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All About the 2018 FIFA World Cup

That long and dreaded four-year wait is over. Soccer fans around the world can finally breathe a sigh of relief because the 2018 FIFA World Cup is here! It’s all going down from June 14th-July 15th across a variety of cities in western Russia, also known as European Russia. This is your official chance to get fully prepped for the upcoming action.

Don’t confuse yourself into thinking this is just some ordinary soccer tournament with a few different countries vying for a trophy. This is as big as it gets for soccer – the Super Bowl of the sport, if you will. We are talking about 32 teams assembled into 8 different groups. When it’s all said and done, only one team will be left standing.

The goal of this page is to get you completely caught up with all the important details so that you’re ready to go when that first game gets underway. Are you a huge fan of the sport? Perhaps you just want to bet on the games, and you need the proper foundation to know where to start. The good news is that we are here to take care of your every need.

Many of you may have landed here specifically because you want to make money betting on World Cup games over the next four weeks. So, let’s start with a look at the betting opportunities this year’s tournament presents and how we can help you to take advantage of them.

Betting the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Before we take a head-first dive into which countries have qualified and what the bracket looks like, we want to address all of our valued bettors. As exciting as watching the games will be, the added element of having money on the line and being personally invested in the outcome takes the experience to a whole new level.

Imagine how excited you’d be if you saw your team score a winning goal late in the game. Now envision how amped up you would be if that winning goal also meant some “cash money” was going straight into your pocket.

If you plan on wagering during the 2018 FIFA World Cup and hope to turn a profit, you’ll likely be grateful for any help you can get. And help is exactly what we plan to give you. Over the course of the tournament, our soccer gurus will be routinely posting unique blogs that are strictly related to the betting aspect of the tournament.

This includes betting advice and strategies to follow, comprehensive insight into players and teams, previews of the games, and of course, our picks! No, you don’t have to sign up anywhere, nor will we charge you a fee. Literally, all you have to do is regularly check back on our site, and you’ll be taking full advantage of the resources we’re providing.

Listed below is a selection of our latest World Cup blog posts.

When it finally comes down to placing the wager, you need to make sure that you are only betting at the most premier and trusted online sportsbooks out there.

The online betting world can be a dark and scary place if you just blindly start creating accounts and placing bets. The bad news about having such a massive selection of virtual betting sites is that not all of them are “up to snuff.” Not every site in the industry will be worth your while.

In fact, some of them will leave you scratching your head with a splitting headache, wondering where your funds are and if you’ll ever see them again. Fortunately for you, our team takes a lot of pride in recommending only the best and most dependable sites.

Have faith and confidence knowing that the sites you find listed on our pages were diligently examined and investigated by qualified individuals. We NEVER accept fees to blindly promote sites; that’s not how we do business. If we recommended the site, it’s because we did our homework, and the site checked all the necessary boxes.

We want to steer you clear of the less-than-stellar sites by flooding you with the ones that are authentic and genuine. The ones with unreliable banking options and poor customer service simply aren’t suitable and don’t cut it. In other words, you’ll never find the “bad apples” here.

Here’s a top tip – make sure you have accounts with at least a few of the leading betting sites.

With as many games as will be going on, you will inevitably be able to find better odds and lines if you are willing to search for them. The easiest way to make sure you don’t miss out on the best prices is by signing up and being active on multiple sites.

By creating accounts at all of the top-rated online sportsbooks, you allow yourself to take full advantage of the online betting arena. We are referring specifically to the following.

  • Shopping lines and staying current on trends
  • Reaping the benefits and promotions that each site offers
  • Having a full scope of the entire betting selection that’s out there

Don’t be like those sports bettors who only place their wagers on one site. Your willingness to be open and adapt will be one of the keys to becoming a successful online sports bettor, especially in the instance of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Who Qualified, and What Do the Groups Look Like?

Of the 32 teams that participated in the most recent (2014) World Cup, 20 of them will be part of the 2018 field. For Panama and Iceland, this is their first appearance.

Soccer fans in the United States have had plenty of time to soak up the embarrassing feeling of being left out of the mix this time around. That’s right – the United States won’t be a part of the FIFA World Cup in 2018. It’s not because they didn’t try; it’s because they failed miserably during their attempt.

After the conclusion of the game that knocked them out of the running, manager Bruce Arena had this to say.

“We failed on the day. No excuses. We failed today. We should have walked off this field with at least a point.”

Needing just a draw against the depleted squad from Trinidad and Tobago to advance to this summer’s World Cup, the United States squad completely “laid an egg” and lost the game 2-1. This resulted in the Men’s National team missing out on FIFA World Cup action for the first time since 1986.

While American soccer fans will need to pick another country to root for, the same can’t be said for the inhabitants of the 32 nations that will be in Russia competing. Who got in, and how fierce is their group? Why don’t you take a look for yourself, and you can be the judge?

2018 Russia World Cup Teams by Group A-H

The Draw and the Format

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will feature exactly 64 matches. Sounds like a lot of betting opportunities to us!

We’ll highlight the different cities and stadiums that will be utilized in a dedicated section below, as there are a lot of locations and venues to cover. The final match will be held at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which was completely renovated in 2013 in preparation of this World Cup.

In order to win the World Cup, the first step is getting out of your group. Speaking of the groups, allow us to quickly explain how they came together.

