Betting Tips and Previews: FIFA World Cup

Best Bets - World Cup 2018!

 Tags for this Article

World Cup World Cup Betting World Cup 2018

Top 4 Sports Betting Offers

World Cup 2018 Best Bets

Like Tweet +1

The World Cup markets are alive and buzzing with the first match soon to be played so Howtobet4free's top tipsters take a poke under the bookmakers’ bonnets and pick out their top 5 bets of the tournament.

Stuart's Best Bets - World Cup 2018


1. The Winners

Until 2017, the Champions League hadn’t been defended since being rebranded from the Champions Cup. The World Cup is the same; no nation has successfully defended the trophy since Brazil did so in 1962 when it was known as the Jules Rimet Trophy.

Few squads have been as strong four years on as Germany are now. Anyone who doubts the depth available to Joachim Low need only look at his decision to drop the Manchester City winger Leroy Sane.


Questions are being asked, however, with good reason. Germany are winless in five (D3, L2) with the weekend’s 2 – 1 defeat in Austria a particular shock. Defeat to Brazil in March ended a 22-match unbeaten run (W16, D6). Some wondered if the 1 – 0 win was some revenge for the 7 – 1 drubbing in the World Cup semi-final. I’ll leave that scoreline and the importance of the match hanging there.

Brazil are joint-favourites with the Germans and their form justifies their ranking: 10 wins out of 11 in 2016/17; unbeaten so far in 2017/18 (W6, D3). Four consecutive clean sheets (and seven in the last nine) against strong opposition underline how well drilled Tite has his squad.

Outside of this pair, France are among the well-fancied. With Mbappe, Thauvin, and Griezmann in attack they can’t be ruled out although the 3 – 2 home defeat to Colombia asked defensive questions of Didier Deschamps team; that was their only defeat in ten (W7, D2).

World Cup Winning Betting Odds: Germany @ 5/1Visit Bet Victor!

2. The Best African Nation at the World Cup

Pele claimed an African nation would win the World Cup before 2000; he’s a decade or two out and it isn’t likely to happen this time around either.

However, there are strong contenders for the last eight at the very least. Nigeria recorded some excellent results and strong performances; the adaptability shown in their 2 – 1 defeat at Wembley. If they can get their tactics right from kick-off, there’s a strong and difficult to beat team under Gernot Rohr’s control.

Egypt, with Mo Salah, recovered from his Champions League final injury, offer a formidable attacking threat and have a strong chance of escaping the group stage if they get a result against Russia.


Morocco, despite a strong defensive record, could struggle in a group with Spain and Portugal; the clash with the latter could decide second place behind the former World champions. The Atlas Lions didn’t concede in the third -round group stage, and unbeaten in nine (W7, D2).

But perhaps the best placed is the vibrant Senegalese side who are looking to equal their nation’s only other trip to the finals. In 2002, they opened with a stunning 1 – 0 win over defending champions France, continuing unbeaten against Denmark and Uruguay. Sweden fell 2 – 1 in the Round of Sixteen before Turkey proved a step too far.

This time, they have a real chance of making the knockout phase once again. With their path likely to see them face England, they have a good chance of making the last eight once again.

World Cup - Top African Team Betting Odds: Senegal @ 9/2 – visit William Hill!

3. Winner of the Golden Gloves Award

Strikers grab the headlines, but a good goalkeeper is equally as important. Of the best in the world at the moment, only Jan Oblak is missing: Manuel Neuer returned for Germany in Austria, David De Gea and Alisson are all the leading contenders for the Golden Gloves award.

Neuer with Germany and Alisson of Brazil are in the two nations who are favourites for the tournament itself. The Bayern Munich goalkeeper hasn’t featured since September and ring-rust is bound to have an effect. Alisson, coveted by Liverpool and Real Madrid, seems the more likely of the two to win this award.


His biggest rival is David De Gea. The glaring mistake against Switzerland in the recent 1 – 1 draw was so out of character which makes it all the more unmissable. Defensively, all three nations are strong but Brazil have the extra edge at present and their extra confidence gives them the edge over the other contenders.

