Your Complete Betting Guide for the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Can you hear that? It’s the sound of excited chatter from a couple of billion soccer fans. They’re getting all hyped up about the latest installment of THE best soccer tournament on the planet, which is taking place in Russia this summer.
Yes, that’s right. No more waiting. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is finally happening. National teams from 32 countries are about to compete for the biggest prize in the world’s most popular sport.
Are YOU excited? You certainly should be. You’ve got four glorious weeks of constant soccer action to enjoy. There’s a total of 64 games to be played over the month-long tournament, and you’ll get to see the world’s best players and the world’s best teams.
As if that alone isn’t enough to get your blood pumping, you’ve also got some real money-making opportunities to look forward to. The FIFA World Cup provides countless betting markets for you to take advantage of, and we’re going to help you do exactly that.
Whether you’re a soccer fan, a betting fan, or both, our World Cup betting guide is an essential resource for you this summer. We’re going to teach you everything you need to know about this tournament and how to make money from it.
On the off chance that you’re not familiar with the FIFA World Cup, we’ve got an introduction to the competition that explains what it’s all about. We’ve also got a complete history that details how it got started back in 1930, how it’s developed over the years, and some of the most memorable moments it’s produced.
There’s SO much more here, too. You can find out all about the best World Cup betting sites and the various betting markets that are available. There’s also some expert advice for betting on the World Cup, provided by our soccer betting experts who know how to win.
Best of all, this guide is regularly updated in the build-up to the tournament and for its duration. Whether it’s upcoming fixtures, match results, the latest news, updated odds, or our betting picks and previews, you’ll find it all here.
So, hold your calls, clear your schedule, and get yourself ready for one of the greatest of all sporting events. The summer of 2018 is ALL about the FIFA World Cup.
Our 2018 World Cup Blog
A lot of the information in our World Cup betting guide is timeless. We update the history page after each tournament, but most of the information there stays the same. We update our list of recommended betting sites, too, but our reasons for recommending sites remain constant. And much of the betting advice we have to offer stands the test of time, as certain fundamental aspects of successful betting never change.
It’s also important to stay up to date with what’s happening NOW, though. You need to know which teams are looking strong for the tournament and which teams have some weaknesses. You need to know which players are in top form and which ones are struggling with their performances.
You also need to know about changes in the betting markets, where to find the best promotions, and all kinds of other things. Which is precisely why we’re adding daily posts to our 2018 World Cup blog.
Our goal is to keep you updated on everything that’s happening, all in one place. If there’s something we think you should know, we tell you about it. We also you tell all about where the value lies in the betting markets, and we share our best tips and picks. We provide previews and betting advice for every single game, too.
Here’s a selection of the latest additions.
- Early FIFA World Cup 2022 Prop BetsIt may still be three years away, but sportsbooks are already making it possible for you to...
- An Early Look Ahead to the 2022 FIFA World CupThe 2018 soccer World Cup in Russia was exciting, and the best team won at the end....
- Three Amazing Teams That Came up Short in the FIFA World CupThe FIFA World Cup is one of the toughest tournaments to win, as we all saw in...
- The Most Defining Moments of the 2018 FIFA World CupThe 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is now complete, and France is the worthy champion. This...
Latest Odds, Fixtures, Results, and Standings
Our World Cup blog is not the only part of this guide that is constantly updated. Right here on this page, you’ll find the latest odds, all the fixtures, match results, and the current group standings. Once the knockout stage is underway, we’ll also be adding information on that.
For starters, here are the latest odds for each team to win the World Cup.
Based on the odds at the start of the tournament, there are four teams considered the most likely to lift the Jules Rimet trophy in July. Brazil is the top favorite, followed closely by Germany, Spain, and France.
These are certainly four strong teams, but there are no guarantees that one of them will win it. Although it’s rare for there to be a shock winner of the World Cup, it’s not completely unheard of for an unfancied team to surprise everyone. And in any case, there are several teams outside these four that can be viewed as legitimate contenders. Argentina, for example, or Portugal.
Regardless of which nation is to end up as this year’s winner, the first challenge that all competing teams must face is qualifying from the group stages.
There are eight groups in the tournament, each with four teams. Teams will play the other three teams in their group once, and the top two in the standings will progress to the knockout stage.
Let’s take a look at each of these groups, beginning with Group A.
Group A always features the tournament hosts, and Russia is joined by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Uruguay.
On the face of it, this looks like a relatively easy group to predict, with Uruguay and Russia the clear favorites to progress. However, while it’s reasonable to rule out the chances of Saudi Arabia, it would be foolish to completely overlook Egypt.
If Egypt’s star player, Mohamed Salah, can light up the World Cup the way he lit up the English Premier League last season, then the African team has a real chance to make its mark on the tournament.
Group B also looks fairly straightforward. It can be dangerous to think this way, of course, as there’s always a chance of the unexpected. But it really does seem unlikely that Morocco and Iran will have it what takes to outperform Spain and/or Portugal.
It would be quite the shock if it’s not the two European teams that progress here.