The Draw

The sanctioned draw took place on December 1st, 2017, at the State Kremlin Palace in Russia’s capital city. The 32 qualified teams were first placed into four “pots” based on their FIFA World Rankings (as of October 2017). Host country Russia was awarded as the top seed in Pot 1 and were joined by the top 7 teams from the rankings.

The next 8 teams (from the rankings) went into Pot 2, and so on. If you are following along, you’ll know that Pot 4 consisted of the bottom 8 teams. By design, this positions the top 8 teams from the October 2017 rankings all in different groups. A random draw decided which group the remaining 24 teams would be placed in.

The Format

The group play is quite simple. Despite the schedule of all the matches appearing to be quite overwhelming, it’s really not that complicated. Each team in a specific group plays each other just once. This means each team will play exactly three matches during group play.

The scoring system is straightforward and should be easy to keep track of. It goes like so.

  • 3 points are awarded to a team that wins a match
  • 1 point is awarded to a team that draws (ties) a match
  • No points are handed out for a loss

If two teams end up with the same number of points, they look to the goal differential number as the tiebreaker. That’s why teams don’t take anything lightly and will play to the final whistle.

As long as a team wins or finishes runner-up in its group, they’ll have a chance to win the trophy. Coming in third or fourth in your group marks the end of your 2018 FIFA World Cup journey.

Once group play is completed, half of the 32 teams are still alive and kicking. As for who plays who once the group stages are decided? Check out this bracket that clarifies and sheds light on that inquiry.

2018 Russia World Cup Winner Score Board Layout by Group and Date

As you can see, it can be a little confusing, and there are lots of scenarios that can play out. We suggest you have this chart kept handy so that you always know what’s up next!

The Cities and Venues

We briefly alluded to a handful of cities and venues being utilized to host matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Rather than leave you in the dark about where all these soccer games will be played, we organized the table you see below.

This way, you can plainly see which 11 cities and 12 stadiums in western Russia will be hosting the festivities.

CityName of StadiumSeating Capacity
KaliningradKaliningrad Stadium35,000
YekaterinburgEkaterinburg Arena35,000
SaranskMordovia Arena44,000
SamaraSamara Arena45,000
Nizhny NovgorodNizhny Novgorod Stadium45,000
VolgogradVolgograd Arena45,000
Rostov-on-DonRostov Arena45,000
KazanKazan Arena45,000
MoscowSpartak Stadium45,000
SochiFisht Stadium45,000
Saint PetersburgSaint Petersburg Stadium67,000
MoscowLuzhniki Stadium80,000

The process of formalizing these locations wasn’t a quick and easy one. In fact, it was far from it. The original proposal in early 2011 included 16 stadiums spread across 13 cities. It was then reduced to 14 cities, before the final decision of the 11 host cities was made official on September 29th, 2012.

Talk about planning and money – get a load of this. Of the 12 stadiums being used for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, 9 of them are completely brand-new for this event. The other 3 underwent massive refurbishments. In total, gearing up for the World Cup cost a quite the pretty penny. To be exact, nearly $12 billion was spent on establishing the host venues.

It’s safe to say that Russia and the FIFA organization aren’t taking any shortcuts and have spared no expenses. Looks like we’re in for quite the month-long tournament!

What Should We Expect?

The odds for a team to win can and will change in a blink of an eye. With that being said, we already know who the favorites are. Likewise, there are some longshots that would absolutely shock the world if they were to go on and win.

Luckily for you, one of our talented writers who happens to be an enormous soccer fan has taken the liberty of breaking down the four most likely winners of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Not only does Jerry Summer tell you which four teams to keep an eye on, but he also tells you why, and he showcases their top player.

While we are on the subject of key players in this tournament, Mr. Summer went ahead and did you another favor.

The teams with the best and most exciting players are generally the ones we like to watch and bet on. However, sometimes it’s those “smaller-market” games that actually present the most value – from a betting standpoint, that is.

Knowing who Neymar and Lionel Messi are isn’t going to help you pick apart the Nigeria vs. Croatia match, now, is it? If you really want to hit the ground running and make some money betting, it’ll be beneficial to know the star players from all the teams, not just the favorites.

Here is Jerry’s list for the top players from each of the 32 teams. Get familiar with these faces, and you’ll have a good grasp of the entire landscape of the event.

It’s still early, but something tells us Brazil is going to be on a mission. They might have been disappointed in their 4th-place finish at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but we think they may use that as motivation this go-around.

Hey, it’s not like we’re really going out on a limb or anything. After all, the squad from Brazil is currently the betting favorite to win the tournament!

The Summary

Just because you made it to the bottom of this page doesn’t mean you should collapse the window and be done with it. If you haven’t yet explored the rest of our World Cup betting guide, now is the time to do so.

We know you like watching the games, and we’re almost certain you enjoy betting on them. Why pass up on all the free and valuable information that we’ll be constantly delivering over the course of the next month?

Keep in mind that this guide was created for you. This particular page was designed to get your blood flowing for the upcoming tournament while also reminding you that the FIFA World Cup is a gigantic opportunity for you to make some money.

You know which sites are the best, and you know what the 8 groups look like. We unveiled the format and schedule of the World Cup, not to mention we revealed all 11 cities and 12 stadiums that will be used.

Please, indulge yourself by browsing through everything else we have to offer. If you care about watching the FIFA World Cup and making some money in the process, allow our guide to become your best friend.

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