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2018 FIFA World Cup: Brazil and Spain Favorites with Germany Eliminated

Andrés Iniesta
At 34-years-old Spain's Andrés Iniesta is in his last World Cup. The Spaniards are priced as second favorites behind Brazil to lift the World Cup. Photo By: Илья Хохлов {Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • What have been the biggest storylines at World Cup 2018?
  • Which teams have the best and least chances of lifting the trophy?
  • What are the trends in this year’s World Cup?

With the Germans out and the Round of 16 upon us, World Cup futures odds for the remaining 16 teams have certainly seen their ups and downs. Brazil and Spain are now the top two favorites to win the trophy at average prices of +330 and +410, respectively.

Brazil and Spain are now the top two favorites to win the trophy at average prices of +330 and +410 respectively.

Going into Matchday 3 of Group F play, the Germans were tied in second place with Sweden. There were scenarios where the Germans still could’ve claimed first overall in the group with a win over South Korea and a Sweden win over Mexico. However a 2-0 loss to South Korea and 3-0 win by Sweden over Mexico saw Germany exit the tournament.

It was the first time Die Mannschaft lost two Group Stage games in a World Cup. It was also the first time they failed to advance past the first round since 1938. Overall Germany is the third straight defending champ to be eliminated in the Group Stage of the following World Cup. Italy won in 2006 and also came fourth in their group in 2010, while 2010 champions Spain came up short in 2014, placing third in their group.

Parity. It’s tough to say if some of the traditional powers have struggled, or if the rest of the world has simply narrowed the gap in overall talent. However in almost every game, nearly any outcome would not be a huge surprise after what we’ve witnessed in the Group Phase. Outside of Belgium and England beating up on Tunisia and Panana in Group H, nearly every other favorite has not impressed.

That being said, at the end of the day, struggling or not, the top two favorites from six of the eight groups did eventually claim spots in the Round of 16.

Left Side vs Right Side of Bracket

With several upsets in the tournament, without question, on paper the clearer path to the final will come from the right side of the World Cup bracket. Of the top seven favorites remaining four are on the left side. Expand that out to the top nine remaining favorites and six play on the left.

To put it in further perspective the left side of the bracket has won a combined 10 World Cups. Compare this to the two World Cups that have been won on the right side.

The left side of the bracket has won a combined 10 World Cups, while the right side has won two.

The left side includes teams like Uruguay, Portugal, France, Argentina, Brazil and Belgium. You can find the latter two at +350 and +650, respectively, at Bovada to win the trophy.

On the right side, with odds at  Bovada of +450 and +750, respectively, Spain and England are your favorites. But don’t sleep on Croatia, who after an upset win over Argentina and a perfect 3-0-0 record, have seen their odds continue to shorten from an average of+3200 when the tournament started, to only +1000 today.

Luka Modric
Luka Modric and Croatia went a perfect 3-0-0 in Group Stage play and will meet Denmark in the Round of 16 on Sunday. Photo By: Fanny Schertzer {Wiki Commons) [CC License]

Biggest underdog to win the World Cup? That would be Japan who opened the tournament as +27500 pups, and still have the longest odds at about +12500. Next in line are Denmark (+7700), Sweden (+6200), Russia (+5900), Mexico (+5000) and Switzerland (+3200).

World Cup 2018 Trends

That’s a Penalty

2018 has been the Year of the Penalty. Penalties and the Video Assisted Referee (VAR) have staked their claim in this year’s World Cup – sometimes for the best, and sometimes not. While the system has made many great decisions, it’s still open to each referee’s interpretation of the rules. One thing is for sure, more penalties have resulted, breaking a 28-year-old record.

A penalty has been awarded in 41.6% of the games in the World Cup.

With 48 Group Stage matches now in the books, a total of 24 penalties have been awarded in 20 separate matches – four games have seen two. That means a penalty has been awarded in 41.6% of the games in the World Cup. When you consider no penalty was awarded in any of the final four Group games on Thursday, for the majority of the tournament that prop has been cashing.

At Bovada, earlier in the tournament the “Will A Penalty Be Awarded” prop was paying typically +200. Bookies have caught on and that is now anywhere from +160 to +185 for a typical match. Still, a blind bet on the “Yes” for every match thus far would have been profitable.

Tournament Statistics

World Cup 2018 Stats through the Group Stage #
Goals Scored 122
Average Goals Per Match 2.5
Yellow Cards 158
Red Cards 3

The Golden Boot Race

OG has raced out to a commanding lead. That’s “Own Goal” of course. Nine different teams have been responsible for putting the ball in the back of their own net. That is four more than any one player has scored on their opponents. You can typically find a “Will An Own Goal Be Scored – Yes” prop for about +1200 at Bovada.

As far as who can actually win this award, England’s Harry Kane is leading the pack with five goals. Top Goal Scorer futures odds will become available shortly with the Group Stage concluding.

Top Contenders for the Golden Boot

Player (Country) Goals
Harry Kane (ENG) 5
Romelu Lukaku (BEL) 4
Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) 4
Denis Cheryshev (RUS) 3
Diego Costa (ESP) 3

Late Goals

Don’t count your winnings (or losses) before the final whistle. The majority of goals have come in the second half with the highest percentage coming past the 75′ minute. Late goals have been commonplace in this World Cup with 13 injury time goals taking place so far.

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Ryan has always enjoyed playing, watching, writing about, and betting on sports. He brings his industry knowledge and expertise to SportsBettingDime as our resident soccer guru, though his repertoire is by no means limited there.