To win the Golden Gloves Award: Alisson Becker (Brazil) @ 9/2 – visit Coral!

4. Winner of the Golden Ball

This striker will grab the headlines! The list of favourites is the same as the nominees of Balon d’Or: Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Griezmann, and…Isco.

The former quartet are well-known to the headline writers and an almost incalculable value in the transfer market. There are some nuances within their respective World Cup finals. Neymar is clamouring to rise above Messi and Ronaldo, to be acclaimed rather than spoken in some future tense on delivering his promise.


Ronaldo and Messi; records and medals fall into their ownership at the drop of a shoulder and shift of the ball to their other foot. Antoine Griezmann is aiming to join the same rarefied heights

The intriguing name on the list is Isco. Real Madrid’s prodigiously talented midfielder is reportedly unsettled at the Bernabeu but for the national team, he is re-energised and vibrant. With eight goals in his last nine internationals, he’s in the irrepressible form a Golden Ball winner needs

Winner of Golden Ball Award: Isco @ 20/1 – visit Unibet!

5. At What Stage Will England Be Eliminated

It’s the perennial question: can England win, to which most people will answer a resounding “No!”

After the last, well, every World Cup since 1966, there is a tale of woe. Some genuine hard luck stories, some self-inflicted but the last three saw a gradual erosion in performances with Brazil 2014 surely the nadir?


The current squad, limited as they are, have goals in them, it’s a case of whether they can find them! Belgium will be a tough nut to crack and if it comes down to goal difference, seem the more likely to win the group. Which puts England on course to meet Germany in the last eight, if they can edge past Senegal or whoever finishes second in Group H.

What Stage Will England Be Eliminated: Quarter-finals @ 11/5 – visit William Hill!

Betfair Sportsbook

New Customer Offers

  • £100 Bet Bundle - World Cup 2018 (available throughout World Cup 2018)


New customer offer. Place 5 x €/£10 or more bets to receive €/£20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum €/£100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply. Visit Betfair & Claim Offer!

Francois's Best Bets - World Cup 2018


1. Not to Qualify from the Group Stage / At What Stage Will Russia Be Eliminated

Russia may have home advantage, but their form and competitive form is utterly woeful going into this tournament. Seven defeats in their last ten, with only just two wins (New Zealand and Dynamo Moscow) suggest the home nation may not progress far at World Cup 2018. The last game Russia didn't lose in a competitive match was the 1-1 draw with England at Euro 2016 - Russia are that bad!

While Stanislav Cherchesov's men may well beat Group A whipping boys, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Egypt will prove far sterner opposition. The Russian team lacks quality and pace, which Mo Salah, Luis Suarez and co will have no trouble in exposing. Although there's some uncertainty surrounding Mo Salah's fitness, even putting this to one side, i'm pretty confident Russia lack the quality to overturn Egypt and Uruguay and get out of Group A.


The home nation are generously price to make progress in this tournament. If you're really canny you may seek value in backing Russia not to qualify / eliminated at the group stage after the first game against Saudi Arabia, which is about as much as a gimme in World Cup tournament football as you can get. Looking at the bookmaker odds, the better value is backing Russia to be eliminated the group stage (best 9/4 with William Hill) compared to around evens with most bookies for Russia not to qualify from Group A.

What Stage Will Russia Be Eliminated: Group Stage @ 9/4 – visit William Hill!

2 . To Reach the Semi Final

Another Group A team, Uruguay, are the focus of my second recommended best bet. Uruguay have great pedigree in this tournament, winning the World Cup in 1930 and 1954, and reached the Semi Final eight years ago in South Africa.

The devastating attacking power of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, along with arguably the best defender in the World, Diego Godin, ensure Uruguay can't be ruled out to progress all the way in the Russia. Not many teams will relish coming up against Oscar Tabrez's squad. The midfield has been rejuvenated with young, pacey attacking talent with lots of flair, however whether this exposes them latter down the line is the big question. 


If Uruguay can successfully navigate top in Group A, they likely face Portugal or Morocco, with a blockbuster quarter with France possible.