This looks less clear-cut than the previous two groups. France is widely expected to progress from Group C with relative ease, but the second qualification spot is very much up for grabs.
None of the other three teams are likely to finish ahead of France, but they each have a realistic chance of progressing to the next round. Denmark is considered the most likely by the bookmakers, followed by Peru, and then Australia.
There is no true “Group of Death” in this year’s World Cup. Group D comes the closest, though, and the four teams drawn here can consider themselves unfortunate. They all face a real challenge to get through to the next stage.
Argentina is rightly the bookmakers’ favorite to progress, but this is not a sure thing. The Argentineans will need to perform better than they did when scraping qualification for the finals, and Iceland, Croatia, and Nigeria each pose a threat to their chances.
The most likely outcome is that Argentina does qualify, along with Croatia. Literally anything could happen here, though.
Group E has the overall tournament favorite, Brazil, and it would be a monumental disaster on their behalf if they were not to progress from it. They should be able to beat Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Serbia without having to play at their top level.
Predicting which team will join Brazil in the knockout stage is not so easy, though. Switzerland and Serbia are of a similar standard, and it’s likely to be one of those two. However, Costa Rica really impressed back in the 2014 World Cup, and they should not be underestimated here.
Group F also has one of the leading favorites to win the World Cup. Germany is the reigning champion and is fully expected to make another strong challenge here in Russia. It is almost unthinkable that they won’t even make it out of their group.
Their opponents will be doing their best to make that unlikely scenario a reality, though, and they each have claims. Mexico and Sweden are not as strong or balanced as Germany, but both are capable of putting in top-class performances.
It’s hard to see South Korea making much of an impact in this group, although they do have some talented individuals in the squad.
England are Belgium have been reasonably lucky with their draw in Group G. These two teams are of a similar standard, and although it’s impossible to predict which one will top the group, they are significantly stronger than Tunisia and Panama.
It would be too much to say that Tunisia and Panama have NO chance of progressing from this group, but the odds are firmly stacked against them for sure.
In terms of overall quality of the teams, the final group is not as strong as Group D. However, it is not far off being as competitive. Colombia and Poland are very evenly matched, and Senegal is close behind. Japan is a little weaker but not exactly out of their depth here.
The smart money is on Colombia and Poland to make it through to the knockout stage, but this is another group where anything could happen.
The Knockout Stage
The knockout stage begins on June 30th, two days after the final group games. There will be two games per day from this date, with a three-day break before the quarterfinals.
During the first round of the knockout stage – the “Round of Sixteen” – each group winner will play the runner-up from another group. For example, the winner of Group A will play the runner-up of Group B.
We’ll update this page with fixtures and results from the knockout stage as soon as it’s underway.
The World Cup Final
The World Cup final is to be held on Sunday, July 15th. It will be played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and will probably be the most watched sporting event of the year.
Which two teams will make it? Who knows at this stage? It’s sure going to be fun finding out, though.
World Cup Betting Sites
One thing that we’re very clear about here at GamblingSites.com is that there is no such thing as THE best gambling site. Sure, we have our favorites. And of course, there are certain sites that stand out as being much higher quality than others.
The best gambling sites typically share many attributes, but which site is best for YOU ultimately depends on what you want from it. If you want to mostly play blackjack, then you’ll want a site that offers a good blackjack product. If you want to mostly play poker, then you’ll want a site with a good poker product.
If sports betting is your thing, it’s not necessarily a case of just finding the best sports betting product. You also need to think about which sports you want to bet on. To some extent, you also need to think about which EVENTS you want to bet on.
For example, some of the betting sites we recommend are absolutely brilliant for betting on the NFL. These same sites are not necessarily great for betting on soccer, though. Some sites are excellent for a wide variety of sports and events, but very few are excellent for EVERYTHING.
When it comes to betting on the FIFA World Cup, there are plenty of sites that will accommodate you. The global popularity of this soccer competition means it attracts a lot of betting interest, so, unsurprisingly, the vast majority of sites offer World Cup betting markets.
However, if you want to get the most out of your World Cup betting, you don’t want to just use any old site. You want to use the sites that are BEST for World Cup betting, and that’s not an easy thing to figure out. With so many options to choose from, how are you supposed to know which ones to pick?
Panic not, because we’re here to help. Each time the tournament comes around, we check out all the multitude of options, and we assess them all very carefully. We look at everything that’s important in general terms, such as reliability, reputation, ease of use, and so on. And we also look at each site specifically with the World Cup in mind.
Here are the main factors we take into account.
- The range of World Cup betting markets available
- How the World Cup odds and lines compare to what’s on offer elsewhere
- The value of any World Cup promotions and special offers
A good variety of betting markets is essential because this increases your chances of finding good wagers to place. And when you find those good wagers, you obviously want to ensure you get competitive odds and lines for the best possible returns.
Good promotions and special offers are important ALL the time, really, but they become even more so during major events like the World Cup. A lot of betting sites go to town in a big way and give away a ton of extra value. You want to snap up as much of that value as you can.
