hardly a shocker to see the reigning world champion Germany just behind the Brazilians. The European powerhouse has won the title 4 times, has plenty of other finals, and is always among the favorites.

Even when Germany doesn’t have the individual talent to match some of the other teams, it should never be underestimated. This time around, the country is actually among the best when it comes to natural ability.

The likes of Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos, Leroy Sane, and many others are simply exceptional.

On top of that, the Germans have loads of experience, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and always play as a unit. You will struggle to find a weak link in this team. Finally, Coach Joachim Low has been around for a while and knows his players well.

The big question is how tired will Germany be. As many of the other top nations, a large part of the squad is coming after an exhausting season. If they don’t have much left in the tank, this could be a problem in Russia.

Key Player – Mesut Ozil

The quiet nature of the playmaker makes him look disinterested at times. However, he is the most creative player on the German squad and makes the whole team tick.

If Ozil is on form, opposition teams will find it hard to keep him quiet.


I can easily see Germany as a winner, and they are currently my top contender this summer.

However, at this point, I believe the odds are about right and contain no positive value.

Spain at 7.00

Spain is another team that knows how to win a World Cup. In fact, some of the players in this squad have conquered almost every possible honor in the world of football. Despite the somewhat transitional period after the golden generation, Spain still has a strong team.

Their possession-based style is not that successful anymore, but the nation is adapting. With the help of some younger players like Isco, Spain is mixing it up a lot more.

They are still working hard to take care of the ball, but they are always trying to penetrate the opposition.

It remains to be seen how far the Spaniards can go. Based on their failings in the last two big international tournaments, it’s hard to see them win. At the same time, they have the experience and the quality.

Key Player – Sergio Ramos

The strong center back is a natural leader who can command the defense and score crucial goals at the same time.

Spain will need him at his best to win the trophy, and he’s more than capable of performing when it matters the most


While Spain has the potential to reach the final stages of the World Cup, I don’t think the team is as well-drilled as some of the other favorites. This is why I will abstain from betting on them at this stage.

France at 7.50

The French team was one of the favorites to win EURO 2016 at home turf. The team managed to reach the final, beating Germany in the process, only to lose against Portugal in dramatic fashion. The whole nation was heartbroken, but I believe the squad gained invaluable experience.

A lot of the members of the 2016 team will play this year, too. They will be more mature and confident in their own ability. And, oh boy, they have some talent in there.

The likes of Griezmann, Pogba, Mbappe, and Lemar are among the most talented players in the world right now.

It’s not only about flair, though. France has a world-class goalkeeper, a strong defensive unit, and hard-working players such as Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi, and others. If you add the depth of the squad, which is probably second to none, it’s easy to see why France is among the favorites.

However, I have one reason to doubt them. The coach, Didier Deschamps, has made some questionable team selections and decisions in the past. I don’t think he’s the right man for the job.

Key Player – Paul Pogba

After a tough season at Manchester United, Pogba will be keen to confirm his status as one of the most exciting players on the planet.

He won’t be able to carry France to victory on his own, but he certainly has the talent to give them a great chance if he’s at his best.


Deschamps is really bothering me, but the French team seems too strong and well-balanced to pass the opportunity.

At odds of 7.50, they represent a solid value in my opinion.

The Rest of the Bunch

It will be hard for any of the other teams in Russia to win the World Cup, but some shouldn’t be underestimated for various reasons.

Argentina, for example, has loads of talent and Lionel Messi, who is desperate to win a major international trophy. Sure, the team struggled to qualify, but it will be different in Russia, and they did play a final in 2014. Still, the odds of 10.00 or so seem too short for my taste.

Another nation that has a shot is Belgium. The squad has loads of talent in the likes of de Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku, and many others. However, they struggled during Euro 2016 and have shown the signs of a typical gifted team with no cohesion.

The occasional moments of brilliance can’t make up for the lack of consistency. The odds of 12.00 might be tempting for some, but I can’t see Belgium winning it.

If you are looking for pure value, there are two teams I find solid enough. The reigning European champion Portugal is tough to beat and has Cristiano Ronaldo. The country is priced at 26.00, which is tasty enough.

Another dark horse I rate highly is Croatia. They have world-class players like Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic, a lot of experience, and a solid squad. You can find odds of 35.00 for Croatia to win it, and this is the perfect opportunity for the more adventurous bettors.

Final Words

As with all types of betting, picking an outright winner is not about guessing. It’s about probabilities and value. This is why I believe France and Croatia are the best bets right now, with Portugal just behind them.

The likes of Germany and Brazil are certainly capable of winning the World Cup, but the odds of them doing so are too short to be worth it.

Things can change between now and the start of the tournament, of course. I’ll certainly be placing some early wagers for a bit of value, but I’ll be spreading my bankroll far and wide for this tournament.

Keeping checking in over the next few weeks for more World Cup betting advice and picks.

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Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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