Uruguay possess three world class players, a claim not many World Cup 2018 squads can make. I'm going for Uruguayans to battle their way through to the Semi Final. They don't usually go out to a whimper and I don't expect anything less this time.

To Reach the Semi Final: Uruguay @ 5/1 - visit Sporting Bet!

3 . To Finish Bottom of Group C

Group C includes France, Peru, Denmark and Australia - a pretty strong group, apart from Australia of course! It's always difficult to gauge the difference in quality between teams from different continents. There's been plenty of recent under and over performances from teams at the World Cup, we expected to perform a certain way. However Australia, are without question categorically the weakest team in this group and will struggle to score let alone pick up any points.


Australia's form is patchy (just three wins in the last ten) and that's been against relatively weak international competition. The Socceroos are relying on a 39 year old, Tim Cahill, who has barely played for club this season, to score the goals. You can be sure the team will do all they can, but the quality just isn't there!

A big defeat in the first game against France on June 16th will set the tone. Peru and Denmark will tame the Ozzie fight, so anything around just under evens for Australia to finish bottom of Group C should be snapped up while you can!

To Finish Bottom of Group C: Australia @ 19/20 - visit Sporting Bet!

4 . Highest Scoring Group

Not much sophisticated reasoning for this one! The highest scoring group always offers decent value as it's pretty wide open, but a group with Brazil in always leaves you in contention. Group E includes Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica.

I strongly fancy Brazil to turn on the style and put all three teams to the sword, which not only will amass a healthy goals total, it will also force the other teams to go for it! Switzerland are notoriously hard to score against, but they have been knocking in goals for fun and becoming more cavalier in their approach recently. Costa Rica are likely to revert back to their basketball football of the pre 2014 World Cup and Serbia have suitable attacking talents and defensive frailties to ensure goals are a plenty in Group E!


One big scoreline could sway the balance. Group E (Brazil) looks the best shout for guaranteed goals given the odds available! Group G is the favourite, given Panama's presence, but anything less than 4/1 is far too low!

Highest Scoring Group: Group E @ 6/1 - visit William Hill!

5 . To Win Group H

Group H looks highly competitive, containing Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan. In theory there could be a reasonable argument for justifying any of those teams qualifying for the next round. It's the sort of the group where any predictions can be quickly made to seem foolish. Yet, the odds are just too appealing - Poland 7/4 (Bet Victor) to win Group H!

Poland are in good form having won eight of their last eleven outings. For much of the first half of the most recent game with Chile, they completely outplayed the South Americans and can count themselves unlucky to not come away with the win. The squad is packed with players plying their trade in the top European leagues, with Robert Lewandowski the stand out world class player. Poland expects the latter stages, rather than hopes!


The Poles have been performing consistently well Internationally for some time now; unlucky to go out to eventual Euro 2016 champions, Portugal, and coach, Adam Nawalka know this is the time to fulfill the promise of the golden generation of Polish footballers.

Senegal, Japan, and Colombia won't be easy, but Lewandowski and co are more than capable of grabbing this group and taking top spot. Lewandowski, who under performed at Euro 2016, will be out to set the record straight this time round! Poland are great odds to top Group H!

To Win Group H: Poland @ 7/4 - visit Bet Victor!

Betfair Sportsbook

New Customer Offers

  • £100 Bet Bundle - World Cup 2018 (available throughout World Cup 2018)


New customer offer. Place 5 x €/£10 or more bets to receive €/£20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum €/£100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply. Visit Betfair & Claim Offer!

Matt's Best Bets - World Cup 2018


1. Top Goalscorer

From a betting perspective, Thomas Muller represents absolutely phenomenal value in the World Cup Top Goalscorer market for two simple reasons. He’s German and he loves scoring goals at The World Cup. His disastrous performance by his standards in Euro 2016 can easily be ignored but he has had a decent season for Bayern Munich, supporting Lewandowski up front with 15 goals from 45 appearances.