If you’re looking to join a site right now, we recommend BetOnline as a great choice if you live in the United States. They’re one of the longest-standing and most trustworthy US-facing betting sites, and we rate them highly in almost all areas. If you’re in the UK, Europe, or most other regions, an excellent option is Betway. They’re especially good in terms of promotions and the range of markets.
We advise using at least two or three of the leading World Cup betting sites for the wagers you place on the tournament. There are several advantages to this, such as being able to compare the odds for each wager, benefiting from all the different promotions, and gaining access to as many betting markets as possible.
Go ahead and sign up with BetOnline or Betway if you’re in a hurry to get some money down right now. But at some point, make sure you spend a bit of time looking at the other options and signing up with a couple more.
Each and every one of our recommendations is a genuinely good choice for betting on the World Cup. We only recommended a small selection of the very best sites, so you can sign up with ALL of them, and it won’t be excessive.
World Cup Betting Advice
Choosing which sites to use is the first decision of many that you’ll need to get right when betting on the World Cup. We’ve already helped you with picking the best sites, and we can also help you to make good decisions when it comes to making your wagers.
First, we need to make something very clear. The World Cup is a huge opportunity for making money; there’s no doubt about that. The sheer volume of available betting markets means there is value galore to be found.
Even if you’re a knowledgeable soccer fan, you’ve still got a job on your hands to take on the bookmakers successfully. There’s only one of you, and the bookmakers employ whole teams of experts to carry out research, compile data, and set the odds and lines. They’re pretty good at it, too.
Don’t be put off by this. It’s not our intention to talk you out of betting on the World Cup. We just want you to understand the challenge you face. If you approach the tournament expecting to make some easy money, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you prepare properly for the task ahead, and put in the necessary time and effort, you can definitely achieve your goals.
Your preparation ideally starts long before the tournament actually comes around. You should watch as many games as you can during the qualification process to try to gauge where each team’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
You should also follow the domestic competitions and keep an eye on how players are performing at club level.
A lack of preparation will hurt your chances of making money, but it won’t completely destroy them. Besides, the media coverage of the World Cup is extensive, to say the least. There’s plenty you can read up on to fill in any gaps in your knowledge, even if you leave it until the last minute.
And don’t forget, we’ll be sharing all our thoughts with you right here on this site. We’re ALWAYS fully prepared for the World Cup by the time it’s upon us, and we share the benefits of that preparation with our readers. You’ve always got the option of simply following our picks and advice, too, without doing any other work yourself.
That’s not the approach we recommend, because we think it’s important to form your own opinions. We’d prefer you to use our thoughts to guide you rather than tell you exactly what to do, but that’s ultimately up to you.
We don’t want to get into too much detail here about what you should and shouldn’t do when betting on the World Cup. Most of that is covered on the following page.
There are two things we want to stress the importance of, though.
- You should understand the various World Cup betting markets and which ones you should focus on
- You should know all about what teams need if they’re going to win the World Cup or at least put in a good tournament performance
We’ve mentioned a couple of times how the World Cup presents a huge range of betting opportunities. While this is definitely a good thing, you need to be realistic about just how many of these opportunities you can take advantage of. If you start spraying your money around with carefree abandon, you’re unlikely to get good results.
The better approach, by far, is to focus on a few markets where you think you can make solid judgments. Which markets these should be will vary from one person to the next, but the following page covers some of the best ones to look at.
Understanding what it takes for a team to win a World Cup is invaluable. Only one team can actually win the tournament, of course, but looking at the traits required is useful when it comes to assessing ALL teams. As a general rule, the more of these traits a team has, the better their chances of winning their games.
Take a look at the following page for some more expansive thoughts on this subject.
That nearly concludes our section on World Cup betting advice, but there’s one more thing to mention. In case you’re not familiar with this site, please be aware that we have an AMAZING amount of betting-related advice to share with you.
What we’ve talked about here is all the World Cup-specific advice you need to know. Much of the general information and advice in our sports betting guide is just as applicable, though. You could benefit a great deal from reading through this guide, and we highly recommend you do so.
About the FIFA World Cup Tournament
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. The FIFA World Cup is the most important of all soccer competitions. So, it’s hardly surprising that this tournament is considered by many to be the biggest and most prestigious sports event in existence.
Regardless of whether that’s true or not, one thing’s for certain. The FIFA World Cup is the absolute pinnacle of professional soccer, and it makes for a wonderful sporting spectacle. The fact that it only comes around once every four years adds to the appeal, and it’s always highly anticipated.
Nearly every country in the world is eligible to participate in the World Cup, but only 32 teams get to play in the final tournament. The qualification process, which typically takes around two years, is used to decide which teams get a shot at ultimate glory.
The once-every-four-years tournament is usually held in a single host nation, although hosting has been shared by multiple countries in the past. All 64 games in the finals are held within the host country (or countries), and the event lasts for a little over four weeks.
First held in 1930, the FIFA World Cup has an interesting history that is full of some amazing sporting moments. Check out the following page for a detailed look at that history.