With the football season well on its way to the business end, international managers across the planet will be putting together their 23-man-squads.
For us punters, we’re keeping an eye out for the in-form players who can really make a difference.
One of the big markets will be the straight forecast during the Group Stage. In some cases the two teams to qualify may be an easy call, but choosing first and second, that’s a little trickier.
Here are our World Cup Straight Forecast Predictions…
World Cup Group A Predictions
Teams: Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, Saudi Arabia
Uruguay and Russia are both clear favourites to Qualify from Group A and that order has a straight forecast price of 2/1.
It’ll be interesting with the Russians. Tipped largely due to being the host nation, it could go either way – after all they’re the lowest ranked team in Group A.
To top the group you can back a Russia / Uruguay final standing at 5/2, while a Uruguay / Egypt bet seems good value to us at 7/1.
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World Cup Group B Predictions
Teams: Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Iran
It’ll be a tall order for Morocco or Iran to make it into the Round of 16, making the European neighbours progression almost inevitable.
The Portuguese shocked back at Euro 2016, and a draw against the Spanish and a few goals from Cristiano Ronaldo could see them top the group.
World Cup Group C Predictions
Teams: France, Denmark, Peru, Australia
France will be one of the teams to beat this summer and every punter will be marking them to win the group. Joining them could be a little more complicated.
Denmark are marked as the favourite to join them with a straight forecast of France / Denmark in Group C at 6/4.
The Peruvians are a good side though and will cause plenty of problems. Ranked 10th in the world, a France / Peru forecast is priced at 5/2 with some of the UK’s best bookies.
Fancy the French to trip up and you’re looking at 7/1 for Denmark to finish top and France in second as well as 12/1 for Peru / France.
World Cup Group D Predictions
Teams: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria
Argentina fell at the final hurdle back in 2014 but are one of the top teams once again for Russia 2018.
Croatia are second favourites to qualify with Argentina / Croatia priced at 7/4.
Iceland have a huge chance of qualification however after stunning in Euro 2016. They beat Croatia in qualifying and an Argentina / Iceland straight forecast is at 4/1.
Such is Argentina’s firepower, we’d find it hard to see them not top the group. Should that happen, the most likely outcome would be Croatia / Argentina at 9/2, with it perhaps being too much of an effort for Iceland to do enough to top a group.
World Cup Group E Predictions
Teams: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Costa Rica
Brazil are a lot of pundits tips for lifting the World Cup and there’s little chance they won’t top the group.
Second Place is a little more complex. Costa Rica were a surprise package in 2014 and could cause problems again, while the sturdiness of Serbia at the back could give them a shot of the Round of 16.
The Swiss are the most likely candidates. A Group E straight forecast of Brazil / Switzerland is priced at 15/8. Swap Switzerland for Serbia and that price rises to 3/1.
We would have a World Cup free bet on Brazil / Costa Rica however at 9/2. They proved last time out they were dangerous, and we fancy them to pick up a shock result again.
World Cup Group F Predictions
Teams: Germany, Sweden, Mexico, South Korea
Germany came through qualifying with an unblemished record and the World Champions are tipped to win the tournament again.
Top of the group is almost guaranteed with the calibre of their players, with second place perhaps a two way battle between Sweden and Mexico.
Germany / Mexico is most favoured with the bookies at 2/1 and we’d perhaps put our money there, although the better value is with Germany / Sweden at 9/4.
The Swedish beat Italy in the play-offs so they are dangerous. It really is a toss up for Second Place.
World Cup Group G Predictions
Teams: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama
On paper, it’s a pretty straightforward decision picking the top two teams. But one of those teams is England.
We would be amazed however if they crashed out in the same way they did in 2014 and we’d expect them to comfortably qualify alongside Belgium. Which order is a big question.
A Belgium / England Group G straight forecast is the sensible bet at 5/4, but if Wales can beat them, so can England.
The better value is England / Belgium at 2/1 and we’d go with this. Southgate’s men are more than capable of getting a result in the final game. If they can get the goals against Tunisia and Panamá, they have every chance of topping the group.
World Cup Group H Predictions
Teams: Colombia, Poland, Senegal, Japan
Senegal are going to be a bit of a dark horse this tournament we feel, so there’s a three way battle going on door qualification.
Naturally Colombia are favourite to top the group with Colombia / Poland straight forecast odds in Group H at 10/3.
With Lewandowski in their side they do have a huge advantage in front of goal, so much so, a 4/1 on Poland / Colombia wouldn’t be a bad way to spend any World Cup betting bonuses.
You have to be wary of Senegal though. You can get odds of 9/1 on Colombia / Senegal which could produce some really nice profits.