World Cup pedigree cannot be ignored and the World Cup 2014 Silver Boot winner is a snip at 33/1 with Unibet. An each way bet will give you a decent pay-out even if he finishes in the top 4 goal scorers and considering Germany’s solid chance of going all the way, this looks like a superb wager. Paddy Power also offering 6 places but at reduced odds of 25/1.

World Cup Top Goal scorer: Thomas Muller each way @ 25/1 (6 places) - visit Paddy Power!

2. Portugal to reach the semi-finals

Portugal will have gained a lot of confidence and belief after their superb Euro 2016 victory and they enter the competition on the back of a solid qualifying campaign, scoring an impressive 42 goals and conceding only 4. This could also be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last chance to win The World Cup, so their talisman will no doubt be fired up in front of goal.


More crucially the Portuguese have a relatively easy path to the latter stages of the completion. They will have no problem getting out of Group B where they should guarantee themselves maximum points from the likes of Morocco and Iran. A potentially straightforward second round beckons (Russia or Uruguay) and they can avoid Brazil and Germany until the semi-final. Therefore this seems a viable modest punt for them to reach their third semi-final in tournament history.

To Reach semi-finals: Portugal @ 4/1 - visit Sporting Bet!

3. To Finish Bottom of their group: Australia or South Korea

You can be sure quite a few Aussies are planning a similar bet with the Poms being eliminated at the group stage! However, the chances of Australia making any impact in this group are mighty slim. It’s arguably a three way group of death scenario and it’s near inconceivable that Australia will get points from the likes of France, Denmark and Peru to proceed further in the tournament or avoid the wooden spoon.

Socceroos_ Australia_bottom.jpg

True, their participation in the tournament has established them as regulars since their memorable 2006 campaign where they took advantage of a rampant Brazil and well below par Croatia to steal the 2nd spot and have their one and only experience of World Cup knock-out football. This should not be repeated this time around and if you’re looking for a banker bet in this year’s World Cup, then this is it as I think 4/5 is actually quite generous. Those plucky South Koreans keep coming back hoping for a repeat of their 2002 exploits but they are utterly up against it this time round and looked booked for bottom place also in Group F against Mexico, Sweden and Germany.

To finish bottom of their group: Australia @ 4/5 - visit Boylesports, South Korea @ 11/13 - visit Unibet

4. Outright Winner: Germany and Brazil - taking the offers!

The outright winner market can be cornered this year by covering the two joint favourites and taking advantage of any offers.


Currently the best way to do this is by heading to William Hill and placing at least one bet there as the firm will give you a free £5 bet every time your team wins within 90 minutes. That’s £15 worth of bets if Brazil or Germany get all 9 points in the group stage. Not bad. New customers at Coral can get 60/1 for a Brazil win.

Outright winner: Germany @ 4/1 and Brazil @ 9/2 - visit William Hill!

5. England v Belgium: England to win 1 - 0

There is a lot of talk circulating that England will come a cropper against the highly regarded Belgium in the Group G fixture. However, England have produced some commendable tight wins over fancied teams in the last year and although there is little hope of progression further than the quarter finals, I feel this is a fixture that could go either way and with England’s new found ability to hold onto 1-0 leads, this is a feasible result to get behind with some loose change.

England_ Belgium_worldcup.jpg

England to beat Belgium 1-0 @ 10/1 - visit Betfair!

Bet Victor

New & Existing Customer Offers

  • The Million Pound Bet - Guaranteed £1,000,000 Giveaway plus £5,000 Daily Competition (available until 15th July - final whistle of the Final)


Place a £1+ Qualifying Bet on World Cup 2018; Winning Qualifying Bet with biggest odds wins £1M prize (shared if 1+ winners). Opt Out:; Min. deposit £5; for full T&Cs See below. 18+ Please Gamble Responsibly. Visit Bet Victor & Claim Offer!

Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (15:00 9th June 2018) and are subject to change.

Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply.

Click to Claim

Francois is one of Howtobet4free’s co-founders and has written many of Howtobet4free’s popular Betting Guides. Francois also helps run the @howtobet4free_ Twitter account

View other articles by

Comments & Feedback

Please log in to join the conversation. Login